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Saturday, May 27, 2017

MAHATHIR THE 4TH & 7TH PM? ‘I REGRET STEPPING DOWN’ – DR M SENDS A CHILL DOWN NAJIB’S SPINE, PRAISES LOCAL CHINESE ‘THEY CAN SURVIVE UNDER ANY CONDITION’

A “Japanese-style” bakery on the fourth floor of a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur is a curiously nondescript place to be meeting the last of the great Southeast Asian authoritarian leaders. I text a Malaysian friend to tell him where I’m having lunch with 91-year-old Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the autocratic prime minister for 22 years who, long after he left office, still likes to meddle in politics. The puzzle is quickly solved: “Hahaha, it’s his restaurant!” Apparently it is just one in a chain owned by the man who still likes to be referred to as the “father of vision”.
At exactly 12.30pm, Mahathir himself appears at the top of a nearby escalator, surrounded by his escort of several plain-clothes policemen and dressed in his customary colonial-era grey “bush jacket” with matching trousers. His arrival causes a stir among passers-by in the mall. One even comes into the bakery so she can take a selfie with him. The only people who don’t seem excited are a man and a woman sitting at a nearby table working on laptops. They look to me like Malaysian state security agents. When I ask Mahathir later, he suggests they could be.
“I’m followed everywhere — it has become normal for me,” he says, claiming he is regularly harassed on the orders of the current prime minister Najib Razak. Mahathir helped him to power in 2009 — but now works tirelessly to evict him from office.
For more than two decades, Mahathir bestrode the world stage like an Asian colossus, with his fiery speeches on world events and his theory of “Asian values” which emphasised respect towards authority and collective wellbeing above the “western” concept of individual rights. When he stepped down in 2003, Malaysia was seen as a shining example for other emerging markets, having weathered the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s rather better than most of the “tiger” economies.
CORRUPT SUCCESSORS
Where contemporaries such as Marcos of the Philippines and Suharto of Indonesia were toppled in popular uprisings, Mahathir was able to hand Malaysia over to his anointed successor. His supporters like to point to his victory in five elections, each with a near two-thirds majority, and to contrast this with the current state of democracy. But Mahathir himself persecuted opposition parties and dissidents — and today many believe he is simply unable to relinquish power.
Despite pledging to retire quietly and stay out of politics, he was instrumental in removing his handpicked successor, Abdullah Badawi, and replacing him with Najib. Now Najib is at the centre of global investigations into alleged corruption, involving billions of dollars siphoned out of 1MDB, a state investment fund Najib himself set up. Once again, Mahathir is chief critic. He has even established his own political party in an attempt to topple Najib in parliamentary elections to be held before August next year.
“When you have a prime minister who is corrupt, then you can be sure that a country cannot be anything else but corrupt,” he says in a soft, slightly quavering voice. “From a country which was quite well admired as a model of how a developing country can achieve growth, we became known as one of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world — that is how much change took place under Najib.”
Sitting in a cordoned-off area at the back of the bakery, surrounded by empty tables. The waiter approaches shyly, clearly in awe of my companion, and asks what we would like to eat. I turn to the proprietor for a recommendation. “I’ve tried most of the things,” Mahathir says, unconvincingly. “I’ll have the chicken tortilla.” Since I’m in Malaysia, I order beef and chicken satay sticks. We both order water — his warm and mine cold.
After training as a medical doctor and several false starts in politics, Mahathir rose rapidly through the ranks of the ruling party on a platform of ethnic Malay nationalism. Named prime minister in 1981, he was an unabashedly and increasingly authoritarian leader who was accused of emasculating the courts and constitutional monarchs and of crackdowns on the free press and political opponents. In the late 1990s he had his own deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, jailed on charges of sodomy that many believe were trumped up to discredit a rival.
‘DON’T COMPARE ME TO NAJIB. I DON’T STEAL MONEY’
Yet for much of our lunch he seems more genial great uncle than ageing autocrat. He chuckles regularly, leavening the impact of his often outrageous opinions. Things become a little tense when I confront him about his legacy, though. Wasn’t it his own concentration of power and his personalisation of politics that paved the way for Najib to act with the impunity he accuses him of?
“Don’t compare me with Najib!” he says with a flash of his famously fiery temper. “I allowed a lot of things to be done — even people to challenge me in my party. Najib expels those people. Anybody who does not agree with him he will expel.”
I start to point out he did the same in his time but he ignores me. “And I don’t steal money. I was happy to live on my salary, which to me was quite substantial, more than enough for my needs.”
When I recount this statement later to a diplomat and a western businessman who have had dealings with Mahathir, both react with spluttering laughter. But both also acknowledge that corruption in Malaysia is now far worse than in the past and that Mahathir himself, while sometimes accused of nepotism and corruption, was always more interested in power than money.
As the food arrives I ask him the secret to his longevity. “Everybody asks me that question,” he chuckles again. “It’s nothing very special — I never smoked and I don’t drink and when it comes to eating, I don’t overeat,” he says, while chewing a small mouthful of burrito. “I’m basically a creature of habit — I do practically the same thing every week, every day of every week: I go to the office, I meet people, I write, I read and of course I give lectures.”
He is also an avid user of social media and blogs prolifically against Najib. Have his attitudes to free speech changed since he was regularly named one of the world’s top 10 enemies of the press?
“As a politician I’ve been called all kinds of names. Your enemies, your opponents are not going to praise you — to justify their existence they have to demonise me and I demonise them also,” he says. “Freedom has limits,” he continues, in a statement that could be his mantra. “Free press is not absolute. In this country we say clearly if you start stirring up racial hatred then we will put a stop to it, we might even close down your paper because these things can only lead to a lot of riots and bloodshed.”
An irony of Mahathir’s new life as a dissident is that he has had to form alliances with the parties he once suppressed. When I put this to him, he responds nonchalantly.
“What happened in the past no longer matters; I am prepared to work with them and they are prepared to work with me because we have the same objective — overthrowing the government,” he says.
In contrast to the boom times of the 1980s and 1990s, today Malaysia is often used as an example of the “middle income trap” — where a country reaches a moderate level of prosperity but then struggles to raise living standards further. Its current per capita gross domestic product is just over $10,000 — only one-fifth the level of neighbouring Singapore.
“When I stepped down, the country was well on track to become a developed country by the year 2020,” he says, with some justification. “Of course they [his successors] are quite unable to achieve the objective.”
The economic success of authoritarian governments in Asia was once regarded globally as an attractive alternative to both democratic western capitalism and Soviet-style socialism. Mahathir, along with his rival, the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, were the strongest advocates of this idea on the world stage. But, in the wake of democratisation in places such as Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan, and in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, autocratic Asian exceptionalism has lost much of its allure.
Today, countries such as Malaysia are often seen as evidence that authoritarian systems are quite well-suited to advancing from agrarian to industrialised economies, but that transforming into an innovative high-tech economy requires more freedoms and protection of the rights of individuals, including freedom of speech and ideas. This matters because of the implications it holds for China — a rising superpower that is only now reaching the level of development Malaysia achieved by the end of Mahathir’s tenure.
The Loaf
Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Pepper chicken tortilla Rm24.50
Satay Rm20.90
Mineral water Rm6.20
Total Rm51.60 (£9.30)
Mahathir does not acknowledge the link between freedoms and innovation — “From middle income to move up to higher income is much more easy and possible than from a low income level,” he insists — and, with my attempts to get him to accept some responsibility for the current state of the nation seeming fruitless, I urge him to eat the food, which is getting cold. He picks suspiciously at half his chicken burrito and eats two or three french fries while I chew on the dry and unappetising satay sticks.
We turn to the topic that made Mahathir one of the most controversial figures on the world stage. In preparation for our meeting I have read his 1970 book The Malay Dilemma, in which he comes across as an amateur eugenicist. I wonder if he would like to retract things he wrote, such as that there is “no reason to believe understanding and sympathy are strong Chinese traits”, or infamous anti-Semitic remarks about Jews’ features and their ability to “understand money instinctively”.
I’m expecting him to be embarrassed about or to disavow things he wrote nearly 50 years ago, but no. “Other people, you can criticise them, you can say nasty things about them . . . and nothing happens to you. Why is it that the Jews are so privileged?” he asks. He has, he says, no problem with being described as anti-Semitic.
While Malaysia has almost no Jewish citizens, around a quarter of its population of 30m are ethnically Chinese, and prospered under colonial rule but have subsequently suffered from official discrimination. The bumiputra (sons of the soil) affirmative action laws that Mahathir strengthened in office heavily favour Muslim Malays and indigenous tribespeople living in Malaysian Borneo, which together make up about two-thirds of the population.
HIGH PRAISE FOR MALAYSIAN CHINESE: THEY CAN SURVIVE UNDER ANY CONDITION
One of Mahathir’s quirks is that he appears to be an equal opportunities racialist. He is highly critical of ethnic Malays for what he perceives as their laziness, poor time management and a penchant for inbreeding.
“Even though you give the contract to a Malay, he’s not able to carry it out and eventually he goes to the Chinese,” he says. “The Chinese are a very dynamic people and despite having to cater to affirmative action the Chinese in Malaysia have done much better than the Chinese in the Philippines, in Indonesia or Thailand, which shows that they are a very resilient people who can survive under any condition.”
It is, though, a testament to Malaysia that it avoided the anti-Chinese violence that occurred elsewhere in the region in the Asian financial crisis. But Mahathir has no doubt that China is the biggest long-term threat to regional stability. “With the changes in [its] leadership, we see more ambitious leaders coming in and maybe they like to flex their muscles a bit and that is very worrisome,” he says. “Without actually conquering the countries they have managed to increase their influence over many countries in Southeast Asia, even in South Asia.”
He also foresees a clash between rising China and the US-dominated world order. “They’re not really communist but they are not democratic; they are inclined towards totalitarianism and obviously this conflicts with western ideas about implanting democracy in the countries of the world,” he says.
By contrast, he dismisses the threat to the region from radical Islamist extremism. “We have evidence that some of the followers of Isis are here [in Southeast Asia] but we don’t regard them as being Islamic fundamentalists or doing all those things because of Islam — it is political,” he says. He blames western meddling and relentless conflict in the Middle East for terrorist activity originating there.
This leads him inexorably to his well-publicised conspiracy theory about September 11 2001. Based on conversations with a janitor from the Twin Towers and on inconsistencies that he argues exist in official accounts, Mahathir insists the attacks on New York and Washington, DC were a “false flag” operation carried out by the US government, or perhaps Israel. He presents me with what he appears to think is his best evidence, namely that Arabs are customarily too disorganised to organise such an attack. “They are not the best of planners as I know,” he says.
BIGGEST REGRET
I just don’t know where to start with this. So I point again to his pile of cold french fries and suggest he eat more. “No, no I don’t eat much. As I told you I am a small eater, I can survive with little food,” he answers politely.
A small crowd of people gathers in the mall to have their picture taken with him. Most appear to be ethnically Chinese. In a last-ditch attempt to elicit some self-reflection from him I ask for his greatest regret. “Perhaps,” he pauses and his tone turns wistful. “A lot of people told me that I should not have stepped down, so [another pause] sometimes I regret that because I’m not very good at choosing people, choosing my successors or encouraging my successors.”
As he stands up, he shares a final thought. “There were lots of accusations against me of being a dictator and all kinds of things. But I don’t think if I did so many things wrong people would ever want to take pictures with me or shake my hands.”
He walks over to his fans to pose patiently for photos. I look on, wondering how it is that nostalgia for authoritarian anachronisms so swiftly sets in.
Jamil Anderlini is the FT’s Asia editor
– FT.com

JUST SAY ‘MALAYS’ & ‘ISLAM’ & GET AWAY SCOT-FREE? DAPSY WANTS ANNUAR MUSA PROBED FOR VIOLATIONS OVER KIT SIANG BOOK

Malays and Islam in Malaysia) failed to identify its printer and publisher as required by the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA).
DAPSY national executive council member Jenny Choy Tsi Jen further claimed the book disseminated false news, which was also an offence under the same law.
“We cannot allow Annuar Musa to take laws into his own hands. Malaysian laws need to be respected, and not repeatedly ignored and tarnished in such a way.
“We urge on the IGP Tan Sri Khalid (Abu Bakar) to take immediate action on Annuar Musa and defend the rule of law of the nation,” Choy said.
She said DAPSY chief Wong Kah Who has lodged a police report over this.
The Umno Information chief yesterday held a ceremony in Shah Alam to give out a prize of RM10,000 to the group of anonymous writers who wrote 16 essays in the book that depicted DAP leader Lim Kit Siang as a racist.
The “contest” was launched in March and had reportedly attracted 1,200 entries.
– Malay Mail

LIKE BROTHER LIKE BROTHER? BOMBSHELL – NAZIR RAZAK REPEATEDLY RECEIVED STOLEN 1MDB MONEY FROM NAJIB & NOT JUST ‘ONCE’ AS HE CLAIMED – MAKING CIMB A MONEY-LAUNDERING TOOL

Sarawak Report has now received the full details of the payments received by CIMB boss Nazir Razak from his brother Najib, out money which turned out to have been stolen from 1MDB.
Nazir Razak admitted to these payments when they were first reported by the Wall Street Journal last year, which amounted to the equivalent of around $7 million.  Nazir temporarily stood down from his position in April 2016 and initiated an enquiry at the bank.
Returning to his position the following month, Nazir said that he had been exonerated by the bank’s independent enquiry into its boss.  The Prime Minister’s brother had explained he had been asked by Najib to assist in processing money, which he had understood to have been legitimately raised through genuine donations for the BN election effort.
However, Nazir did not publicly appear to explain how it could be necessary to ask a senior banking official, like himself, to process legitimate money – rather than putting it through the party books in the normal manner?
On the other hand, Nazir did helpfully confirm where this money was later sent:
Nazir, a leading Malaysian corporate figure, had said earlier that he believed the money came from legitimate fundraising, and said that CIMB bank staff disbursed the funds to ruling-party politicians on the instructions of his brother.
At Monday’s news conference, the banker spoke of Najib’s request for assistance, and said it was the first and last time he had been asked for such help.
“My brother asked for some help and I agreed after I assessed that it would not involve anything illegal or misuse of my position at CIMB, or any inappropriate use of CIMB’s resources,” Nazir told a news conference after the bank’s annual general meeting. [South China Morning Post]
Ruling-Party Politicians”
Sarawak Report suggests that Nazir, who has shown some commendable disapproval of corrupt practices and unexplained wealth on the part of his brother, ought now provide further details on these furtive handouts.
Specifically, which ruling party politicians were paid, how much were they paid and why were they paid, as opposed to their formal party offices?
This is particularly so now that Sarawak Report is in a position to list the exact payments made to Nazir, of which there were four.
The first three payments, just before the General Election, came from the AmBank account xxx 964.  This account was furnished by payments from abroad, including Tanore Finance and Blackstone Asia (both controlled Jho Low in Singapore):
– on 5th April 2013 RM13,500,000 was paid to Nazir;
– on 9th April 2013 RM500,000 was paid to Nazir
– and on 22nd April 2013 RM5,700,000 was paid to Nazir
(Total RM19,700,000).
Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 15.23.32
Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 15.19.23
Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 15.21.00
However, these pre-election requests turn out not to have been “the first and last” after all.
There was a further payment, this time from the SRC funded local account number xxx906, made after the election on 20th December 2013 for RM6,000,000, bringing the grand total to RM25.7 million, considerably over US$7 million at contemporary exchange rates.
Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 15.26.44
Therefore, the election payments appear, according to these investigation documents, not to have been “the last time he helped his brother in this way“.
So, perhaps Nazir can help answer the question why was Najib paying “ruling party politicians”, secretly through him again, even AFTER the elections?
In fact, why was he paying them at all?
Sarawak Report suggests that in the absence of any official explanation so far, Malaysians are entitled to conclude that Najib was attempting to buy his own party leadership’s loyalty to him personally, by putting large numbers of ringgit in the pockets of key players.
If so, it represents one further act of extreme political corruption waged against the democratic process of Malaysia.  Ironically, it is so far the Editor of Sarawak Report who has been charged by the Malaysian authorities with “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” for pointing such matters out.
Names in the frame
Not all recipients from Najib’s slush fund were paid so secretly through his brother’s banÅ«k, however.  We have details of some political figures who were paid directly with cheques from Najib, which substantiates the theory that the reason why all these UMNO/BN ‘bigwigs’ have stood silently by or in some cases have raced to his defence over 1MDB is because he has them all bought and paid for with that very self same stolen public money.
In a not necessarily exhaustive list, known politicians who have directly received personal cheques from the 1MDB accounts are as follows:
– Jacob Sagan – Sarawak PBB – 17/06/11 – RM200,000
– Ahmand Bashah B MD Hanipah – Kedah – 05/07/11 – RM200,000
– AB Aziz Kaprausi [Kaprawi?] – UMNO Sri Gading – 13/10/11 – RM 100,000
– Kasitah Bin Gaddam – UMNO Sabah – 06/01/12 – RM100,000
– Kasitah Bin Gaddam – UMNO Sabah – 02/02/12 – RM100,000 (again)
– Richard Riot – SUPP Sarawak – 02/03/12 – RM100,000
– Hassan Malek – UMNO Negeri Sembilan – 04/05/12 – RM100,000
– Ismail Adb Mattalib – UMNO Pahang – 27/06/12 – RM100,000
– Wetrom bin Bahanda – UMNO Sabah – 29/06/12 – RM100,000
hanif
Hanifi bin Mamat
Then just two days before the election a fat RM10,000,000 was extracted processed made out to Dato Hanafi Bin Mamat an UMNO senator from Kelantan.
What was he doing with that money?  Certainly, the handout appears to have bought Hanafi’s firm loyalty.
After the eruption of the 1MDB scandal it was he who was chastising his local party members against showing any dissent to Najib over the matter:
Kelantan Umno would take stern action against two party branches in Machang following the action of those who openly reject the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as party president.
Secretary Datuk Hanafi Mamat said it because that’s considered not in accordance with the prescribed channel as the party’s constitution and rules.
“They should be allowed to use channels that criticize or reprimand in which all members have been informed about this, but if the president so openly about ready for action.
“What they are doing is contrary to the values and culture of Umno, we do not restrict members to criticize the leadership but admonished to prudence. Do not join the movement to topple the president at the expense of the party, “he said [translation Sinar online]
Money well spent?
The payments continued after the election. of course, on 27th November 2013 Ahman Maslan received RM2 million, at the time UMNO Information Chief and always one of Najib’s most voluble supporters.
As also previously reported, on 26/11/13 the Chairman of the UMNO Backbenchers group Sharhril Abdul Samad also received a generous donation of RM1 million from the PM. Sharhril went on this year to take over FELDA the floundering famers’ fund run into the ground by Najib’s policies.
This list is by no means likely to be exhaustive and there are other interesting payments, including two telling handouts of RM100,000 each in June 2011 and April 2012 to a certain Ruslan Kassim.  Ruslan is now a leading light of the extreme nationalist Malay ‘supremacist’ group Perkasa, known for its disruptive and divisive activities on the ground.
Najib has always indicated he does not support the party, which has nevertheless been whipping up Malay nationalism against opposition parties associated with tolerance towards minority groups.  Perhaps he can explain these payments also?

– Sarawak Report

US$10BIL ‘LOST’ & ONLY 45 MINUTES OF QUESTIONING? NAJIB’S FOREX PROBE AGAINST DR M TURNS INTO FARCE AS NOR MOHAMED GETS OFF LIGHTLY

PUTRAJAYA – Former finance minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop appeared Friday before a special task force hearing on the 1990s Bank Negara forex losses.
Nor Mohamed, who was Bank Negara assistant governor at that time, arrived at the Finance Ministry building here at 3.25pm and spent 45 minutes at the session.
He declined to take questions from the press.
The seven-member task force is headed by former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.
The Government formed the task force to investigate the US$10bil (RM43.9bil) losses incurred by the central bank through forex dealings.
Previously, the task force had also called up PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was then deputy prime minister and finance minister, as well as DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, who was the Opposition Leader then.
– ANN

NAJIB’S ‘SLAP SQUAD’ GIVING MALAYS: IMAGINE SLAPPING ANOTHER FOLLOWER IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

GEORGE TOWN – The ‘indelible ink’ ex-Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) major Zaidi Ahmad (pic), who was publicly slapped by a PAS supporter, maintained that he did not provoke the incident.
He said he was trying to clarify something with former Penang PAS Youth chief Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin, who was giving a speech.
Zaidi, 48, an information officer in the Chief Minister’s office, said he went to the Simpang Enam mosque in Macalister Road for Friday prayers yesterday.
“I came out from the mosque around 2.30pm and saw people demonstrating,” he said.
Videos on social media show Zaidi walking up to Mohamed Hafiz from behind while he is giving a speech.
Zaidi is then seen saying something to Mohamed Hafiz, immediately after which several supporters shove him away.
A big-sized, elderly supporter then stomps aggressively towards Zaidi.
While being shoved back to the mosque wall, Zaidi shouts: “Anggota! Tengok!” (Officers! Look!) calling out to plainclothes policemen keeping watch.
The elderly supporter slaps Zaidi before policemen can rush in.
Zaidi told The Star that Mohamed Hafiz had claimed that the Penang government blocked several state fatwas (Islamic edicts) from being gazetted.
“I approached and asked him which fatwas. There was no provocation, as I was merely there for Friday prayers and just wanted some clarification.”
He said he would not make a police report.
“An old man slapped me, and I don’t think I want to get him into trouble.”
Mohamed Hafiz, who is Jalinan Muslimin Pulau Pinang chairman, told reporters at the scene that Zaidi had provoked him by touching him, which angered his supporters.
Zaidi was in the limelight after he lodged a police report claiming the indelible ink used in the 2013 polls had easily washed off his finger. He was court-martialled and sacked from RMAF in January 2015. He joined PAS in the same month.
About a year later, he left PAS and joined the Islamist party’s splinter group, Gerakan Harapan Baru, which is now Amanah.
He was appointed as the information officer of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on March 18, 2016.
Many Malay groups in Penang are critical of the state government’s requirement that the state Fatwa Committee refer all fatwas to the state legal adviser before gazetting them.
In the just concluded state assembly sitting, state Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim clarified to Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid in the House that at times, the state would advise the Fatwa Committee on certain “non-urgent” fatwas which could be pieces of advice rather than edicts.
– ANN

Malaysian police arrest six Islamic State suspects

IGP Khalid Abu Bakar says the six were detained from separate raids in four states from May 23-26.
khalid-isisMalaysian authorities have arrested six local men for suspected involvement with the Islamic State (IS) militant group, police said on Saturday.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has been on the watch for IS-linked militants since an attack last year by the group in Jakarta, the capital of neighboring Indonesia.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement that the six suspects were detained from separate raids in four states from May 23-26.
The first arrest was of Muhammad Muzafa Arieff Junaidi who surrendered after police issued a media statement requesting the public to come forward with information about him. The 27-year-old cow farmer was wanted by police for smuggling arms for Malaysia-based IS militants.
Khalid said Muzafa was instructed to sneak into Southern Thailand with two firearms.
Another arrest involved two brothers – a religious school teacher and online businessman – under suspicion of helping the militant movement in Syria. The brothers are relatives of Muhammad Fudhail Omar, who had instructed a “lone wolf” attack in Sabah last August.
Fudhail is expected to take over the role of the former top IS operative Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi who was on a US list of global militants until his death, Khalid said.
Wanndy was the alleged mastermind behind a grenade attack on a Kuala Lumpur bar last June which injured eight people. It was the first and so far only IS attack that caused casualties in Malaysia.
Also arrested, a 54-year-old retired military personnel for channeling around RM20,000 to Syrian militants through several transactions. One of his sons has joined the militants in Syria. Another two unnamed suspects were detained for supporting and helping the IS movement in Syria.
All six suspects will be held for further investigation, Khalid said.
Malaysia has arrested more than 250 people between 2013 and 2016 for suspected militant activity linked to IS. -FMT

RM250 fine for not separating waste from June 1

Penang Island City Council secretary says weekly random checks will be carried out around Penang under Ops Kawal Selia Pengasingan Sisa.
Yew-Tung-Seang-recycle-penangPETALING JAYA: From June 1, a RM250 fine will be imposed on those who do not separate recyclable materials from their general garbage in Penang.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) secretary Yew Tung Seang said those who fail to comply with the waste segregation at source policy would be fined since a grace period of one year had already been given for everyone to familiarise themselves with the policy.
He said MBPP would conduct weekly random checks around Penang under Ops Kawal Selia Pengasingan Sisa, The Star reported.
“I hope the people will give their cooperation and separate their waste,” Yew was quoted as saying.
Under the waste segregation at source policy, residents of landed properties have to place their recyclables, such as paper, plastic and aluminium containers, beside the rubbish bin for collection by council lorries on Saturdays from 2pm to 5pm on the island and 8am to 4pm on the mainland.
As for high-rise communities, the joint management bodies will handle the waste separation system.
Yew said apartment management committees must also create a space for residents to dispose the materials and arrange for pickup with the recycling companies.
He said the percentage of waste in Penang needed to be reduced in order to increase the lifespan of landfills for garbage. -FMT

Faster MyKad processing not due to GE14, says JPN chief

National registration department's MyKad Distributed Printing Hub 'value-added programme to quicken delivery', says director-general
Mohd-Yazid-Ramli-jpnPETALING JAYA: The national registration department (JPN) has denied that a new programme that greatly reduces the processing period for the issuance of MyKad, had anything to do with the next general election (GE14).

Asked to comment on the need for the MyKad Distributed Printing Hub (DPP Hub), which was launched in Tawau, Sabah, yesterday, JPN director-general Mohd Yazid Ramli denied it was because GE14 was coming, saying the DPP Hub was “purely a value-added programme to quicken the MyKad delivery in a short time with low expenses”, The Borneo Post reported.
With the DPP Hub, Yazid said the time taken for processing MyKad applications would be shortened from 10 working days to five working days in Peninsular Malaysia and from 30 working days to seven working days in Sabah and Sarawak.
He added that it would also reduce the cost of courier services incurred by JPN, by an average of 28.7% to 41.30%.
Stating an example of how much such cost-savings could amount to, Yazid said in Sabah, a package weighing one kilogramme sent via Pos Laju would previously cost about RM12.25. However, such cost would be down to between RM5.69 and RM7.24 with the launch of the DPP Hub.
Yazid added that the DPP Hub would aslo bring down the overall system development and labour costs aside from the courier service fees incurred.
He also provided details of how the DPP Hub, which has already been actively in use since last month, has seen an increase in the number of MyKads issued in Sabah.
According to Borneo Post, Sabah alone has seen a 60.74% increase in the use of the DPP Hub between April 17 and May 23.
The statistics from JPN reveal that Kota Kinabalu has printed/issued 1,373 MyKad within this period, followed by Ranau (477 MyKad), Kudat (379), Tuaran (306 MyKad), Kota Belud (261 MyKad), Tawau (252) Beaufort (183), Inanam (132), Lahad Datu (116), Pitas (90) and Kuala Penyu (89). -FMT

CRITIC REMINDS DR M OF PREVIOUS BID TO RECRUIT GEELY FOR PROTON RESCUE

(MMO) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad travelled to China in 2014 to try and convince Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely) to partner with Proton.
The former prime minister, who this week lamented the loss of his “child” following the sale of a minority stake in Proton to Geely, was reminded of this attempt on Twitter today.
In the tweet addressed at his @chedetofficial account, a user linked an article from the Nikkei Asian Review that reported of Dr Mahahir’s bid together with Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who owns the DRB-Hicom group that bought Proton Holdings in 2012, to form a partnership with Geely.
Geely this week acquired 49.9 per cent of Proton Holdings.
Dr Mahathir was at the time still the chairman of Proton, and was reportedly attempting to rescue the carmaker after it was allegedly denied funds by the government owing to the former prime minister’s offensive against Putrajaya.
He later resigned as chairman following internal rumblings at Proton that his feud with senior Umno leaders could lead to repercussions for the national car maker.
Following news of the sale to Geely this week, Dr Mahathir responded negatively on his blog.
“I am a sissy. I cry even if Malaysians are dry-eyed. My child is lost. And soon my country. Please excuse me,” Dr Mahathir wrote on Thursday.
The deal between DRB-Hicom and Geely was announced on Wednesday, with Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani saying that Proton would remain a national car because Proton would still have a majority hold of 50.1 per cent.
Proton was set up by Dr Mahathir in 1983 and remains the poster child of the former prime minister’s industrialisation policies.
It came under the private ownership of the DRB- Hicom group in 2012, but remains identified as a national carmaker.
At one point, Proton dominated the sales charts with nearly 80 per cent of new passenger cars sold coming from its stable, but the brand has since fallen behind second national carmaker Perodua and even foreign marques Toyota and Honda.

NOR MOHAMED YAKCOP COVERS MAHATHIR’S AND DAIM’S BACKS

Yesterday, Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the Assistant Governor at the time of Bank Negara’s US$10 billion forex disaster, testified before the Special Task Force that has been set up to review the testimony and evidence regarding the scandal ahead of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) sitting. And what Nor Mohamed told the task force was a pack of lies.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
On 8th May 2017, Malaysia Today wrote ‘Jaffar told Ismail that Daim was the culprit behind the Forex disaster’. In that article we said:
The most interesting thing about this investigation is that finally we are being told that Tun Daim Zainuddin was the key person behind the whole disaster. The one-time Bank Negara Governor Tun Ismail Ali bumped into the one-time Bank Negara Governor Jaffar Hussein (both who died in 1998) at the airport back in the early 1990s and the former asked the latter how bad was the whole situation. Jaffar told Ismail the situation was very bad and that the instructions to play the Forex market, and then to cover up the disaster after that, actually came from Daim himself and that Mahathir was very much in the loop.
READ MORE HERE
Nor Mohamed lied before the Special Task Force yesterday by putting the blame for Bank Negara’s US$10 billion losses on Jaffar and covering up Mahathir’s and Daim’s involvement
Yesterday, Nor Mohamed Yakcop, testified before the Special Task Force that has been set up to review the testimony and evidence regarding Bank Negara’s US$10 billion forex losses ahead of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) sitting. Nor Mohamed was the Bank Negara Assistant Governor at the time of the forex disaster.
It was already known back in the late 1980s that Bank Negara was the biggest forex gambler in the world. At that time Mahathir was still the Prime Minister and Daim the Finance Minister while Jaffar was Bank Negara’s Governor.
In 1991, when the matter became too hot to handle and the losses had already exceeded billions of Ringgit, Daim stepped down and the post of Finance Minister was handed over to Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar’s job was to cover up the story of Bank Negara’s huge losses and the fact and Mahathir and Daim were the cause of it.
In 1993, the stink was so bad they could no longer cover it. Lim Kit Siang raised the matter in Parliament and Anwar lied and said that the story regarding Bank Negara’s huge losses was not true.
In 1994, Kit Siang again questioned Anwar in Parliament and this time he admitted that the story was true but that it was only a small ‘paper loss’ and not as huge as reported.
Today, Anwar says the loss was actually US$10 billion and not as small as he had told Parliament in 1994 — plus it was real losses and not mere paper losses.
The three criminals behind Bank Negara’s US$10 billion forex losses
Yesterday, Nor Mohamed told the Special Task Force that it was Jaffar who authorised him to play the forex market. Nor Mohamed never mentioned the involvement of Mahathir or Daim and it was very clear he was trying to protect both his bosses. Nor Mohamed’s testimony contradicts what Jaffar told Tun Ismail 25 years or so ago.
But this is not what Kit Siang has been saying since 1993 or what Anwar has been saying since 2013. At that time both Kit Siang and Anwar implicated Mahathir and Daim and said they were behind the forex scandal while Jaffar was merely the fall guy or sacrificial lamb.
Jaffar, the fall guy for Mahathir’s and Daim’s crimes
Nor Mohamed also told the Special Task Force yesterday that US$10 billion losses gambling on the forex market can be considered ‘quite normal’ and not something that we need to be concerned about. Basically, Nor Mohamed is saying that losing money is not a crime although the losses may have been hidden from public view and were initially denied when raised in Parliament.
Nor Mohamed also told the Special Task Force that he is an old man who has served the nation for many years in various important posts. Hence he should not be made responsible or accountable for whatever crime he may have committed gambling on the forex market or the losses that the country suffered because of it.
The problem with the Special Task Force hearing is that your testimony is not taken under oath so you can say whatever you like and lie through your teeth. Even if you are caught lying nothing can be done to you. Your testimony before the RCI, though, is another matter. This testimony is taken under oath and if you lie you can be jailed.
Dr Rosli Yaakop, who was a senior manager of Bank Negara at that time, contradicts what Nor Mohamed told the Special Task Force yesterday
So, let us see whether Nor Mohamed maintains this story or he changes his story once he is called to testify before the RCI. What he told the Special Task Force yesterday was a cock-and-bull story, which contradicts what Kit Siang, Anwar and Dr Rosli Yaakop of Bank Negara have been saying for years. And if Nor Mohamed tells the RCI what he told the Special Task Force yesterday, old man or not, he might find himself in jail for perjury.