Friday, February 28, 2014

To Appoint Taib Is To Become Complicit In Corruption – Najib Should Delay

To Appoint Taib Is To Become Complicit In Corruption – Najib Should Delay
The ultimate goal?  Immunity!
The ultimate goal? Immunity! – cartoon by Zunar
Taib has made clear that he expects to be appointed Governor today, with an audience scheduled to meet the Agong at the Istana Negara at 3pm.

He has informed people that he believes that this will elevate him to a similar status to the British Queen, dispensing advice and held in fond regard.

And, of course, he is making it clear he believes the position will offer him total immunity from any kind of prosecution over his three decades of kleptocracy in Sarawak.

The powers that be, including Malaysia’s PM, ought not to pander to these vanities, because if they promote Taib in this unnecessary and indeed unlawful way the world will hold them complicit in his corruption, which is known to all.
Delusions of grandeur - force from his position as CM Taib is now desperate to prove he is all powerful in Sarawak
Delusions of grandeur – force from his position as CM Taib is now desperate to prove he is all powerful in Sarawak

Outraged opposition YBs took their case direct to Najib’s office yesterday and also to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

Sheepish MACC officials confirmed in that meeting with PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and YB See Chee How that their long-standing investigation into the despotic multi-billionaire continues.

However, publicly they have also announced that since Taib’s juniors and not himself signed off his family’s outrageous land grabs, amongst a host of other abuses, they still require proof of culpability (could a generous donor please be found to hire the MACC some decent legal advice?).

Meanwhile, other public figures have placed the issue before the courts.  How could the CM, who has broken the constitution through his company directorships, asked DAP, be allowed to become Governor – a position that also forbids company directorships?
Indecisive? Then better don't decide. Leave Taib waiting until he is cleared of all corruption.
Indecisive? Then better don’t decide. Leave Taib waiting until he is cleared of all corruption.

The Kuching High Court came back to claim that it was not its role to veto an appointment by the Agong.

However, the court ruling commented that surely Taib would give up his directorships if appointed Governor!

What better confirmation both that Taib has directorships and that they are illegal?

So, despite the widespread recognition that Taib has transgressed in numerous ways, there is no will to halt the progress of his silver Rolls Royce from Demak Jaya to the Astana, unless the Prime Minister himself does the job he was elected to do and protects the people.

If Najib does not act by delaying the appointment of this famous crook the entire world will ask “what was his price? Did Taib agree to pay all the bribes for the GE14 election or was it some other deal that rescued him from a rightful sacking?”

The PM would do better to avoid being tarred with Taib Mahmud’s dirty brush, a man whose name is synonymous with corruption on a gigantic scale.

This is the man who who was described by his own relatives as corrupt “of course” in a Global Witness video.

That NGO has just released yet another corruption story, this time concerning million dollar kickbacks to Taib’s son Abu Bekir from a Gernman firm Trienekens. Trienekens was chosen to handle Kuching’s waste following its conviction in a high profile bribery case back in Cologne – what better recommendation for the Mahmud family?

Delay the appointment
Posturing as tougher than ever....
Posturing as tougher than ever….
Indeed it has been Najib, conscious Taib’s shameful record in Sarawak, who has been a key factor in pushing out this outrageous kleptocrat.

There is no doubt that Taib himself, despite his stories to the press, wants to remain Chief Minister.

But, the PM should not leave the job half done and allow this experienced operator to wriggle up into a position of supposed immunity.

He should chop him out of power forever.

Because, if Najib allows Taib to become Governor, with his own chosen replacement (a heart patient who is also a relative) sitting in his old office, he will continue to act as though he remains in total control of the state.

So much so, that the old dictator yesterday astonishingly authorised the announcement of plans to build no less than 5 news dams in Sarawak, beginning within just one year.

Taib is determined to prove he is still in charge – it can only cause problems
Sacked, but Taib plans to make fools of his party and continue to call the shots.
Sacked, but Taib plans to make fools of his party and continue to call the shots.

That is quite some master-plan to announce two days before leaving office and a clear message that Taib plans to continue calling the shots, even over this highly controversial hydropower programme, which has outraged the people.

It is a sign of hubris bordering on total insanity and Najib should be wary of an old man, who is ceasing to accept reality.
Taib is ready to confront the protesting public head on over the dam issue, while at the same time making huge profits for himself from the construction contracts awarded to his own companies.

Indeed, the retiring Chief Minister’s behaviour is becoming increasingly scandalous and embarrassing by the day.

Whereas before the Prime Minister could present the Sarawak’s White Haired Raja as an awkward inheritance from past times, if he appoints him Governor he will take full responsibility for the unhappy consequences.

~ Sarawak Report

Interfaith harmony in shambles as government agencies stoke fire

Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
OUTSPOKEN: As Malaysia marches into the unchartered waters of the future, I have good reason to be less optimistic about the country. Day in and day out, groups with neo-fascist agenda keep creating problems to disunite the people. Even government agencies have jumped on the bandwagon to add more fire to this unholy movement.

Jakim, the department entrusted with Islamic development, blames all quarters about the perceived threat to Islam. The latest rumbling accuses the Christians and the Jews of undermining Islam. This is a fantasy which only the illiterate and the confused can create. But then Jakim has not been very constructive in its actions since its inception in 1991. It only gropes around to justify its existence by creating fear among the Malaysian Muslims.

This story about the Christians and the Jews undermining Islam is an archaic one that has been overused and misused.

Jakim’s strategy is to portray all and sundry as being the enemies of Islam. It never tries to strengthen the religious beliefs of the Muslims. Its actions therefore are very negative in nature.

It has not done anything to strengthen interfaith harmony. Instead, it is destroying the goodwill that had been built up in the past. Never in the history of the country had fingers been pointed that Islam was facing threats from other religious groups.

Even during the colonial period when schools were run by Christian missionaries, no attempts were ever made to put doubts into the minds of Muslim school children about their faith.

They learned about Christianity but there was no agenda to convert them. And all of those former students of these mission schools remain ardent Muslims.

But now suddenly, in the imagination of Jakim, Christians are trying to proselytise the Muslims and as such Christianity has become a threat to Islam. Now it has gone further by saying that the Jews are also undermining Islam.

The Arab Muslims have not come out with such accusations.

There are millions of topics that Jakim can delve into to come out with very sensible sermons that will help the people and the country to face a better future.

As long as the Muslims lack the knowledge to move forward, especially in science and technology, the more likely they would be left behind by all the other religious communities. 
The Jews moved on and most inventions today are their creations and the Muslims are happily using them.

Even in the field of medicine, most of the discoveries were made by the Jews. Muslims should try to match their achievements rather than blaming them for everything that the Muslims face.

Just look at the number of Jews winning the Nobel prize. And instead of trying to compete positively, Jakim simply lamented and blamed them for the pathetic condition of the Muslims in relation to knowledge, as well as scientific, technological and academic achievements.

As long as Jakim only spews hatred, the Muslims will forever remain backward.

Let me quote some very important roles that Jakim is supposed to play and they include:
• To build well-established Islamic thinking amongst the people (ummah) based on the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaah
• To lead research efforts on current issues in the field of faith (Aqidah), Islamic law, astronomy and finance (muamalat) at the national, regional and international levels

The goals of achieving the above will come to zero if only hatred is emphasised and all other productive fields are neglected.

At a recent gathering, a federal minister emphasised the need to strengthen harmony among the people and yet a government agency is doing the very opposite.

Now Jakim too supports the decision that the word Allah is only meant for Muslims. Be a true Islamic institution! Be honest and be truthful for Allah has never been the exclusive possession of the Muslims.

Stop pushing the Malaysian Muslims especially the Malay/Muslims into the darkness of religious illiteracy. They will just become the victims of manipulations by the evil Umno Baru.

If the government is really sincere in promoting interfaith and ethnic harmony, then the government will have to act realistically and demand that all its agencies act to achieve that goal. Words must be matched by actions.

It was most heartening therefore to witness an event organised by a very responsible individual, Ally Hazran Hashim, who led a group of Muslims in visiting parishioners and Father George Harrison at the Church of Holy Family in Kajang recently. They handed out oranges, goodies and flowers to the parishioners.

He had this to say about his gesture. “I am practising what my religion taught me. Islam is peace. I believe if you do things with good faith, people will see it in good light. We are creating love.” Bravo and well said, Ally!

Jakim should take a leaf from what this honorable Muslim had done.

Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is a former press secretary to second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the writer of the book, "The Unmaking of Malaysia".

~ The Ant Daily

Will defiant Taib ‘conform’ and kiss Agong’s hand?

February 28, 2014
The author says the act of Sabah and Sarawak Governors kissing the Agong's hand is strictly taboo and the highest insult to the people of these states.
Taib Istana NegaraThe Barisan Nasional-Umno government has been involved in mind control experiments since Malaysia was formed.
Aside from distorting history and imposing this version via schools, they are also using other less obvious ways such as  the “subliminal stimuli” technique.
The scientifcally proven technique  uses any sensory stimuli below individual threshold for conscious perception.
The technique was used extensively after World War 1  especially in the United States and Europe.   For a more detailed review of these ideas please read Gustav La Bon, Edward Barney and Walter Lippmann.
These techniques have since been adopted by the Malaysian authority to indoctrinate the population compelling them to conform to certain ideas.
A good example of the use of ‘subliminal stimuli’ is the general acceptance that Malaysia was established in 1957.
Take a good look at the design of the Malaysia Ringgit note.
Many people have not noticed that the portrait of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong on the ringgit is that of the first Yang Di Pertuan Agong of the Federation of Malaya – not Malaysia.
Malaysia came into being in September 16, 1963
Brainwashing Borneo
The first Yang Di Pertuan Agong of Malaysia is actually Tunku Syed Putra – the Raja of Perlis and not Tunku Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan.
The basic reason for this to delude the people into unconsciously believing that Malaysia was established in 1957.
The other reason is to lull the minds of Sabah and Sarawak citizens into accepting that they “joined” Malaysia.  In actual fact Sabah and Sarawak were independent nations who came together to “form” Malaysia.
No one in Malaysia questions this issue until today.
There are many phrases and symbols which pepper our everyday environment to indirectly reinforce the idea of ‘conforming’ to 1957. These  include the Malaysia crest, placement of Sabah and Sarawak flags, seating arrangements.
The act of Sabah and Sarawak’s TYT kissing the Agong’s hand is strictly taboo and the highest insult to the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
This is critically important especially in the case of Sabah and Sarawak.
Kuala Lumpur may want Sabah and Sarawak to conform to the country’s base point which is 1957 instead of 1963.
We believe this is a concerted effort by Kuala Lumpur to subdue the population in Borneo.
It is a subtle work in progress to manipulate the minds of the Sabah and Sarawak state governments into conforming to the directives of the nerve centre.
These cognitive corruptions is not limited to phrases and symbols, it also permeates into efforts to change the Malaysia Constitution and the respective enactments in Borneo.
Changing title of Governor  
This was especially important after the Kalong Ningkan case in Sarawak – where he won the court case which ceased his tenure as the Chief Minister. The victory while landmarked failed in a state of emergency being declared in Sarawak.
The first neutering of the people’s mind in Sabah and Sarawak was done by changing the title of the head of state – from TYT Yang DiPertua Negara to just Tuan Yang Terutama (TYT).
This change was done in the Sabah Legislative Assembly sitting in 1976 right after the first state election.
The reason then was to standardize the title to that from Malacca and Penang.
The second stage is to create the perception that the Malaysia Constitution is supreme and unquestionable.
It is interesting to note that nothing was mentioned of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 which actually created the Malaysia Constitution – refer to Annex A of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
No one explained that the Malaysia Constitution remains Supreme as long as it is consistent with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Government Committee Report (IGC).
Kuala Lumpur may be able to deceive some of the people of Sabah and Sarawak but certainly they cannot by-pass the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
This is the legal bulwark that has been protecting ignorant Sabahans and Sarawakians all this while.
Kuala Lumpur knows fully well the strength of these defensive walls.
Sarawak defiance
This is perhaps the reason why since 1963 the Malaysia Parliament made about 600 amendments to the Malaysia Constitution. But they still could not circumvent the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
I strongly believe, all their failure in “managing” the country today can be attributed to the strength of this defence.
It is highly likely that the 20 points is part and parcel of this scheme which was extensively raised in 1987 when PBS government was in the opposition.
The purpose was to divert the people’s attention from studying the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Instead  Kuala Lumpur made the 20 points as the base of Sabah’s struggle for their rights.
In this aspect, they were helped by ignorant Sabah leaders.
The Malaysia Agreement 1963 raised the spectra of secession and a possible dis-integrating as a federation whilst the 20 points allowed Sabahans to vent out their anger yet remain docile within the Federation.
To unravel these issues after 50 years is not that simple and easy.  Each step taken may uncover hidden minefields that must be defused before proceeding.
This is the reason the Sarawak defiance led by Taib Mahmud is a historical landmark in the federal – state relations for Sarawak and Sabah.

Zainnal Ajamain is a British-trained economist. He has held several senior positions in the government and government think tanks and has worked as a university lecturer, researcher, stockbroker, economist and has published several papers in international media journals. He helped found non-governmental organisation, the United Borneo Front (UBF), and remains active in politics.
~ Free Malaysia Today

Adenan takes over at the helm as Sarawak’s 5th chief minister

FEBRUARY 28, 2014
The man whose political career was widely seen as dead four years ago was today sworn in as Sarawak's fifth chief minister before the Yang DiPertuan Negeri Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng at the Astana Negeri this morning.
While Tan Sri Adenan Satem, 78, came out of his political deep freeze to assume his new role as the state's chief executive, administering the oath of office was the last official function of Salahuddin, 92, whose tenure as the head of state ends at midnight.
He will be succeeded by Adenan's predecessor and the outgoing chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The by-election could set the benchmark and the tone for Adenan to gauge public mood as he sets his sight on the bigger target – the state election which must be held before June 20, 2016.
Adenan, when he reports to work on Monday, will have to tackle a by-election for the state seat of Balingian – vacated by Taib.
State Barisan Nasional and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi today set the tone of BN's intent to match or better Taib's performance in winning the coastal seat near Mukah in the 2011 state election.
“We are confident about retaining the seat but we don't take anything lightly,” Rundi said after witnessing the swearing-in at Astana Negeri.
“We will work very hard (because) we regard everyone, including the opposition, as very strong.”
Taib won the seat of 11,792 mostly Malay-Melanau voters with a 5,154-vote majority in a three-way contest with the most serious challenge coming from his cousin, Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin, who stood as an independent.
Salleh, a former education minister, garnered 1,056 votes.
PKR, who has been picked by the opposition PR to contest the by-election, fielded a housewife, Suriati Abdullah.
She was trounced, garnering only 871 votes and lost her deposit.
Rundi also said PBB has “more or less” a candidate in mind and would use a soon-to-be-called supreme council meeting to ratify the person’s candidacy.
“There are so many of them but we more or less have someone.”
One of the names often mentioned is Taib's elder son, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib.
When asked after the swearing-in, Abu Bekir said he would serve if called upon.
The front-runner, according to most political analysts, is Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya.
Former agriculture minister Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi, once strongly tipped as favourite, has ruled himself out as a candidate.
Juanda, also courted by PKR, is hot favourite as he is from Mukah.
The 43-year-old was Sarawak deputy mufti before his transfer to Perlis in 2009.
The state seats of Balingian and Dalat come under the Mukah parliamentary constituency.
The office of the chief minister completes the roller-coaster political career of Adenan who won a seat in the state legislative assembly in 1978.
He soon made his mark as a savvy politician by being Taib's point man in encouraging native land owners with large tracts of idle native customary rights (NCR) land to participate in government-sponsored large scale land development when he was the assistant minister and later, minister for land development, between 1985 and 1992.
In 2004, Adenan, who is an avid golfer, crazy about fishing and considers himself an amateur historian, took a step into federal politics when he contested in the general election that year for the parliamentary seat of Batang Sadong.
With the win, he then augmented his political and administrative experience when he was made a minister for natural resources and environment in then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s cabinet.
In a cabinet reshuffle in February 2006, Adenan turned down any post and returned to Sarawak.
That year was a bad one for Adenan because on his return to Sarawak, he had a fallout with Taib – an estrangement that lasted four years.
Despite placing one of the men he had groomed to take over from him in a political limbo, Taib kept faith in him by drawing him back to state politics.
Adenan was asked to contest the new seat of Tanjung Datu in the 2006 state election.
Despite thumping his opponents – an independent and a PKR candidate – to win the seat by moew than 4,000 votes, Taib kept Adenan out of the corridors of power until 2010 when he was appointed special adviser in the Chief Minister's Office.
From there, there was no looking back for Adenan. – February 28, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rights groups reveal documents alleging involvement of Taib, son in lucrative waste deal

FEBRUARY 27, 2014
Two international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) today revealed documents which showed the involvement of outgoing Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (pic) and his son in a lucrative waste disposal agreement signed 15 years ago with a German firm.
The revelation, coming just two days before Taib is expected to take over as the Sarawak governor, contains more incriminating evidence of Taib’s alleged corruption and abuse of power, said the NGOs, Global Witness and The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).
They said the documents disclosed that as part of the deal signed in 1998 between Trienekens and the state government, Trienekens engaged a local company – Sarawak Capital – owned by Taib's eldest son, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, to provide up to US$2 million (RM6.6 million) worth of “consultancy services”.
"While it is a standard practice that the state secretary, on behalf of the chief minister, would represent the government in such a deal, it is unclear why the son of the chief minister would be witnessing a multi-million dollar agreement between the government and a foreign firm," said C4's Cynthia Gabriel.
It was also revealed that the State Secretary Tan Sri Hamid Bugo had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of concessionaire, Sarawak Wastes Management Sdn Bhd, with Trienekens. The agreement was also signed by Mahmud, who acted as a witness to the deal.
"The fact that such large fees were paid to Mahmud's company as part of that agreement appears to be a conflict of interest.”
The NGOs said it was believed that the consultancy fees accorded to Sarawak Capital was at least 16.5% of Trienekens' investment in the joint venture.
The documents stated that Sarawak Capital was engaged as Trienekens’s “exclusive consultant and advisor to assist TG (Trienekens) in the achievement of its responsibilities and obligations in the JVC (joint venture company)".
Experts in the legal field claimed that the contract has the characteristics of a "sham agreement", Global Witness said.
"Specifically, it contains no binding contractual obligations on Sarawak Capital in its 'Scope of Works'. Instead it lists a range of activities whereby Sarawak Capital only 'agrees to offer' services.
"Additionally, the payment is tied to the German firm's proportion of equity in the joint venture rather than based on time costs, personnel involved and other factors."
The experts also noted that there are no standard termination clauses as would be found in normal consultancy agreements.
The only significant binding contractual obligation in the agreement relates to payments due to Sarawak Capital from Trienekens.
“In our view, this agreement bears all the hallmarks of a thinly disguised kickback; it does not appear to commit Sarawak Capital to do anything for this money, and does not seem to make commercial sense,” Gabriel told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Global Witness said it has seen many cases where foreign investors are "obliged" to make payments to politically connected individuals or companies, as a condition upon doing business in the country.
However, Taib's lawyers have countered the allegations, saying that "the particular contract that you appear to refer to was not executed in the terms that you imply".
"Our clients deny receiving any ‘kickback’ and/or corrupt payment, whether amounting to 16.5% of an unknown amount or otherwise… you ignore the fact that what you alleged to be a 16.5% kickback was paid according to contractual project milestones," said London-based law firm Mishcon de Raya, which represents the chief minister.
The lawyers insisted that Sarawak Capital was paid according to the services it rendered, including "conducting feasibility studies, assisting with the operations on the ground and assisting Trienekens to establish itself to its best advantage".
They claimed that the full fee was not paid as "some of the milestones did not happen".
"The agreement you refer to is not a sham agreement, nor is it evidence of corruption or of 'kickbacks', whether disguised or otherwise."
It was also learnt that in 2005, Trienekens’ chief executive officer Hellmut Trienekens was convicted of facilitating millions of euros in bribes to local officials via Switzerland to build a waste incinerator in Cologne, Germany.
"These payments were made in 1999, the year after the Sarawak deal was arranged.
Gabriel called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to interfere and delay Taib's appointment as governor until the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has completed its investigations into the matter.
"There is significant public interest in this case being fully investigated by the MACC," Gabriel said.
"We urge the Najib administration to delay Taib’s ascent to governorship until the matter has been properly examined. Corruption blights the lives of all Malaysians; we need to mobilise and demand that it is rooted out of the government.
It was recently reported that the MACC probe had failed to nail Taib for alleged abuse of power over large tracts of land and logging areas which were given to his relatives as the approvals were made by two senior state ministers.
The MACC investigation papers were opened five years ago as Taib was said to have used his office and position for gratification.
"The team discovered that Taib did not make the decisions to evade running foul of the law but he had delegated his authority on the two ministers who on separate occasions had given the approvals," a source told The Malaysian Insider.
Taib, who served as chief minister for 33 years, announced two weeks ago that he would be stepping down at the end of the month and will be succeeded by Tan Sri Adenan Satem, his former brother-in-law.
He is expected to have an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Shah tomorrow afternoon to receive his credentials as the seventh governor of the state.
Opposition politicians and NGOs have continued to voice their objections to Taib becoming governor, saying Taib was guilty of corruption and exploitation during his 33 years in office.
NGOs have launched an online petition to protest the purported appointment and DAP's Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei had recently filed a writ of summons in the Kuching High Court to restrain Taib from accepting the appointment of Sarawak governor.
Wong said Taib should be restrained from becoming Yang di-Pertua Negeri because the state constitution stated an appointee was prohibited from being actively engaged in business and commercial enterprise.
He also sought a declaration that Taib has violated Article 6(5) during his tenure as chief minister by actively engaging in commercial enterprises.
One of Taib's fiercest critics – the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) – named after a Swiss environmentalist who had “disappeared” in the forest of Sarawak, claimed Taib's family assets are estimated at US$20 billion (RM66.7 billion) and that his family members also hold properties in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The BMF recently called on European governments to halt trade talks with Malaysia if Putrajaya continues to support Taib's bid to become the state's next governor.
It said Malaysia would have to face stern political consequences if it backed Taib as governor. – February 27, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

Selective prosecution – the solution is political, not legal

Aziz Bari
OUTSPOKEN: Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution reads: “The Attorney-General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to initiate, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.”

In a great number of decisions the court has ruled that under the provision the principal legal advisor of the government as well as the chief prosecutor essentially wields “absolute power”. This means that whether or not the office should press charges and under which law is very much its choice. Such a ruling was handed down in a string of cases involving challenges put up against the government on ground of unfairness; e.g. that the office was alleged to have discriminated against government critics and the government chose to do so under a harsher law.

It is to be pointed out that law enforcement – separate from law-making – is the job of the executive or the government of the day. And law enforcement includes prosecuting. The Attorney-General, together with the police force which is part of the public service, is under the executive. This being the case there is no question of breaking the doctrine of separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary. The matter exclusively belongs to the executive.

From the wording of the provision above it is clear that the Constitution gives the government liberty to decide. And while it is quite anomalous to say that such power is absolute, the court nonetheless finds it hard to allow a review. And this is the one thing that has given rise to allegations of selective prosecution; namely that when prosecution is no longer considered something that is done as a matter of course in the normal functioning of prosecution office.

The main reason the government is sometimes accused of putting up selective prosecution is the existence of the right to equal protection of the law under the Constitution. And when only a person or a group of persons is being prosecuted there exists a breach of such right. 
Under the Malaysian Constitution the equal protection right is provided for under Article 8(1). A provision to the same effect is also available under the United States Constitution: the 14th Amendment has made it a duty upon the states to guarantee equal protection to all persons under their jurisdiction.

But like in Malaysia, the claim of selective prosecution has rarely been successful in the United States. Selective prosecution has been defined by the United States Supreme Court as the enforcement of criminal law against a particular class of persons with a mind so unequal and oppressive which violates the notion of equality. Instead of using the objective standard of law the authorities use unjustifiable standard such as race, religion or other arbitrary classification. While the perception of unjust decisions prevails, selective prosecution is difficult to prove and the courts, including in the US, tend to presume that the prosecutor has not violated the equal protection provision under the Constitution. The lack of objective standard on the matter has rendered the problem political rather than purely legal. The matter becomes worse when the system is replete with archaic and undemocratic legislation like in the developing world.

Be that as it may, the power to prosecute symbolises or represents the state. But the trend, especially in the United Kingdom, is to have the power vested in the Director of Public Prosecutions. Although the Attorney-General retains the power to prosecute, the office essentially carries out a mere supervisory role. And as the holder sits in the cabinet, it is not difficult to make the government of the day answerable to parliament.

We used to have Attorney-General who sat in the cabinet, such as Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Yusof and Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah. In those days prosecutions were handled by the Solicitor-General, who is the second person in charge. The practice was discontinued during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s premiership in the early 1980s, starting with Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.

Now whether or not the Attorney-General is a politician and sits in the cabinet admittedly does not solve the problems surrounding the issue of selective prosecution. Nonetheless when the person in charge could be compelled to explain there is a certain amount of control on the way the government exercises the power. Making the Attorney-General part of the cabinet would enable the holder to face questions in parliament. As it is now the Attorney-General is often hiding behind the minister in charge of legal affairs and the latter often fails to explain. Worse the public has to go through a merry go round where none of them seems to have the answer.

Another problem with us is that the power of the Attorney-General is laid down by the Constitution and this makes it difficult to have a change. For one thing we need to have a two-thirds majority to amend the provision. Until and unless the provision is changed we will continue to hit the wall when it comes to the power to prosecute; this is evident when it comes to corruption. Whatever the case, ultimately it is the provision in Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution that reigns supreme.

Dr Abdul Aziz Bari is formerly IIUM law professor who now teaches at Unisel. He is also a Senior Fellow with IDEAS, an independent think tank, and Penang Institute owned by Penang state government.

~ The Ant Daily

'Spendthrift' Najib turns Malaysia into laughing stock

Hazlan Zakaria
QUICK TAKE: To paraphrase AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ tagline for the budget airline, now everyone can laugh at Malaysia, literally.

We really took a tumble down the slippery slope of regional reputation of late, from a once respected rising economy and stable democracy, to a laughing stock that makes headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons.

Most recently we are the butt of jokes in Indonesia, where an article published by online portal named our beloved Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as one of the top five most spendthrift world leaders.

He allegedly joins the ranks of world “luminaries” like Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

All in all, this gives another reason for our neighbours to laugh at us, as if they do not have other reasons to laugh at us already.

The latest dubious distinction comes on the heels of Malaysia being listed as a country with declining press freedom, increasing debts, rising crime, rampant graft and massive illegal money transfers.

Add in Malaysia as the nexus for software piracy, the trafficking of drugs, endangered animals and human trafficking and you complete the unsavoury picture.

What has become of Malaysia under Najib’s watch?

The wave of negative things took place under Najib’s administration, thus ruling out sleeping baggage from former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Perhaps it is apt for Najib to be put on the spot since the undying legacy of the still sarcastic Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seemed far off to.

If this report harks true, one wonders if our PM is too busy spending our money and thinking about his public relations and image, that he fails to govern us wisely.

All the other leaders listed have been shown to openly use public funds for their very private pleasure.

Mugabe reportedly splurged millions for his 90th birthday celebration, Berlusconi spared no expense for gifts to artistes, Netanyahu poured millions into scented candles and flowers for his office, while Kim’s excesses are the object of a recent UN special report.

The article itself quoted Malaysian weekly The Heat and online portal Free Malaysia Today, listing the extravagant expenditures incurred by Najib, his entourage, plus spouse and the trappings of his office as well as the public relation consultants he feted.

~ The Ant Daily

S’wak Speaker accepts Taib’s resignation

February 27, 2014
Incoming CM Adenan Satem will be deciding whether or not to have a by-election in Balingian constituency.
Datuk-Amar-Mohd-Asfia-Awang-NassarKUCHING:  Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has resigned as assemblyman for Balingian.
This was confirmed today by  Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nasar during a press coneference.
Asfia said the letter was dated Feb 26 and is effective from tomorrow.
Balingian, which is in the Mukah parliamentary constituency, is now officially poised for a by-election.
Speaking at a short press conference here today, Asfia said he would write to the Election Commission officially informing them about Taib’s resignation from the Balingian seat.
“It will be up to the EC to decide on the polling and nomination dates,” he said.
But Taib, who has held the seat since 2001 after moving from Asajay which he represented since 1981,  told newsmen yesterday that it was upto incoming CM Adenan Satem to decide if a by-election will be held.
“I will not interfere,” he said.
Taib will also step down from his post as CM tomorrow after helming Sarawak for 33 years. He is the country’s longest serving chief minister.
He is to assume the post of Sarawak’s seventh governor. Under the state’s constitution, the Yang Di Pertua Negri is not allowed to hold any office.
This means that he will also have to resign from his post as president of Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Umno’s equivalent in Sarawak.
EC to meet on Mar 6
Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) is to convene a special meeting on March 6 to discuss the Balingian state seat to be vacated by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud tomorrow.
The meeting, scheduled to begin at 10 am at the EC headquarters in Putrajaya, would be chaired by EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, said EC secretary Abdul Ghani Salleh.
A news conference would be held after the meeting, he said in a statement.
Abdul Ghani said the EC was notified officially yesterday by the speaker of the Sarawak legislative assembly that the Balingian seat would be vacated by Abdul Taib tomorrow.
~ Free Malaysia Today

Probe Musa over RM40 million timber donation fund, PKR tells graft body

FEBRUARY 27, 2014

Following yesterday’s conviction of businessman Michael Chia for cheating, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should now investigate Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who was previously linked to Chia over corruption and money-laundering involving Sabah timber, a PKR lawmaker said today.
Rafizi Ramli (pic), who is PKR strategy director, said MACC must now investigate if there was any connection to previous claims of a RM40 million fund linked to donations from timber companies.
"With this conviction, MACC should reopen investigations into Datuk Seri Musa Aman in the RM40 million case tied to donations from timber companies based on evidence of the transfer of monies involving Chia."
Musa’s alleged link to Chia first surfaced in the media two years ago, following an article in the whistleblower site Sarawak Report, which claimed Chia was caught trying to leave the Hong Kong International Airport with RM40 million in Singapore dollars.
Chia had claimed the money was for Umno.
Rafizi said that MACC and Hong Kong's anti-graft authority, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, had provided information that there was indeed a transfer of RM40 million but did not pursue the case as corruption as it was said to be a donation for Sabah Umno.
"The guilty conviction against Michael Chia raises the question of who was behind it, since he does not have any government post and also does not have the authority to issue any logging permits.
"Yet, the fact that he could collect monies from these timber companies gave the impression that the companies knew that Chia was a middleman for certain parties who had the power to influence the awarding of timber permits," Rafizi said.
The Pandan MP also said that Chia's conviction was a “slap on the face” for Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, who was said to have had links with the businessman, especially after it was exposed that Nazri's son had used Chia's luxury car.
"What more when  Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had declared in Parliament that there was no element of corruption in the cases involving Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Michael Chia," he added.
As such, Rafizi called on MACC to go after the big fish involved in this case as well.
"Otherwise, MACC will always be seen as going after small fry and letting the big fish get away."
Chia was found guilty yesterday by the Sandakan Sessions Court of attempted cheating in a deal over a timber operation and sentenced to a year's jail and ordered caned for a RM2.5 million attempted cheating case 10 years ago. – February 27, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

Ex-parte bid filed to stop Taib's governorship

3:39PM Feb 26, 2014

The ex-parte application to stop Abdul Taib Mahmud from becoming Yang di-Pertua Negri of Sarawak (governor) will be heard tomorrow morning at the High Court in Kuching.

The application was filed this morning by Sarawak DAP Youth leader and Padungan state assemblyperson Wong King Wei.

Yesterday, he filed a writ of summons to stop the outgoing chief minister from becoming governor.

Wong (right) wanted the court to stop Abdul Taib, who is expected to resign as chief minister this Friday, from taking office as Yang di-Pertua Negri Sarawak on reasons that he might violate Article 2(2) of the state constitution, pending the full and final disposal of the main action herein.

He is also seeking costs, as well as further interim orders and reliefs that the court deems just and necessary, pending the disposal of the application herein and pending the disposal of the main action.

Wong said that the grounds of this application are inter alia as follows:
  • that the defendant was, and is at all material times, actively engage in commercial enterprise and the defendant’s acceptance on the appointment as Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak violates Article 2(2) of the state constitution;
  • that through various recent press announcements, particularly on Feb 12 and Feb 21, 2014, the defendant has publicly stated that if he is to be appointed as the next Yang di-Pertua Negri of Sarawak, he will be available to accept and/or will accept the appointment;
  • that there is high and real possibility that the Defendant will accept the appointment as Yang di-Pertua Negri of Sarawak, in violation of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak;
  • that the appointment of the defendant as Yang di-Pertua Negri of Sarawak will affect and prejudice the constitutional rights of the plaintiff and the citizens of Sarawak; and
  • Other grounds as stated in his affidavit.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, Switzerland, non-governmental organisations in Europe are planning to urge the European Union and the European Free Trade Association to stall trade talks with Malaysia if the federal government should be backing Abdul Taib to become governor of Sarawak.
~ Malaysiakini