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Selasa, 12 Jun 2018

Jho Low sembunyi di Macau


Petaling Jaya - Ahli perniagaan Low Taek Jho atau Jho Low dipercayai sedang bersembunyi di Macau, lapor The Malaysian Reserve.

Difahamkan pihak berkuasa Malaysia tidak dapat menahan Jho Low kerana negara ini tidak mempunyai perjanjian ekstradisi dengan Macau, kata akhbar itu yang memetik sumber kerajaan.

Jho Low, didakwa dalang di sebalik skandal multi bilion dolar 1MDB.

Pada 8 Jun lalu, Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata Jho Low sedang bersembunyi di sebuah negara yang tidak mempunyai perjanjian ekstradisi dengan Malaysia.

Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) turut mengeluarkan waran tangkap ke atas Jho Low dan Pengarah SRC International Berhad, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil. - mStar

 

http://www.kualalumpurpost.net/jho-low-sembunyi-di-macau/

Ahad, 26 November 2017

Water Confirmed Seeping Into Control Room At Bengoh Dam - EXCLUSIVE22 November 2017

Minister said there were no cracks, merely construction joints

Water is now visibly pouring from several points on the lower face of the newly completed Bengoh Dam, according to dramatic footage captured over the last few days and provided to Sarawak Report.

The public have been barred from inspecting the site, since concerns about a large damp patch on the dam’s outside wall were raised earlier in the month.

However, a team who managed to get past the barriers, has taken several photos and footage that reveal the extent of the problem.

Extensive area of seepage does not appear to match construction joints

Several small springs can be seen spouting water on the outside face, which has developed a large damp patch that has already become moss-covered with a visible rust residue.

The outlets are dotted around the damp area of wall and appear to be unrelated to any of the existing construction joints, which had been earlier explained as the cause of the seepage in official statements.

There are also cracks and seepages at the far right side of downstream face of the dam, say the observers.

The unofficial inspection team even gained access to the control room, located inside the base of the dam, where they say that water is also visibly seeping down the inside walls, although at a slower pace.

“This is where people are monitoring the dam. There are CCTV cameras, generators, lights, electricity, all the control switches and there is water moving down the walls”

a source has told Sarawak Report.

SEE THE EXCLUSIVE CLOSE UP SHOTS OF THE SPOUTS ON SR YOUTUBE

Spouts

Shifting Explanations

The State Government has released statements to say there is no reason for concern and that the seepage is entirely normal.  The Minister for Utilities, Steven Rundi, issued a press release last week saying that the water was coming through ‘contraction and thermal joints’ that were part of the construction of the dam:

“Some water flow through these joints is expected…. and the wet patch seen on this area is due to this seepage”

the Minister said.  He also claimed that a world renowned UK company, Halcrow (now, in fact. part of the Colorado CH2M group) had recently visited the site in October and declared it to be problem free. He implied that Halcrow/CH2M has been monitoring the situation on behalf of the local contractors, who are Naim Land (a company linked to the Governor’s extended family businesses) and KTA Sarawak.

“The recent lowering of the reservoir water level was in accordance with the operation procedures advised by the dam’s consultant. It was a planned lowering of the water levels … As such, the dam’s integrity and safety are not compromised whatsoever. This was confirmed by the dam consultant and their specialist from Halcrow Consultant, United Kingdom, during his recent periodic inspection visit to the site in late October 2017″ [Rundi press statement]

British dam experts have vouched for the safety and construction of the dam, says the Minister

See the whole statement:

According to Hansard, the Speaker of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly added to these remarks (unusually addressing the matter instead of the Minister himself) in response to questioning by opposition YBs.

He told the State Legislative Assembly that the Minister had ‘almost given up an entire day of his time’ to the matter of the dam on 14th of November and that during consultations with  the contractor and experts had been reassured that all was well:

“..a consultant from the United Kingdom had flown in and confirmed that the integrity of the dam is not affected. The contractor [Naim Land] whose opinion is based on an experience of constructing two hundred dams over the world assured that the dam is techically and structurally sound and safe. The recent lowering of the reservoir water, water level, was in accordance with the operation procedures advised by the dam consultant. It was a planned lowering of the water level releasing the water through the draw off culvert and was not caused by any fault of the dam leakage.
As such, the dam’s integrity and safety are not compromised whatsoever. This was confirmed by the dam consultant and the specialist fro Halcrow Consultant United Kingdom during his recent inspection site late October 2017″ [Hansard 15th November]

Opposition State Assembly Persons have, however, raised their objections to what appear to be mixed messages in these statements. If the leakage is common and to be expected, why has the dam level been lowered for repairs, they want to know?  They are also questioning why so far no maintenance or repair personnel have been seen doing anything active on the site?

Furthermore, there has now been back-tracking on the original explanation about construction joints, says Batu Lintang MP, See Chee How.  The leaks are plainly not linked to specific joints.  Besides, he points out, modern advanced “waterstop” engineering technology has now overcome the earlier problems of leaks developing along such cracks, which had occured only after several years with older dams.

Bengoh has only recently been impounded and the leaks are not along the joints, the state legislator has pointed out:

“I will be seeing the Speaker about what was a misleading ministerial statement to legislators. The minister misled the Speaker into misleading the State Legislative Assembly thereby commiting a grave contempt. I am sad that the government is not giving due urgency and consideration to the threats posed by the seepages.”

See Chee How told Sarawak Report.

‘We Don’t Have Much To Do With That Project’, Says Halcrow!

Sarawak Report has also contacted the UK company Halcrow, which was cited by the Speaker during his reassurance to the State Assembly that the Bengoh situation is perfectly normal and non-urgent and is, moreover, being managed by international experts.  His parliamentary statement also implied that the company’s consultants have confirmed the dam is ‘sound and stable’ having been “much involved in the construction”, which was to “international standards”.

The Speaker went so far as to name two British experts from that company last Wednesday:

“The same expert, precisely from Halcrow, now with CH2M-Jacobs, Mr Anthony Morrison, was engaged by the local consutant to make the periodic inspection. He stayed 6 days in Kuching in October 2017.
The agreement signed between the local consultant and Halcrow remains valid, with Halcrow’s responsibilities assumed by the take over company… Besides Anthony Morrison, Halcrow’s dam specialist geologist, Mr Michael Palmer, was also very much involved in the dam design and construction…..
The dam has been constructed to international standards. The consultants are duty bound to give their professional comment that the dam is structurally safe and sound. Seepages through dams are normal occurrences. However, good engineering practices require that the seepages should be patched up as much as possible as a serviceability issue and not that the dam’s safety is compromised.  The contractor is continuing to patch up the areas concerned. This will likely take up to 6 months to complete…
There is no urgency. The Minister is in the know, the consultant are there, the contractor gives an opinion based on experience of constructing 200 dams all over the world and then experts coming in from UK, and so forth.  Now, I do not wish you to contradict the experts and the consultants… “

Having thus explained that the situation was under control and being monitored by top international consultants, the Speaker then refused to allow a vote on the motion put forward by opposition MPs.

When contacted, however, Michael Palmer told Sarawak Report that he has not personally been to Sarawak for several years. He confirmed his colleague Andrew Morrison did visit in October, however he commented that “we don’t have much to do with it [Bengoh] these days”.

Mr Palmer then referred Sarawak Report to his media team in Colorado for any further comment on our questions.  We have asked for clarification on the exact nature of Halcrow/CH2M’s relationship with the Bengoh contractor:

Given your company was referred to formally in the State Parliament last week as the primary source of assurance that this seepage is being expertly monitored and that, thanks to yourselves, the dam structure has been given a clean bill of health, a statement on the role of Halcrow/ CH2M at Bengoh is important to have on record.[our question to Halcrow]

Opposition Assemblyman See Chee How has expressed concern that the company stated to be monitoring the situation has itself said that it has not much to do with the matter any more. He is seeking an urgent meeting with the Speaker, in order to show him the latest video footage and to discuss the response of Michael Palmer to Sarawak Report:

“It certainly appears that the seepages are much more serious than what the minister had tried to portray in the august House. For the Legislative Assembly to perform its full functions, it is the duty and responsibility of the ministers to provide accurate, truthful and full information. By giving a statement which contained words which were later found not to be true, the minister may be censured for committing a grave contempt.”

Australian Expert – Further Questions

Sarawak Report has also raised further questions about the Australian expert cited by the Speaker:

“There was an independent 3rd party peer review dam consultant, JP Wahba in association with GHD Australia, and their review specialist was world renowned roller compacted dam expert, Mr Brian Forbes”

the Speaker told Parliament.  However, later in his speech he made the following point also:

“Reports available:
3rd party Audit, carried out by JP Wahba and GHD Australia, indicates its acceptable, carried out in 2013. A new audit is planned for at the end of 2017/2018.

Sarawak Report asks if the latest audit carried out by this 3rd party independent body was in 2013, what possible reassurance does this provide over the present situation and a leak that could hardly have been predicted three years before the dam was even completed?

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Rabu, 8 November 2017

Response to Hadi Awang

Below, for the purposes of accuracy, is the Court Summary of Sarawak Report’s Defence and Counterclaim against Hadi Awang in the UK. You can also read the full 55 page defence on this link and Hadi’s initial suit on this link:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE                                                                                             Claim No. HQ17M01386

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS LIST

BETWEEN

HONOURABLE ABDUL HADI AWANG MP

Claimant

and

CLARE REWCASTLE BROWN

Defendant

__________________________________________________

SUMMARY OF THE DEFENCE AND COUNTERCLAIM

pursuant to PD16 to Part 16 of the Civil Procedure Rules

___________________________________________________

SUMMARY OF THE DEFENCE

The Claimant claims in respect of the publication of a political commentary written by the Defendant and published by her on the Sarawak Report website from 6 August 2016 and by being sent by email to subscribers to Sarawak report in England and Wales, Singapore and Malaysia. The words complained of appear at the end of the article, in its final eight, short paragraphs. They refer to the political party PAS and to “the top echelons” of that political party. The Claimant is neither named nor identified as being the object of any statements made in the article.

Reference

The Claimant’s case that the words complained of were reasonably understood to refer to him is denied. The Claimant could not reasonably be understood to be referred to. Affording the Claimant a cause of action as a person referred to by the said words would be a disproportionate, unnecessary and unjustified interference and inhibition of the Defendant’s and the public’s rights to freedom of expression pursuant to Article 10 and particularly the exercise of those rights in the free discussion of political matters.

Meaning

The Defendant denies that the words complained of could be understood to bear either the defamatory meaning concerning the Claimant for which he contends or, indeed, any defamatory meaning concerning him.

Serious harm

Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 requires that it be proved that publication of the statements complained of has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the Claimant. The Defendant denies that such harm has been caused or is likely to be caused by the publication of which the Claimant complains

An illegitimate, politically motivated claim

Contrary to the Claimant’s professed purpose in bringing these proceedings, the Defendant will contend that his purpose and intention has not been the legitimate one of correcting and protecting himself from serious harm to his reputation but for the illegitimate purposes of protecting the reputations and advancing the political purposes of the PAS party and his political ally, Malaysia’s corrupt and corrupting Prime Minister, Najib Razak.

Publication in the public interest

The Defendant also relies on the defence available to her pursuant to s.4 of the Defamation Act 2013.The statements in the Article of which the Claimant complains were, or were part of, statements on matters of the greatest possible public interest, namely the corrupt and criminal history and activity and corrupting conduct and influence on the government and political and judicial processes of Malaysia and fitness for office of that country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak.Having regard to all the facts and matters set out in paragraphs 25.1 to 25.102 of the Defence and (as required by s.4(2) of the Act) all the circumstances of the case, it was entirely reasonable for the Defendant to believe that her publication of the Article including the statements complained of was in the public interest. The Defendant will contend that to find to the contrary would constitute an illegitimate interference with her and the public’s Article 10 rights wholly disproportionate to any countervailing need to protect or vindicate the Claimant’s reputation rights.

Truth

The Defendant also relies on the defence of Truth available to her pursuant to s.2 of the Defamation Act 2013.If and in so far as the words complained of were reasonably understood to convey an imputation defamatory of the Claimant, that imputation is substantially true. The Defendant will prove that as the President of the political party PAS the Claimant has knowingly allowed that party to be compromised and corrupted morally and politically and the democratic process to be undermined by senior party personnel accepting and personally benefitting from enormous secret payments of money from the corrupt Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak, paid to undermine and draw PAS away from the Opposition coalition.In the premises the Claimant is not entitled to damages as sought, whether aggravated or at all. Nor is he entitled to injunctive relief.

SUMMARY OF THE COUNTERCLAIM

The Claimant has colluded with the Malaysian government of Najib Razak and their agents to exploit these proceedings as part of their propaganda efforts to exonerate Najib Razak and disable and discredit the Defendant and Sarawak Report in its justified campaign that Najib Razak be removed from office and brought to justice for his corrupt and criminal conduct.The Claimant, whether himself or by his agents, has either been party to the publication of a series of articles viciously and racially abusing, defaming and harassing the Defendant on The Third Force website and on the Malaysia Today website, or has aided and/or abetted and/or counselled and/or procured those publications by passing information concerning these proceedings to those agents of the Malaysian government of Najib Razak.Those publications amount to harassment, proscribed by s.1(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Pursuant to s.3 of that Act, the Defendant claims damages for the severe stress, anxiety and distress caused her by those publications and an injunction restraining the Claimant from further harassment of the Defendant.

HARVEY STARTE

STATEMENT OF TRUTH

I believe that the facts stated in these Particulars of Claim are true.

For the full claim and defence click on the links below:

WRIT HADI 24365728-v1-PARTICULARS OF CLAIM

 

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Prince Charles Ought Not Zip His Lips Over The Scandals In Malaysia Say NGOs

Prince Charles is known for speaking out on good causes and for having a strong moral instinct. However, on this visit to Malaysia he will have been urged by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to zip his lips and give its deeply tainted Prime Minister, Najib Razak, a pre-election boost.

The purpose of the visit is ostensibly to celebrate Malaysian Independence, which is a worthy aim.  However, given the present crisis of governance and the global corruption scandal on the part of the Prime Minister, NGO’s have questioned the UK’s willingness to appear to condone and endorse a mega-thief.

The reasons for that would seem less worthy and the product of behind-the-scenes skullduggery.  A PR company owned by individuals with powerful political links to the present UK government has received a fat contract from Najib, according to documents seen by Sarawak Report.  The same individuals have strong political and trading ties with Malaysia and are pledged in this contract to assist Najib during his election campaign.

On his way back from seeing Donald Trump in September Najib also visited Theresa May in the UK on a low-key lightening visit. There was no announcement about what was discussed, but the UK has been chasing major arms sale contracts with Najib, who was Defence Minister back at the time of the Arms for Aid scandal, which embroiled the government of Margaret Thatcher.

Relations between the two countries appear to be back in the same place with many of the same players.

Letter From Prince Charles

By contrast Prince Charles is a passionate defender of indigenous peoples and the environment. Back in 2009 he wrote a personal letter to the Editor of Sarawak Report in which he kindly praised her for her concerns about the deforestation of Sarawak and the treatment of the native people who have lost their lands:

“Dear Clare…. I do greatly admire your intrepid undertaking … You may not know, but I went to Indonesia last November.. and I spoke about the whole rainforest issue and about my own Rainforest Project, which I had initiated a year before, having been approached in desperation by several of the experts who told me we faced the dire prospects of losing the battle against catastrophic climate change unless we could at least halt deforestation…
Your letter and D.V.D. have only too clearly highlighted the urgency of the situation we face and I have asked the Director of my Prince’s Rainforests Project to contact you to ensure you are fully briefed as soon as possible on where things stand and to discuss how we could help you and you could help us!… It was marvellous of you to write as you did – don’t worry, I’m doing my best on this whole crucial business and refuse to leave any stone unturned until we have, somehow, cracked the problem…. Yours most sincerely Charles”

Yours most sincerely – Charles

The Prince’s letter and the meeting with his trust were heartening and inspiring and the Editor of Sarawak Report has indeed responded over the subsequent years by doing her level best to bring the corruption driving deforestation and human rights abuses in Sarawak to public attention, particularly within Malaysia itself, and especially Sarawak, where the media is heavily controlled by those who have benefitted from the plunder involved.

In 2009, after filming in Sarawak’s interior, we also delivered gifts presented by Penan tribespeople to the Palace of St James. These were products of their handcraft offered to the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William and the gifts came with a plea, which was that the British Royal Family should lend their support to their desperate plight, as they try to protect remaining virgin forest in what was once the most bio-diverse and important natural region on the planet.

Prince Charles cares deeply about these matters and about human rights and fairness towards native peoples. He has made this clear throughout his life and they are noble and correct concerns.  Sarawak Report and other NGOs believe that the Prince ought not to be silent on these issues or on the problems of oppression and corruption in high places when he visits Malaysia, since some things are simply more important than the hope of selling arms to a country that does not need them.

Click below to read the joint statement by Suaram International and Global Bersih:

His Royal Highness Prince Charles

Clarence House

London, SW1A 1BA

Unite Kingdom                                                                                          31st October 2017

 

UK MUST SPEAK OUT AGAINST GRAND CORRUPTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AS MALAYSIA DESCENDS INTO KLEPTOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP

We call on His Royal Highness as a representative of Her Majesty’s government to urgently address Malaysia’s spiralling human rights abuses and ongoing crackdown on Malaysian rights activists and opposition politicians on his upcoming visit to Malaysia.

As HRH will be aware, the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently embroiled in the 1MDB corruption scandal the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has described as the ‘greatest kleptocracy case in history’ alongside allegations of widespread electoral fraud. Shortly after the DOJ report, The Guardian published a detailed article about their investigations, ‘1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal’1.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has been silencing his critics, by sacking his deputy prime minister and the Attorney-General, quashing an internal investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and revoking the publishing licences of newspapers. Najib Razak and his government continue to use the Sedition Act, the Peaceful Assembly Act, and other draconian laws to silence human rights defenders, journalists, opposition politicians and civil society activists in his Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition’s six decades hold on power.

Grand Corruption

In July this year UK Parliamentarians tabled an Early Day Motion2 stating:

“That this House is alarmed about allegations of the misappropriation of billions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a state-owned investment firm intended to promote economic development in Malaysia, including by the current Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak; notes related on-going investigations in a number of countries, including the US and Switzerland; further notes the statement by the FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in connection with the largest single action so far by the US Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Initiative, that the Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale; highlights the continuing restrictions on freedom of expression and of association in Malaysia, as well as the misuse of the Sedition Act, targeted particularly at Government critics, including opposition politicians and MPs, such as Anwar Ibrahim, jailed following legal proceedings which fell far short of international standards, and Rafizi Ramli MP; encourages the Government of Malaysia to allow international observers, including from a range of Commonwealth countries, at its upcoming General Elections, to demonstrate its commitment to free and fair elections, particularly given Malaysia will be taking up the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth in 2020; and calls on the Government to ensure that allegations of misappropriated funds from Malaysia having been used to buy assets in the UK is thoroughly investigated.”

Crackdown on Human Rights

The Malaysian Government continues to curb fundamental human rights in Malaysia through:

a) Suppressing freedom of expression and assembly in the context of elections, in particular through crackdowns on leaders and participants of rallies organised by Bersih, the civil society coalition demanding free and fair elections3,4.b) The ongoing political detention of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim5. Money politics, unfettered cash distribution, threats and biased electoral delineation activities were rife during the 2013 General Elections. Despite this, the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim won 53 per cent of the popular vote. In order to silence him and his popular movement, he was later imprisoned for a second time on trumped up, politically motivated charges of sodomy. The United Nations has denounced Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment as arbitrary and in violation of international law. He continues to be denied access to impartial medical treatment for a serious shoulder injury.c) The continuous harassment, arrest, detention and prosecution of journalists, cartoonists, activists and opposition leaders working to expose the latest developments related to the 1MDB grand corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Najib, including the use of anti-terror legislation, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 – this law allows for detention without trial.d) Continuous use of the Sedition Act 1948 to limit freedom of expression in Malaysia. Many Members of Parliament and human rights defenders are facing charges for raising concerns on issues of corruption and human rights, which is all too often termed ‘activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy’. Convicted MPs face being stripped of their parliamentary seats and disqualified from contesting in elections.

Religious Extremism

Malaysians continue to witness a narrowing of the official definition of ‘orthodox Islam’, and an accompanying escalation of intolerance towards not only non-Sunni Muslims and other faiths, but also towards more tolerant interpretations of Sunni Islam. The state’s powerful and well-funded religious institutions are increasingly used to suppress dissent of all kinds, under religious pretexts. Most recently, this has included the persecution and deportation of visiting Turkish Muslim writer Mustafa Akyol6, and the charging of his host Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa and his organisation the Islamic Renaissance Front for ‘abetting Mustafa Akyol for giving a religious talk without proper accreditation7‘.

In 2014, Najib Razak announced that Islam and its followers are now facing new threats under the guise of “humanism, secularism, liberalism and human rights8.” He went on to state that, “we will not tolerate any demands or right to apostasy by Muslims, or deny Muslims their right to be governed by Shariah Courts and neither will we allow Muslims to engage in LGBT activities.”

In 2013, freedom of religion was one of the key issues discussed during Malaysia’s second cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review, with several states including Austria, Canada, Italy and Poland making critical comments and recommendations.

In June 2014, Najib Razak even encouraged members of his party to “be brave like ISIS fighters.9” Extremist Islamic movements are on the rise in Malaysia, spurred on by Najib’s

use of racial and religious extremist rhetoric. The ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) has forged an alliance with the conservative Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) in order to secure more rural Malay votes. As part of the pact, amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 seeking to impose stiffer penalties for offences along the lines of Hudud law are now regularly debated in parliament and are seen as a worrying development by both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

In the past year, religious tensions have escalated with a number of kidnappings and ‘enforced disappearances’ of Christian pastors and religious minorities in Malaysia10. In September 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur for cultural rights Karima Bennoune noted that the discrepancy between reality and rhetoric on Islamic fundamentalism and religious extremism in Malaysia was extremely worrying11.

Environmental and Human Rights Devastation in Borneo

Preservation of the environment and nature are issues important to HRH. It will therefore be devastating to learn that over the last few years there have been a spate of murders of activists throughout Sarawak12. These activists were opposing illegal land grabs, illegal logging and mining activities aimed at decimating their native customary land and the Borneo rainforest ecosystem13. British investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown has been instrumental in exposing issues of endemic corruption and human rights abuses in the state of Sarawak specifically and Malaysia as a whole, revealing how “in the state of Sarawak, the profits from timber, oil and now oil palm (much of it grown on land illegally sequestered from the indigenous communities) have gone straight into the pockets of political cronies, who have run the country for personal profit and plundered it indiscriminately for the past decades of continuous rule. The once unparalleled tropical rainforests have been denuded – scarcely 5 per cent remain uncut – and the tribal peoples who depended on the forests for their food are now deprived of their means of subsistence and in several cases starving.”

We trust that the issues raised by millions of concerned Malaysians globally will also be of concern to HRH and will be addressed by Prime Minister Najib and his government this week as HRH tours Malaysia. We ask you to encourage the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government to:

Allow international observers, including from a range of Commonwealth countries, at its upcoming General Elections, to demonstrate its commitment to free and fair elections, particularly given Malaysia will be taking up the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth in 2020Release political prisoner of conscience and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim with immediate effect and allow him access to urgent independent medical treatment of his choiceStop the persecution of human rights activists and opposition MPs through the use of the Sedition Act, Peaceful Assembly Act and other laws aimed at stifling democracyEnsure a thorough, impartial investigation into 1MBD without government interferenceEnd Islamic extremism, religious intolerance and persecution of religious minoritiesHalt the environmental devastation of the Borneo rainforest and ensure native customary rights and indigenous rights are protected and upheld

The UK can and must play a critical role in ensuring a UN member, a Commonwealth friend and ally like Malaysia heeds its democratic obligations and respects the rights of its citizens without resorting to widespread violence, intimidation, corruption and stolen elections.

Joint letter endorsed by                     

Global Bersih and SUARAM International

References

The Guardian (2016) Ramesh R. 1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/28/1mdb-inside-story-worlds-biggest-financial-scandal-malaysiaEarly Day Motion 212: 1MALAYSIA DEVELOPMENT BERHAD http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/212/Amnesty International. ‘Malaysia: End crackdown on Bersih activists’ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/malaysia-end-crackdown-on-bersih-activists/Human Rights Watch. ‘Malaysia: Rights Decline Under Najib’https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/12/malaysia-rights-decline-under-najibGuardian (2016) Anwar Ibrahim ‘Malaysia needs democracy. I’m in prison for that belief – but I won’t change it’ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/13/malaysia-needs-democracy-prison-muslim-majority-countryEconomist (2017) ‘A Turkish Writer’s detention sends a sombre message about Islam’ https://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2017/10/turkey-malaysia-and-islamMalay Mail (2017) ‘Scholar Summoned to court for abetting Turkish Writer’ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/scholar-farouk-musa-summoned-to-court-for-abetting-turkish-writerMalay Mail (2014) ‘PM says ‘human rightism, humanism, secularism’ new religion threatening Islam’ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pm-says-human-rightism-humanism-secularism-new-religion-threatening-islamMalay Mail (2014) ‘Be brave like ISIL fighters Najib tells UMNO’ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/be-brave-like-isil-fighters-najib-tells-umnoGuardian (2017) Christian preachers dissaperance in Malaysia stokes fears of crackdown on religious minorities https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/christian-preachers-disappearance-in-malaysia-stokes-fears-of-crackdown-on-religious-minoritiesPreliminary Observations by the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune at the end of her visit to Malaysia. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22121&LangID=E (21 Sep 2017)Guardian (2016). Murder in Malaysia: how protecting native forests cost an activist his life https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/24/in-malaysia-how-protecting-native-forests-cost-an-activist-his-life#img-1Sarawak Report (2016). ‘Where’s the Change? Taib Family continues to grab land in Sarawak. http://www.sarawakreport.org/2016/02/wheres-the-change-taib-family-continues-to-grab-land-in-sarawak/

 

 

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PetroSaudi's Prince Turki Is Rounded Up On Corruption Charges In Saudi

For two years Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak has leaned on an implausible explanation for his pre-election bonanza of $681 million in his bank account, which was that it was a kind ‘donation’ from Saudi Royals. These Royals were hinted to be a king and his son, whom current Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi claims also to have met and discussed the ‘donation’ matter with.

The US Department of Justice have, to the contrary, traced the money step by step back to a theft from Malaysia’s own 1MDB development fund, which was controlled by Najib.

Requests that the alleged Saudi royals should be named have always been met with a shrug by BN’s top brass – why should one delve into detail about such ‘untouchable’ people was the official line?  On the other hand, off the record, Najib’s key media spinner, his British communications chief Paul Stadlen, has subtly directed journalists to a BBC article which named the late King Abdullah and his son Prince Turki, who is a former shareholder and director of PetroSaudi.

Prince Turki lines up with Jho Low and Najib’s family together with PetroSaudi co-director Tarek Obaid on the luxury yacht Tatoosh weeks before the venture was signed in 2009

PetroSaudi was the company embroiled in the first major theft from 1MDB, a matter originally exposed by Sarawak Report and now confirmed by the FBI/DOJ court filings on the world’s largest kleptocracy investigation.

Some $1.83 billion was stolen from 1MDB using a bogus joint venture with PetroSaudi during the period 2009-11. At the time this supposed Saudi oil company was effectively a shell, despite being presented to the Malaysian public as a major player in the oil business.

The money trails show that $77 million was paid to Prince Turki in the aftermath of that deal, although most of the cash went to Jho Low, who was Najib’s own proxy in the negotiations. Even larger kickbacks also went to Prince Turki’s active business partner, Tarek Obaid, who has faced investigations into the affair in several countries and is currently remaining in Switzerland.

Prince Turki extricated himself from PetroSaudi soon after the scandal broke and is no longer involved in the company.  He has also taken action over being effectively named as “Saudi Prince” in the DOJ’s original court filings in 2016, which detailed how $24.5 million had been passed from Jho Low’s company Good Star in 2011 to a Saudi Prince and then $20 million of that was passed on to Najib:

Original court filing mentioning ‘Saudi Prince’ – our highlights

Turki’s lawyers have been pointing out that the most recent version of the FBI filings (July 2017) indicate a more complex transaction that may have distanced the prince through the joint ownership of a company that received the cash.  The revised version of the court document refers to a Riyadh company and Saudi Associates rather than a Saudi Prince:

According to J.P. Morgan Chase and RBS Coutts banking records, between February and June of 2011, approximately $24,500,000 of these funds was transferred to an account at Riyad Bank maintained in the name of two Saudi nationals who were associates of LOW and TAN (“SAUDI ASSOCIATE 1” AND “SAUDI ASSOCIATE 2”). From those funds, $20,000,000 was then transferred, within days, to an account belonging to MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 [updated version of the DOJ court filing]

Prince Turki went on to become Governor of Riyadh, thanks to his powerful connections as the seventh son of the former King Abdullah.  However, he was sacked the day after his father died and now he features as number three on the list of princes rounded up overnight by the new powers that be in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Turki has been incarcerated

He and his fellow princes have been charged with corruption, which makes an uncomfortable prospect for Najib Razak, who has continued to rely on his dodgy Saudi Prince donor story to cover up the vast sums found in his bank accounts by global and domestic investigators tracing the billions stolen from the fund he controlled.

Najib uploaded a ‘selfie’ with King Salman, but the heat has been turned up with the arrest of his key contact

Najib and his wife Rosmah have traded on their supposed good relations with Saudi as a vital part of their bid for respectability.

Najib gloried that he had managed to steal a selfie opportunity with the new King Salman on a visit to Malaysia and circulated it on social media.

He and his wife have hurried to and fro from Mecca to repeatedly and very publicly perform religious obeisances.

Crucially, he was able to stage through his foreign minister, Anifah Aman, a press interview with the Saudi Foreign Minister, in which the Minister said he accepted after all that there had been such a donation.  No details were given and earlier the same minister had denied that Saudi royals had provided Najib’s cash.

There is a view that one trade-off for this willingness by the Saudi establishment to turn a blind eye towards Najib’s domestic corruption issues has been Malaysia’s support of their military adventures against Yemen. Solidiers have even been despatched to join the military operations pummelling that troubled and backward country.

Najib and Rosmah have visited Saudi Arabia numerous times

In seeming harmony with this currying of favour, Najib has also bowed towards supporting increasing extremism and intolerance over religious matters in Malaysia, promoting the ‘Islamic State’ agenda of the Saudi-educated leader of the Islamic party PAS, which was perhaps supposed to bring Malaysia in line with the Middle East, but has destabilised relations between communities in his own multi-cultural South East Asian country.

Now, however, the power in Saudi is a young Prince, who says he wants a corruption clean up and to modernise the Kingdom. Even if that means turning on members of his all-powerful Royal Family, once considered so ‘untouchable’.

The Prince, who has effectively taken over all his father’s powers, has also made clear he wants to ‘return his country to moderate Islam’ and to encourage tolerance and openess towards other faiths that will encourage outside investors, as Saudi looks forward to a future where the world no longer relies on its petroleum deposits.

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance, so that we coexist with the world and become part of the development of the world,” he said…Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed Tuesday to destroy “extremist ideologies” in a bid to return to “a more moderate Islam.”…”Seventy percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30. In all honesty, we will not spend 30 years of our lives dealing with extremist ideologies. We will destroy them today and immediately,” bin Salman said. [CNN News October 25th]

So, the question is, where does this leave Najib and the tacit understanding that all his money was a nice gift from the previous King and his son Prince Turki, now arrested on corruption charges?  What will those charges be?

Also, where does the new look Saudi Arabia leave Najib’s growing pact with the old-school Muslim supremacist, Hadi Awang of PAS, who wants to introduce Hudud Law and an ‘Islamic state’ into Malaysia?

Venezuela

This is not the only foreign corruption case that 1MDB’s erswhile partners at PetroSaudi are facing.  There is a developing court case in Venezuela, which is proving very embarrassing indeed and also proving that every word that Sarawak Report has written about the concerns over corrupt conduct over the company’s 1MDB financed investments in Venezuela are founded on fact.

A recent article in the Venezuelan press details that court proceedings have now implicated the fugitive former head of the state oil company and six senior executives in a corrupt contract that was effectively bought by up front cash introduced by PetroSaudi from 1MDB. In return these officials lumbered their own country with an outrageous agreement that guaranteed PetroSaudi vast returns on their paltry investment, which has now ceased to produce any oil at all.

PetroSaudi has been suing Venezuela to honour that dodgy contract, which is an issue that is separately still going through the London courts.  The person who supported that contract and who provided the front required by PetroSaudi, which was posing to Venezuela as a Saudi state linked company, was Prince Turki.  He had performed a similar role in giving status and a sense of official Saudi backing from his father, the then King, at the launching of his company’s joint venture with 1MDB.  This was his opening letter to the Venezuelan authorities, which had been dictated by his partner Tarek Obaid:

Prince Turki’s letter to Venezuela

Malaysians, including Najib, must now wait with interest to see what information comes out of Saudi, now that his key ally has been hauled up on charges.

Prince Turki’s alleged  letter to Najib, (released in 2015 by Najib’s propagada unit under the pseudonym of the Lim Sian See blog spot)

Letter from petrosaudi (also released by Najib’s propaganda unit in 2015 in an article that sought to prove the official influence of Prince Turki as a supposed representative of his father the King of Saudi Arabai in the PetroSaudi deal)

 

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Response to Hadi Awang

Below, for the purposes of accuracy, is the Court Summary of Sarawak Report’s Defence and Counterclaim against Hadi Awang in the UK. You can also read the full 55 page defence on this link and Hadi’s initial suit on this link:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE                                                                                             Claim No. HQ17M01386

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS LIST

BETWEEN

HONOURABLE ABDUL HADI AWANG MP

Claimant

and

CLARE REWCASTLE BROWN

Defendant

__________________________________________________

SUMMARY OF THE DEFENCE AND COUNTERCLAIM

pursuant to PD16 to Part 16 of the Civil Procedure Rules

___________________________________________________

SUMMARY OF THE DEFENCE

The Claimant claims in respect of the publication of a political commentary written by the Defendant and published by her on the Sarawak Report website from 6 August 2016 and by being sent by email to subscribers to Sarawak report in England and Wales, Singapore and Malaysia. The words complained of appear at the end of the article, in its final eight, short paragraphs. They refer to the political party PAS and to “the top echelons” of that political party. The Claimant is neither named nor identified as being the object of any statements made in the article.

Reference

The Claimant’s case that the words complained of were reasonably understood to refer to him is denied. The Claimant could not reasonably be understood to be referred to. Affording the Claimant a cause of action as a person referred to by the said words would be a disproportionate, unnecessary and unjustified interference and inhibition of the Defendant’s and the public’s rights to freedom of expression pursuant to Article 10 and particularly the exercise of those rights in the free discussion of political matters.

Meaning

The Defendant denies that the words complained of could be understood to bear either the defamatory meaning concerning the Claimant for which he contends or, indeed, any defamatory meaning concerning him.

Serious harm

Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 requires that it be proved that publication of the statements complained of has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the Claimant. The Defendant denies that such harm has been caused or is likely to be caused by the publication of which the Claimant complains

An illegitimate, politically motivated claim

Contrary to the Claimant’s professed purpose in bringing these proceedings, the Defendant will contend that his purpose and intention has not been the legitimate one of correcting and protecting himself from serious harm to his reputation but for the illegitimate purposes of protecting the reputations and advancing the political purposes of the PAS party and his political ally, Malaysia’s corrupt and corrupting Prime Minister, Najib Razak.

Publication in the public interest

The Defendant also relies on the defence available to her pursuant to s.4 of the Defamation Act 2013.The statements in the Article of which the Claimant complains were, or were part of, statements on matters of the greatest possible public interest, namely the corrupt and criminal history and activity and corrupting conduct and influence on the government and political and judicial processes of Malaysia and fitness for office of that country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak.Having regard to all the facts and matters set out in paragraphs 25.1 to 25.102 of the Defence and (as required by s.4(2) of the Act) all the circumstances of the case, it was entirely reasonable for the Defendant to believe that her publication of the Article including the statements complained of was in the public interest. The Defendant will contend that to find to the contrary would constitute an illegitimate interference with her and the public’s Article 10 rights wholly disproportionate to any countervailing need to protect or vindicate the Claimant’s reputation rights.

Truth

The Defendant also relies on the defence of Truth available to her pursuant to s.2 of the Defamation Act 2013.If and in so far as the words complained of were reasonably understood to convey an imputation defamatory of the Claimant, that imputation is substantially true. The Defendant will prove that as the President of the political party PAS the Claimant has knowingly allowed that party to be compromised and corrupted morally and politically and the democratic process to be undermined by senior party personnel accepting and personally benefitting from enormous secret payments of money from the corrupt Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak, paid to undermine and draw PAS away from the Opposition coalition.In the premises the Claimant is not entitled to damages as sought, whether aggravated or at all. Nor is he entitled to injunctive relief.

SUMMARY OF THE COUNTERCLAIM

The Claimant has colluded with the Malaysian government of Najib Razak and their agents to exploit these proceedings as part of their propaganda efforts to exonerate Najib Razak and disable and discredit the Defendant and Sarawak Report in its justified campaign that Najib Razak be removed from office and brought to justice for his corrupt and criminal conduct.The Claimant, whether himself or by his agents, has either been party to the publication of a series of articles viciously and racially abusing, defaming and harassing the Defendant on The Third Force website and on the Malaysia Today website, or has aided and/or abetted and/or counselled and/or procured those publications by passing information concerning these proceedings to those agents of the Malaysian government of Najib Razak.Those publications amount to harassment, proscribed by s.1(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Pursuant to s.3 of that Act, the Defendant claims damages for the severe stress, anxiety and distress caused her by those publications and an injunction restraining the Claimant from further harassment of the Defendant.

HARVEY STARTE

STATEMENT OF TRUTH

I believe that the facts stated in these Particulars of Claim are true.

For the full claim and defence click on the links below:

WRIT HADI 24365728-v1-PARTICULARS OF CLAIM

 

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Prince Charles Ought Not Zip His Lips Over The Scandals In Malaysia Say NGOs

Prince Charles is known for speaking out on good causes and for having a strong moral instinct. However, on this visit to Malaysia he will have been urged by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to zip his lips and give its deeply tainted Prime Minister, Najib Razak, a pre-election boost.

The purpose of the visit is ostensibly to celebrate Malaysian Independence, which is a worthy aim.  However, given the present crisis of governance and the global corruption scandal on the part of the Prime Minister, NGO’s have questioned the UK’s willingness to appear to condone and endorse a mega-thief.

The reasons for that would seem less worthy and the product of behind-the-scenes skullduggery.  A PR company owned by individuals with powerful political links to the present UK government has received a fat contract from Najib, according to documents seen by Sarawak Report.  The same individuals have strong political and trading ties with Malaysia and are pledged in this contract to assist Najib during his election campaign.

On his way back from seeing Donald Trump in September Najib also visited Theresa May in the UK on a low-key lightening visit. There was no announcement about what was discussed, but the UK has been chasing major arms sale contracts with Najib, who was Defence Minister back at the time of the Arms for Aid scandal, which embroiled the government of Margaret Thatcher.

Relations between the two countries appear to be back in the same place with many of the same players.

Letter From Prince Charles

By contrast Prince Charles is a passionate defender of indigenous peoples and the environment. Back in 2009 he wrote a personal letter to the Editor of Sarawak Report in which he kindly praised her for her concerns about the deforestation of Sarawak and the treatment of the native people who have lost their lands:

“Dear Clare…. I do greatly admire your intrepid undertaking … You may not know, but I went to Indonesia last November.. and I spoke about the whole rainforest issue and about my own Rainforest Project, which I had initiated a year before, having been approached in desperation by several of the experts who told me we faced the dire prospects of losing the battle against catastrophic climate change unless we could at least halt deforestation…
Your letter and D.V.D. have only too clearly highlighted the urgency of the situation we face and I have asked the Director of my Prince’s Rainforests Project to contact you to ensure you are fully briefed as soon as possible on where things stand and to discuss how we could help you and you could help us!… It was marvellous of you to write as you did – don’t worry, I’m doing my best on this whole crucial business and refuse to leave any stone unturned until we have, somehow, cracked the problem…. Yours most sincerely Charles”

Yours most sincerely – Charles

The Prince’s letter and the meeting with his trust were heartening and inspiring and the Editor of Sarawak Report has indeed responded over the subsequent years by doing her level best to bring the corruption driving deforestation and human rights abuses in Sarawak to public attention, particularly within Malaysia itself, and especially Sarawak, where the media is heavily controlled by those who have benefitted from the plunder involved.

In 2009, after filming in Sarawak’s interior, we also delivered gifts presented by Penan tribespeople to the Palace of St James. These were products of their handcraft offered to the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William and the gifts came with a plea, which was that the British Royal Family should lend their support to their desperate plight, as they try to protect remaining virgin forest in what was once the most bio-diverse and important natural region on the planet.

Prince Charles cares deeply about these matters and about human rights and fairness towards native peoples. He has made this clear throughout his life and they are noble and correct concerns.  Sarawak Report and other NGOs believe that the Prince ought not to be silent on these issues or on the problems of oppression and corruption in high places when he visits Malaysia, since some things are simply more important than the hope of selling arms to a country that does not need them.

Click below to read the joint statement by Suaram International and Global Bersih:

His Royal Highness Prince Charles

Clarence House

London, SW1A 1BA

Unite Kingdom                                                                                          31st October 2017

 

UK MUST SPEAK OUT AGAINST GRAND CORRUPTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AS MALAYSIA DESCENDS INTO KLEPTOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP

We call on His Royal Highness as a representative of Her Majesty’s government to urgently address Malaysia’s spiralling human rights abuses and ongoing crackdown on Malaysian rights activists and opposition politicians on his upcoming visit to Malaysia.

As HRH will be aware, the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently embroiled in the 1MDB corruption scandal the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has described as the ‘greatest kleptocracy case in history’ alongside allegations of widespread electoral fraud. Shortly after the DOJ report, The Guardian published a detailed article about their investigations, ‘1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal’1.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has been silencing his critics, by sacking his deputy prime minister and the Attorney-General, quashing an internal investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and revoking the publishing licences of newspapers. Najib Razak and his government continue to use the Sedition Act, the Peaceful Assembly Act, and other draconian laws to silence human rights defenders, journalists, opposition politicians and civil society activists in his Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition’s six decades hold on power.

Grand Corruption

In July this year UK Parliamentarians tabled an Early Day Motion2 stating:

“That this House is alarmed about allegations of the misappropriation of billions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a state-owned investment firm intended to promote economic development in Malaysia, including by the current Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak; notes related on-going investigations in a number of countries, including the US and Switzerland; further notes the statement by the FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in connection with the largest single action so far by the US Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Initiative, that the Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale; highlights the continuing restrictions on freedom of expression and of association in Malaysia, as well as the misuse of the Sedition Act, targeted particularly at Government critics, including opposition politicians and MPs, such as Anwar Ibrahim, jailed following legal proceedings which fell far short of international standards, and Rafizi Ramli MP; encourages the Government of Malaysia to allow international observers, including from a range of Commonwealth countries, at its upcoming General Elections, to demonstrate its commitment to free and fair elections, particularly given Malaysia will be taking up the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth in 2020; and calls on the Government to ensure that allegations of misappropriated funds from Malaysia having been used to buy assets in the UK is thoroughly investigated.”

Crackdown on Human Rights

The Malaysian Government continues to curb fundamental human rights in Malaysia through:

a) Suppressing freedom of expression and assembly in the context of elections, in particular through crackdowns on leaders and participants of rallies organised by Bersih, the civil society coalition demanding free and fair elections3,4.b) The ongoing political detention of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim5. Money politics, unfettered cash distribution, threats and biased electoral delineation activities were rife during the 2013 General Elections. Despite this, the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim won 53 per cent of the popular vote. In order to silence him and his popular movement, he was later imprisoned for a second time on trumped up, politically motivated charges of sodomy. The United Nations has denounced Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment as arbitrary and in violation of international law. He continues to be denied access to impartial medical treatment for a serious shoulder injury.c) The continuous harassment, arrest, detention and prosecution of journalists, cartoonists, activists and opposition leaders working to expose the latest developments related to the 1MDB grand corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Najib, including the use of anti-terror legislation, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 – this law allows for detention without trial.d) Continuous use of the Sedition Act 1948 to limit freedom of expression in Malaysia. Many Members of Parliament and human rights defenders are facing charges for raising concerns on issues of corruption and human rights, which is all too often termed ‘activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy’. Convicted MPs face being stripped of their parliamentary seats and disqualified from contesting in elections.

Religious Extremism

Malaysians continue to witness a narrowing of the official definition of ‘orthodox Islam’, and an accompanying escalation of intolerance towards not only non-Sunni Muslims and other faiths, but also towards more tolerant interpretations of Sunni Islam. The state’s powerful and well-funded religious institutions are increasingly used to suppress dissent of all kinds, under religious pretexts. Most recently, this has included the persecution and deportation of visiting Turkish Muslim writer Mustafa Akyol6, and the charging of his host Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa and his organisation the Islamic Renaissance Front for ‘abetting Mustafa Akyol for giving a religious talk without proper accreditation7‘.

In 2014, Najib Razak announced that Islam and its followers are now facing new threats under the guise of “humanism, secularism, liberalism and human rights8.” He went on to state that, “we will not tolerate any demands or right to apostasy by Muslims, or deny Muslims their right to be governed by Shariah Courts and neither will we allow Muslims to engage in LGBT activities.”

In 2013, freedom of religion was one of the key issues discussed during Malaysia’s second cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review, with several states including Austria, Canada, Italy and Poland making critical comments and recommendations.

In June 2014, Najib Razak even encouraged members of his party to “be brave like ISIS fighters.9” Extremist Islamic movements are on the rise in Malaysia, spurred on by Najib’s

use of racial and religious extremist rhetoric. The ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) has forged an alliance with the conservative Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) in order to secure more rural Malay votes. As part of the pact, amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 seeking to impose stiffer penalties for offences along the lines of Hudud law are now regularly debated in parliament and are seen as a worrying development by both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

In the past year, religious tensions have escalated with a number of kidnappings and ‘enforced disappearances’ of Christian pastors and religious minorities in Malaysia10. In September 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur for cultural rights Karima Bennoune noted that the discrepancy between reality and rhetoric on Islamic fundamentalism and religious extremism in Malaysia was extremely worrying11.

Environmental and Human Rights Devastation in Borneo

Preservation of the environment and nature are issues important to HRH. It will therefore be devastating to learn that over the last few years there have been a spate of murders of activists throughout Sarawak12. These activists were opposing illegal land grabs, illegal logging and mining activities aimed at decimating their native customary land and the Borneo rainforest ecosystem13. British investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown has been instrumental in exposing issues of endemic corruption and human rights abuses in the state of Sarawak specifically and Malaysia as a whole, revealing how “in the state of Sarawak, the profits from timber, oil and now oil palm (much of it grown on land illegally sequestered from the indigenous communities) have gone straight into the pockets of political cronies, who have run the country for personal profit and plundered it indiscriminately for the past decades of continuous rule. The once unparalleled tropical rainforests have been denuded – scarcely 5 per cent remain uncut – and the tribal peoples who depended on the forests for their food are now deprived of their means of subsistence and in several cases starving.”

We trust that the issues raised by millions of concerned Malaysians globally will also be of concern to HRH and will be addressed by Prime Minister Najib and his government this week as HRH tours Malaysia. We ask you to encourage the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government to:

Allow international observers, including from a range of Commonwealth countries, at its upcoming General Elections, to demonstrate its commitment to free and fair elections, particularly given Malaysia will be taking up the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth in 2020Release political prisoner of conscience and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim with immediate effect and allow him access to urgent independent medical treatment of his choiceStop the persecution of human rights activists and opposition MPs through the use of the Sedition Act, Peaceful Assembly Act and other laws aimed at stifling democracyEnsure a thorough, impartial investigation into 1MBD without government interferenceEnd Islamic extremism, religious intolerance and persecution of religious minoritiesHalt the environmental devastation of the Borneo rainforest and ensure native customary rights and indigenous rights are protected and upheld

The UK can and must play a critical role in ensuring a UN member, a Commonwealth friend and ally like Malaysia heeds its democratic obligations and respects the rights of its citizens without resorting to widespread violence, intimidation, corruption and stolen elections.

Joint letter endorsed by                     

Global Bersih and SUARAM International

References

The Guardian (2016) Ramesh R. 1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/28/1mdb-inside-story-worlds-biggest-financial-scandal-malaysiaEarly Day Motion 212: 1MALAYSIA DEVELOPMENT BERHAD http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/212/Amnesty International. ‘Malaysia: End crackdown on Bersih activists’ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/malaysia-end-crackdown-on-bersih-activists/Human Rights Watch. ‘Malaysia: Rights Decline Under Najib’https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/12/malaysia-rights-decline-under-najibGuardian (2016) Anwar Ibrahim ‘Malaysia needs democracy. I’m in prison for that belief – but I won’t change it’ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/13/malaysia-needs-democracy-prison-muslim-majority-countryEconomist (2017) ‘A Turkish Writer’s detention sends a sombre message about Islam’ https://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2017/10/turkey-malaysia-and-islamMalay Mail (2017) ‘Scholar Summoned to court for abetting Turkish Writer’ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/scholar-farouk-musa-summoned-to-court-for-abetting-turkish-writerMalay Mail (2014) ‘PM says ‘human rightism, humanism, secularism’ new religion threatening Islam’ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pm-says-human-rightism-humanism-secularism-new-religion-threatening-islamMalay Mail (2014) ‘Be brave like ISIL fighters Najib tells UMNO’ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/be-brave-like-isil-fighters-najib-tells-umnoGuardian (2017) Christian preachers dissaperance in Malaysia stokes fears of crackdown on religious minorities https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/christian-preachers-disappearance-in-malaysia-stokes-fears-of-crackdown-on-religious-minoritiesPreliminary Observations by the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune at the end of her visit to Malaysia. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22121&LangID=E (21 Sep 2017)Guardian (2016). Murder in Malaysia: how protecting native forests cost an activist his life https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/24/in-malaysia-how-protecting-native-forests-cost-an-activist-his-life#img-1Sarawak Report (2016). ‘Where’s the Change? Taib Family continues to grab land in Sarawak. http://www.sarawakreport.org/2016/02/wheres-the-change-taib-family-continues-to-grab-land-in-sarawak/

 

 

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PetroSaudi's Prince Turki Is Rounded Up On Corruption Charges In Saudi

For two years Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak has leaned on an implausible explanation for his pre-election bonanza of $681 million in his bank account, which was that it was a kind ‘donation’ from Saudi Royals. These Royals were hinted to be a king and his son, whom current Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi claims also to have met and discussed the ‘donation’ matter with.

The US Department of Justice have, to the contrary, traced the money step by step back to a theft from Malaysia’s own 1MDB development fund, which was controlled by Najib.

Requests that the alleged Saudi royals should be named have always been met with a shrug by BN’s top brass – why should one delve into detail about such ‘untouchable’ people was the official line?  On the other hand, off the record, Najib’s key media spinner, his British communications chief Paul Stadlen, has subtly directed journalists to a BBC article which named the late King Abdullah and his son Prince Turki, who is a former shareholder and director of PetroSaudi.

Prince Turki lines up with Jho Low and Najib’s family together with PetroSaudi co-director Tarek Obaid on the luxury yacht Tatoosh weeks before the venture was signed in 2009

PetroSaudi was the company embroiled in the first major theft from 1MDB, a matter originally exposed by Sarawak Report and now confirmed by the FBI/DOJ court filings on the world’s largest kleptocracy investigation.

Some $1.83 billion was stolen from 1MDB using a bogus joint venture with PetroSaudi during the period 2009-11. At the time this supposed Saudi oil company was effectively a shell, despite being presented to the Malaysian public as a major player in the oil business.

The money trails show that $77 million was paid to Prince Turki in the aftermath of that deal, although most of the cash went to Jho Low, who was Najib’s own proxy in the negotiations. Even larger kickbacks also went to Prince Turki’s active business partner, Tarek Obaid, who has faced investigations into the affair in several countries and is currently remaining in Switzerland.

Prince Turki extricated himself from PetroSaudi soon after the scandal broke and is no longer involved in the company.  He has also taken action over being effectively named as “Saudi Prince” in the DOJ’s original court filings in 2016, which detailed how $24.5 million had been passed from Jho Low’s company Good Star in 2011 to a Saudi Prince and then $20 million of that was passed on to Najib:

Original court filing mentioning ‘Saudi Prince’ – our highlights

Turki’s lawyers have been pointing out that the most recent version of the FBI filings (July 2017) indicate a more complex transaction that may have distanced the prince through the joint ownership of a company that received the cash.  The revised version of the court document refers to a Riyadh company and Saudi Associates rather than a Saudi Prince:

According to J.P. Morgan Chase and RBS Coutts banking records, between February and June of 2011, approximately $24,500,000 of these funds was transferred to an account at Riyad Bank maintained in the name of two Saudi nationals who were associates of LOW and TAN (“SAUDI ASSOCIATE 1” AND “SAUDI ASSOCIATE 2”). From those funds, $20,000,000 was then transferred, within days, to an account belonging to MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 [updated version of the DOJ court filing]

Prince Turki went on to become Governor of Riyadh, thanks to his powerful connections as the seventh son of the former King Abdullah.  However, he was sacked the day after his father died and now he features as number three on the list of princes rounded up overnight by the new powers that be in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Turki has been incarcerated

He and his fellow princes have been charged with corruption, which makes an uncomfortable prospect for Najib Razak, who has continued to rely on his dodgy Saudi Prince donor story to cover up the vast sums found in his bank accounts by global and domestic investigators tracing the billions stolen from the fund he controlled.

Najib uploaded a ‘selfie’ with King Salman, but the heat has been turned up with the arrest of his key contact

Najib and his wife Rosmah have traded on their supposed good relations with Saudi as a vital part of their bid for respectability.

Najib gloried that he had managed to steal a selfie opportunity with the new King Salman on a visit to Malaysia and circulated it on social media.

He and his wife have hurried to and fro from Mecca to repeatedly and very publicly perform religious obeisances.

Crucially, he was able to stage through his foreign minister, Anifah Aman, a press interview with the Saudi Foreign Minister, in which the Minister said he accepted after all that there had been such a donation.  No details were given and earlier the same minister had denied that Saudi royals had provided Najib’s cash.

There is a view that one trade-off for this willingness by the Saudi establishment to turn a blind eye towards Najib’s domestic corruption issues has been Malaysia’s support of their military adventures against Yemen. Solidiers have even been despatched to join the military operations pummelling that troubled and backward country.

Najib and Rosmah have visited Saudi Arabia numerous times

In seeming harmony with this currying of favour, Najib has also bowed towards supporting increasing extremism and intolerance over religious matters in Malaysia, promoting the ‘Islamic State’ agenda of the Saudi-educated leader of the Islamic party PAS, which was perhaps supposed to bring Malaysia in line with the Middle East, but has destabilised relations between communities in his own multi-cultural South East Asian country.

Now, however, the power in Saudi is a young Prince, who says he wants a corruption clean up and to modernise the Kingdom. Even if that means turning on members of his all-powerful Royal Family, once considered so ‘untouchable’.

The Prince, who has effectively taken over all his father’s powers, has also made clear he wants to ‘return his country to moderate Islam’ and to encourage tolerance and openess towards other faiths that will encourage outside investors, as Saudi looks forward to a future where the world no longer relies on its petroleum deposits.

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance, so that we coexist with the world and become part of the development of the world,” he said…Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed Tuesday to destroy “extremist ideologies” in a bid to return to “a more moderate Islam.”…”Seventy percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30. In all honesty, we will not spend 30 years of our lives dealing with extremist ideologies. We will destroy them today and immediately,” bin Salman said. [CNN News October 25th]

So, the question is, where does this leave Najib and the tacit understanding that all his money was a nice gift from the previous King and his son Prince Turki, now arrested on corruption charges?  What will those charges be?

Also, where does the new look Saudi Arabia leave Najib’s growing pact with the old-school Muslim supremacist, Hadi Awang of PAS, who wants to introduce Hudud Law and an ‘Islamic state’ into Malaysia?

Venezuela

This is not the only foreign corruption case that 1MDB’s erswhile partners at PetroSaudi are facing.  There is a developing court case in Venezuela, which is proving very embarrassing indeed and also proving that every word that Sarawak Report has written about the concerns over corrupt conduct over the company’s 1MDB financed investments in Venezuela are founded on fact.

A recent article in the Venezuelan press details that court proceedings have now implicated the fugitive former head of the state oil company and six senior executives in a corrupt contract that was effectively bought by up front cash introduced by PetroSaudi from 1MDB. In return these officials lumbered their own country with an outrageous agreement that guaranteed PetroSaudi vast returns on their paltry investment, which has now ceased to produce any oil at all.

PetroSaudi has been suing Venezuela to honour that dodgy contract, which is an issue that is separately still going through the London courts.  The person who supported that contract and who provided the front required by PetroSaudi, which was posing to Venezuela as a Saudi state linked company, was Prince Turki.  He had performed a similar role in giving status and a sense of official Saudi backing from his father, the then King, at the launching of his company’s joint venture with 1MDB.  This was his opening letter to the Venezuelan authorities, which had been dictated by his partner Tarek Obaid:

Prince Turki’s letter to Venezuela

Malaysians, including Najib, must now wait with interest to see what information comes out of Saudi, now that his key ally has been hauled up on charges.

Prince Turki’s alleged  letter to Najib, (released in 2015 by Najib’s propagada unit under the pseudonym of the Lim Sian See blog spot)

Letter from petrosaudi (also released by Najib’s propaganda unit in 2015 in an article that sought to prove the official influence of Prince Turki as a supposed representative of his father the King of Saudi Arabai in the PetroSaudi deal)

 

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Isnin, 23 Oktober 2017

A Cleaner Is Just What's Needed At Putrajaya!

Police want the individual who misplaced a wallet containing foreign currency valued at  RM12,666 at a prominent shopping mall in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur on Oct 9, to come forward and reclaim it at the Tun HS Lee police station.

Dang Wangi district police chief Mohd Sukri Kaman said the wallet, which contained 30 US dollar notes and Syrian currency,  was discovered by a cleaner at the diaper changing room on the third floor of the shopping mall.

“Police did not find any identification documents in the wallet. Apart from the money, only a few photographs believed to be of the owner were in the wallet,” he told reporters after the presentation of certificates of appreciation to the security personnel of the shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur, today.

Mohd Sukri also thanked the cleaner for her honesty in handing over the wallet to the management of the shopping centre, who subsequently handed it over to the police.

He said that such deeds should be emulated by other parties to create a responsible and honest society.

Source: A Cleaner Is Just What's Needed At Putrajaya!Comment

The cleaning person at the baby toilet at Jalan Imbi clearly possesses the one vital virtue that is missing from the present government in Malaysia, which is fundamental honesty.  The police were right to praise her and point out that ‘other parties’ should learn from her!

Forget the fancy qualifications, which the current people at the top like to boast of (plenty of which appear to be fake) since the one thing that people need most in government is trustworthyness.

Sarawak Report therefore suggests that this cleaning lady stand at the next election in a BN seat, since she will plainly do a better job than any present incumbent if she can just manage to get through the day without facilitating public theft.

Meanwhile, she deserves all our respect, because only through honesty and sincerity and service to others can any single individual earn true dignity in the eyes of others.

The police officers, who have also shown themselves more honest than the average UMNO MP by declaring this matter, ought to meanwhile donate her the money as a reward, unless it is re-claimed by a proven owner, who can account for their riches in a proper manner (which seems unlikely).

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A Cleaner Is Just What's Needed At Putrajaya!

Police want the individual who misplaced a wallet containing foreign currency valued at  RM12,666 at a prominent shopping mall in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur on Oct 9, to come forward and reclaim it at the Tun HS Lee police station.

Dang Wangi district police chief Mohd Sukri Kaman said the wallet, which contained 30 US dollar notes and Syrian currency,  was discovered by a cleaner at the diaper changing room on the third floor of the shopping mall.

“Police did not find any identification documents in the wallet. Apart from the money, only a few photographs believed to be of the owner were in the wallet,” he told reporters after the presentation of certificates of appreciation to the security personnel of the shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur, today.

Mohd Sukri also thanked the cleaner for her honesty in handing over the wallet to the management of the shopping centre, who subsequently handed it over to the police.

He said that such deeds should be emulated by other parties to create a responsible and honest society.

Source: A Cleaner Is Just What's Needed At Putrajaya!Comment

The cleaning person at the baby toilet at Jalan Imbi clearly possesses the one vital virtue that is missing from the present government in Malaysia, which is fundamental honesty.  The police were right to praise her and point out that ‘other parties’ should learn from her!

Forget the fancy qualifications, which the current people at the top like to boast of (plenty of which appear to be fake) since the one thing that people need most in government is trustworthyness.

Sarawak Report therefore suggests that this cleaning lady stand at the next election in a BN seat, since she will plainly do a better job than any present incumbent if she can just manage to get through the day without facilitating public theft.

Meanwhile, she deserves all our respect, because only through honesty and sincerity and service to others can any single individual earn true dignity in the eyes of others.

The police officers, who have also shown themselves more honest than the average UMNO MP by declaring this matter, ought to meanwhile donate her the money as a reward, unless it is re-claimed by a proven owner, who can account for their riches in a proper manner (which seems unlikely).

Read the story on Sarawalk Report

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Ahad, 22 Oktober 2017

Fraudulent Contract!

The Venezuelan newspaper ‘Venezuela al Dia’ has just reported a highly significant development in the courts of that country. It adds yet another jurisdiction to the many now investigating, and in this case prosecuting, 1MDB related crimes.

According to the paper, the Attorney General’s Office of Venezuela has brought charges against a raft of officials from the state oil company PDVSA, who they say colluded with the company PetroSaudi in a fraudulent oil contract. The deal was designed to net the Saudi ‘joint venture partner’ of 1MDB a staggering half billion dollars a day each for two substandard drilling ships that were engaged to operate in Venezuela’s coastal waters.

Sarawak Report has already reported on the questionable nature of the deal, which was secured after PetroSaudi was able to place several million dollars up front on the table. That money had come from 1MDB and the contract was supposed to be part of their joint venture.

All the six men named in the indictment (Romer Valdez, Jesus Figueroa, Lioner Valdez, Adelso Molero, Elías Roa and Rafael Rodríguez) feature in correspondence between PetroSaudi and PDVSA relating to those deals, according to the information seen by Sarawak Report.

The US Department of Justice court filing on 1MDB has likewise exposed serious concerns about PetroSaudi’s Venezuelan venture, citing that the two aging drill ships had also turned out to have been the sole asset on which 1MDB’s supposed $2.3 billion worth of ‘units’ in a mystery Cayman Island investment trust portfolio relied. The ships are worth less than $100 million and neither are currently operational.

$130 Million Legal Dispute

Despite a lamentable record of delivery of oil by these two rigs, which led to PDVSA refusing to continue to fulfil its astronomical rental agreements, PetroSaudi has continued to press for its half million a day payments (money that in theory ought to go to 1MDB). The company had succeeded in getting the Venezuelans to agree to a bank letter of credit arrangement whereby $130 million would be paid to PetroSaudi in the event of such a dispute.

Sarawak Report has reported that the UK High Court (which had jurisdiction over the deal) had backed PDVSA’s refusal to release the $130 million Letter Of Credit, on the basis there was evidence of fraud on the part of PetroSaudi and its collaborators on the deal.  However, the Court of Appeal has subsequently reversed that decision.

This matter is now due to be decided upon by the Supreme Court of the UK, just as the Venezuelan action against its own officials has heavily substantiated the evidence that the contract was indeed based on deliberate fraud.

Meanwhile, once again, claims of innocence on the part of 1MDB and PetroSaudi have been contradicted by the official actions of state regulators and investigators. Brlow is our translation of the article:

 

 

 

On September 20, the 10th Court of Control of the Metropolitan Area of ​​Caracas admitted a complaint filed by attorney Rafael Antonio Osío Tovar against Romer Valdez, Jesus Figueroa, Lioner Valdez, Adelso Molero, Elías Roa and Rafael Rodríguez for the crimes of embezzlement and falsification, for irregularities in the rental of an oil rig in a $ 1.3 billion contract between Petróleos de Venezuela, Neptune Marine & Drilling and PetroSaudí. 

The plaintiff, Osío Tovar, who is part of the Attorney General’s Office, filed a case against  six men linked to Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), after finding alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds contained in the contract signed in 2007 for the lease of a drilling vessel. The multi-million dollar Drilling Contract No. NMD DISC DRL 151.0035 was entered into between PDVSA and Neptune Marine & Drilling in October 2007 to lease the Discover unit for offshore operations, negotiated and signed by Luis Vierrna’s team, with the direct participation of Eulogio del Pino, reported the prestigious magazine Petroleum World.

The contract, already close to its expiration, was scandalously restored and ceded to PetroSaudi on January 10, 2010 pursuant to an assignment agreement between Pdvsa, PetroSaudi and Neptune. In parallel, to complete the plan, a separate agreement was signed [Drilling Contract No. 4600036377] in September 2010 between Pdvsa and PetroSaudi Oil Services, for a record number of more than 1300 million dollars, adding another boat the Saturn, to the operations of PDVSA.

Approved by Del Pino and the rest of the executives, PDVSA paid daily rates of more than half a million dollars for each ship, with a surcharge, more if you take into account that the ships were considered useless scrap, that did not meet any of the objectives of drilling, as evidenced in the Internal Reports of the Offshore Division of PDVSA. 

PetroSaudí is a private company, of a more financial nature than operational. It was founded in 2005 by a member of the Saudi royal family, Turki Bin Abdullah Al Saud, and a Saudi citizen, Tarek Essam Ahmad Obaid.

Despite this conflict, last March a London court ordered PDVSA to pay PetroSaudí’s USD 130 million in unpaid bills. Venezuela reacted announcing that it would appeal the decision and denounced the company before the Permanent Court of Arbitration of the United Nations for bFreaching the terms of the Saturn contract. According to documents to which this wording obtained access, Valdez has given a power of attorney in the US state of Texas to Jose Antonio Bonvicini, Luis García, Daniel García and Luis Miguel García, in order to represent him before Venezuelan courts and the Public Ministry and clarify the facts to which it is linked.

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Ahad, 15 Oktober 2017

Jho's Thai Ties Sprout Further Links And Insights

Newly minted Thai off-shore Islamic banker, Phengphian Laogumnerd, was identified as a close associate of Jho Taek Low during court proceedings against 1MDB bankers in Singapore.

Our previous article noted that Laogumnerd partied on board a private jet with Jho Low along with some of the tycoon’s key agents at the now defunct BSI Bank, who were subsequently jailed.  This was in June 2015, some months after the 1MDB scandal had erupted and Jho Low was already considered as a fugitive, on the run from task force investigators in Malaysia.  This notoriety apparently did not trouble Laogumnerd.

Massive duplex at trophy address 15 CPW – Laogumnerd brought the price down from $65m to $45 to sell in 2015

Later, in November that year, Laogumnerd sparked headlines in New York when he himself emerged as the seller of one of the city’s most expensive duplex penthouse flats in the prestige building  15 Central Park West for $45 million.

In March of 2017 he went on to take over as the controlling shareholder of Jho Low’s London based lingerie business Myla (housed in Mayfair offices bought with money stolen from 1MDB), Low having resigned his posts last November.

That same month Laogumnerd took up a directorship of the first Islamic bank to be set up in the off-shore haven of Mauritius, becoming the Chairman in February of this year.

Jho had himself yearned to own an off-shore bank in order to park his remaining millions, as emails by his associates have revealed, so it appears that the 1MDB fugative has continued to act as something as a mentor to his Thai friend Laogumnerd in his investment decisions.

Legal Ties

Sarawak Report can also reveal that the two men share strong connections in terms of their legal advisors.  The New York Penthouse sold by Laogumnerd was held under a company that was based in New Zealand named (15Cpw Phb Ptc (Nyc) Limited) – likewise, many of Jho’s family trusts were also set up in NZ.

However, records show that although the penthouse was bought a year before on 13th May 2014, Laogumnerd had only became the registered shareholder of the New Zealand holding company a month before the sale.  Prior to him becoming shareholder the company was officially owned by a US lawyer who had also acted as the legal representative of Jho Low with respect to two of his own properties, which were later confiscated by the DOJ as part of the list of assets bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

New York Flats, New Zealand Holding Companies

15Cpw Phb Ptc (Nyc) Limited was incorporated in January 2014 and then transfered on  14th February into the ownership of one shareholder, namely a Chicago lawyer with the major firm DLA Piper named Michael Legamaro.  Later, on 15th April, just before the purchase of the penthouse, the shareholding was passed on again to one of his then legal associates at DLA Piper, Matthew McKim.

In both instances these shareholder lawyers placed their personal home addresses as the reference for the company, as opposed to their professional offices in Chicago, although one assumes that McKim was not the actual owner of the multi-million dollar penthouse but was the legal representative of the real owner, till then an unknown entity.

It was only as late as 21 October 2015, after the flat had already been on the market for several months, that the ownership details of the company were altered in New Zealand’s company records file to reveal a new shareholder, which was Phengphian Laogumnerd:

Shareholder history from New Zealand company register

So, after the flat had already been on sale for several months, the records were altered to remove the lawyer as the official shareholder and reveal the presence of Mr Laogumnerd for the first time as the sole shareholder of the company.  Laogumnerd was therefore reported by various newspapers as being the owner who sold the flat the following month.

The formal owner of the property when it was first put on the market was the same lawyer who represented two of Jho Low’s properties which were later confiscated

The sale of the Penthouse created waves not just because it was so expensive, but because Laogumnerd suddenly brought his price down spectacularly. Originally, it was on the market for $65 million, but by the time he sold it in November it had come down to $45 million, which although expensive was actually $3 million lessthan the price at which it had been sold to 15Cpw Phb Ptc (Nyc) Limited just a year previously:

Sold after dropping the price by $20 million

Laogumnerd was apparently not prepared to wait around for a better offer and wanted to get rid of the flat that had been bought just months before, despite the substantial loss.  He  was also apparently no longer concerned to hide his identity, in the manner that the identity of the owner had been hidden from public view at the time of the original purchase.

Jho Low’s Hollywood Home Also Registered by DLA Piper Lawyer

It is perhaps no coincidence that records show that Jho Low’s property purchases in the United States were also handled by Mr McKim. Given Low’s friendship with Laogumnerd  maybe he recommended his lawyer, who advertises himself as a specialist in wealth management?

Matthew McKim first assisted Jho Low in the 2012 purchase of another record-priced mansion in Hollywood Hills. Again the young tycoon’s own identity had been hidden from the records with McKim acting as his representative.  However, Sarawak Report reported in 2014 that information had leaked outthat Low was indeed the owner:

Record breaking price for Hollywood Hills  in 2012 when Jho bought the property using cash taken from 1MDB’s first PetroSaudi venture

This ownership was confirmed by the DOJ court filing which sequestered Low’s 1MDB related assets including this house. In their third court filing in June this year the DOJ referred to Mr McKim as a ‘lawyer for DLA Piper’ who handled the purchase of the property on Oriole Drive, named the Oriole Mansion in the court papers.

Confiscated by the DOJ

The FBI money trail showed that Jho used money from his company Good Star Limited to buy the property – part of the $700 million stolen from 1MDB’s original ‘joint venture’ with the company PetroSaudi.

Further public records related to the 2012 purchase, using the Delaware company Oriole Drive (LA) LLC, also cite Mr McKim as the Manager for the property.  On this occasion the lawyer utilised his formal office address at DLA Piper in Chicago:

Matthew McKim represented Jho Low for his purchase of Oriole Mansion via DLA Piper

Twin Purchases in New York

Likewise, Jho Low was also represented by Mr McKim for a second record-breaking property purchase by Jho Low in March 2014 – Flat 16, 118 Greene Street, New York.  Again the flat was purchased with money from Good Star, according to the DOJ, and again it has now been confiscated.

Our researches show that this Greene Street property purchase appears to have been structured in an almost identical fashion to that of the Central Park West penthouse later sold by Mr Laogumnerd and almost at the very same time.

Bought for a newsworthy $13,8 million, this property was also placed under a New Zealand holding company named 118 GREENE STREET PTC (NYC) LIMITED, which was notably set up on January 23rd 2014, just a few days before the company 15Cpw Phb Ptc (nyc) Limited that was used to buy the penthouse.

Both property holding companies had been incorporated by the same New Zealand agent and both were handed over on the same day 14th February 2014  to their new shareholder, DHA Piper lawyer Michael Legamaro, registered under his home address in Chicago.

On 15th April Michael Legamaro passed the shareholding of both 118 Greene Street Ptc (NYC) Limited and 15Cpw Phb Ptc (nyc) Limited to his fellow lawyer Matthew McKim as the new representative. Again McKim registered the two shareholdings under his personal home address (rather than his office address, which he had used for the Oriole Drive Mansion).

Specialist in wealth management – lawyer Matthew McKim is now at McGuireWoods

The property purchases ,which these two holding companies had been set up to own, were completed shortly after. Greene Street was bought March 5th the Central Park West Penthouse was bought in May.

Although Mr  McKim left DHA Piper in September 2014, he continued to act as the shareholder of the penthouse company in New Zealand until 21st October 2015 – at which point he handed over to Laogumnerd prior to its sale in November.

Prior to that, however, on 23rd July 2015, he registered in New Zealand that the other 118 Greene Street company had ceased operating and closed it. Jho Low does not appear to have sold the property itself however, since a year later when it was seized under the DOJ court order of 20th July 2016, it was described as being in Low’s possession.

The flat’s current estimated value is a mere $7 million, indicating that Jho Low paid hugely over the odds for the property using Malaysia’s stolen money.

From Businessman To Banker

As detailed, the Thai national Laogumnerd emerged in November 2016 as an Islamic banker in the off-shore haven of Mauritius. He became a Director of Century Banking Corporation based on the island, progressing to Chairman in February of this year (shortly before he emerged as the controlling shareholder of Jho Low’s previously owned company Myla in March).

Laogumerd’s arrival at the bank appears to have coincided with a significant upturn in the institution’s fortunes. Official data shows that the money deposited shot up 618% in 2016:

Healthy balance at the ’boutique off-shore bank’

Remaining Questions?

Owing to the shadowy arrangements behind these property holding companies there remain some unanswered questions. First, was Mr Laogumnerd the person who owned the Penthouse at the time of purchase as well as at the time of sale or did lawyer Matthew McKim originally represent another shareholder of 15Cpw Phb Ptc (Nyc) Limited?

Second, since Mr McKim had closed the parallel company holding Jho Low’s 118 Greene Street condo back in July 2015, under what entity was the flat being held when the DOJ announced its seizure a year later?

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