Update ‘Don’t meddle in Johor affairs’: Sultan after PM Mahathir says he will pick new chief minister

‘Don’t meddle in Johor affairs’: Sultan after PM Mahathir says he will pick new chief minister


JOHOR BAHRU: The Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Iskandar on Wednesday (Apr 10) hit out at what he believed was interference in the southern state’s affairs, amid a lack of consensus over the nomination process for a new chief minister following the resignation of Mr Osman Sapian.

The ruler’s remarks came after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the appointment of a new chief minister will be decided by the party which won the elections and not the royal family.

In a Facebook post, the sultan said that he is out of the country but following developments closely.

“I want certain parties to stop making so much noise and quarrel about politics, and to focus on taking care of the country instead,” he wrote.

He added: “As for Johor, don’t meddle in the state’s affairs because this sovereign state still has a sultan.”

“I will make the best decision for my people when the time comes.”

This drew a sharp response from the prime minister.

“I am of the opinion that if we assume that those who chose PMs and chief ministers were the monarchs, we will no longer be a democratic country anymore,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.

“We would be a country with an absolute monarchy.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/johor-sultan-meddle-state-affairs-mahathir-chief-minister-11429966



The role of appointing the new Johor Menteri Besar lies with the party that won the election, not with the Sultan of Johor, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday (April 10).

“It will take some time to appoint an acting Menteri Besar of Johor. We will try to appoint one as soon as possible.”

“We have a few candidates we have to trace; very quickly, we will find him,” said Tun Dr Mahathir.

When pressed if it was the Sultan of Johor who would be appointing the MB or acting MB, Dr Mahathir said: “This is a political decision.”

He did not confirm if Johor exco member Sahruddin Jamal from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was among the candidates for the post.

“I do not know,” said Dr Mahathir,

who was speaking to the media after opening the 15th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum.

Lawyer Ahmad Solehin Abd Ghani, however, has contradicted the prime minister, saying the Johor Sultan has the absolute right to appoint a Menteri Besar under the Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor 1895, or the Johor State Constitution. 


“Under Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor, Item 3 (1), it is stated that the Sultan has the absolute right in appointing the Menteri Besar where in the issue of appointing, His Majesty does not have to act on advice from any quarters, ” said Mr Solehin in a Facebook post.

“However, through ‘convention’, parties that won would send several names as Menteri Besar candidate to Johor Sultan for His Majesty’s consideration where, in this matter, Pakatan Harapan should send the names,” said Mr Solehin.

His post was shared by the Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim via his official Facebook page on Wednesday.

Breaking his silence over the row, Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, who is currently overseas, said he wants “certain quarters to stop making noise and fighting about politics and focus on efforts to take care of the nation instead”

“I will make the best decision for the people when the time comes,” Sultan Ibrahim said

in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

Johor MB Osman Sapian resigned from his post on Monday. Following that, Dr Mahathir said the replacement must come from Bersatu.

Dr Sahruddin, the state Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman, is widely regarded as the front runner, but it is understood that the other Pakatan Harapan parties have also nominated their assemblymen for the post.

On Tuesday,  Tunku Ismail had tweeted that he hoped the new Menteri Besar would not be a “yes man” to Putrajaya.

“The welfare of the people and well-being of the state must always be a priority,” he wrote in his official Twitter account, adding that a decree to change the Menteri Besar had been ongoing for a while.

“But somebody else is taking the credit and mileage, claiming that he ordered it.”

“His Majesty (Sultan Ibrahim) has reviewed to change the Menteri Besar months ago,” said Tunku Ismail.

He added that the appointment of the Johor Menteri Besar was the absolute right of the state Ruler.

I hope the new Menteri Besar is not a “yes man” of Putrajaya. The welfare of the people and well being of the state must always be a priority.

HRH Crown Prince of Johor

via Sultan doesn’t decide who Johor’s next Menteri Besar will be, party that won election will: Mahathir, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times


Malaysia firm on repeal of Anti-Fake News Act, Dr Mahathir – AsiaOne


Malaysia stands firm over repeal of Anti-Fake News Act: Mahathir – ASIA ONE

Malaysia will stick by its decision to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act and will not follow its neighbor Singapore in bid to tackle “online falsehoods”.

While acknowledging that fake news can be damaging, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the onus is on the country and its people to manage the spread of such material.

“We made a promise to the people that we would do away with the Anti-Fake News law. That is what the people wanted and we respect the people who voted us into power.

“We understand how social media can be abused. For us, that means we have to learn how to handle fake news,”

said Dr Mahathir in a question-and-answer session during a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong here Tuesday (April 9).

The press conference was held following Lee’s visit to Putrajaya as part of the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Annual Retreat.

Both leaders were asked for their comments on Singapore’s proposed Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (Pofma).

Dr Mahathir added that having such a law would open it for abuse by the government.

“When you have a law to prevent people from airing views, then we are afraid that the government itself may abuse it, as has happened in the past.

“We do not want any government, whether this or the next one, to abuse such law.

“It (fake news) may be difficult to handle, but we can accept the challenge and will handle it,” said Dr Mahathir.

Lee defended his government’s decision to introduce the Bill, despite criticisms from groups such as Reporters Without Borders.

“It is not just Singapore who is legislating this. France and Germany have done it. Australia introduced something similar and very draconian. Singapore has had to do it, and we have deliberated it for almost two years.

“I am not surprised Reporters Without Borders have criticized it, as they have criticized many things about Singapore’s media management.

“But what we have done has worked in Singapore, and it is our objective to continue to do things which will work for Singapore,” said Lee.

The Anti-Fake News Act was passed in April during the previous administration.

The present Pakatan Harapan government then pushed for a repeal for the Act in Parliament.

Although the repeal was passed in the Dewan Rakyat, it was rejected by the Dewan Negara in September.


via Malaysia stands firm over repeal of Anti-Fake News Act: Mahathir, Malaysia News – AsiaOne

Mild correction to some published typos….Very promising to see this type of maturity in policy  – Ed

Dengue cases on the rise in Asia, More than 2,000 dengue cases in Singapore in first quarter 2019


According to an article over on The Straits Times 

More than 2,000 dengue fever cases were reported in the first three months of the year, or more than three times the number in same period last year when there were about 600 cases.

There have also been three dengue deaths in the first quarter 2019, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Sunday (April 7). There was one death in the same period last year.

Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are closely related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever.

Not the most enjoyable condition to get hit with either. Your sturdy editor has survived it twice. -Ed

Its estimated 390 million dengue infections occur worldwide each year, with about 96 million resulting in illness. Most cases occur in tropical areas of the world.

Diagnosing Dengue Fever can be done with a blood test to check for specific antibodies.


There is no specific medicine to treat a dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you can use pain relievers with acetaminophen but need to avoid medicines with aspirin, which could make bleeding worse..

You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see a doctor If you start to feel worse during the first 24 hours after your fever goes down.

Article continued 

Mr Masagos was speaking at the launch of the National Dengue Prevention Campaign 2019, which usually takes place ahead of the peak dengue season from June to October. The campaign calls for a concerted effort to step up dengue prevention measures.

“In Singapore, dengue continues to be an ongoing threat,” Mr Masagos said at the Kampung Admiralty Community Plaza.

“The effects of climate change, where the temperature is expected to rise, is going to exacerbate the challenge,” he added.

The minister highlighted that countries in the region such as Indonesia and Malaysia have also experienced spikes in dengue cases this year.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement that it expects dengue cases to increase in the warmer months ahead, unless active steps are taken to keep the mosquito population in check.

Currently, mosquito traps which capture female Aedes mosquitoes and their eggs – called Gravitraps – are deployed in HDB estates, giving the NEA an overview of mosquito density in various parts of Singapore.

This has helped the agency remove 21 per cent more breeding habitats last year compared to 2017, when the traps were introduced.

Gravitraps will be deployed at new HDB blocks and landed housing estates in the second half of this year.

About 14,000 more traps will be set up this year, adding to the current 50,000 traps.

Phase Three of Project Wolbachia, which releases sterile male mosquitoes to control the mosquito population, has also started.

In earlier studies in Nee Soon East and Tampines West, the Aedes mosquito population decreased by 80 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

The NEA conducted close to one million inspections last year and uncovered about 18,000 mosquito breeding habitats, said Mr Masagos.

About 224,000 inspections have been carried out from January to March this year, according to the NEA.

“The most important thrust (of dengue prevention) is community vigilance,” said Mr Masagos. “To win the war on dengue, we need everyone to be vigilant.”

He encouraged residents to remove stagnant water in their homes and also to pay attention to common breeding spots such as pails, dish trays, flower pot plates and vases.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and can last for up to 10 days, may include

Very rapid high fever, Severe Headaches, Pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting,  bleeding from the nose or gums and a skin rash wich shows up about 2 to 3 days after the onset of fever.

Steep fine of up to RM1 million proposed for those who try to avoid Malaysia departure levy – CNA


Anyone who tries to avoid or help others dodge a new departure levy for passengers flying out of Malaysia could soon face a fine of up to RM1 million (US$244,000).

This was among the penalties set out in the Departure Levy Bill, which was tabled for the first time in parliament on Monday (Apr 8).

The levy was proposed last November during the budget announcement.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that it will cost RM20 for travellers departing for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, and RM40 each for those travelling to other countries. If approved, the levy is expected to start on Jun 1.


However, the amount of the proposed levy was not set out in the Bill that was tabled on Monday by Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah.

The Bill stated that a fine could be imposed on anyone who tries to avoid or help others evade the departure levy, such as by giving false statements or by fraud. 

If convicted, the individual could be fined up to RM1 million, jailed for up to five years, or both.

Anyone who gives incorrect information that affects his or her dependent from being imposed the departure levy could also be fined up to RM500,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

It will also be an offence not to provide reasonable assistance to customs officers, punishable by a jail term of between six months and three years, a fine of up to RM500,000, or both.

The Bill is scheduled for a second reading during this sitting of parliament.


via Fine of up to RM1 million proposed for those who try to avoid Malaysia departure levy – CNA

Jokowi, Mahathir form a super team and send a joint letter of objection to EU over palm oil ban – The Jakarta Post


Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad have objected to the European Union’s plan to reduce the use of palm oil in biofuel to zero by sending an official joint letter to the bloc.

“Yesterday [Sunday], the President signed the letter containing our objections to the plan to ban palm oil products. The letter was written by both leaders,” Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said on Monday as quoted by Antara.

He said Indonesia and Malaysia sent the letter because, as countries that were among the world’s biggest palm oil exporters, they would be affected by the EU’s plan to phase out crude palm oil from the sources of biofuel by 2030.

Luhut, however, stopped short of revealing any details of the letter.

“The EU’s plan will affect the lives of around 20 million farmers, both directly and indirectly. Therefore, we took some action against it,” the minister said.

Luhut and Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution expressed objection in late March to the European Commission’s proposal on criteria for determining crops that are deemed “harmful” to the environment, which resulted in palm oil-based fuels being the only commodity dropped from the EU’s list of renewable energy.

At that time, Darmin called the plan “unfair and discriminatory” because palm oil was singled out as the only biofuel feedstock that would be barred from a list of alternatives, including soybean and sugar.

The EU accounted for about 15 percent of Indonesia’s 2018 palm oil exports, valued at around US$19 billion, according to Indonesian Palm Oil Association data.

Environmental NGOs have criticized the practices of palm oil industry players, saying that they damage forests. On Monday, Luhut called on the NGOs to “revive their nationalism” because 20 million small farmers depended on the industry.

via Jokowi, Mahathir send letter of objection to EU over palm oil plan – World – The Jakarta Post

Pretty sure the EU wont be happy unless fuel prices are substantially higher or they have found a way to make mega dollars for themselves with Rapeseed. But good luck super team we believe that it takes good teamwork to make your dreams work… Ed 

Malaysia withdraws from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – The Straits Times

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysia will withdraw from ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday (April 5).

The announcement comes hours after Selangor Umno said it will be sending a memorandum to the state’s Sultan to voice its protest on the matter, claiming that acceding to the Statute will affect the sovereignty of the country’s Malay Rulers.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion about the Rome Statute, so we will not accede,” Tun Mahathir told the Malaysian media.

“This is not because we are against it, but because of the political confusion about what it entails, caused by people with vested interests.”

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC. The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based international criminal court, and its powers are limited to only four crimes – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.

Dubbed the “court of last resort”, the ICC prosecutes only individuals, not groups or countries.

The government’s decision was mocked by former prime minister Najib Razak.

In a Facebook posting, he said: “This is a serious issue. The whole world knows we had agreed to ratify this treaty. And now, this U-turn.”

He also questioned who was advising Putrajaya on legal matters pertaining to the treaty.

“The government can’t simply sign the treaty and then decide that we can’t accept certain conditions. Who is in charge of giving wrong legal advice to the government (and telling it) that it was okay to sign the treaty?”

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah signed the Instrument of Accession to the Rome Statute of the ICC on March 4.

The instrument was deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the same day.

The ministry said the Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Sultan Ahmad Shah, was informed by Datuk Saifuddin on Feb 15 on the Cabinet’s decision to accede to the Rome Statute.

It also said Dr Mahathir had written to Sultan Nazrin Shah – who was the acting King – on Dec 26 last year, informing the latter of the Cabinet’s decision on the matter.

Malaysia’s decision received mixed reactions from the ground, with many expressing concerns on the ICC’s impact on rulers’ power and Malay privileges.

Last month, Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim tweeted that the government had failed to consult the Conference of Rulers when it agreed to accede to the Rome Statute.

The government’s decision, he said, has undermined the rulers’ position.

Johor ruler, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar also accused Putrajaya of violating the Federal Constitution by signing the Rome Statute.

In response, Dr Mahathir said on March 24 that only the good provisions would be accepted from international treaties such as the Rome Statute.

Earlier this month, opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob filed a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament urging the federal government to also withdraw from the Rome Statute.

On Friday, Datuk Seri Ismail said Selangor Umno unanimously agreed that the Pakatan Harapan government had violated the Federal Constitution by acceding to the Rome Statute without the permission of the Conference of Rulers.

He said although the government said that they had informed the King on the matter, it did not mean that the Conference of Rulers was consulted.

“The King and the Conference of Rulers are two different entities, as is the prime minister and the government.

“Article 38(4) states that any laws that touch on the interests of the Malay Rulers cannot be done without the permission of the Conference of Rulers. Acceding to the Rome Statute also goes against Article 160(2) which touches on Malay interests,” he said.

He said Selangor Umno opposed the Rome Statute, as it affects the immunity of the Malay Rulers.

“Our Constitution dictates that Malay Rulers who have committed wrongs to be tried in a special court, but with the signing of the Rome Statute, the Malay Rulers can be tried in the International Criminal Court straight away. This will allow for foreign interference in the sovereignty of the Malay Rulers,” he added.

via Malaysia withdraws from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Malaysian police seize 338kg of ketamine worth RM20 million – CNA

NILAI, Negeri Sembilan: Malaysian police said on Wednesday (Apr 3) that they seized 338kg of ketamine worth about RM20 million during raids carried out in Kuala Lumpur and Port Klang last week.

Seven suspects, including Indian and Pakistani nationals, have been detained to assist with the investigations, said Ms Azimah Abdul Hamid, deputy director-general (enforcement and compliance) at The Royal Malaysian Customs Department.

The suspects are aged between 35 years old and 54 years old.

On Mar 25, officers from the Customs’ narcotics branch as well its Operational Battle Force Response Assault, together with personnel from the Bukit Aman’s Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department, discovered the drugs during the raids.

“In the first raid carried out at a shopping complex, the team found 70 boxes containing textile rolls,” said Ms Azimah in a media conference on Wednesday. “Further inspection found 304 transparent plastic bags containing white powder, believed to be drugs, concealed in those rolls.”

Ms Azimah also said that officers found two transparent plastic bags of white powder suspected to be drugs in the main suspect’s bag.

Following the arrests, a raid was carried out at a warehouse in Port Klang, where the team discovered a total of 146 transparent plastic bags in 27 boxes that contained white powder, believed to be drugs.

Ms Azimah said it is believed that the seized drugs were to be sold to the local market. The quantity is enough to feed the drug habit of 1.7 million users, she added.

via Malaysian police seize 338kg of ketamine worth RM20 million – CNA

Video – Malaysian ex-PM Najib arrives at court for 1MDB-linked graft trial, Pleads Not Guilty

Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty on Wednesday (April 3) to seven charges at the start of his much-anticipated trial linked to the alleged plundering of state fund 1MDB in a financial scandal that shocked the world.

Dressed in a dark blue blazer, white shirt and purple tie, the 65-year-old made his plea from the dock at the Malaysia High Court where he faces three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abuse of power, and three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million (S$14 million) from SRC International, a former unit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The sum is a fraction of the US$1 billion investigators allege made its way into his personal bank accounts. Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing and says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Go read the full article over at https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/former-malaysia-pm-najibs-corruption-trial-over-1mdb-scandal-finally-begins

Najib graft trial to proceed on Wednesday despite last-minute delay bid – CNA

KUALA LUMPUR: The corruption trial of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak charges will proceed on Wednesday (Apr 3), despite his legal team filing an application for a judicial review against the Federal Court’s decision to lift the stay of proceedings order.

When contacted on Tuesday, Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh told The Star that the judicial review application will be heard on Thursday.

The application was filed on Monday, just two days before Najib was due to answer seven charges on criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering. The charges involve the alleged transfer of RM42 million (US$10.3 million) into his bank account from SRC International, a former unit of the scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Mr Singh said another corruption case involving Najib and RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds was also mentioned in the High Court on Monday.

Originally set to begin on Feb 12, Najib’s trial was postponed because of appeals over procedural matters raised in pre-trial hearings.

On Mar 27, a seven-man panel from the Federal Court lifted the stay of proceedings order earlier granted by the Court of Appeal.

Earlier, senior prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram informed the court that Chief Judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim has agreed to give priority to the SRC International case rather than to the 1MDB case.

It was decided by the courts that the 1MDB trial would begin in May, depending on the schedule of the SRC International case.

On Sep 20, 2018, Najib was charged with four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and 21 counts for money laundering involving 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion.

He allegedly committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad between 2011 and 2014.

The SRC International trial is the first of several criminal proceedings Najib is expected to face over the scandal, and the sum involved is a fraction of the US$1 billion investigators allege made its way to his bank accounts.

He faces years in prison if convicted on a total of 42 criminal charges, most of them linked to 1MDB.

At least six countries, including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore, have launched money laundering and graft investigations into 1MDB, set up by Najib in 2009.

via Najib graft trial to proceed on Wednesday despite last-minute delay bid – CNA

Context and Flavor

Three Indonesian maids claim abused by Tan Sri, Puan Sri | Malaysia | Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Three Indonesian domestic maids have sought refuge at the Indonesian embassy alleging ill-treatment by their employer, a Tan Sri and Puan Sri, who live in Malaysia near here, according to the police.

Kajang District Police chief ACP Ahmad Dzaffir Mohd Yussof said today the women, aged 25, 29 and 41, fled from their employer’s house last Friday and the embassy lodged a police report.

The maids alleged that they were slapped and punched, not paid their wages at all and never allowed to return to Indonesia, he said in a statement.

“They have been working for the employer for between six months and seven years,” he said.

Ahmad Dzaffir said the police inspected the house and seized two passports and an i-card belonging to foreigners.

He said the maids were sent for a medical examination at the Kajang Health Clinic and have been placed at a shelter home after the police obtained a temporary protection order from the Kajang magistrate.

He also said that an investigation is ongoing under Section 13 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. — Bernama

via Three Indonesian maids claim abused by Tan Sri, Puan Sri | Malaysia | Malay Mail

Title Photo by Nazmi Zaim on Unsplash

1MDB bond-issuer Goldman Sachs fined RM182m in UK | Malaysia | Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has fined US investment bank Goldman Sachs’ London unit £34 million (RM182 million) for misreporting hundreds of millions in transactions.

According to the Financial Times, the FCA adjudged Goldman Sachs to have improperly reported over 213 million individual transactions between 2007 and 2017.

Goldman had cooperated with the investigation and agreed to a settlement of the fines.

The settlement carved 30 per cent off the original fine of £49 million.

30 percent which may or may not be now appropriated to the hookers and blow GS Christmas extravaganza . Ed

“We are pleased to have resolved this legacy matter. We dealt with the issues proactively at the time and have made significant investments across the period to develop and enhance our reporting procedures,” the bank said in a statement.
Better than Teflon and up to 20 times more durable  Ed 

Goldman Sachs is at the centre of the global corruption scandal surrounding Malaysian state investor 1MDB.

The US Justice Department (DoJ) has already secured convictions against former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner on charges of conspiracy of money laundering and conspiracy stemming from the bank’s bond issuance on behalf of 1MDB.

The DoJ is also awaiting the extradition of another former Goldman Sachs banker, Malaysian Roger Ng, to stand trial in the US on related charges.

Goldman Sachs is accused of aiding fugitive financier Low Taek Jho in defrauding 1MDB during the issuance of over US$6 billion in bonds.

The Malaysian government is seeking to at least recover the “above average” fees the US bank charged for the bond issues in addition to other losses.

Goldman Sachs is also facing billions in potential fines in the US over the episode.

The scandal that implicated former Goldman Sachs chair Lloyd Blankfein has wiped out billions of the bank’s capitalization.

Allegedly….  ed
Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon previously apologized for his bank’s role in the scandal while simultaneously trying to present its involvement as limited to rogue operatives such as Leissner and Ng.

via 1MDB bond-issuer Goldman Sachs fined RM182m in UK | Malaysia | Malay Mail

Prosecution amends three of Najib’s 1MDB abuse of power charges | Malaysia | Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s three power abuse charges related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal were amended today.

Malaysiakini reported that the three charges — all under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 — were re-read to Najib in front of Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this afternoon.


Citing the charge sheet, the report stated that the prosecution appended the first and third charge to include the words “in which you have direct interest”.

The fourth charge, however, included new details on Najib’s alleged offence where he is accused of seeking RM49.9 million in gratification for himself between June 23 and December 19, 2014.

The charge alleged that the former prime minister had given approval to 1MDB to obtain a loan of up to US$975 million (RM3.976 billion) from Deustsche Bank AG through 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited, for the purpose of 1MDB Energy Group IPO, on August 21, 2014.

The amendments to the charge included Najib’s supposed means of committing the crime.

“On May 22, 2014, at 1MDB Office, Level 8, Menara IMC, No 8 Jalan Sultan Ismail, in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, you as the minister of finance did approve 1MDB through its wholly-owned subsidiary 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited to obtain a loan through an Initial Bridge Financing Facility up to US$300 million from Deutsche Bank AG for the purpose of 1MDB Energy Group IPO, in which you have a direct interest,” it read.

The amendments, however, did not sit well with Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh who argued that the alleged offence had taken place prior to the date stated in the original charge sheet, in which his client is accused of committing the crime between June 23 and December 19, 2014.

“I assume that the amendment to the fourth charge adds what appears to be a further act,” he said.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram then argued that the amendments only supplemented the charge with additional information.

“It doesn’t alter the nature of it (the offence),” he said.

After hearing submissions from both parties, Sequerah allowed for the amendments, Malaysiakinireported.

He then stated that the defence can deliberate the issue during the trial, which will be held from April 15 to May 3.

In September, Najib had claimed trial to four counts of power abuse allegedly committed during the period from February 24, 2011 to December 19, 2014, with the amount linked to these offences totalling RM2,282,937,678.41.

He is charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of at least five times the sum involved.

via Prosecution amends three of Najib’s 1MDB abuse of power charges | Malaysia | Malay Mail


Salaries fall for Malaysian fresh graduates amid labour mismatch – Channel NewsAsia

KUALA LUMPUR: Salaries for Malaysia’s fresh graduates are on the decline, mainly due to insufficient high-skilled jobs being created, according to an annual report published by the country’s central bank on Wednesday (Mar 27).

There was better news, however, for those without tertiary education, as the implementation of a minimum wage gave a boost to their earnings and allowed them to catch up with their peers.

In the report, it was noted that the proportion of graduates in the labour force increased from 23.5 per cent in 2010 to 28.3 per cent in 2017.

However, after adjusting for inflation, the real starting monthly salaries for most fresh graduates have declined since 2010, said the central bank.

A fresh graduate with a diploma earned a real salary of RM1,376 (US$337) in 2018, a drop from RM1,458 in 2010. Meanwhile, a masters degree holder earned a real salary of RM2,707 in 2018, also a decline from RM2,923 in 2010.

“Evidence suggests that the lack of high-skilled job creation could have played an integral role in this,” said the report.

A study by Khazanah Research Institute also showed that 95 per cent of young workers in unskilled jobs and 50 per cent of those working in low-skilled jobs were actually over-qualified.

“Despite obtaining a high level of education, employees had to settle for jobs that typically do not require such education levels,” said the central bank.

“Consequently, with an ample supply of graduates and limited demand for them by firms, graduate salaries have faced downward pressures.”

In order to create more high-skilled jobs, the report said it is “vital to attract new quality investments from both foreign and domestic firms, pivoting away from the low-cost business model”, among other suggested measures.


For lower-skilled workers, the implementation of a minimum wage has supported increases in their earnings in recent years. This has allowed their starting salaries to catch up with those who have higher education qualifications.

The real starting salaries of those who finished Secondary Three and Secondary Five have grown by 4.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively between 2010 and 2018.

“This divergence in growth trends across education levels alludes to a more serious phenomenon – the income premium for education has narrowed in Malaysia,” noted the central bank.

“If left unaddressed, this could reduce the incentive for the younger population to pursue higher levels of education and potentially exacerbate the brain drain issue in Malaysia.”

The Malaysian government implemented a minimum wage policy in 2013. From Jan 1 this year, the minimum wage for the private sector was increased from RM1,000 to RM1,100 in the peninsula.

Source: CNA/aw(hm)
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysian-fresh-graduates-decline-starting-salaries-11388968

via Salaries fall for Malaysian fresh graduates amid labour mismatch – Channel NewsAsia

Exclusive: EU risks ‘trade war’ with Malaysia over palm oil – Mahathir

The European Union risks opening up a trade war with Malaysia over its “grossly unfair” policies aimed at reducing the use of palm oil, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday.

This month, the European Commission concluded that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and its use in transport fuel should be phased out by 2030.

Malaysia, the world’s second biggest palm oil producer after Indonesia, relies on the crop for billions of dollars in foreign exchange earnings and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Mahathir, 93, said the EU’s increasingly hostile attitude towards palm oil, a commodity used in everything from chocolate spread to lipstick, was an attempt to protect alternatives that Europe produced itself, like rape seed oil.

“To do that kind of thing to win a trade war is unfair,” Mahathir told Reuters in an interview on Langkawi, a tropical resort island 30 km off Malaysia’s mainland.

Trade wars are not something we like to promote but on the other hand it is grossly unfair for rich people to try and impoverish poor people.”

Mahathir, an architect of modern Malaysia and a trained physician, swept to power in a stunning election victory last year on a promise to revive a flagging economy and end the corruption that plagued the tenure of former leader Najib Razak.

Najib is facing numerous corruption charges over the alleged misuse of billions of dollars from Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), some of which was raised by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Najib is due in court next week in the first trial relating to 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

Goldman Sachs is facing charges in Kuala Lumpur over its role in helping raise $6.5 billion for 1MDB. Goldman denies wrongdoing and says officials under Najib’s administration lied to mislead its staff.


Mahathir, who was previously prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, said Goldman could only do business in Malaysia “if they pay us what we are asking for”, reiterating a figure of $7.5 billion given by the finance ministry.

“Because they were not prudent … they are supposed to study the borrowers and lenders properly,” he said, adding that he was willing to negotiate with the bank.

Mahathir said his government was also in talks with the U.S. Department of Justice over Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Goldman Sachs does not speak to mere mortal humans…Ed

In an effort to reduce Malaysia’s debt after the 1MDB scandal, Mahathir is considering the listing or sale of stakes in state-owned enterprises, including Malaysia Airlines.

There has been speculation this could include selling a portion of Petronas, Malaysia’s national energy behemoth and the world’s third-biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

But Mahathir said this was not on the cards.

“It has always even given the government good returns. We have no plans to privatize or to sell Petronas,” he said.

There is daily speculation in Malaysia about when Mahathir, who is well into his nineties, will hand over power to one-time foe and former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.

Mahathir, whose five-year term would end in 2023, had originally promised to cede control to Anwar in 2020.

“I will step down when the time comes … but we have not fixed a date,” he said.

“I promised I will not go up to five years. I stand by my promise.”

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi, Joseph Sipalan and Joe Brock; Editing by Robert Birsel)