Saturday, June 17, 2017

DOJ what? English, Malay dailies bury US 1MDB expose

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Malaysians who still don't get their news online may be blissfully unaware of the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) allegations related to 1MDB, if the front pages of major English and Malay dailies today are all they rely on.

The mainstream English and Malay papers this morning focused instead on the tragedies involving the deaths of bullied teen T Nhaveen and two Royal Malaysian Airforce pilots.

Utusan Malaysia, however, did allocate some front page space for a summary of a slew of denials against the DOJ's claims.

In contrast, the front pages of Chinese papers Sin Chew Daily, China Press, and Nanyang Siang Pau all focused on the DOJ's allegations.

Sin Chew's front page had one half headlined "DOJ: 1MDB assets were misappropriated, RM7.2 billion to be seized" and the other "PM's press secretary: Deeply concerned that US has an ulterior motive".

Meanwhile if you actually open and flip through the English and Malay papers, you would find articles on attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali; Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad all decrying the DOJ allegations.

Some papers also carried 1MDB's denial, while the New Straits Times, Utusan and Berita Harian carried an additional report about NGO Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) lodging a police report on the matter.

Reading the articles, however, does not reveal any details on what exactly the DOJ is claiming.

The only exceptions were Sinar Harian and The Star.

Sinar Harian listed out all the assets the DOJ wants to seize, while The Star had a basic summary that the DOJ's latest suit sought to seize US$540 million in assets.

No Jho Low, Mrs MO1 mentioned

None of the Malay and English dailies Malaysiakini reviewed mentioned Penang-born tycoon Jho Low or Malaysian Official 1's (MO1) wife.

The DOJ on Thursday filed a third set of civil forfeiture suits involving 1MDB, aiming to seize an additional US$540 million in allegedly ill-gotten assets, which brings the total amount sought to US$1.7 billion.
The new lawsuits revealed startling information, including how US$620 million which MO1 purportedly returned to his "Arab donor" was later used to purchase diamonds for the figure's wife.
In response to the suits, Apandi yesterday expressed concern at DOJ's "insinuations" of criminal wrongdoing against Najib.

Tengku Sariffuddin meanwhile accused the DOJ of having ulterior motives, while 1MDB claimed the filing was not backed by evidence.

Salleh meanwhile blamed the opposition for the filing, and described it as an act of "treason".

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