09 July 2015

Task force or ‘forced task’ to tutup lubang...

 Task force or ‘forced task’...

The public are wondering whether the creation of the special task force (STF) is whether to investigate Najib Abdul Razak’s amassment of wealth or ‘tasked’ or ‘directed’ to clear his name of any wrongdoings?

The STF that was formed recently in the wake of the allegations by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Najib had received RM2.6 billion in his private accounts in AmBank.

And according to Najib himself, the STF was formed to investigate whether he had used the money for his personal use. If this is the scope, then the STF has begun the whole process of investigation on a wrong footing. 

(Indirectly, Najib is admitting 'YES' the money 'ada masuk' and  the panel's role is to check sama ada he used the money or not, boleh percayakah... T/S)

The scope of the SFT should be simple and straightforward - it should determine whether the funds from 1MDB sources flowed into the private accounts of Najib.

If this can be established, then Najib is guilty of crime and the law should take its normal course!

Apparently, according the STF, six accounts have been frozen as result of the investigation and none belonged to Najib.

Apart from the scope, this seems to be second step in the clearance of Najib’s name.

So far the STF has taken two crucial steps to clear the name of Najib. We are wondering as to what will be third step before STF is thrown into the dustbins of history.

I don’t understand why the principal officers of this STF are skirting the fundamental issue of whether or not Najib received the funds from the 1MDB sources.

To date, nobody knows about the detailed scope of STF. The public are left guessing as to the real motive of the STF in the first place.

Moreover, the heads of the STF are not persons who enjoy high credibility in the country. 

The heads of the police force, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Attorney-General’s Chambers and Bank Negara are individuals who are considered as civil servants appointed by Najib. Given this, these individuals are not expected to have independent minds to pursue investigation with the larger public interest as the ultimate objective.

The best method of an independent investigation into the financial affairs of Najib is the appointment of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI). But the mere mention of this would be rejected by the government outright.

Not for Najib to determine STF’s scope

It is not for Najib to determine the scope of the STF. He is the one who is alleged to have received funds of such a high magnitude. Ideally, if he had taken temporary leave from his duties, STF could have been empowered a bit.

It is plain obvious that STF is not an  investigative team to probe about the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Najib, but rather a ‘tasked force’ instructed to do the needful to clear Najib’s name.

The public have no confidence in the STF. It is pointless to appoint a team whose sole aim seems to be to clear Najib’s name of any wrongdoings related to the 1MDB controversy.

STF is a poor and pathetic example of an investigative team set up to ensure that Najib is not implicated in the numerous wrongdoings of Malaysia’s colossal fund, 1MDB.

We can conclude by saying that it is not a task force but a force or team that has been tasked to do the inevitable! - mk

Poll: We want PM on leave, don't trust task force...

While the cabinet feels Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak need not take leave pending an official investigation into the RM2.6 billion of 1MDB funds traced to his personal bank accounts, the man-on-the-street does not seem share the same sentiment.

In a random public survey conducted by Malaysiakini yesterday, 18 out of 20 respondents called for Najib to go on leave immediately, pending the outcome of the investigation by the multi-agency special task force.

One respondent also suggested that if Najib refuses to go on leave, he should at least reveal his personal bank account statements to prove his innocence.

A majority of those interviewed expressed scepticism that the special task force would act independently, with one interviewee even expressing fear that it may end up covering Najib's back.

Fourteen of the respondents said they don't believe that the task force can perform its duty without bias.

The task force comprises Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, Bank Negara Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar and MACC Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed.

Two questions were posed to a total of 20 people chosen from different genders, races and age groups for this interview.

Respondents ranged from students to professional workers, aged between 20 and 55.

The two questions were on the trustworthiness of the task force and whether the prime minister should take leave while the investigation was being conducted.

'Highly questionable'

Apart from the 14 who did not trust the task force, six said they did believe in its integrity, while 18 said the PM should go on leave.

Only two respondents were in favour of Najib continuing with his official duties while the investigation was going on.

Below is a sample of the responses obtained.

Isaac, 29, a manager: The head of the task force seems to be very much affiliated with the PM. It is more or less like a puppet show. I don't believe them.

Joyce Lim, 35, sales manager: I feel it is not trustworthy and a new commission or task force needs to be formed.

Fatin, 25, graduate: Not believable. The four officials are all holding top posts and seem to be the PM's allies and will cover his back. The prime minister should take leave from the cabinet to avoid any misuse of power in and to stabilise the current polemics happening in the country.

Kausalya, 32, bank employee: The integrity of the task force is highly questionable and this increases the doubts while the formation of it was kept in dark and it emerged all of a sudden.

'Reveal bank account details'

Rafley, 33, telemarketer: The task force is trustworthy because all these four people are high-profile personalities and they must have understood the seriousness of this issue.

Lee, 54, businessperson: I find it is independent and it can function without intervention from any parties.

On the question of going on leave, a higher number of people agreed that Najib should take temporary leave until the investigation proves that he is completely innocent.

Jeffrey, 20, student: The prime minister should take leave until the investigation ends and clears his name of all the allegations as it involves a huge sum of money.

Gopalakrishnan, 49, businessperson: The question of integrity is important and Najib will lose the trust of the people if he doesn't go on leave.

Kamarudin, 45, stall owner: Najib has to definitely take a leave unless he choses to reveal his personal bank account details or assets.

The comments above generally indicate growing public frustration with the intractability of the 1MDB issue, compounded by trust issues with government agencies and leaders. - mk

RM2 juta dideposit ke akaun 'Rosmah Binti Mansor'...

Laman pembocor maklumat Sarawak Report mendakwa RM2 juta dideposit ke dalam akaun bank yang dikatakan milik Rosmah Mansor.

Laporan itu mendakwa laporannya berasas maklumat diterima berkaitan sebuah akaun dengan Affin Bank Berhad.

Ia mendakwa sejumlah besar wang dideposit ke dalam akaun itu dalam tempoh dua bulan bermula pada awal tahun ini.

Memetik dokumen didakwa berkaitan siasatan 1MDB, Sarawak Report mendakwa seorang individu bernama “Roslan Sohari” antara 10 Februari dan 23 April tahun ini memasuki sebuah cawangan bank itu di Kuala Lumpur sebanyak lapan kali.

“Dalam kunjungan-kunjungan ini beliau mendeposit keseluruhan RM2,000,000 ke dalam akaun bernombor 1000 xxxx xxxx, yang mana para penyiasat melaporkan ia milik “Rosmah Binti Mansor (Datin Sri)”.

Dihubungi Malaysiakini, pembantu Rosmah, Rizal Mansor, berkata beliau tidak dapat mengulas perkara itu pada masa laporan ini ditulis kerana sedang berada dalam sebuah majlis berbuka puasa.

Malaysiakini juga telah menyemak sebuah laman Facebook milik “Roslan Sohari”, seorang pegawai tentera berpangkat pegawai waran, yang antara lain menunjukkan gambar individu itu dengan Najib selain kelihatan berada dalam jet peribadi.

Dalam Facebook itu, pekerjaannya diletakkan sebagai “Resident Manager at the Prime Minister’s Office” (pengurus residen di Pejabat Perdana Menteri).

Rekod di Facebook itu juga mendedahkan bahawa individu itu 'mendaftar masuk' di pelbagai lokasi di luar negara ketika Najib berada di tempat itu.

Tempat-tempat itu antaranya Kazakhstan (tahun lepas), Jeddah (6 Jun 2015), Beijing (12 November, 2014 ketika perdana menteri hadir Persidangan Ekonomi Asia Pasifik) dan New York (ketika Najib hadir persidangan Persatuan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu September lalu).

Beliau juga berada di Padang, Indonesia, pada 26 Ogos tahun lepas, ketika Rosmah menerima sebuah anugerah Minangkabau.

Bagaimanapun, tidak dapat dipastikan sama ada individu ini orang yang sama dimaksudkan oleh Sarawak Report.

Ketika Malaysiakini menghubungi “Roslan Sohari” melalui nombor telefon yang ditunjukkan dalam sebuah dokumen dimuat naik oleh Sarawak Report, dia menafikan berkhidmat dengan Jabatan Perdana Menteri atau mempunyai kaitan dengan Rosmah.

Bagaimanapun, gambarnya di profil Whatsapp menunjukkan gambar yang sama dengan pemilik akaun dengan di Facebook.

Laman Facebook telah dinyahaktifkan tidak lama selepas laporan
ini diterbitkan.

Malaysiakini juga memeriksa nombor kad pengenalan Rosmah yang dinyatakan di dokumen itu dan mendapati ia sememangnya isteri Najib.

Nombor akaun Affin Bank yang 1000 xxxx xxxx yang dinyatakan itu juga mendapati ia milik “Rosmah Binti Mansor” (lihat gambar). - mk


RM2m deposited into Rosmah's account...

In a startling new allegation, Sarawak Report has claimed that RM2 million was deposited into a bank account purportedly belonging to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's wife Rosmah Mansor.

The website said this was based on information received in connection to an account with Affin Bank Berhad.

"Baffling amounts of cash were deposited into it during the course of just two months at the start of this year," it said.

According to documents allegedly linked to the 1MDB probe by Malaysian investigators which was obtained by Sarawak Report, an individual called 'Roslan Sohari' entered the central branch of the bank in Kuala Lumpur on eight occasions between Feb 10 and April 23 this year (photo).

"On these visits he deposited a round total of RM2,000,000 into the account number 1000 XXXX XXXX, which investigators have reported as belonging to 'Rosmah Binti Mansor (Datin Sri)'."

According to the document, four deposits amounting to RM900,000 were made in March this year, the same month Najib's daughter Nooryana Najwa married Daniyar Kessikbayev from Kazakhstan.

Contacted by Malaysiakini, Rosmah's aide Rizal Mansor said he would comment on the matter later as he was accompanying the premier's wife at a buka puasa function.

Close to Najib and Rosmah

Malaysiakini also checked a Facebook page belonging to one 'Roslan Sohari', a military personnel with the rank warrant officer, which contained, among others, photographs of him with Najib in what seems to be inside a private jet.

On the Facebook page, his profession is stated as "Resident Manager at the Prime Minister's Office."

Records on Facebook also revealed that the individual had "checked in" at various locations abroad when Najib was at these places, such as Jeddah (June 6, 2015, when the premier and his wife were there to perform their umrah), Kazakhstan (last year), Beijing (Nov 12, 2014, when the premier attended the Asia Pacific Economic Conference), and New York (where Najib attended the UN general assembly last September).

He was also in Padang, Indonesia, on Aug 26 last year when Rosmah received the Minangkabau award.

However, it could not be ascertained if this is the same person mentioned by Sarawak Report.

When Malaysiakini telephoned Roslan via a mobile phone number shown in one of the documents provided by Sarawak Report, he denied having worked for the PM's Department or having links with Rosmah.

"No, I don't know (anything about this)," he said when asked if he had made the alleged transactions.

However, his Whatsapp image confirmed that the Roslan Sohari whom Malaysiakini spoke to is the same person as the Facebook account holder.

The Facebook page was deactivated shortly after this report was published.

Malaysiakini also checked the MyKad number of Rosmah as stated in a document and established that it was indeed hers.

It is also confirmed that the account number in Affin Bank, which is still active, belongs to 'Rosmah Binti Mansor' (see photo).

'Bank account' under probe

Sarawak Report further claimed that it has a copy of the transactions and was informed that Roslan came into the bank with the sum in cash, which was stashed in a bag.

"Sarawak Report can confirm this particular bank account has now been placed under investigation, because it can be related to inquiries about the possible misappropriation of money linked to 1MDB," said the report.

It also pointed out that 1MDB chairperson Lodin Wok Kamaruddin is also one of the directors of Affin Bank.

"Sarawak Report understands that the Rosmah-linked cash payments came to light during the course of these investigations, but that this account may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to other previously undisclosed accounts belonging to Malaysia's first lady, who has become a world famous shopper in recent years," said the website.

This latest allegation comes hot on the heels of another damning report published by The Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report last week.

The reports, based on information from Malaysian investigators,claimed that RM2.6 billion of 1MDB-linked funds was transferred to Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and accused former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad of masterminding his ouster.

A multi-agency special task force comprising the Attorney-General's Chambers, police, Bank Negara, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, is currently probing the allegations concerning 1MDB. - mk


Tutup selepas misi selesai...

FAQ on WSJ's money trail exposé...

On July 3, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) dropped a bombshell on Malaysians by claiming that nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) somehow made its way to bank accounts allegedly owned by our prime minister.

Given the complexity of the issue, Malaysiakini has compiled a series of questions sourced from our readers as well as our newsroom, and attempts to answer them.

1. What exactly was the WSJ report about?

The report claims that an ongoing probe by Malaysian investigators have traced nearly RM2.6 billion being transferred into what they believe to be Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's personal bank accounts.

2. Are the accounts really owned by Najib?

The WSJ report does not say this with certainty. They note that remittance documents show account numbers, but does not name Najib.

However, they are in possession of flow charts, purportedly obtained from Malaysian investigators, which attributed the accounts to Najib.

Whistleblower website Sarawak Report, which published a similar report on the same day as the WSJ, claimed that the accounts - bearing the name AmPrivate Banking-1MY, AmPrivate Banking-MY and AmPrivate Banking-MR - indeed belonged to Najib.

3. Has Najib explicitly denied owning the accounts?


4. Has Najib explicitly denied that the transactions took place?


5. How has Najib responded?

Nearly half a day after the WSJ and Sarawak Report broke the news, Najib responded by claiming to be the victim of "unsubstantiated, and many simply outrageous" allegations.

"The latest allegation is that I have taken state-linked funds for personal gain.

"I believe (Dr Mahathir Mohamad), working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind this latest lie.

"Let me be very clear: I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents - whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed."

Yesterday, Najib repeated this point on his blog.

"I want to again stress that I never took 1MDB funds for my personal gain.

"The WSJ allegation was done in bad faith and is supported by certain quarters in the country who wants me to step down as prime minister and Umno president".

On the same day, Najib's lawyers also sent a "pre-letter of demand" asking Dow Jones, the owners of WSJ, to clarify if it really meant that the prime minister had misappropriated state funds.

The letter was panned by lawyers as a stalling tactic as defamation suits are normally and immediately initiated with a letter of demand.

6. Did WSJ accuse Najib of using the money for "personal gain"?

No. Neither did Sarawak Report.

However, the WSJ did run an article in June 18 accusing Najib of using funds originating from 1MDB for BN's 2013 election campaign.

7. How did WSJ and Sarawak Report get hold of this information?

The WSJ merely cited documents obtained from "Malaysian government investigation". They made the documents public on Tuesday.

8. Are the documents authentic?

We don't know. But thus far, no government agency has come up to say it's fake. Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail alluded that the documents were leaked from an ongoing investigation.

9. Who is investigating 1MDB related matters thus far?

There is the National Audit Department and Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Then there is a multi-agency task force, comprising the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney-General's chambers.

We now know that Bank Negara is part of the task force.

10. Who formed the task force? When?

We don't know.

11. What are their terms of reference or scope?

The task force did not explicitly say. However, the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar mentioned back in March that it involved Section 409 and Section 420 of the Penal Code.

Section 409 of the Penal Code refers to "criminal breach of trust by public servant or agent", while Section 420 is on "cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property".

Najib, even though an interested party in the investigation himself, yesterday said the special task force will determine whether WSJ's allegations that he had taken 1MDB's funds for person interest had basis or not.

He went on to say that the investigation must consider the authenticity of documents put forward by WSJ.

The task force has been very particular in its statements by not mentioning specific individuals that are being investigated.

Instead, the task force often refers the "allegations against the prime minister" as its subject of probe.

12. Who is in the task force?

Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the IGP, MACC chief Abu Kassim Mohamed and the AG are signing off task force statements, so it is reasonable to conclude that they are task force members.

We don't know how many people are in the task force or what the composition is like.

13. Who does the task force reports to?

We don't know. However the task force's information collected from its investigation had been sent to Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail for review.

14. What is the progress of their investigations?

Until June 4, the task force didn't provide any progress reports. However, Sarawak Report published an article on April 29 claiming that "investigators" found that Bank Negara was supplied with "false documents", in connection with 1MDB.

However, the task force began issuing regular status updates since last Saturday, a day after WSJ implicated Najib in taking state funds.

It had since frozen six bank accounts related to the case and also raided 1MDB's office yesterday.

Highly-placed sources in the task force told Malaysiakini that three of the six bank accounts belonged to Najib but Abdul Gani denied this.

It is noteworthy that the denial statement was signed by Abdul Gani as opposed to the previous task force statements which were signed off by the heads of Bank Negara, MACC, police and the AG himself.

15. Can the four heads of the task force act independently if Najib doesn't take leave?

If they are professionals, yes.

However, there will still be concerns of conflict of interest as all of them report to Najib and they have also faced criticism in their handling of less controversial cases in the past.

For their normal duties, Abu Kassim and Abdul Gani reports to Najib as prime minister. Zeti reports to Najib as finance minister.

Should Najib take leave, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong would make Muhyiddin Yassin acting-prime minister with full powers of the prime minister. In this scenerio, Abu Kassim, Abdul Gani and Zeti would report to Muhyiddin.

16. So why isn't Najib taking leave? Wouldn't that give the task force more credibility?

True. But Najib going on leave would have political implications.

Some of Najib's political opponents have made it clear that they intend to oust him and Najib may never return as prime minister if he does not remain on top of things.

Furthermore, if the allegations hold merits, then staying on as prime minister would offer better leverage.

17. If Najib goes on leave, would it confirm an independent investigation?

It is likely to yield a more credible and independent investigation but issues may still persist as some of the investigation members have also been accused of a cover-up.

For example, Bank Negara itself may be implicated in the probe for failing to uphold its own rules to flag the transaction of huge sums of money into accounts purportedly controlled by Najib. The first transaction occurred in 2013.

An alternative is for the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry into the matter.

18. Why is the Cabinet and Umno still strongly backing Najib?

While there are some voices of dissent, the vast majority of ministers still support Najib.

The bulk of the money was deposited into accounts purportedly controlled by Najib shortly before the 13th general elections, which would suggest that the funds were meant for the national polls.

If the allegation is proven true, it means the money trail does not end with Najib and other party leaders may be implicated. - mk

Soalan lazim mengenai pendedahan WSJ

Plan to sue WSJ in Malaysia baffling...

A number of lawyers have expressed their puzzlement over Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s legal letter to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

On my part, I am baffled when I learnt that Najib’s lawyers from the firm of Hafarizam, Wan Aisha & Mubarak, should see fit to sue WSJ and its two reporters, Simon Clark and Tom Wright right here in Malaysia.

According to senior lawyer Kenny Ng, Najib can technically sue WSJ in Malaysia. “The arguments would be that Najib, who is the plaintiff, is based in Malaysia, and the subject matter as well as public interest considerations are all here in Malaysia,” he said. “The WSJ, on the other hand, can also raise a counterclaim in the United States. Obviously, any contestant would prefer a home ground advantage if he can!”

Whether it will be in Malaysia or the United States, the case will inevitably place Malaysia in another spotlight again for the wrong reasons after former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed.

Wrong moves

Both case scenarios of claim and counterclaim are possible, given the nature of the case involving a reputable international publisher based in New York and the Malaysian prime minister.

However, technicalities aside, it appears to me that any legal suit against WSJ carried out in Malaysia may not help Najib to regain his reputation, even if he had won the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

This is because even the task force, comprising the inspector-general of police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney-General’s Chambers and Bank Negara, set up to probe the case has earned brickbats from three local members of parliament.

What more if the task force found that there was no case against Najib! I can imagine the reaction from both the local and international community. Concerns would be raised whether WSJ would be given a fair trial in Malaysia, to which WSJ can also object to the trial being carried out in Malaysia.

The last round when the Malaysian judiciary was given adverse reports was when the Federal Court sentenced Anwar to a five-year term of imprisonment, in what is dubbed “a dark day for the Malaysia judiciary”.

According to an editorial piece published by Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), the conclusion is that “it’s almost impossible to tell whether or not the judges (in Malaysia) were entirely judicially impartial...”

United States State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called Anwar’s case a “high-profile case”, urging Malaysia to “apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia's democracy and judiciary."

In short, the world has been watching our judiciary system for a long time. For Najib to now sue the WSJ in Malaysia would further leave a very negative impression on Malaysia’s already dented global image.

Even before the legal suit begins, the spotlight would be on the country’s judiciary once more. At least, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has got the cue when he said that he has not decided yet to write another open letter against WSJ, as he had done with the New York Times recently.

Damage already done

In my opinion, the senior partner, Mohd Hafarizam Harun (photo), should have at least consulted the public relations team working on Najib’s reputation, instead of even suggesting in his letter that WSJ would be sued in Malaysia.

The suggestion, made in order to save one man’s reputation, has once again put the country in the spotlight.

I would be surprised if the international media would not start commenting about our judiciary system once again. Najib should realise that this is not good for the country’s reputation and for business as well.

When the international media continues to put a focus on the independence of the country’s judiciary, this would make it so much more difficult in trying to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country.

Najib or his men cannot continue chastising Dr Mahathir Mohamad, blaming him for being the mastermind behind the WSJ expose, because on all counts, Najib is equally responsible because the government did not respond to the queries made by the WSJ reporters before the article was published.

Although the old adage still holds true that one is innocent unless proven otherwise, Najib would be better off if he provides his side of the story to WSJ, giving all the documentary proofs to back his claims that he did not take any money from 1MDB.

The odds are however against Najib since there have been far too many denials instead of being open and transparent in the way how Najib answered to the press. The longer he remains in office, the worse it will get, and along with him will be the reputation of many others.- mk

Putrajaya kasi warning...


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