1. I used to enjoy being asked about Malaysia when I am abroad. But not now.
2. The foreigners and Malaysians living abroad ask, “What is happening to Malaysia?”
3. “It seems to be like one of those African or Arab countries.”
4. “It is totally corrupt. The currency has depreciated”. Etc. Etc.
5. I cannot answer truthfully. I cannot lie either. It is embarrassing. And all this is because of the 1MDB and Najib.
6. I began to feel there was something wrong with the 1MDB when The Edge published that it had bought power plants above market price and borrowed money paying commissions of 10% and interest rate of 5.9%.
7. I waited for the Government to deny that what was published by The Edge was correct. The Government did not. Then I know there was something very wrong.
8. Subsequently came the stories about a JV with Petrosaudi. It was too quick. Obviously no due diligence was done. Yet 1MDB paid 1 billion U.S. (3.8billion Ringgit) for its 40% share.
9. Then 1MDB paid another US 700 million to settle debts incurred by Petro-Saudi to Petro Saudi International. Why should 1MDB pay. The JV should pay.
10. But within 6 months of setting up the JV, it was dissolved. Had a good due diligence been done, this JV would not have been set up. Clearly it was not a viable proposition!
11. The 1.7 billion US should now be returned to 1MDB. But No! It was converted into a loan (Murabahah) to Petrosaudi. This is extremely unusual. If you could not work with Petrosaudi as a JV partner how could you give it such a huge loan.
12. Then the money seems to have disappeared. It was previously reported to be deposited in banks in Hong Kong and Seychelles, invested in something or other and was supposed to end up in the Cayman Islands.
13. Concerned Malaysians demanded that the money be returned to Malaysia. An announcement was made that a portion had been returned to Malaysia but was used to pay debts and other expenses. Malaysia wanted more information especially as a 2 billion Ringgit interest on loans could not be paid. 1MDB just had no money. So where is the money from the Caymans. Why should Ananda Krishnan offer 2 billion Ringgit to help pay the interest. Government had to provide a stand-by loan of RM900 million.
14. Things did not look right. Then 1MDB announced that the rest of the money from Cayman Islands had been received in cash. Arul, the CEO, claimed he saw the money. The PM said the money was deposited in a Singapore Bank. It was not brought back to Malaysia because Bank Negara would ask too many questions.
15. That seems to be an admission that something was not right with the money.
16. But Singapore is a financial centre. As such it must be even more careful that money brought in and deposited in its banks should be investigated, especially if the sum is large, running into billions.
17. And sure enough the Monetary Authority of Singapore stated publicly that no 1MDB Malaysian money came into the country. The Swiss Bank which was named as the bank where the money was deposited denied 1MDB had deposited money with it.
18. So where were the billions of Ringgits or Dollars that 1MDB claimed it had brought back from the Caymans. Arul Kandasamy had openly claimed he saw the money.
19. Now the PM declared that it was not money. It was units. The bank where it was deposited was not named.
20. What units were these. Not units in Unit Trust Funds certainly. No explanation is forth coming. The billions of dollars have again disappeared.
21. Then the Wall Street Journal reported that Dato Sri Najib has USD700 million in his account in the Arab Malaysian Bank in Kuala Lumpur. That is about 2.6 billion Ringgit. How did this huge sum of money get into Najib’s Private Account. Where did the money come from!! How can the PM of Malaysia whose pay is only RM20,000 per month have so much money in his private account?
22. Unable to deny the Wall Street Journal report which included the account number and other details, Najib claimed that it was a donation.
23. Who in the world would donate USD700 million to the Malaysian Prime Minister? Even Obama could not raise this amount for his Presidential bid. It was suggested it was an Arab.
24. Arabs are generous, but not that generous. I could not raise even a single dollar from them for the Malaysian International Islamic University or for the Oxford Islamic Centre. This claim that Arabs donated billions is what people describe as hogwash or bullshit. Certainly I don’t believe it and neither can the majority of Malaysians if we go by the comments on the social media. The world had a good laugh.
25. When asked, the PM said wait for the report on 1MDB by the Auditor–General and the Public Accounts Committee.
26. To the UMNO divisional leaders and assorted bedfellows the PM in close-door meetings, claimed the billions were for the elections.
27. The 2 billion Ringgit plus for elections is absurd. I needed less than 10 million for each of the five elections I presided over and I won them all with more than 2/3 majority. Why do you need 2.6 billion plus or 2600 million Ringgit. Is it to bribe politicians and civil servants, or to rig the elections. That would not be right , much less legal.
28. Whatever, to me 2 billion plus for elections in Malaysia by any party is wrong even if no limit is put on election expenses.
29. Then there is this lavish life-style which no Malaysian Prime Minister would be able to afford on the RM20,000 per month he receives. Engagement and weddings lavishness far surpassed those of the Rulers even. Several ceremonies were held in Malaysia and also in Kazakhstan. Guests were loaded with gifts from the host. Clearly millions, tens of millions were spent, far beyond what a Malaysian PM can afford.
30. Then there is the son’s investment of hundreds of millions in producing the film The Wolf of Wall Street. It is so pornographic that it cannot be shown in Malaysia. Where did the money come from!
31. The shopping in London, Paris and elsewhere is known to be enormous.
32. Clearly the PM and his wife have more money than the salaries and allowances paid to the PM.
33. After the Wall Street Journal reported on Najib’s 2.6 billion Ringgit in his private account, it was closed. You cannot take all that money to keep with you. It had to be transferred. Apparently it was transferred to a Singapore bank. Then the Singapore authorities froze it.
34. Public clamour about the origin of the money in Najib’s account was so loud that a task force comprising the head of four government institutions was set up. The Attorney General headed this task force and the members were the IGP, the Head of Bank Negara and the Head of MACC, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
35. Najib was clearly uncomfortable with the investigations carried out by the task force. The members seemed to be too independent. Najib could not control them. The task force was apparently determined to seek the truth about the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion Ringgit in Najib’s account. Najib’s claim that it was a donation was not convincing.
36. Then Najib decided to take action to stop all the investigations on 1MDB and his private account.
37. First he announced that people should stop talking about 1MDB. It was not just a hint but an open statement that such talk would be regarded as undermining democracy and an attempt to overthrow an elected leader. This would attract police attention and investigation.
38. Immediately following that the A.G. was sacked. In Malaysia’s legal system the A.G. determines whether a case would be heard in a court or not. The A.G. who seemed to be heading the task force would be in a position to take to the courts if there was evidence of criminality in Najib’s possession of the billions in his account.
39. The A.G’s removal means that he could no longer make any decision over the unprecedented wealth of Najib. A judge was made A.G. and clearly he is not interested in the task force and its investigations. He seemed determined to clear Najib.
40. Then the DPM was dismissed and replaced by the Minister of Home Affairs who unlike Muhyiddin, had never questioned Najib about 1MDB.
41. In the cabinet reshuffle four members of the Public Accounts Committee including its chairman were made deputy ministers. Effectively, the PAC was paralysed and the work of investigating 1MDB stopped.
42. Then the chief and deputy chief of MACC, a member of the task force of four were asked to go on leave. When some members of the staff of MACC continued their investigations and wanted to query Najib on the source of the money in his account, they were harassed by the police who accused them of leaking information. Then they were transferred to the PM’s department. That shut them up.
43. The Governor of the Central Bank, a member of the four-strong Task Force is now rumoured to be investigated for corruption.
44. With the PAC, and the Task Force paralysed and the A.G. sacked, investigation work on the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion in Najib’s private account grounds to a complete halt.
45. Najib is now safe from being charged with illegally amassing funds. His claim that it is to be used for the coming elections is half-true. He had always said that cash is king. With the huge funds at his disposal he would be in a position to bribe his way to victory. He may also use the money to rig the election.
46. What Najib is doing is unprecedented in Malaysia. The people are at a loss as to what to do. The prospect of Najib continuing to rule this country is utterly depressing. The Malaysia where elections can even see opposition parties winning whole states will be no more.
47. Democracy is dead. It is dead because an elected leader chooses to subvert the institutions of Government and make them his instruments for sustaining himself. There is no more democracy for anyone to undermine. Certainly talking about 1MDB will not undermine something that no longer exist. If anyone should be questioned by the police, it is Najib.
1. What is happening in Malaysia today is unprecedented. The rule of law has been turned upside down and the people seem powerless to do anything to put it upright again.
2. This is because the very leader entrusted with upholding the law has become the subject of the due process of the law. It is alleged that he has broken the law. As no one is above the law, it follows that he must be investigated to determine if indeed he had broken the law.
3. Although this is unprecedented in Malaysia, this had happened in many other countries, including in the developed West.
4. Recall the case of President Nixon of the United States of America. He had used Government officials to spy on his political rival. This was considered as abuse of power in the U.S.
5. Eventually he was impeached and was forced to resign as President of the U.S. The Vice President took over and in due course elections were held. The Vice-President won. End of problem.
6. In other countries more violent methods are used to remove an unpopular president, whether elected or imposed by the military or other politically powerful groups.
7. Now Malaysia would not want to see violence used. So the instruments or the institutions of Governments were expected to investigate and determine whether the allegations against the P.M. are true or not.
8. The institution that is normally expected to do this is mainly the police. Other institutions with the capacity to investigate are also expected to do this. In cases involving money, the Central Bank are expected to investigate and report. 9. Then there are special bodies created to oversee how Government money is managed. These are the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. Additionally there is the Anti-Corruption Commission.
10. They are however limited to investigations and preparation of reports. They themselves have no power to prosecute. For this, the Attorney-General must decide and initiate legal proceedings. If the A.G. decides there is no case to answer, even the most blatant crime will not be tried in the court.
11. The only other process for the removal of a PM is a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. It needs a simple majority. With the fall of the PM, the whole Government would fall. But by majority decision in Parliament, a new Government may be set up. It may be the same party or a different party. Alternatively an election can be held.
12. These are the avenues of legal redress provided in the Malaysian Constitution and laws.
13. Due to the serious nature of the allegations against the highest leader of the Government, a task force of four, consisting of the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Governor of the Central Bank and the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was formed to collect all relevant evidence for the Attorney General to decide on the action to be taken.
14. All these agencies and institutions were in the midst of their investigations when the PM struck. He first sacked the A.G. and appointed his man to the post. Then he literally disbanded the Public Accounts Committee by appointing the Chairman and three other members as Deputy Ministers and to other posts. Members of the MACC who were continuing to investigate the case were harassed by the police who accused them of leaking secrets. Two were transferred to the PMO.
15. Rumors were rife that the Governor of the Central Bank was being investigated for corruption. Although she remains as Governor, the staff of the Central Bank were harassed and accused of leaking information to the press.
16. The Edge, the paper that had exposed the 1MDB scandal was closed. The owner of The Malaysian Reserve paper was told to sell it back to the previous owner.
17. Najib also sacked the Deputy Prime Minister and one of the ministers who had been vocal in questioning the financial records of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion found in Najib’s personal bank account.
18. With these actions, Najib has effectively stopped investigations on the disappearance of billions of Ringgit invested by 1MDB and the appearance of 2.6 billion in Najib’s account. Now no legal action can be taken against Najib as the allegations cannot be proven. But his very actions prove that there is substance in the allegations made against him.
19. Public opinion therefore remains strong in wanting Najib to resign as PM. Consequently there is talk about moving a vote of no-confidence against him in Parliament.
20. This is very difficult as almost all the UMNO members seem beholden to him. And the opposition does not have enough members to pass the motion.
21. So there is a stalemate. But the economy is reacting in its own way. The Ringgit has depreciated to below its old fixed rate of RM3.80 to the USD. It is now at 4 Ringgit plus and is likely to drop further. The effect is to make the country poor. Paying debts by 1MDB in USD would cost more. Already 1MDB is unable even to service its debts.
22. The stock market has all but collapsed. Investors, especially foreign investors are taking out their money to safer places abroad.
23. The Government is short of funds. It has to cut budget allocations to all ministries. The introduction of the GST has only resulted in increasing the cost of living making the depreciation of the Ringgit more acute.
24. Najib may be able to buy his way through in the next election but he will not be able to acquire funds to sustain his purchase of popularity. The Government he leads will not be able to borrow. The country’s economy will collapse. And the people will suffer. This is the grim picture that lies in store for Malaysians because Najib has basically stolen the Government.