Thursday, July 31, 2014

Najib, Pak Lah and Mahathir also named in banknote graft case, says WikiLeaks


Published: 30 July 2014 
Mahathir (2nd left) and Najib are both named in the injunction obtained by the Australian government which bars Australian media from reporting on a case involving the payment of bribes to secure currency printing contracts in Malaysia. - The Malaysian Insider pic, July 30, 2014.





















Mahathir (2nd left) and Najib are both named in the injunction obtained by the Australian government which bars Australian media from reporting on a case involving the payment of bribes to secure currency printing contracts in Malaysia. - The Malaysian Insider pic, July 30, 2014.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his two predecessors and several former ministers have been named in the gag order obtained by the Australian government that censors the media there from reporting about a multi-million dollar corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, whistleblower website WikiLeaks revealed today.
The case involves the Reserve Bank of Australia's subsidiary companies Securency and Note Printing Australia.
Employees from both companies are alleged to have bribed foreign officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam from 1999 to 2004 to win banknote printing contracts. 
Besides Najib, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin were among prominent Malaysian politicians named in the injunction.

Also named were former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and former foreign affairs minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

It also included a sister–in-law of Abdullah, who is identified only as Noni in the injunction.

WikiLeaks had managed to obtain a copy of the super injunction order, which had been granted to prevent damage to Australia's international relations.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the orders had been made on the grounds that it was necessary to prevent prejudice to the interests of the Commonwealth in relation to national security.

"The orders were deemed necessary to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice that cannot be prevented by other reasonably available means."

Assange had criticised the Australian government for obtaining the super injunction, accusing them of gagging and blindfolding the Australian public.

"This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due," Assange said.

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the government."

The bribery allegations first surfaced in 2009, which at the time prompted Australian Federal Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to begin separate probes.

In 2010, the MACC detained three individuals linked to the supply of RM5 polymer notes following a report that Securency had offered bribes to officials in Malaysia.

All three, including a businessman, were charged with taking RM11.3 million to secure the contract from Bank Negara Malaysia and to ensure that the government of Malaysia opted for the polymer notes.

Abdullah, who is popularly known as Pak Lah, had in 2011, denied allegations that the two Australian firms attempted to bribe him for a RM100 million Malaysian currency contract during his tenure as prime minister.

The attempt is believed to be related to the deal to supply the RM5 polymer notes that began circulating in 2004. – July 30, 2014.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najib-pak-lah-and-mahathir-also-named-in-banknote-graft-case-injunction-say#sthash.b9BRWa5u.dpuf

Probe role of M’sian PMs in banknote graft case

12:56PM Jul 31, 2014



COMMENT The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), is profoundly appalled at the revelations by WikiLeaks on a gag order and super injunction invoked by the Australian government on a multi-million dollar international banknote graft case, involving the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), with no less than three generations of Malaysian prime ministers mentioned.

This case came to light following leaks on Australia’s gag order on allegations of multi-million dollar inducements to officials in Malaysia and other countries made by subsidiaries of RBA, Securency and Note Printing Australia, in the supply of RM5 polymer notes.

The injunction prohibits the naming of 17 individuals who include the current and past heads of states in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and senior officials.

In the case of Malaysia, the report quotes former prime minister Dr Mahathir Muhammad (right), Abdullah Badawi and current Premier Najib Razak, potentially making this one of the top corruption scandals of all time.

Australia claimed that the court injunction invoked “national security” grounds to prevent negative media reports about the case in a bid to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”.

This follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

While Australia’s attempt at covering up this corruption scandal must be condemned, the significance of whistleblowing has shown itself yet again as a key graft busting element, and how much whistle blowers like Julian Assange (right) deserve due protection instead of being chastised and purged.

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) must be immediately invoked to pressure international investigations and cooperation on this case.

Australia and Malaysia who are both signatories to the convention must lead by example and ensure that this scandal, multi country and international in nature be given the public scrutiny it deserves via provisions in the UNCAC.

 The UNCAC very specifically says that states parties are obliged to assist each other in cross- border criminal matters. This includes gathering and transferring evidence of corruption for use in court. Cooperation in criminal matters is necessary, in fighting corruption across borders.

'No stone unturned'

The Malaysian government must assure its people that no stone is left unturned in seeking for answers.

As such C4 urges for:
  1. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to immediately reopen the case, and investigate the latest information as reported by Wikileaks.

    Although Director of Aksavest Sdn Bhd, (an intermediary company) Abdul Kayum Ahmad was charged for having corruptly given a bribe of RM50,000 to Muhammad Daud bin Dol Moin (Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia), to win banknote printing contracts, it has become evident that higher hands are involved and this merits a revisit of the case.
     
  2. An independent body to initiate fresh investigations into the roles of the three premiers mentioned in the gag order. After all Abdullah Badawi had denied receiving bribes from two Australian firms during his tenure in 2011.

    This must be thoroughly scrutinised and commitments made that information is not muzzled, and Malaysians are not kept blindfolded over the possible wrongdoings of our leaders.
     
  3. For the Malaysian government and Bank Negara to make public the full deal between the RBA and Malaysian companies involved.

    The names of companies involved and the persons involved in dealing with Securency, who won the banknote contracts in Malaysia in 1998 and 2004.
     


CYNTHIA GABRIEL is director of the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4).

- See more at: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/270235#sthash.D5mrDnZI.dpuf

Why bother with delineation?

12:00PM Jul 31, 2014

Electoral delineation or delimitation in Malaysia is a highly politicised exercise as the end result is about which parties get their political position strengthened or weakened.

One stark example is the result of a 2002 delineation exercise that contributed to Barisan Nasional (BN)’s thumping majority of 199 seats out of 219 seats (90.9 percent) and a popular vote at 63.9 percent. This means BN got 142 percent of their rightful share.

Violation of the ‘one person, one vote, one value’ principle

This happened because electoral delineation created un-leveling the playing field in favour of the ruling coalition.

It has created incredible seat-vote disproportionality and undermined the fundamental principle of ‘one person, one vote, one value’ for representation democracy, where voters are supposedly able to elect their representatives in a fair manner to represent their interests. This principle is paramount because it underlines political equality of every voting citizen, and without political equality, there can be no democracy.

But, how do we identify, measure and prevent the violation of this cardinal principle? There are two ways.

Malpportionment - disparity across constituencies

Most people cast their eyes on the disparity across constituencies, technically known as ‘malapportionment’. The logic is simple: if Constituency A elects a parliamentarian with less voters than Constituency B, then voters in Constituency A have greater power than voters in Constituency B. The larger the difference, the greater the unfairness.

Malaysians are not unfamiliar with ‘malapportionment’, and until recently it is often called wrongly as ‘gerrymandering’. Most can cite the extreme examples of Kapar having more than 140,000 voters and Putrajaya having only nearly 16,000 voters, nearly 10 times the difference in the last election. The more savvy ones may point to the ridiculous disparity between mountainous Baling (72,387 voters) and state capital Alor Setar (56,007) after the 2003 redelineation.

In an ideal world, every constituency should have exactly the same size, but this may not be possible in reality as constituency boundary may be constrained by administrative, physical or human boundaries. Absolute equal apportionment may result in very odd-shaped and possibly meaningless constituencies which impair representation, similar to the outcome of ‘gerrymandering’.

In other words, ‘malapportionment’ may not necessarily be deliberate and malicious but it is nevertheless bad for democracy.

The greater the degree of malapportionment, the worse it is. To strike a balance between equal apportionment and representative boundaries, the international best practices on redelineation propose not one single electorate size for all constituencies, but a reasonable range for deviation from the average, or what is technically called ‘electoral quotient’. For example, Europe’s Venice Commission proposes a 10 percent band for normal circumstances and a 15 percent in the extreme.

Seat-vote disproportionality - disparity across parties


What most people may have overlooked is the disparity across parties, what is called seat-vote disproportionality. While malapportionment can be known before election, seat-vote disproportionality can only be known after an election.

How bad is it then in the last general election?

From Table 1, we can tell that BN won 1.26 times of its rightful seat share, while Pakatan Rakyat won only 0.79 times - that’s the very reason why Pakatan loses power despite winning the mandate. In particular, PKR and PAS won only 0.66 and 0.64 times of their rightful seat share, greatly disadvantaged. In contrast, DAP was slightly over-represented at 1.09 times as its votes were more concentrated.



At Bersih Delineation Action Research Team (DART) training, we use the analogy of money. If a vote is equivalent to a bank note of RM1, and RM 1 can buy you a kg of sugar; then BN walked into a shop with RM1 and walked away with 1.26kg of sugar, while PAS got just barely half a kilogram.

Divide the vote value of BN by each of the opposition parties, we get the relative value of a BN vote to the vote of the latters. A BN vote is 1.19 times of a DAP vote, 1.91 times of a PKR vote, a 1.98 votes of a PAS votes and 1.59 times of a Pakatan Rakyat vote.

Was this bad? Quite the contrary, the GE13 delivered the fairest result in history.



Table 2 was calculated in a similar manner to Table 1. Look at the 2004 election which we discuss in the beginning of this article, a vote for BN was 26 times in weight to a vote for Keadilan. Why? The opposition parties won some 8 percent of votes but only one seat in the 219-seat Parliament.

Was that the worst case? No. In 1986, PAS won some 15 percent of votes but only one seat in the Parliament with 177 seats then. So, one vote for BN was equivalent to 40 votes for PAS!

The underestimated danger - gerrymandering

What caused the stark seat-vote disproportionality which practically made our elections a scam? One culprit is of course ‘malapportionment’ which has been creating generally smaller constituencies to be won by BN. The other greatly under-understood and under-estimated cause is ‘gerrymandering’.

Gerrymandering means drawing constituency boundaries to deliberately advantage some parties and disadvantage some others. And this can be done independently of malapportionment.
Graphic 1 shows a hypothetical country of 100 voters divided into two equal-sized constituencies. Voters are divided between the Red camp and the White camp, with a 56:44 edge to the reds.

Before the redelineation (left), the Reds will carry Constituency X and the white Constituency Y. Using the same way we calculate the GE13, the vote value of Red is 50/56 or 0.89 while that of White is 50/44 or 1.13, which is the fairest one can get.

Now with a skillful gerrymandering (right), the voters’ pattern change drastically. Both Constituencies X and Y now have 28 reds and 22 whites. So, Red will now win both seats, resulting in a vote value of 1.79 for Red and 0 for White.

This is the danger of focusing on only malapportionment and ignoring gerrymandering in redelineation.

Are there alternatives?

Can the obsene degree of seat-vote disproportionality of 1986 or 2004 replay in the next election after another round of redelineation? Of course, unless we find the way to stop the rape of elections by none other than the Election Commission.

But how? The People’s Tribunal, carried out in September 2013, recommended the establishment an independent and objective boundaries commission to review and make recommendations to draw the boundaries of electoral constituencies rather than leave this task to the Election Commission.

Members of the boundaries commission will have to be independent and multi-partisan which includes civil societies, political parties, professionals and academicians who have expertise in boundaries delineation or electoral processes.

But realistically to have such an independent Boundary Commission will almost be impossible under BN.

Hope is however not lost. The federal constitution provides a process for public intervention into the redelineation process, but made too technical for understanding.

To break the Election Commission’s technical and informational edge, Bersih 2.0 and Engage, a citizen group based in Johor Baru, have launched a bottom-up initiative called DART. It provides digital tools for easy usage.

This will be a flagship project of Bersih 2.0 in preparation for the 14th general election. We strongly believe, ordinary people, like you and me, must be allowed to take part in re-drawing our constituency boundaries to reflect our local ties, rights, and interests.



MARIA CHIN ABDULLAH is the chairperson for the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) and the executive director of Empower. She believes politicians are bad masters if not made good servants through free, fair and competitive elections.

- See more at: http://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/270224#sthash.u1KNRx61.dpuf

Sunday, July 27, 2014

UCAPAN BARU BIAN SEMPENA HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI 2014


Salam sejahtera,
Pada perayaan yang bermakna ini, saya ingin mengambil kesempatan untuk mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua penganut Islam khususnya yang berada di Sarawak. Perayaan ini sinonim dengan hari meraikan kemenangan setelah sebulan berpuasa di bulan ramadhan. Maka, saya berharap perayaan ini diraikan dengan penuh rasa kegembiraan atas tanda kesyukuran ke atas kurniaan-Nya. Saya juga berharap negara kita akan terus dirahmati dan diberkati Tuhan yang Maha Esa.
            Pada baru-baru ini, kita diberi dugaan yang begitu besar dengan berlakunya tragedi MH 17. Dalam menghadapi saat yang genting buat negara kita, sebagai rakyat Malaysia kita haruslah bersatu padu dan berganding-bahu dalam mengharungi ujian yang getir buat negara tercinta kita. Marilah kita semua menjadikan tragedi ini sebagai suatu peringatan untuk sentiasa menjalani kehidupan dengan penuh rasa kesyukuran. Sesungguhnya segala kemewahan yang kita nikmati adalah  kurniaan-Nya dan setiap dugaan mempunyai hikmah, kita perlu sentiasa berpegang teguh dengan ajaran agama supaya tidak terpesong dari jalan yang benar. Dalam bulan syawal ini juga, amalan bersedekah amat ditekankan. Bak kata pepatah, “berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing”, amalan ini sememangnya harus dipraktikkan kerana rezeki itu perlu dikongsikan dengan mereka yang memerlukan.
Saudara dan saudari,
            Di negara kita, setiap perayaan termasuklah Hari Raya Aidilfitri bukanlah perayaan semata-mata tetapi merupakan sebuah wadah bagi mengeratkan silaturahim antara satu sama lain kerana perayaan ini turut disambut oleh golongan bukan melayu. Sebagai warganegara Malaysia, kita haruslah menghargai dan meraikan kepelbagaian yang unik ini agar rakyat Malaysia boleh terus hidup dalam keamanan. Kita perlu sentiasa bertindak dengan berpaksikan fikiran yang melepasi sempadan perkauman. Sudah tiba masanya kita membuang segala perasaan syak wasangka sesama kita bak kata pepatah, “ambil yang jernih, buang yang keruh”. Cukuplah dengan sentimen perkauman yang dimainkan oleh pihak-pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab, jangan pula sampai keamanan negara dipertaruhkan. Maka, dengan ini saya menyeru semua agar mengambil kesempatan di bulan yang mulia ini untuk ziarah-menziarahi jiran tertangga bagi menyemarakkan lagi semangat perpaduan dalam diri kita.
            Akhir kata, kita harus sentiasa belajar dari sejarah hitam bagi membina semula dan memperkukuhkan menara kedamaian agar Malaysia akan terus gah perkasa dalam relung jiwa rakyatnya. Maka, di hari yang mulia ini, marilah kita sama-sama berdoa agar keamanan yang kita nikmati pada hari ini akan berpanjangan dan berkekalan.
Dengan ini, saya mengakhiri ucapan saya dengan sekali lagi mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Minal Aidil Walfaizin. Maaf zahir dan batin.

Baru Bian
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan


Saturday, July 26, 2014

BARU BIAN: PR SHOULD LOOK BEYOND HUDUD ISSUE


25 JULY 2014
PRESS STATEMENT

Firstly, let me say to our PR supporters how sorry I am about the widespread anxieties and anger amongst them this week that the PR looked to be on the verge of breaking down, with the DAP threatening to pull out of the coalition. Everyone should rest assured that we will do our utmost to ensure that the PR coalition remains intact and that our differences be worked out amongst ourselves.

On PKR’s part, I have made our stand on hudud very clear, that it should not be implemented in Sarawak. More importantly, the Chief Minister had, on 15 May 2014, in the Dewan Undangan Negeri declared that hudud will not be implemented in Sarawak. This announcement received widespread coverage in the news, and it was also reported that YB CJ Chong stood up to support the Chief Minister’s stand.

The Chief Minister that day spoke as the Chairman of BN Sarawak and the leader of the government with 54 state assemblymen on his side. More significantly, he spoke as a Malay leader. The Chief Minister’s word on this issue should be good enough for us. In my view, it is unnecessary to ‘flog a dead horse’ when we should be focusing on other issues affecting the people.

Our Chief Minister is the only BN leader who has declared that hudud will not be implemented in our state. In this regard, we are so much better off than the other states in Peninsula Malaysia. My only reservation, of course, is that MAIS and JAIS have yet to state their stand as to whether they are behind the Chief Minister on this.

The injudicious threat by DAP Sarawak arose from events in the nation’s capital. Hudud is essentially a national issue. It would have been more appropriate for the leaders in state DAP to privately petition their party leaders to persuade PAS national leaders to change their stance instead of playing up the issue here, knowing full well that the local PAS leaders are unable to depart from their party positions.

I will be the first to admit that as a non-Muslim, I probably do not fully understand the significance of hudud to the Muslims although I realise that hudud is central to Islamic values. I do try to, where the opportunity arises. For instance, my junior lawyers and I attended the seminar on hudud that was organised recently by the Islamic Information Centre to improve our understanding of hudud so that we are better equipped to engage in any discussions that may arise on the matter. For us to demand that PAS members announce publicly that they reject the notion of hudud is rather illogical and insensitive to our partner’s positions. Bearing in mind our strong stance that Malaysians of other faiths be accorded their constitutional rights to practice the religion of their choice, we must accordingly respect the rights of Muslims to observe and uphold their Islamic values.

Another factor to consider is that the two-party system is already in place after years of hard-fought battles by the PR coalition. Because of this, Malaysians finally have a real possibility of changing government. People are seeing the PR coalition as a viable alternative – 51% voted for us, after all, in the 2013 General Elections. With the threat of DAP Sarawak pulling out of PR, we are risking the collapse of the whole PR coalition nationwide and laying waste to the efforts of so many of our leaders, including their great statesman the late Karpal Singh. What is there to stop other state PR component parties from doing the same, if DAP Sarawak carries out its threat?

Even if the national PR remains intact should DAP Sarawak withdraw from PR, where will that leave them? The national DAP will still be with PR but not the state DAP? It is a certainty that the state BN will point out the awkward position the leadership of DAP Sarawak is in, that they are still in the PR coalition and working with PAS. Will the DAP Sarawak then have to cut the umbilical cord linking them with the national DAP?

It has already been announced many times by our national leaders that hudud is not in the agenda of the PR coalition, even if it is a PAS aspiration. We cannot escape from the fact that this is one of the core aims of PAS. Hudud has been on their agenda since 1994 when the Kelantan State Assembly passed it into law. At that time, the PR coalition had not been formed. Clinging on to the issue like a dog with a bone and harping about it is doing no favours for anyone, unless it is a political strategy that DAP Sarawak leadership in their wisdom have formulated, in which case, we stand to be advised.

In my considered view, it is better that the PR component parties focus on the many issues which are more relevant to the people, and continue to bring our message of change to the ground. Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim has just unveiled our 7 heads of promises for Sarawak – we should be concentrating on these positive issues and preparing for the forthcoming state elections instead of wasting our energy bickering about the hudud issue, which for Sarawak, should be a non-issue.

Once again, I assure our loyal friends and supporters that we will not let this incident cause the breakup of a relationship built up over a long period by the efforts of so many. Pakatan Rakyat Sarawak will remain intact and we will continue our quest to fight for a better Sarawak for Sarawakians.

I wish our Muslim friends Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

BARU BIAN
CHAIRMAN
PKR SARAWAK


Global NGOs tell Malaysia to sign Rome Statute

11:40AM Jul 25, 2014
MH17 Bangkok-based Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) says it has been advocating tirelessly for Malaysia to ratify the Rome Statute.

It added that had Malaysia done so, it could easily refer the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 to an international accountability mechanism.

The regional coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Coalition of the CICC, Amielle Del Rosario, said the coalition has worked for years supporting local partners, such as the Bar Council, to raise awareness that Malaysia has nothing to fear from becoming a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"Indeed, there has been great hope, especially since 2011, that Malaysia will soon ratify the Rome Statute and our regular engagement with the government has been positive with it continuing to reiterate its commitment to the principles and the establishment of the CICC," Del Rosario (right) said in an email interview with Malaysiakini.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court established the ICC, which was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998, and the ICC entered into force on July 1, 2002.

The ICC established four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, all of which “shall not be subject to any statute of limitations”.

Downing of MH17 'a war crime'

Yesterday, Malaysian Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairperson Andrew Khoo said the downing of the Flight MH17 at the Russian-Ukraine border on the night of July 17 could be deemed a war crime.

Pointing out relevant sections of the Rome Statute, Khoo said these could be helpful in nailing the perpetrators who shot down the Boeing 777 aircraft, killing all 298 on board, including 15 crew members and many children.

Khoo (right) said this in response to PKR Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who urged Malaysia to speedily sign the Rome Statute so that the incident of the ill-fated MH17 could be taken to the ICC to seek justice for the victims and their families.

Meanwhile, the New-York based Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) said if Malaysia and Ukraine were state parties to the ICC, the Rome Statute would have applied, as the alleged shooting down of MH17 was committed in both the territories - the sky under Ukrainian jurisdiction and the aircraft, which is the extended national territory under Malaysian jurisdiction.

ICC cannot automatically launch probe

However, the ICC cannot automatically launch a full-fledged investigation, as "intent and knowledge" are required to prove a case to be a war crime for it to be taken up under Article 30 of the Rome Statute, PGA secretary-general David Donat Cattin said.

"But if intent and knowledge on the part of the alleged perpetrator(s) can be proven, then I am sure that such an horrible crime can be brought to justice as it not only may constitute a war crime, but also endanger general interest and public good, which is the safety of international civilian aviation," Cattin said.

"Hopefully, the relevant investigations carried out by non-judicial bodies will not end up in finding out that this was a 'tragic mistake of fact'.

"Such a finding would become a tragedy within the tragedy," he said.

Cattin (left) said PGA is determined to continue to work with Malaysian MPs, from both government and opposition, to bring about a successful ICC process in the country.

“It was a parliamentary question of Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran in April 2010 that caused then law minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz to decide to come to Kampala and participate in the 6th Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the Rule of Law,” Cattin said.

He said PGA held the Asia-Pacific ICC Parliamentary Conference in Kuala Lumpur in March 2011 and that in April that year, the Malaysian cabinet agreed in principle to ratify the Rome Statute.

However, the process has stalled because Parliament must adopt a domestic legislation to implement the Rome Statute into Malaysia law, before the cabinet can ratify the instrument, Cattin said.

“Until now, the Attorney-General's Chambers has not produced the required draft to be approved by cabinet for sending to Parliament,” he added in an email interview with Malaysiakini.
~ Malaysiakini