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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Musa Aman denies criminal intimidation against Sabah governor


Former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman has denied all allegations against him of criminal intimidation against Sabah head of state Juhar Mahiruddin or any other person.
Musa’s lawyer Zahir Shah said this following Juhar’s police report against the Sabah BN chairperson on May 19.
The lawyer also said Musa expressed regret in having to drag the head of state into a legal suit on May 17 along with Parti Warisan Sabah president Mohd Shafie Apdal to seek a declaration that he (Musa) is the rightful chief minister of Sabah.
“Musa added that at the end of the day, the rule of law must prevail and the Sabah constitutional provisions must be respected and followed,” he said in a statement in Kota Kinabalu today.
On May 20, Sabah commissioner of police Ramli Din declined to divulge any details when confirming the police report lodged by Juhar.
Musa was sworn in as chief minister of Sabah before Juhar on May 10 after the 14th general election after obtaining a simple majority of 31 out of 60 seats when two opposition assemblypersons declared support for Sabah BN.
However, two days later, Shafie was sworn in as the new chief minister when several BN assemblypersons switched allegiance to Warisan and its Pakatan Harapan allies, which had also won 29 seats in total.
With Musa refusing to resign despite not commanding majority support, Juhar’s private secretary Abinan Asli on May 14 delivered a notice to Musa that he was no longer the chief minister.
Meanwhile, Ramli said today that police were working to record Musa’s statement to facilitate investigations on Juhar’s police report against the former chief minister.
Bernama

Subra: MIC to embark on change to stay relevant in opposition


MIC president Dr S Subramaniam will embark on a nationwide tour to explain to party members on the need to realign themselves in line with the role of the BN as the current opposition coalition.
He said the changes were imperative in lieu of the political landscape so that the party would continue to stay relevant and be accepted by the Indian community.
“MIC is facing a massive political challenge that demands changes in order to enable us to continue to be accepted,” the former health minister told reporters after the handing-over of duties ceremony to new Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad in Putrajaya today.
Subramaniam failed to defend the Segamat parliamentary seat in the 14th general election on May 9.
He had also announced that he would not contest and defend his president's post in the MIC polls slated to be held in October.
The decision comes following the BN component party's humiliating defeat in the GE14 which saw the ethnic-based political party win just two out of nine parliamentary seats it contested.
Bernama

Hundred days timeframe stupid, says Rafidah


Former minister Rafidah Aziz has dismissed Pakatan Harapan's 100-day timeframe to fulfil 10 promises as nothing short of preposterous.
“Why 100 days? Why not one year?” she asked during an interview with business radio station BFM.
“If we get rid of this stupid 100-day timeframe, then you get a better perspective. You cannot do things in 100 days. No country in the world can get things done in 100 days,” she added.
Rafidah said while certain reform measures can be done in the short term, there should also be medium and long-term goals in place.
The former minister revealed that she would be providing input for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration as and when necessary.
However, she pointed out that not all of her suggestions would be accepted.
On Anwar Ibrahim taking over the reins from Mahathir, Rafidah said if the Harapan de facto leader can prove that he possesses the same motivation as the current prime minister to make Malaysia better then there is no reason for concern.
On that note, she reminded Malaysians that leading a nation is not a one-person show.
Rafidah also expressed confidence in Harapan's leadership but would be looking to see, long-term-wise, who can walk the talk and prove themselves as competent executives.
“Some people look very energetic and can speak very well.
“That doesn’t mean they can work very well. I am more importantly focusing on who can work. The less talk the better,” she added. - Mkini

Explaining the facts behind liabilities of RM1 trillion


The former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has issued a statement criticising the present government’s announcement that our debt is now RM1 trillion.
He said it “will just unsettle the financial markets, alarm the credit rating agencies and investors' confidence in our institutions, such as our Bank Negara Malaysia”.
We would like to explain that the new government will carry out our administration based on the principles of competency, accountability and transparency (CAT). We want to establish the true baseline on the state of financial affairs, diagnose the problems and then prescribe all necessary remedies.
Let me take this opportunity to explain the RM1 trillion worth of liabilities as of Dec 31, 2017, as previously announced.
1. The official federal government debt is RM686.8 billion (50.8 percent of the gross domestic product, or GDP).
2. In addition, the government is already committed to paying for government guarantees for various entities that are unable to service their debts. This amounts to RM199.1 billion (14.6 percent of GDP).
The committed government guarantees would include entities such Danainfra Nasional Bhd (RM42.2 billion), Govco Holdings Bhd (RM8.8 billion), Prasarana Malaysia Bhd (RM26.6 billion), Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (RM14.5 billion) as well as an estimated RM38 billion for 1MDB.
Based on the two items above, the federal government debt would amount to RM885.9 billion. This represents the 65.4 percent of the GDP as highlighted by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.
3. However, in addition to the above, the federal government is also committed and obligated to make lease payments (including rental, maintenance and other charges), for a whole list of “Public-Private Partnership” (PPP) projects such as the construction of schools, hostels, roads, police stations, hospitals, et cetera. The lease commitments which were designed specifically to circumvent the federal government guarantee and debt limits amount to RM201.4 billion (14.9 percent of GDP).
Hence, the federal government debt and liabilities amount to a total of RM1,087.3 billion or 80.3 percent of the GDP as of Dec 31, 2017.
Malaysians are rightly concerned with our debt situation, as we were in the opposition.
However, let me emphasise that the obligations and financial commitments of the federal government are unchanged before May 9 and after elections today.  
The only change is that the new federal government has decided to call a spade a spade. 
This new government puts the interest of the people first, and hence it is necessary to bite the bullet now, work hard to solve our problems, rather than let it explode in our faces at a later date.
In the short term, this decision, to tell the truth, may unnerve Najib. However, we firmly believe that in the medium term, by recognising our true debt situation today, it will enable the federal government to take concrete actions to regularise and strengthen our financial state.
I would like to thank and credit the professionalism of the Treasury officials led by Deputy Secretary-General Zauyah Mohd Desa in preparing and presenting all the relevant information without fear or favour. This was done without any interference from politicians attempting to manipulate the figures and hide our real debt and obligations.
Having engaged intensively with the Treasury team over the past few days, including listening to various constructive proposals and suggestions to resolve these difficult challenges, I am confident that we can overcome them.
Let me emphasise that the fundamentals of the economy remain strong. The financial sector is stable, the banking sector is well-capitalised and there is sufficient liquidity in the market.
We believe that with the new administration focused on CAT, investor confidence will only be strengthened over time.
Together with the commitment of the new government as well as the support of Malaysians all over the country, we will definitely succeed in saving our country.

LIM GUAN ENG is finance minister and Bagan MP. -Mkini

1MDB taskforce meets DOJ and FBI


The 1MDB taskforce has confirmed that it has met with US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) representatives.
The taskforce said discussions revolved around "direction and focus" of the 1MDB investigation, mutual legal assistance and the recovering of 1MDB assets from the US.
The meeting was held at 11am today at the Prime Minister's Office.
"Among the issues raised were how the FBI had sent an application letter, dated Nov 13, 2016, to the MACC chief at the time - Dzulkifli Ahmad - but the application has yet to receive a reply till this day.
"The DOJ also confirmed that it had previously made a request, through a MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance) to the attorney-general Apandi Ali on Sept 22, 2017.
"However, this request was not fulfilled, and delayed, the reason given was that it would affect ongoing investigations by Malaysian enforcement authorities.
"That is why no co-operation has been given until today," the taskforce said in a statement today.
The taskforce said the DOJ and FBI agreed to offer their full co-operation to Malaysian authorities in the latter's ongoing investigation into the state strategic investment fund.
30 forfeiture suits on 1MDB-linked assets
The DOJ previously filed 30 civil forfeiture suits against 1MDB-linked assets.
Among the assets is the luxury yacht The Equanimity, which was seized by the FBI and Indonesian authorities in Bali back in February. The yacht is said to be owned by businessperson Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low.
Yesterday, the taskforce met with Swiss national Xavier Justo, who leaked documents on 1MDB in 2015.
Justo was formerly employed by PetroSaudi International, a little-known company, save for its involvement in a joint venture with 1MDB.
1MDB had invested US$1 billion in the joint venture, of which US$700 million was diverted to another mystery company known as Goodstar Limited.

Formed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Monday this week (May 21), the 1MDB taskforce is led by former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.
The other members are former MACC chief Abu Kassim Mohamed, current MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdull and newly appointed Bukit Aman Special Branch director Abdul Hamid Bador. - Mkini

Raja of Perlis angry with BN, Shahidan fights back


The Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail is angered with Perlis BN assemblypersons for not attending the swearing-in ceremony of menteri besar Azlan Man earlier today.
Perlis BN chief Shahidan Kassim, however, has rebuffed the royal rebuke saying he did not know the meaning of the word “murka” (the Malay royal term for anger.)
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said the BN reps were still in Perlis when invitations to the swearing-in-ceremony were sent to them two days ago.
"Why (they did not come) I don't know," the monarch was quoted by Berita Harian as saying during the ceremony.
The missing Perlis BN assemblypersons were at the time in Kuala Lumpur with Shahidan who held a press conference announcing that Azlan had been sacked from Umno.
When questioned about the the Raja of Perlis' displeasure, he shot back: "What is 'murka'? You tell me what is 'murka'?"
Upon further questioning, he said the word “murka” was just "fancy language".
He said the appointment of Azlan was not fair, as BN had won a two-thirds majority in the state and the Raja of Perlis should have adhered to the coalition's choice of the menteri besar.
It is understood that Shahidan wanted to install his brother Ismail Kassim as menteri besar.
"We contested in the general election. We have a right to determine who our leader is," Shahidan said.
"I believe people will respect the two-thirds majority. If the Raja is 'murka', then that is your question. I don't understand what 'murka' means," he added.
He said Umno respected the royal institution but stressed that the Raja must appoint a menteri besar based on the names submitted by BN.
Meanwhile, Perlis PKR chief Mohammad Fisol Abdul Rahman said the BN assemblypersons who skipped the swearing-in ceremony today had committed treason against the monarch and should apologise.
"It is advised that all these assemblypersons return and seek forgiveness from the Raja of Perlis for this irresponsible act," he said when contacted by Malaysiakini. - Mkini

MOF confirms Bank Negara, Khazanah funds used to pay 1MDB debts


Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has confirmed reports that Bank Negara and Khazanah funds were used to service 1MDB's debts to the International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
In a press conference in Putrajaya today, Lim said there were two such transactions, namely:
  • The redemption of redeemable cumulative convertible preference shares (RCCPS) by Khazanah worth RM1.199 billion; and
  • Sale of Kuala Lumpur land to Bank Negara for RM2.066 billion.
Lim revealed that the piece of land was strategically located adjacent to Sasana Kijang last year.
"On December 14, 2017, the Finance Ministry (MOF) via its indirectly wholly owned company, Hartanah Mampan Sdn Bhd (HMSB) entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Bank Negara to sell the piece of land," he said.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have quoted sources in reporting today that Najib Abdul Razak's administration used money raised from a deal with Khazanah to pay for some of the liabilities of state fund 1MDB.
Lim believed that both Khazanah and Bank Negara were under pressure to make these payments.
"There was all sorts of pressure, otherwise I do not think they would have made these payments. Of course they were covering themselves saying there were letters of authorisation.
"You are looking at the treasury officers who knew their heads would be on the chopping board without the written authorisation. (So,) they have the necessary written authorisation," he said.
"But, I think you are right to say they are subjected to all sorts of pressure," Lim added.
To a question on whether the Bank Negara governor and top management of Khazanah should be held responsible, he said everyone should be held accountable.
"Of course, if they were instructed to take certain action, I am sure they have some justification. But, I think this is something we have to evaluate," the minister said.
Khazanah told Reuters in an e-mail that the ministry exercised its right in August 2017 to redeem outstanding Redeemable Convertible Cumulative Preference Shares amounting to RM1.2 billion, which were issued to the ministry in 2011.
However, it did not comment on whether the funds were used for repaying 1MDB’s dues.
Meanwhile, Bank Negara explained its land transaction was for the development of a financial education hub complied with all governance requirements and relevant laws that govern it. - Mkini