Media Reporting

Mahathir’s Own People Are Beginning to Question His Motives

THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT : PAKATAN APPROVAL RATING 39%, DR MAHATHIR DOWN TO 46%, SAYS MERDEKA CENTRE – 26 APRIL 2019

“PRIME Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s popularity rating has dropped to 46% from 71% recorded last August, said pollster Merdeka Centre based on its latest survey. The survey also showed only 39% of Malaysian voters gave the Pakatan Harapan federal government positive ratings, just weeks short of its first year in power.”

For the complete article, click here.


REuters: Malaysia's ruling coalition loses state by-election as support wanes – 13 April 2019

Reuters reports that the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s loss in the Rantau by-election is yet another sign that public support for Mahathir’s alliance is diminishing.

For the complete article, click here.


MALAY MAIL: ANALYSTS: NURUL IZZAH’S OUTBURST WIDENS ANWAR-MAHATHIR RIFT - 02 APRIL 2019

The Malay Mail reports on the resignation of Nurul Izzah Anwar, a prominent Pakatan Harapan (“PH”) leader and the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, in “a move seen as a protest against Dr Mahathir’s leadership” and “the clearest sign of a power struggle” between the pro-Anwar and pro-Mahathir factions of the PH.

For the complete article, click here.


South china morning post: Malaysia by-election: a win for Barisan Nasional - and racial politics – 4 March 2019

The South China Morning Post reports that according to Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi, a political analyst at University Malaya, Dr Mahathir’s party, Pakatan Harapan, “is perceived to be less sensitive to the daily needs of the people”. The article reports that Pakatan has been slow to fulfil its election promises, in relation to affordable housing, youth employment and low-income rural residents.

For the complete article, click here.


Rantau By-election

reuters: Malaysia's ruling coalition loses seat in state by-election – 3 March 2019

Reuters reports that the government’s loss in the by-election is a blow for Mahathir’s coalition, while it faces criticism for failing to fulfil its promised reforms. The article reports that polls have indicated that the Mahathir government has been losing support among Malays.

For the complete article, click here.


Semenyih By-election

Bloomberg: Mahathir’s Ruling Coalition Loses Seat in Malaysian By-Election – 2 March 2019

Bloomberg reports that the government’s loss in the by-election in Semenyih may indicate that its failure to fulfil its campaign promises is starting to affect public opinion in Malaysia.

For the complete article, click here.


Malaysia is becoming an international pariah under Mahathir regime

THE STAR ONLINE : ALL ROADS TO GLOBAL JUSTICE LEAD TO THE ROME STATUTE - 14 APRIL 2019

The Star Online criticizes the Malaysian government’s decision not to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which is the governing body that prosecutes genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The article notes that Malaysia’s decision was based on a “deliberate campaign of misinformation.”

“Whatever way you look at it, all roads to international criminal justice lead to the Rome Statute and Malaysia would have been in a stronger position in international law and peace and security had we maintained our accession.”

For the complete article, click here.


THE STAR ONLINE : HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: U-TURN OVER ROME STATUTE A MOCKERY OF COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE – 6 APRIL 2019

The Star Online reports that Human Rights Watch has condemned Malaysia’s decision to withdraw from ratifying the Rome Statue.

Deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, is quoted as saying, “The Malaysian government's standing on international justice has taken a nosedive because of misleading and unpersuasive criticism of the ICC. Unless the government stands firm on its original decision to join the ICC, it will be putting its whole human rights reform agenda at risk.”

For the complete article, click here.


REUTERS: EU RISKS 'TRADE WAR' WITH MALAYSIA OVER PALM OIL – MAHATHIR – 28 MARCH 2019

The European Union risks opening up a trade war with Malaysia over its “grossly unfair” policies aimed at reducing the use of palm oil, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday.

This month, the European Commission concluded that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and its use in transport fuel should be phased out by 2030.

Malaysia, the world’s second biggest palm oil producer after Indonesia, relies on the crop for billions of dollars in foreign exchange earnings and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Mahathir, 93, said the EU’s increasingly hostile attitude towards palm oil, a commodity used in everything from chocolate spread to lipstick, was an attempt to protect alternatives that Europe produced itself, like rape seed oil.

“To do that kind of thing to win a trade war is unfair,” Mahathir told Reuters in an interview on Langkawi, a tropical resort island 30 km off Malaysia’s mainland.

“Trade wars are not something we like to promote but on the other hand it is grossly unfair for rich people to try and impoverish poor people.”

For the complete article, click here.


i24 nEWS: MALAYSIA BECOMING IRANIAN HOTSPOT FOR TRAINING PROXIES? – 27 March 2019

Could it be that Malaysia is turning into a proxy-training ground for Iran? The prime minister's anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past is one sign of evidence among others.

For video, click here.


Asia Times: RACE and religion roiling Malaysian reform 27 MARCH 2019

Ten months after Malaysia’s historic election that unseated the long-ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), there are already signs the political pendulum is starting to swing back.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s multiracial ruling coalition, known as Pakatan Harapan, is now suddenly on the defensive from an emboldened opposition pact that has successfully rebranded itself after last May’s crushing electoral defeat.

For the complete article, click here.


MALAYSIAKINI: 10 unlikeable things about Dr M – 27 MARCH 2019

Nurul Izzah Anwar’s misgivings about Mahathir, aired in an interview she gave to Singapore’s The Straits Times, has been both condemned and praised for calling Dr Mahathir Mohamad a former dictator and a person who is very difficult to work with.

Unfortunately, less attention has been given to some of the reasons for her dissatisfaction, which is of greater importance to what is happening in our country. As she further said in the interview the government, led by Mahathir, has not done enough to embolden moderates.

For the complete article, click here.


Haaretz: Malaysia Has Become Hub For Iranian Activity, Western Intel Suggests – 21 March 2019

Led by a corrupt, proudly anti-Semitic prime minister who supports Islamist groups, Southeast Asian country's long-standing connection with Hamas gets a new twist.

Under cover of the predawn darkness of April 21, 2018, two tall, burly men lay in wait for Fadi al-Batsh. He took no special precautions as he left his apartment building to head for the mosque where he often prayed.

Spotting him, the two men approached and shot him 14 times at close range. He didn’t stand a chance. The security cameras in the area did not pick up anything, and the pair – who were carrying false passports from Serbia and Montenegro – fled on a motorbike. Then they switched to another vehicle and somehow made their way out of the country. Israel was said to be behind the assassination.

Born in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, al-Batsh later moved to Malaysia where he married and had three children.

For the complete article, click here.


THE AUSTRALIAN: Malaysian government’s reform agenda distracted by political Islam 19 MARCH 2019

As Malaysia nears the first anniversary of a historic regime change, there are questions about the viability of the new Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) government led by Mahathir Mohamad. PH has just lost the two most recent by-elections and there is every likelihood that it will lose the next by-election, in the middle of next month, as well. Losing three by-elections is always a bad sign for any government.

For the complete article, click here.


CNN: Malaysian Tourism Minister: There Are No Gay People in Malaysia – 7 MARCH 2019

“German Green party politician Volker Beck had sought to exclude Malaysia from exhibiting at the Berlin event, one of the world's largest tourism expos, saying that its government has specific policies which are discriminatory to gay people and Jews. 

“‘(A country embracing) homophobia and antisemitism cannot be a partner country,’ he said, according to Malaysiakini.”

Malaysia's tourism minister has denied the existence of gay people in the country, according to reports in German media.

Ahead of attending the ITB Berlin travel fair, Tourism Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi told German reporters that he wasn't aware of gay people in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian country.

"I don't think we have anything like that in our country," he said, responding to a question as to whether Malaysia would welcome gay travelers, according to German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

For the complete article, click here.


The guardian: Israel accuses Malaysia PM of 'rabid antisemitism' over Paralympics ban – 18 january 2019

“The decision prompted condemnation from the Israeli foreign ministry, with spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon calling the ban ‘shameful’ and saying it ‘totally opposes the Olympic spirit… ‘Israel condemns the decision inspired no doubt by Malaysia’s PM Mahathir’s rabid antisemitism,’ said Nahshon. He called on the International Paralympic Committee to force Malaysia to reverse the decision or to move the event to another country.”

The Guardian reports that Mahathir has banned Israeli athletes from entering Malaysia to compete in the qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, despite condemnation from the Israeli foreign ministry.

For the complete article, click here.


Financial Times: Mahathir’s Honeymoon Fades as Old Ways Resurface – 29 November 2018

“The euphoria that greeted his victory has quickly faded as cracks appear in the ruling coalition and as some of the prime minister’s actions bring uncomfortable echoes of the past”

“There are discouraging signs that Malaysia’s political establishment is losing its focus on reform as old enmities and old ways resurface.”

For the complete article, click here.


Mahathir Continues to Clash with Malaysia’s Royalty

THE STRAIT TIMES: TEST OF STRENGTH BETWEEN ROYAL HOUSEHOLDS AND MAHATHIR LOOMS - 11 APRIL 2019

The Strait Times reports on the “unfolding political crisis in Johor” fueled by Mahathir’s latest clash with the country’s Malay rulers. The piece notes that Mahathir’s vocal and public disagreement with the Johor royal family over who will appoint the next chief minister may result in a constitutional crisis.

For the complete article, click here.


Mahathir Uses 1MDB as Scapegoat for Unfulfilled Election Promises

MALAY MAIL: STOP USING 1MDB AS YOUR SCAPEGOAT, KHAIRY TELLS PAKATAN - 02 APRIL 2019

The Malay Mail reports that Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin accused the Pakatan Harapan coalition of “trying to detract public attention from its inability to fulfill its electoral promises” by blaming the country’s poor economic condition on debts accumulated by 1MDB.

For the complete article, click here.


The Malaysian regime does not respect the rule of law, or due process in any jurisdiction

Asia Times: Rule of law is deteriorating across Southeast Asia – 21 Sep 2018

“The arrest of [Najib Razak’s] lawyer, Muhammad Shafee, has been interpreted as a deliberate attempt to politicize the judiciary by intimidation in an effort to prevent Najib from receiving a fair trial. Given Mahathir’s reputation, this is not an implausible assumption – so much so, in fact, that he felt compelled to call a press conference to explicitly make the point that his government “is not exacting ‘revenge’” against Najib.

Matahir [sic], who defeated Razak in this year’s elections, has experience in the suppression of dissenters and those that cross him … with the imprisonment of critics and the imposition of strict censorship, Matahir’s [sic] human rights legacy is described as “not one to be proud of…”

Asia Times reports that the arrests of Najib Razak and his lawyer are contrary to the rule of law, and as a result of Mahathir’s conduct, Malaysia may find itself on the UN’s Annual Report listing countries which “commit or tolerate human rights abuses.”  Asia Times further reports that, by arresting Najib’s lawyer, Mahathir is attempting to politicize and intimidate the judiciary in order to prevent Najib from receiving a fair trial, and that Najib’s trial is at risk of “becoming a tool for Mahathir to wash his own dirty laundry.” Asia Times also acknowledges that Mahathir has previously taken steps to suppress dissenters by invoking repressive measures to silence his critics, including redrafting laws to prohibit judicial review, as well as intimidating judges.

For the complete article, click here.


The Star Online: PAS: Investigate Tommy Thomas for conflict of interest – 3 September 2018

“PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad is urging the relevant authorities to investigate Attorney General Tommy Thomas over any possible conflict of interest following the acquittal of Lim Guan Eng and Phang Li Koon of corruption charges. 

‘Thomas is the AG and it gives a perception as though the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has a conflict of interest,’ he told reporters during a press conference at Selangor PAS headquarters on Monday (Sept 3).

Idris pointed out that Thomas was formerly the Finance Minister’s counsel in his corruption case. 

‘Thomas is regarded by many as a person with integrity in law and it’s better from him to resign as AG,’ he said.”

The Star Online reports that the president of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Idris Ahmad, has urged that investigations be conducted into Malaysian Attorney-General Tommy Thomas over possible conflicts of interest following the acquittal of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The article reports that Ahmad found it disappointing that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it was shocked with the decision to acquit Lim and that it contradicted its investigations and recommendations. The article further reports that Ahmad saw this as an example of the Malaysian government showing ‘its true colours’ by ignoring the principles of integrity and accountability they championed during their opposition campaign.

For the complete article, click here.


The Star Online: Najib questions ‘unusual’ transfer of judges in letter to Chief Judge of Malaya – 8 August 2018

“Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has sent a letter to Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim over the “unusual” transfer of a trial judge presiding over his abuse of power and criminal breach of trust cases.

His lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said a copy of the letter was sent to current trial judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali and the previous judge Justice Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak.

‘We find it strange that in the middle of the case being tried in Justice Sofian’s court, we now have a sudden transfer order. We have no issue with either judge and we don’t fault any of them.’"

The Star Online reports that in the middle of Najib’s breach of trust case, the presiding trial judge was unusually, and without explanation, transferred. The article reports that the transfer took place despite the fact that neither the defence nor the prosecution made an application to remove the judge. The article further reports that Najib sent a letter to Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim, current trial judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali and the previous judge Justice Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak, over the unusual transfer.

For the complete article, click here.


The Straits Times: US Justice Department seeks clarity on Malaysia's intentions for 1MDB-linked luxury yacht Equanimity – 7 Aug 2018

“Indonesia's handover of the luxury yacht Equanimity to the Malaysian government has put both countries in the crosshairs of the US Department of Justice.

…armed officers of the Indonesia National Police (INP) and Malaysian officials seized the luxury 92m vessel without any coordination with the DOJ…”This is troubling because pursuant to an order of the Central District of California, the DOJ was the custodian of the yacht and paying for its maintenance and crew," Equanimity Cayman said in a statement issued on Tuesday”

The Straits Times reports that Indonesian Police and Malaysian officials commandeered the yacht Equanimity and handed it over to the Malaysian authorities. The article further reports that, despite claims by the Malaysian Government that this was done with the knowledge of the US Government, filings by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in the Central District Court of California state that the DoJ had no prior knowledge of the yacht being commandeered. The DoJ sought a suspension of United States court proceedings on the matter, to give it time to "inquire with Malaysia through formal channels what its intentions are with respect" to the yacht. 

For the complete article, click here.


Bloomberg: Jho Low Calls Handover of Yacht Linked to 1MDB Probe ‘Illegitimate’ – 5 Aug 2018

“It is a violation of an Indonesian law and court decision by a politically motivated Malaysian government”

Bloomberg reports Mr Low’s statement that the decision by the Indonesian Government to hand over the yacht Equanimity to Malaysia violates United States and Indonesian law. A statement from Mr Low’s lawyers said that Malaysia had decided to “illegitimately” acquire the yacht Equanimity. “It is a violation of an Indonesian law and court decision by a politically motivated Malaysian government…The USDOJ has argued that it is critical that they have possession to ensure the asset retains its value until a fair court hearing can determine final ownership and the rights of all the parties involved”.

For the complete article, click here.


Malaysiakini: Nothing to link Jho Low with 1MDB says IGP – 7 Mar 2018

“Ongoing police investigations into 1MDB do not link Penang-born businessperson Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) to it, said top cop Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

In a statement today, the inspector-general of police said the seizure of the Equanimity superyacht said to belong to Low, was therefore only a matter related to the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) civil suits against Low and had nothing to do with 1MDB.

Based on our investigation, Low Taek Jho had never worked with 1MDB and all the company's decisions and business were made by its board of directors and management.”

Malaysiakini reports on the statement by the Malaysian police that Mr Low had nothing to do with the 1MDB affair and that the seizure of the yacht Equanimity was a matter relating only to ongoing US DOJ civil suits. The police statement also reiterated that the Malaysian police did not receive any form of notification from the Indonesian police or the US FBI on the seizure of the yacht in Bali in February 2018, which a court in Jakarta subsequently ruled was invalid and without legal basis (in August 2018).

For the complete article, click here.


The 1MDB case is being tried via the media; with no respect for law in Dr Mahathir’s government, a fair trial in Malaysia is impossible

Reuters: Malaysian financier wanted in 1MDB probe says he will not surrender – 17 Aug 2018

“Low will not submit to any jurisdiction where guilt has been predetermined by politics and self-interest overrules legal process” 

“Low was responding to a Wall Street Journal story on Friday that cited unnamed Malaysian officials…Reuters could not verify the Journal story.” 

Reuters reports on a statement from Mr Low’s lawyers, which states that there is no jurisdiction where Mr Low will receive a fair hearing and that his guilt has been pre-determined due to political interference with legal process. The article further reports that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing anonymous sources, reported that a request to extradite Low would be high on the agenda of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during a trip to China but that Reuters could not verify the WSJ story.

For the complete article, click here.


The DoJ are increasingly focusing their investigation on the role of Goldman Sachs and other large financial institutions

THE STAR ONLINE: JHO LOW MAINTAINS INNOCENCE IN WAKE OF CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST GOLDMAN SACHS – 17 DECEMBER 2018

“Reports say Goldman Sachs has been under the microscope for its role in helping raise US$6.5bil (RM27.2bil) through three bond offerings for 1MDB, which is the subject of investigations in at least six countries.

The US Department of Justice has said about US$4bil (RM16.7bil) was misappropriated from 1MDB, including some money that Goldman Sachs helped raise, by high-level officials of the fund and their associates from 2009 through 2014.”

The Star Online reports on the increasing focus of numerous investigations, including that of the US Department of Justice, on the role of Goldman Sachs. The article also reports on the filing of criminal charges against the bank and its former employees by Malaysian authorities.

For the complete article, click here.

The New York Times: Goldman Sachs Is said to be under U.S. scrutiny in Malaysian inquiry – 7 August 2018

“The result of the tug-of-war within the Justice Department is that the investigation is now more intensively focused on the potential culpability of Goldman Sachs”

The New York Times reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Goldman Sachs and its role in the 1MDB issue, citing four people close to the inquiry. Goldman Sachs has repeatedly played down its role in 1MDB, saying it was unaware of how money from the fund was used. The article reports that the investigation was formerly focused on allegations that Malaysian financier Mr Low was involved, led by Los Angeles prosecutors. Since late 2016 when Brooklyn prosecutors started to investigate, they have primarily focused on Goldman Sachs, and the role of large financial institutions.

For the complete article, click here.


Saudi Arabia Refutes DOJ Allegations

The Guardian: Saudi Arabia says money sent to Malaysian PM was a 'genuine donation' – 14 Apr 2016

“The Malaysian Attorney General…said the cash was a gift from the royal family in Saudi Arabia”  

“[The] …Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said: “It is a genuine donation with nothing expected in return.” 

The Guardian reports that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stated that funds sent to Prime Minister Najib Razak was a “genuine donation” and emphasized that nothing was expected in return. Prime Minister Najib reiterated these sentiments, stating that the money was a donation from the Saudi Royal Family. As the Saudi Foreign Minister noted, the Attorney General of Malaysia completed a thorough investigation which found no wrongdoing with respect to this transfer.

For the complete article, click here.


Mahathir, obsessed with being a “strongman”, and unashamed of his racist views, is bad for Malaysia’s long term interests

The Times of Israel: Virulently anti-Semitic Malaysian PM says he should be allowed to criticize Jews - 13th Aug 2018

“[Prime Minister] Mahathir Mohamad, who has accused Jews of ‘Nazi cruelty’ and seeking to wipe out all Muslims, says ‘Anti-Semitic’ is ‘an invented term to prevent criticizing Jews for doing wrong’”

“1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” [Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad] said...“There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counterattack… [t]he Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million.” 

The Times of Israel reports that Malaysia’s avowedly anti-Semitic Prime Minister claimed in an interview with Associated Press that accusations that he was anti-Semitic were meant to silence his criticisms of Jews “for doing things wrong.” Mahathir – who has previously written that “Jews rule this world by proxy” and that “the Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively” – has openly suggested that Jews seek to “wipe out” all the world’s Muslims, and has repeatedly cited to the Holocaust as an example Muslims could emulate as a “plan, to strategize and then to counterattack.”

For the complete article, click here.


The Straits Times: Singapore water deal, Mahathir seeks over tenfold price hike – 14 Aug 2018

“Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he wants to increase the price of raw water supply to Singapore by more than 10 times”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stated that the 1962 Water Agreement for Malaysia to supply water to Singapore is “too costly” and “ridiculous”. Mahathir has reignited a decades-old dispute between the neighbouring countries. In stark contrast to Mahathir’s incendiary rhetoric, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that, Malaysia lost its opportunity to review the price of water in 1987, and that while Singapore will honour the terms of the 1962 deal, it expects Malaysia to do the same. 

Whether or not Mahathir, with his well-documented history of reneging on deals, continues to mistreat his southern neighbour, one thing is certain: by using the price of water as a tool for bullying, Mahathir does a great disservice to Malaysia’s image abroad.

For the complete article, click here.


Upcoming books on this subject, could be movie scripts, but are light on fact, or truth

Financial Times: Corruption, vanity and greed: the story of 1MDB – 7 September 2018

“Frustratingly for the authors there are many loose endings. As they note at the beginning, no public charges of wrongdoing have been filed against most of the major characters…and all have denied committing crimes and maintained the transactions were legal”

The Financial Times reviewed a book on the topic of 1MDB. Describing a “richly woven story”, where the authors “occasionally get carried away”, at one point reporting as fact, the thoughts of a man who is deceased. The article clearly recognises the intention of the authors to create a narrative fit for a Hollywood movie in concluding: “if ever Hollywood gets round to telling the story on screen, here is perfect material for the script”.

For the complete article, click here.