Media Reporting

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.