Tuesday, July 7, 2015

About Najib Razak and GE13

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim (left) was not just pointing his finger at Prime Minister Najib Razak but he had come out to say that he didn’t believe that cabinet members were in the dark with regard to how funds from 1MDB were utilized for UMNO's benefit in GE13.
Zaid said Najib's cabinet colleagues should not pretend they didn’t know how money from the state investment fund helped them to ride to victory in the last general election.
"Why do you think Najib had frequent closed-door briefings with UMNO leaders on 1MDB?" Zaid queried in his blog, The Zaidgeist on Sunday.
"They (cabinet members) cannot feign surprise that Najib had so much cash, not when they gleefully accept his largesse from time to time, without asking any questions. "They have kissed his hands and failed to express any unhappiness with his generosity."
Zaid, writing in the same blog post (refer to blogpage http://www.zaid.my/current/a-hard-days-night/), said that the funds had been transferred to Najib's personal accounts so that he could personally dole out money to his party minions. He explained: "He wants those who have benefited from his 'generosity' to acknowledge his position as a leader who personally handed out money to his troops, which is why he needed the funds funnelled into his personal accounts.”
But Zaid added that what Najib had done – using money to buy loyalty – was nothing new, and that other UMNO leaders had done the same thing in the past.
Malaysia's election law stipulates that spending by candidates in elections be limited to RM100,000 for a state seat and RM200,000 for a parliamentary seat. About the only people keeping spending to these limits are the penniless opposition.

Fogging time at the Sunway campus on Monday morning reminds us that dengue still lurks dangerously. Certainly, dengue is still having an ominous presence in the country. In fact, the situation is deteriorating.
The cumulative cases of dengue reported from January to June 27 this year had shown an increase of 34%, or 56,533 cases compared to 42,229 cases in the corresponding period last year.
And a total of 162 deaths were recorded during the period this year – an increase of 97.6% from only 82 deaths last year.

Monday, July 6, 2015

GE13: A Logical Assumption

The money trail from the British Virgin Islands company account at Falcon Bank (Tanore Finance) to Najib’s personal AmPrivate Bank account days before the calling of GE13. Image credit: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=546212:scrutiny-centres-on-tun-razak-exchanges-us$3-billion-bond-issue-1mdb-scandal&Itemid=2#axzz3eyrdyx9d

Prime Minister Najib Razak had denied that the money received by him in March 2013 from Aabar’s Falcon Bank was for “personal gain”. Meaning, he did receive the money and that it was paid into his personal account but that it was not for his personal use, if I understand him correctly. Although, I am not quite sure what he actually meant by “personal gain” but to me, that is merely a question of semantics.
So my question is – Was the money used for “political gain” and to secretly finance the personal gains of others, who benefited from the humongous handouts that characterized the GE13 campaign?
Kindly note that the AmPrivate Banking account where the money had been sent was closed on August 30, 2013 after the closely-fought election had taken place.
My second question: Where is the rest of the money?
I repeat, investigators plainly believe that this was public money derived from 1MDB, so the above questions are rightfully put and must be answered by Najib himself.
I will ask another question. Was the 2013 general election stolen? If you recall, it was a tainted election victory for Najib and UMNO.
And why not? I can claim that I am making a logical assumption. If I follow Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s line of thinking, the money was banked-in into the PM’s personal account (# 2112022009694) during the GE13 campaign period – we cannot assume anything else other than Najib using the money as “payoffs”. After all, Najib did admit that he didn’t use the money for “personal gain”.
Let me quote exactly what Wan Junaidi had said on June 29, 2015 “…everything that [I] do and say here is based on logical assumption”.
On June 30, 2015, Scottish singer Susan Boyle received an honorary doctorate for her contribution to music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
She bagged the award after she sold more than 22 million albums since making her name on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She has had two Grammy nominations and smashed three Guinness World Records.
The 54-year-old from West Lothian described the distinction as a "great privilege", and posed with her fellow students outside in her full robes (see pic below):

Picture: John Devlin

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Najib Razak's AmBank Account No. 2112022011880

Ka-ching! RM10 Million into Najib Razak's bank account in February 2015. Image credit: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=545942:son-of-slain-ambank-founder-talks-about-najibs-rm26-bil-private-ambank-account&Itemid=2#axzz3ewHtG16t

PM Najib Razak's political secretary, Muhammad Khairun Aseh told Malay daily, Sinar Harian, that the Wall Street Journal report on the RM2.67 billion in the former's account was criminal defamation .
“The report was done with bad intention and based on unsubstantiated and dubious sources. We will take legal action,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.
Meanwhile, the WSJ is standing by its report that huge sums of money were channeled into Najib's personal bank accounts, saying that their investigation was based on solid documentation
In an interview with CNBC, WSJ Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown said they had been very careful with the report, given the nature that it is against a country's leader.
WSJ’s Hong Kong bureau chief Ken Brown told US broadcaster CNBC’s Street Signs in an edited 2.43-minute phone interview uploaded last Thursday that its reports were based on documents that “had been shared with the Malaysian attorney-general, with others in the government so they’ve been seen by all and also the prime minister”. 

And Najib is still denying?!?
Najib should not put the country under a cloud of infamy and shame for having a Prime Minister against whom grave allegations of financial impropriety and even criminal misconduct had been made by an internationally reputable global publication.
But Najib doesn’t care because he thinks only about himself.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

KL Cab Drivers are the World's Worst

According to London-based website, LondonCabs.co.uk, Kuala Lumpur has the worst taxi drivers in the world.  

In a statement on its website, the portal said drivers from Kuala Lumpur are known for overcharging clients and detouring. And there are also drivers who refuse to charge by the meter although they are supposed to do so. [The portal advised readers to find another taxi if the driver does not want to use the meter]. And to make matters worse, LondonCabs state that the condition of taxis operating in Kuala Lumpur also questionable as many are in poor condition.
The portal listed 10 countries said to have the worst taxi drivers in the world. (1) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; (2) Rome, Italy; (3) Bangkok, Thailand; (4) Paris, France; (5) New York, USA; (6) Mumbai, India; (7) Z├╝rich, Switzerland; (8) Cairo, Egypt; (9) Shanghai, China; and (10) Moscow, Russia.
This is nothing new and Malaysians have known this for a long time.
This morning, I was at the Bankers Club in KL’s Jalan Imbi to attend the MIMKL Toastmasters meeting. I took the role of Ah Counter. A good meeting overall. A 6.5 over 10 score.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Doraemon is No Rainmaker

The Doraemon toy took the place of a real cat inside the wooden cage
Villagers in drought-affected northern Thailand have used a toy of a popular cartoon cat to perform a rain ritual – in case anyone complained about them using a real animal, it's reported.
Ordinarily, a live cat would be used as part of the ritual to pray for rain, but locals were worried about being accused of animal cruelty, the Thai Rath website reports. Instead, they turned to the Japanese manga character Doraemon – a time-travelling robotic cat – which was duly loaded into a wooden cage and carried around the village in Phrae province.
Farmers in the area grow corn, but a lack of rain means many are struggling to irrigate their crops. Doraemon was chosen because nobody could find a more realistic cat toy, the report says.
The ritual involved the toy being taken to sacred sites around the village, and ended with a ceremony at a nearby monastery, according to the Bangkok Post.
Sadly, the villagers' prayers have gone unanswered, and Thailand's drought persists. Maybe, they should try Felix the Cat? Or even Hello Kitty? Or what about Garfield?

But in truth, things do not always turn out as we wish. That's Life, isn't it?

My Quote-of-the-Day:

To fellow Toastmasters, it helps explain why I keep delivering Competent Communication manual speeches for the umpteenth time.

Spotlight on Najib Razak's Stash of Money Amounting to RM2.67 Billion

Investigations into debt-ridden 1MDB have allegedly uncovered billions of ringgit channelled to the personal accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.
The newspaper is quoting from “evidence” from the 1MDB probe that is being carried out by the Malaysian government.
The investigation documents mark the first time Najib has been directly connected to the probes into 1MDB.
And the Sarawak Report also claimed that the Attorney-General was aware of the information.
The said documents show that $700 million (RM2.67 billion) was moved among government agencies, banks and entities linked to 1MDB and finally ending up in the prime minister's personal accounts in five separate deposits, WSJ said.
It said that the largest transactions were deposits of $620 million and another one for $61 million in March 2013, two months before the general election was held.

Image credit: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10130211234592774869404581083700187014570

Putrajaya had promptly denied the reports, saying Najib had not made use of any public funds. On the other hand, the 1MDB spokesperson claimed ignorance. He said, referring to the transfers into Najib’s account: “1MDB is not aware of any such transactions, nor has it seen any documents to this effect.”
The WSJ (and Sarawak Report) are practically saying Najib is a thief. I should get upset, shouldn't I?

In Malaysia, things are looking up

This morning, I threw up into The Star newspaper. It was yesterday’s edition. All because I saw the headline “Things are looking up”. Thanks to rating agency Fitch for being the cause of my vomit.
Yup, Tuesday’s announcement by Fitch had affirmed Malaysia’s credit rating at ‘A-‘ and revised its outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’.
According to the MCA-owned newspaper, this was good news for Prime Minister Najib Razak and he described it as “firm recognition that Malaysia’s transformation programs were on the right track”.
And to prove Najib right, Fitch presented us with a checklist of fabulously fantastic news that “things are looking up”!
Malaysia’s real GDP growth rate stays strong, averaging 5.8% from 2010 to 2014. [According to tradingeconomics.com, the GDP Annual Growth Rate in Malaysia averaged 4.77% from 2000 until 2015, meaning, we are not doing that well actually  although better than market expectations. It is noteworthy to mention that exports contracted and the private sector remained the key driver of growth.]

Progress has been really good on the GST and fuel subsidy reform. [At least that is the picture Fitch are painting. But on Tuesday, JobStreet.com released findings showing that the Goods and Services Tax is a burden for most Malaysians, with 9 out of 10 working people in the country having difficulties in coping with the hike in living costs that followed the tax implementation. On Wednesday, the prices of RON95 and RON97 petrol went up (again) by 10 sen and 20 sen respectively. The irony is, oil is getting cheaper globally. Figure that out!]
The worst is over for the ringgit, which has rebounded after hitting a 10-year low against the greenback. It appreciated by 0.7% to 3.74 against the US dollar on Wednesday. [That is nothing to shout about really because in the past 12 months, the ringgit has tumbled by more than 14% against the US dollar; it is still down 7.6% year-to-date despite the rally and is still the worst performing currency in Asia so far this year.]
More political stability is expected now that the governing UMNO have delayed their party polls next year by eighteen months. [Don’t believe this because Najib’s political problems are going to get worse.]
It is not that I am wishing for the worst-possible” scenario for the country but I believe we are in self-denial. And Fitch have become a willing accomplice.
The downside risks are still very much there. The scandal surrounding 1MDB is not going away anytime soon, and along with the bearish China and Eurozone financial markets as well as the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated rate hike by year end – all point to a depressingly daunting outlook for Malaysia.
I am of course, wishing my pessimism exists only in my fertile mind but the truths are all out there for us to see. It serves no purpose to keep denying.

I'm sorry but Najib is nothing but horse shit. So are Fitch. So is The Star.
Last evening, the Sunway University Toastmasters Club meeting was in session. Regretfully,  it was not well-attended given that many of our members are preparing for their Finals next week – still, we managed to interest twenty Toastmasters and two non-Toastmasters to be there.


In addition, our two young members, Hazel Hiew and Michelle Lim presented a musical tribute to the club leaders. It was a sweet gesture. Thank you!