Sunday, February 28, 2021

Slow death awaits Umno if it stays with PN

MM Online:

Puad Zarkashi: Slow death awaits Umno if it stays with ‘dishonest’, back-stabber Perikatan

An election poster of Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is seen in Pintasan, Kota Belud, Sabah, September 16, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — It is only a matter of time before Umno officially leaves Perikatan Nasional (PN), a party leader asserted, accusing its coalition partner of political dishonesty and betrayal such as during the Sabah state elections last September.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi told The Malaysian Insight that the decision to quit PN has been made by the majority of the party members, and indicated it was pending the annual general meeting — now scheduled to March 27-28 — to be made official.

“It is an open secret that Umno will leave PN when 118 out of 147 divisions have already decided.

“Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should understand that the decision has already been made. It is just not official yet,” Puad was quoted saying.

He intimated that the Umno assembly next month will discuss the party’s future political partnership in preparation for GE15.

According to Puad, Umno grassroots members were unhappy that the PN-appointed village chiefs refused to cooperate with their local leaders.

He also intimated that Umno members were still upset at being allegedly played out by its PN coalition partners in the Sabah election, when Bersatu and several other local parties used independent candidates as proxies to contest against Umno’s candidates.

“We went in with good intentions after it was decided which seats each party would contest. But after the seat negotiations, they sponsored independent candidates and caused Umno to lose seats.

“This is a bitter experience that we will not allow to happen again. We want honest political partners, not those who would stab us in the back,” Puad was quoted saying.

In the Sabah elections, BN lost eight seats to its partners in the 17 seats it clashed in. Umno contested a total of 31 seats.

In the end, BN won 14 seats, compared to PN’s 17.

Puad also accused Bersatu president and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of making decisions without regard for Umno’s hierarchy. He gave as examples the selection of Umno MPs into the Muhyiddin Cabinet, the cancellation of the KL-Singapore high speed rail project and the request for the state of Emergency.

Puad also dismissed claims that Umno would be causing disunity among Malays by quitting PN.

“There is no point talking about Malay unity when you stabbed us in Sabah.

“This is just political rhetoric. If Bersatu is sincere about Malay unity, why did it partner Pakatan Harapan to cause Umno to lose power? There is no Malay unity if the parties are bent on undermining each other,” he told the news portal.

Puad said Umno would continue its cooperation with PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and other Sabah parties after it officially ditches Bersatu.

He admitted there was opposition among some Umno supreme council on whether to cut ties with Bersatu for GE15 and named his party colleague and Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa as chief among the objectors.

Puad said that Annuar’s contention that Umno would “die” without Bersatu “did not make sense.”

“Umno did not disappear after it was declared illegal in 1988, and it did not ‘die’ after losing GE14.

“Just like PAS, Umno is a party that is rooted with members on the ground, but Umno is bound to die a slow death if it continues to be with PN, which is politically dishonest and would stab it in the back,” said Puad.

He said that Annuar had to go with the majority after more than half of the party’s 191 divisions wanted to break off ties with Bersatu.


kt notes:

While Annuar Musa is the UMNO man who is most bodek-ish to PM Muhyiddin (PRIBUMI PPBM), to such an extent one must be forgiven for believing he is a PPBM member, Puad Zarkashi is by contrast the UMNO member (actually a member of UMNO Supreme Council) who is most virulently anti PPBM/Muhyiddin.

We need to ask whether Puad is speaking on his own or on behalf of the UMNO powers behind the scene. I'm inclined to believe in the latter.

As for PPBM's treachery cum sabotage towards UMNO in Sabah I suspect a notorious PPBM member who's equally notorious in earlier Sabah and Sarawak state elections (especially the latter) in his treachery and sabotage towards the DAP, wakakaka. His speciality is backstabbing so-called allies.

Former BNM governor Zeti Akhtar surely knew of funds going into her husband and son’s account.


What happened to reports filed against Zeti, asks Puad

Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi has urged former BNM governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz to respond to a report that the central bank knew of funds going into her husband and son’s account.

PETALING JAYA: Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi has asked authorities for an update on police reports filed against former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz and her family over their alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

In a Facebook post, Puad questioned if there was a “conspiracy” to keep the matter under wraps, saying it has been about two months since reports were lodged against Zeti and her family.

He also asked why the Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan governments had “hidden the fact” that Zeti’s family admitted to having 1MDB funds channelled to their accounts through statutory declarations in 2019.

Puad also urged Zeti to respond to a report yesterday that Singapore police had informed BNM of suspicious transactions involving a company owned by her husband and son, with the funds coming from accounts linked to Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

The Edge said according to documents it had sighted, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) had shared this information with the central bank in 2015 and 2016. Zeti was BNM governor when this information was relayed to it.

This involved suspicious funds going into the account of Iron Rhapsody Ltd, which it confirmed was owned by her husband, Dr Tawfiq Ayman, and a son who was not named.

In December last year, Umno Youth lodged a report against Zeti and her family following a blogpost claiming that they had received over RM100 million from Low, which included 1MDB funds.

According to the post, Zeti’s family members had allegedly executed the statutory declaration in which they admitted to having received the funds from Singapore bank accounts, and that they had come from a company linked to Low.

Aisehman, VELL-y Konk-fusing for VELL-y flirtatious Sl**


PPBM-Umno rivalry drives PAS leaders further apart

PAS leaders are split between those supporting PPBM and those in favour of Umno.

PETALING JAYA: The split in PAS between those backing PPBM and those supporting Umno has been widening since it became part of the governing coalition one year ago, two sources close to the groups said today.

They said one group supported the Perikatan Nasional coalition (in which PAS and PPBM are allies) while the other wanted to strengthen the Muafakat Nasional partnership of PAS and Umno

One of them told FMT that the rift had been widening after several key PAS leaders gave their backing to PPBM and snubbed Umno.

“The other group has remained close to Umno,” he said, adding: “It’s like there are two leaders in PAS. One is aggressive, while the other leader who is close to Umno, is quiet.”

Those close to PPBM were hoping for court cases involving Umno leaders over alleged graft to be sped up before GE15, he said, adding that the desire to see some Umno leaders out of the picture was getting stronger within this faction.

“There are moves to push for elections by September or after the court cases linked to Umno leaders are over,” he added.

The source said that due to the split, Umno and PAS were unable to reach an agreement in certain states on seat allocation.

It was reported recently that a showdown between the Muafakat Nasional partners was looming in at least four states, with Terengganu Umno set to contest all seats in the state in the next general election. The other acrimonious states are Johor, Perak and Selangor.

FMT recently quoted sources who attended an Umno meeting in Janda Baik last weekend as saying that among the key decisions made were to not work with PPBM and to decline the post of deputy prime minister.

However, no decision was made on its working relationship with PAS in Muafakat Nasional.

But a source from PAS said party leaders close to PPBM did not want Umno to enjoy the monopoly it enjoyed in the past.

PAS won 18 parliamentary seats in the 2018 general election, the majority of them in Kelantan and Terengganu.

Another source told FMT that the team that supported Umno had been told not to create a split in the party.

“Once the court cases are over, PAS leaders close to PPBM will back us to support Muafakat Nasional, we were told,” he said.

But he said the tension was now also being felt at the grassroots level as more members had come to know about the split within the leadership.

The last time there was such a split in PAS, with leaders torn over whether or not to back the then Pakatan Rakyat, a splinter group quit the party to form Amanah.

PKR warns of froggie enticement by PN - watch your back (or front)

MM Online:

Stand your ground despite attempts to bait defection, PKR sec-gen tells party MPs

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail suggested that the attempts to lure PKR MPs to defect came right as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decreed that Parliament can sit during the Emergency, even as Perikatan Nasional is said to have lost its majority. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 ― PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has called on party members today to hold on tight to the principles despite alleged offers and threats from political rivals.

He suggested that the attempts to lure PKR MPs to defect came right as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decreed that Parliamentcan sit during the Emergency, even as Perikatan Nasional (PN) is said to have lost its majority.

“PKR is aware that there are planned measures that are being undertaken by certain parties to weaken the strength of the people's representatives, especially the Opposition MPs, including from PKR,” he said in a statement.

“This is being done with a threat and bait approach whether it is related to income tax issues, police investigations and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or through project offers and positions in government-linked companies.

“This happens when the current government has lost the support of the majority in Parliament, and in the case of a Parliamentary session can be held during the Emergency in force,” he added.

Saifuddin also accused the PN government of losing its grip on education, employment, and public health policies.

“At the same time, it is clear in the eyes of many that the government is now unable to solve the various problems of the people, whether related to education, employment, or public health.

“Therefore, PKR condemns the desperate move to make PKR MPs leave the party to become independent or join the government party, either through threats or gifts,” he said.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has decreed that Parliament could reconvene even during the Emergency period, upon the advice of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

PKR’s Tebrau MP Steven Choong had also recently denied that he was joining the PN coalition, after he was seen frequenting the ministers’ office.

PN 2 - PKR 0 but which part of PN will frogs be in?

MM Online:

Muhyiddin confirms won over PKR’s Julau, Tebrau MPs

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin with Julau MP Larry Sng and Tebrau MP Steven Choong, who confirmed their defection from PKR. — Picture courtesy of Facebook/Muhyiddin Yassin

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said two PKR federal lawmakers have defected to the ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition.

Muhyiddin announced the defections shortly after photographs of him with Julau MP Larry Sng and Tebrau MP Steven Choong emerged online.

“Today, I received the statutory declarations from two Opposition members of parliament stating their support for the Perikatan Nasional government,” he said on Facebook.

He added that the SDs were delivered to him by the two defecting lawmakers after a gathering of the Cabinet to mark the one-year anniversary of the PN administration in Putrajaya.

Muhyiddin,who is the prime minister, expressed hope that the defection would bolster the PN government in its efforts to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and rebuild the economy.

It was not immediately clear which PN party the two defectors would join but former Barisan Nasional component Gerakan appeared to be a natural fit.

Yesterday, Sng resigned suddenly as the Sarawak PKR chief without making clear if he was leaving the party.

Earlier this week, Choong denied that he defected to PN, insisting that the allegations were down to his coincidental meetings with some ministers on what he claimed to be constituent matters.

Rumours have circulated this month that PN was making overtures to Opposition lawmakers in an attempt to regain the parliamentary majority it appeared to lose in January when three Umno MPs openly withdrew support for Muhyiddin.

Shortly after, the Muhyiddin administration advised the Yang diPertuan Agong to declare a state of Emergency across Malaysia, during which all legislatures and elections are suspended.

The rumours prompted PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to urge his party’s lawmakers to resist defecting yesterday.

Takiyuddin macam badak rindu bulan jikalau salah-sangka syariah sama rata dengan mahkamah awam

MM Online:

After apex court ruling on Selangor religious enactment, PAS says will strive to ‘harmonise’ civil and shariah law

PAS will continue to uphold shariah law and maintain its effort to ‘harmonise’ Islam with civil jurisprudence, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — PAS will continue to uphold shariah law and maintain its effort to “harmonise” Islam with civil jurisprudence, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement last night amid growing conservative dissent against a recent Federal Court ruling that voided a Selangor religious law on unnatural sex unconstitutional.

Takiyuddin, who is PAS secretary-general, made no direct comment about the ruling itself but suggested any challenge against state religious laws would be unwarranted as it threatens “unity” and “social harmony”.

“Seeing that Malaysia is among the many countries with a Muslim-majority population, PAS will continue its effort to harmonise shariah with civil law that is built upon common law,” he said.

“PAS is convinced, based on the recognition of shariah law even by the country’s British courts in the pre-independence era, the principles of such a law will be able to create a new face and dynamic to the national legal system,” he added.

The Federal Court’s nine-judge panel unanimously declared on February 25 that a Selangor state law’s provision that made unnatural sex a shariah offence was invalid and against the Federal Constitution, as such offences fall under Parliament’s powers to make laws and not under state legislatures’ law-making powers.

The state enactment had made it a shariah offence for “any person” performing “sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”, with the punishment being a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a maximum three-year jail term or a maximum whipping of six strokes or any combination.

The court had granted a declaration sought by a 35-year-old man that enactment is invalid on grounds that it made provision with respect to a matter that the Selangor state legislature was not empowered to make laws and was therefore null and void. Pro LGBT groups had hailed it as a landmark verdict.

Takiyuddin suggested that the court could have been pressured to make such a ruling.

“PAS is worried that decisions by the judiciary made out of inappropriate pressure will yield no benefit for the country nor its people,” he said.


kt notes:

PAS have been getting too much for their legislative shoes, where Takiyuddin has the brazen nerve to talk about harmonising shariah with civil law.

Let me remind Takiyuddin that the syariah courts are state-only level courts, with each state having her own and very limited jurisdiction, over matters of state-only Islamic law.

The syariah courts may have jurisdiction only over Muslim in the matters of Muslim family laws and Islamic religious observances, and can only pass sentences of not more than three years' imprisonment, a fine of up to RM5,000, and/or up to six strokes of the cane - the penal code limitation is commonly known in Malaysia as the '3-5-6' LIMITATION.

Thus the syariah courts are subordinate to the Civil Courts which can issue legislative punishments up to capital punishments.

Whatever the Civil Courts deem as its domain, the syariah courts must kuai-kuai STFU and not intrude upon nor interfere with.

Thus Takiyuddin is macam 'badak rindu bulan' in his kerbau-ish legislative aspiration of attempting to have a parallel running syariah courts.

Backdoor senator predicts doom in GE15 for backdoor PM

MM Online:

Muhyiddin faces tough fight in Pagoh if multiple challengers show again in GE15, says former ally Chin Tong

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin casts his vote at a polling station in Muar back in the 2018 elections. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will find his Pagoh parliamentary seat competitive should it turn into a multi-cornered contest in the next general election, Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong predicts.

The DAP strategist had fought on the same side as Muhyiddin to wrest control of the southern state — once regarded as an Umno fortress — in the run-up to the 14th general election in 2018.

Saying he has intimate knowledge of the area, Liew claimed that out of 65 per cent voters who are Malays in Pagoh, Muhyiddin did not have half from this group while his remaining support came from non-Malay voters who make up 36 per cent of the constituency’s electorate.

“I know the constituency quite well. I worked with him in 2018 as I am the DAP chairman of Johor.

“He won about nearly half of the Malay votes and very high non-Malay support in the last election, [but] that sort of circumstances, even in his own seat, he may face danger,” Liew told Malay Mail during a recent interview.

Johor DAP Chairman, Liew Chin Tong. — Picture by Hari Anggara

He had worked closely with Muhyiddin to take Johor for Pakatan Harapan back in 2018, before the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president became prime minister last year and withdrew his party from the coalition to form a new alliance now known as Perikatan Nasional (PN).

In the 2018 general election, Muhyiddin faced two challengers for Pagoh in Election 2018 but garnered 23,558 (45.7 per cent) votes out of 43,667 voter turnout (84.8 per cent).

The Pagoh incumbent was up against Umno’s Ismail Mohamed who bagged 16,631 votes (32.3 per cent) while PAS’ Ahmad Nawfal Mahfodz got 2,483 (4.8 per cent) votes.

Liew predicts that his one-time ally turned foe may have a tough time keeping Pagoh, a seat he has held for sixth straight general elections since 1995, if it’s not a straight contest in GE15.

“With the three kingdoms translated into electoral competition, that means there is a three-cornered fight in his seat.

“I think it’s a highly dangerous seat for him,” Liew said.

The “three kingdoms”, according to Liew, refers to the three political forces that have formed in Malaysia since the February 2020 collapse of the PH government: Muhyiddin and his friends; Umno and its friends; and PH and other Opposition parties.

Liew believes Muhyiddin’s popularity has been dented, basing it on recent public response to some of the PM’s initiatives.

He gave as example, reactions of locals to allegations that a contract worth RM35 million was issued to construct a multipurpose hall in Pagoh, general public unhappiness on the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and his scepticism that Muhyiddin will not be able to drastically reduce the four-digit daily caseload by August 1 — the date set for the end of the Emergency proclamation.

“I don’t think Muhyiddin will be super popular in three months’ time or half a year’s time.

“For him to turn around, it is very difficult within a short span of time, even until August.

“Even when he was as popular as in June 2020, his party wasn’t and it isn’t going to be,” he said.

Last month, two Umno MPs openly withdrew their non-support for the Perikatan Nasional government, indirectly sending a message to Muhyiddin that they are unwilling to work with Bersatu.

Umno leaders have also claimed that the majority of division chiefs and grassroot members still held grudges against Bersatu for luring away their party members from Umno prior to GE14.

This means Bersatu is now left with the support of PAS — the other member of the three-party pact Muafakat Nasional which Bersatu joined last August.

Liew however said this is not enough.

“He may be limping on the shoulder of PAS but he cannot wholly rely on PAS either,” he said.

Bersatu currently has 31 MPs in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat, but without the support of both Umno and PAS, it will not be able to sustain the government.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Harimau betina DAP menjadi anak kucing


I’d no say in content of textbooks, says former deputy education minister

Former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching said she had never been involved in the preparation of drafts and printing of textbooks.

PETALING JAYA: Former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching is mulling legal action against an Umno-linked group after being accused of changing the contents of history textbooks in a bid to glorify communists as freedom fighters before independence.

In a Facebook live hosted by Umno Youth yesterday, Gabungan NGO Melayu Secretariat deputy chairman Yazid Othman claimed that Teo had issued an order to change the contents of Form 4 history textbooks.

However, Teo denied the accusation, saying that during her tenure as deputy education minister, she had never been involved in the preparation of drafts and printing of textbooks, let alone giving the order to change the contents of the history textbooks.

“Former education minister Maszlee Malik himself has explained the process of how the textbooks are prepared. It is impossible for me to interfere in such a matter,” she said in a statement today.

Teo said the allegations made by Yazid were baseless, malicious and unreasonable, adding that she would discuss with her lawyers to take legal action to defend her reputation and credibility.

Recently, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki had urged the ministry to correct some content in the textbooks that he claimed glorified communists as independence fighters.

He claimed this was intentionally done by the Pakatan Harapan government then to “sow the seeds” of a “Malaysian Malaysia” ideology.

Maszlee yesterday sent a legal letter to Asyraf demanding a public apology and compensation for slander but Asyraf responded by saying he did not mention any name in his statement.

KT notes:

So Nie Ching admits: I’d no say in content of textbooks.

And may I add: Nor in kasut hitam & KHAT - DAP then diam2 macam tikus.

Nie Ching my dear, where's the UEC you promised to secure within a year?


MM Online (08 July 2018):

Deputy minister pledges official recognition for UEC by year-end

Teo told reporters that she will be meeting leaders of the Dong Zong group of Chinese educationists next week to discuss the matter further. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching has pledged to have the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) officially recognised by the government before the end of this year.

According to a Malaysiakini report, Teo said that it would not be necessary to bring the matter to Parliament, seeing as a similar recognition was granted to the A-level certificate without debating it in Dewan Rakyat.

She, however, added that a mechanism to recognise UEC needs to first be established before the education minister can seek a green light from Parliament.

“I hope I can finish this job before this year end, that is my aim.

“It may take time to build a school, but this (UEC recognition) can be done as soon as possible. I don’t like to do things sloppily,” she reportedly said.

42 lawan 13 pun kalah, wakakaka
dan harimau betina menjadi anak kucing 

The UEC is the school-leaving certificate issued by independent Chinese-medium schools in Malaysia, introduced more than 40 years ago.

As a part of its electoral promises, Pakatan Harapan (PH) pledged to recognise UEC within 100 days of taking power.

Ass-binte's Frog-matey from PKR hopped too far, into New Zealand???


Has deputy FT minister been in NZ since December, MP asks

A PKR lawmaker has questioned the whereabouts of Deputy Federal Territories Edmund Santhara Kumar following a report alleging that he has travelled to New Zealand to rejoin his family since December 2020.

In a statement today, Batu MP P Prabakaran said Santhara should immediately provide clarification if what was alleged by whistleblower Sarawak Report was true.

He demanded that Santhara quit as Segamat MP if he is in New Zealand as alleged by Sarawak Report.

"Is it true that Perikatan Nasional has lost another MP? Where is the Segamat MP? Has he deserted his political career because he could not stand PN's politics?" he said. Santhara left PKR to join Bersatu last year.

"If you are a voter in Segamat, do you want to meet your MP? Or are you a civil servant who wants to meet the deputy federal territories minister?

"Ever since last Christmas, has anyone met Santhara? Where is he now? Sarawak Report has alleged that he is now in New Zealand. Is it true ?"

Prabakaran said Santhara (above) was nowhere to be seen when the floods hit Segamat last month nor was he seen resolving an issue in connection with a fire incident in Kuala Lumpur.

"According to Sarawak Report, he is staying comfortably with his family in New Zealand as his children are studying there. What about the fate of the poor children in Segamat who need educational aids?"

"An MP who abandons his parliamentary constituency when the people are suffering from disasters such as fire, floods and the Covid-19 pandemic should immediately quit his position.

"Many other politicians and leaders are more hardworking in resolving the issues of the people," he said.

"If the report is indeed true, he should also return his salary and allowance paid to him since Dec 23, 2020 to the people as this is the public's money," said Prabakaran.

Malaysiakini is trying to contact Santhara, and Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa for comments.

However, the news portal is made to understand that Santhara is in New Zealand to attend to some family issues.

He is said to have returned to Malaysia sometime before Federal Territories Day, and has flown back to New Zealand again after Feb 1.

New Zealand has maintained some of the toughest travel guidelines in the world since March 2020.

The country is considered to have successfully coped with Covid-19, having recorded just 2,372 cases and a total of 26 deaths.

Frog season is on - first cab off the rank may be Ass-binte's mateys in PKR


More opposition MPs to jump ship, say sources

More opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) are expected to exit their current parties to support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government. - Bernama file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: More opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) are expected to exit their current parties to support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Two PKR MPs are supposedly jumping ship soon while at least four Parti Warisan Sabah lawmakers are currently negotiating with PN to join the ruling coalition.

Sources within Pakatan Harapan (PH) revealed that the two PKR MPs are known supporters of former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is now PN information chief.

"Everyone knows these two (MPs) are Azmin's people. They are just waiting for the right time to jump.

"Let's see if Azmin can help these two get seats in the 15th General Election (GE15)," the source said.

The NST has learnt that the two are non-Malay MPs from PKR - one from the peninsular and the other from a Borneo state. Attempts to reach them have so far been unsuccessful.

A source in PN Sabah said between four and six Warisan MPs are keen to join the PN fold but are currently facing "hiccups".

"It is taking longer than we expected but we are fairly confident all issues can be ironed out soon," the source said.

Political analysts see party hopping as an issue that could not be resolved as long as there was no anti-hopping law.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said: "In Malaysian politics, numbers matter. We have seen many MPs jumping here and there since 2020 and although they were heavily criticised in the beginning, nothing much has happened to them now.

"Firstly, we don't have an anti-hopping act and secondly, it has always been up to the MPs to decide whether to stay or leave their respective parties because what is important is their political career.

"In our political context, it is not against the law, which is why this is the way things are now," he said.

Universiti Malaya's Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said such a move has been expected ever since Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said that Parliament could convene during the Emergency.

Aisehman, hubby & son of former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz received millions from Jho Low


BNM knew of funds going into Zeti’s husband’s account from Jho Low in Singapore, says report

Singapore police have confirmed that Rhapsody Ltd, a company belonging to Zati Akhtar Aziz, received funds from Jho Low’s companies.

PETALING JAYA: Singapore police had informed Bank Negara of suspicious transactions involving a company owned by the husband and son of its former governor, with the funds coming from accounts linked to Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, according to a news report.

The Edge said according to documents it had sighted, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) had shared this information with the central bank in 2015 and 2016.

Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz was the governor of the central bank when this information was relayed to it.

This involved suspicious funds going into the account of Rhapsody Ltd, which it confirmed was owned by her husband, Dr Tawfiq Ayman, and a son who was not named.

The account was with the UBS bank in Singapore.

“Several inflows of funds into this account triggered a suspicious transaction report (STR), that took place in 2008 and 2009. But Bank Negara was only alerted in 2015 and 2016.

“Soon after this, investigators in Malaysia, Switzerland and the US launched probes into the theft and laundering of billions of dollars that belonged to lMDB.

“The probes were triggered by exposes published from March 2015 by The Edge, Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal,” the report said.

According to documents shared by Singapore’s CAD with Malaysian investigators, Iron Rhapsody received a total of US$16.22 million (RM66 million) from companies/bank accounts of Jho Low. They involved five transactions.

The source of four of the transactions, it added, involved funds from profits from Jho Low and his cohorts from the RM5 billion 1MDB/TIA (Terengganu Investment Authority) bonds arranged by Ambank in 2009.

“Jho Low and others, via Aktis Capital Pte Ltd, Acme Time and Country Group Private Securities Ltd, made more than RM600 million in profits from this.

“Besides this, Tawfiq and Jho Low were also believed to have been partners in a company that Jho Low set up in July 2007 called Abu Dhabi Kuwait Malaysia (ADKMIC),” the report said.

It added documents also showed that ex-banker BSI banker Yak Yew Chee, had told CAD that when ADKMIC was incorporated, there were six to seven shareholders, including Jho Low and Tawfiq. Yak was jailed in Singapore for abetting Jho Low in criminal transactions.

“CAD probes found that between June 2011 and September 2013, US$153 million (RM620 million) were transferred to ADKMIC’s bank account in RBS Coutts Singapore from Goodstar Ltd’s bank account in RBS Coutts, Switzerland.

“Goodstar is owned by Jho Low and received US$700 million illegally from the RM5 billion 1MDB/TIA bonds issue with the help of Ambank,” it said.

It reported that the government-guaranteed bond paid a hefty coupon of 5.75% and were sold at a discount by Ambank to Jho Low and collaborators via companies in Singapore and Bangkok.

Bank Negara, in a reply to The Edge, said it was unable to respond to its queries on this matter as it “was bound by the international protocol for sharing financial intelligence”.

The paper has also written to Zeti for her comment and is awaiting a reply.

Perak UMNO to Azumu: Eff Off, now where's my green dressed flirtatious sweetie


Umno won’t be involved in Perak PN seat

Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad said there would be no seat clashes between Umno and PAS in the next general election in the state.

LENGGONG: Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad says his party will not be involved in seat distribution negotiations among Perikatan Nasional allies in the state.

The Perak menteri besar said the seat negotiations for the general election in Perak will only involve Umno and PAS, as decided by Muafakat Nasional (MN) previously.

Yesterday, former Perak menteri besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he will lead seat negotiation talks for PPBM with its PN allies for the next general election (GE15).

The PPBM deputy president said this was decided by PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin.

Faizal said all PN parties had the right to state their interest in contesting any seat.

He refuted claims that PPBM was trying to dominate seat allocations and added that the party had yet to discuss any seat with Umno.

“If there are claims that PPBM wants too many seats, this is not true because discussions have not even begun,” he said, adding PPBM had no issues discussing seats with any party.

Saarani added that there would be no seat clashes between Umno and PAS for the next general election in Perak.

“We (Umno and PAS) will not fight for seats we won before and we will distribute the rest.

“The status quo will remain; that is the agreement in MN,” he added.

Greatest Malaysian man(woman)hunt for one Mah Nyak - JAIS in fooking furious fervent pursuit

MM Online:

Assigning 122 Islamic enforcers for Nur Sajat witchhunt overzealous, says transgender rights group

Earlier this week, Jais said it had deployed about 122 personnel and enforcement officers to find and arrest Nur Sajat, following her failure to attend a Shariah High Court proceeding last Tuesday in relation to a case three years ago. — Picture via Instagram/Nur Sajat

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 ― Justice for Sisters (JFS) has labelled the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (Jais) attempt to detain cosmetics entrepreneur Nur Sajat as extreme, and called for the state Islamic authority to end all prosecution against her immediately.

In a statement, the transgender rights group expressed its extreme concern about the persecution against Nur Sajat and charges of allegedly “insulting Islam” for merely being herself.

“We are astonished by the financial and human resources that are being allocated for this search and arrest operation against Sajat.

“All these actions by JAIS are extreme and demonstrate their overzealousness in arresting and detaining Sajat at all costs for merely expressing herself and her gender identity,” the group said.

JFS went on to questions the charges against Sajat ― which are allegedly connected to a religious event that she organised in 2018 where she appeared in a baju kurung.

Her wearing a baju kurung is deemed as an insult to Islam. Further, as a result of the series of doxing efforts by both state and non-state actors, the recorded identity on her birth certificate as well as her identity card was disclosed to the public, setting the stage for her prosecution,” it said.

JFS added that while detractors may accuse Nur Sajat of bringing this action onto herself for not attending court, there are deeper structural issues that need to be addressed first.

It added that it is also important to understand and empathise with the mental health burden and stress experienced by those prosecuted for their gender identities as the Shariah courts deny the queer communities their dignity and adds barriers for them to seek redress and remedies.

The advocacy group added that the continuous prosecution against Nur Sajat based on her gender identity is a violation of Article 8, which safeguards persons from gender-based discrimination.

“While the state attempts to view gender through a binary lens, gender is a multilayered and umbrella term which includes gender identity, gender expression and gender stereotypes,” it said.

Underlying the state persecution against Nur Sajat is the criminalisation and non-recognition of trans, intersex and non-binary persons, said the group, with this raising serious questions regarding Muslim trans, intersex and non-binary persons’ freedom of religion in Malaysia.

“It appears as if the state only allows LGBTQ persons to exist if they fall into the state’s definition of a Muslim person, and requires non-gender conforming individuals to ‘change’, ‘suppress’ or ‘rehabilitate’ themselves, all of which have been rejected by international medical and human rights bodies due to its harmful effects on the well-being of LGBTQ people,” it said.

Earlier this week, Jais said it had deployed about 122 personnel and enforcement officers to find and arrest Nur Sajat, following her failure to attend a Shariah High Court proceeding last Tuesday in relation to a case three years ago.

The charge against Nur Sajat was made in accordance with Section 10 (a) of the Shariah Crimes (State of Selangor) Enactment 1995 which provides for a sentence not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both, if convicted.

Section 10 refers to the Shariah offence of insulting Islam or causing Islam to be insulted either by mocking or blaspheming the faith and its associated practices and rituals either in a written, pictorial or photographic form.

Nur Sajat has been the subject of intense scrutiny by authorities and some members of the public over her gender identity.


JAIS humongously obsessed with one Mah Nyak - must get her

King Says Parliament Can Be Held During State Of Emergency


A Humiliating Damage Control – Now The King Says Parliament Can Be Held During State Of Emergency After All

The Proclamation of Emergency, which was consented by the Agong (King) on January 12, was a huge mistake from the beginning. King Sultan Abdullah, who had received briefings from a strong battalion of top government officials, including the Attorney General, Inspector-General of Police and Chief of the Armed Forces, stunningly agreed to a state of Emergency until August 1.

Interestingly, celebrity Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was part of the powerful delegation to convince the King to the jaw-dropping proposal. But the proposal – an emergency rule – was designed to allow backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to cling to power. Mr. Muhyiddin has lost his legitimacy after the withdrawal of support from some of UMNO MPs.

Naturally, nobody dares to question the monarch’s decision for fear of being arrested and thrown into prison. But it’s a matter of time before such unjustifiable and undemocratic – even laughable – political stunt backfires. Malaysia is the only country in the world that has declared an emergency as well as locking up the Parliament under the pretext of fighting Coronavirus.

True enough, in less than 6 weeks later, the country makes a U-turn. On Wednesday (Feb 24), the King suddenly declared that Parliament session can be held after all even during the State of Emergency. The hilarious part – it was PM Muhyiddin, who said Parliament, State Legislative Assemblies, General Elections, State Elections and By-Elections cannot be held during the period of emergency.

Now that the King said the Parliament can be reopened for business, can state assemblies be held too, as do general elections and other restrictions announced by the backdoor prime minister in his speech on Jan 12? If not, what are the justifications to continue shutting down them? On the other hand, if there are no more restrictions, exactly why the emergency rule is still in effect?

It appears that either the monarch had been hoodwinked by Muhyiddin regime last month, or the King had made a humiliating mistake, resulting in the damage control today. Either way, it doesn’t look good on the Sultan of Pahang. It creates an impression that he has made a fool of himself for granting the PM his wish when he had earlier rejected the same request for emergency in Oct 2020.

Interestingly, the Comptroller of the Royal Household said – “The assumptions by some parties that the Emergency Proclamation prevents Parliament from convening is inaccurate”. But the lame explanation only leads to a burning question – why did it take the Palace a mind-boggling 6 (six) weeks to announce that Parliament session can be convened?

That’s right, for the past six weeks, everyone – including UMNO MPs and ministers – had been led to believe that Parliament was suspended to prevent the illegitimate prime minister from losing a vote of confidence in the Parliament. Even former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been whining, moaning and bitching until foaming at the mouth about the closure of the Parliament.

The Palace also claimed that the Agong’s assent to the prime minister’s advice for the Emergency Proclamation on January 12 was purely a measure to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s the fun part – on Jan 12, the country recorded 3,309 new cases of Covid-19. On Wed (Feb 24), 6 weeks later, the health ministry registered 3,545 new Coronavirus infections.

In the same breath, it was Prime Minister Muhyiddin, who announced that Parliament would be suspended for as long as the Emergency lasts, or until Covid-19 cases in the country are under control. Clearly, the pandemic is far from being contained and the emergency is still in effect today. So, how could a “suspended” Parliament suddenly becomes “active” now?

Essentially, the King indirectly admits that not only the half-baked MCO 2.0 (movement control order) lockdown has failed, but the decision to declare the emergency was a mistake that should not have had been done hastily and carelessly. In fact, former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof had said – “In our history there has not been an instance where an Emergency suspended Parliament.”

In a drama that saw how the ruling Perikatan Nasional government shot its own foot, Dewan Rakyat (Lower House) Deputy Speaker Azalina Othman wrote to Attorney General Idrus Harun last week (Feb 17) to criticise his advice for the government to suspend Parliament during the Emergency. It screams incompetence that it took Azalina 6 weeks to realize the mistake of an emergency declaration.

Azalina’s criticism is an admission, to put it mildly, that not only the Muhyiddin’s handpicked attorney general is a clueless clown who had no idea what he was doing, but also that King Sultan Abdullah had been royally ill-advised back in Jan 12. Perhaps Azalina, an UMNO MP, finally realized how power-crazy Muhyiddin was dangerously moving into dictatorship.

But even the sudden surprise announcement from the Palace yesterday that the Parliament can reconvene despite the current emergency state was full of blunders. The King said an exact date for the Parliament session will be announced later – subject to PM Muhyiddin’s advice. But as clarified by lawmaker Razaleigh Hamzah, the monarch does not require the prime minister’s advice.

Curiously, the King’s decree yesterday came after he granted an audience to Dewan Rakyat (Lower House) Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Dewan Negara (Upper House) Speaker Rais Yatim. At best, the monarch has been spectacularly ill-advised again. At worst, the backdoor PM Muhyiddin was trying to usurp the King’s power with the false advice.

Coincidentally, there have been several lawsuits challenging the Perikatan Nasional government’s decision to suspend Parliament during the Emergency. It would be a slap in the face of both prime minister and King Sultan Abdullah if the government loses the case in the court. The Government, Attorney General’s Chambers and Monarch institutions will become a laughing stock.

It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the suspension of Parliament has been illegal from the beginning, hence all the drama to reverse the humiliating screw up. The visits of Speaker Azhar Harun, who happens to be A.G. Idrus Harun’s brother, and Speaker Rais Yatim to the Palace could be a stunt to allow the Agong to make a face-saving reversal of last month’s emergency proclamation.

However, the real reason for the incredible U-turn in allowing the Parliament session to proceed has everything to do with the loss of foreign investor’s confidence. Besides the closure of some 32,000 small-and-medium-businesses, the country saw how foreign direct investments (FDI) dropped by 68% last year and a downgrade of Malaysia’s credit rating from A- to BBB+ by Fitch Ratings’.

Not only the questionable emergency rule fails to ease the Coronavirus pandemic, the country’s economy saw its GDP plunged by 5.6% – the worst contraction since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis. With so many countries to invest in the Southeast Asia, exactly why should investors choose a country whose regime can introduce any laws without approval of Parliament and cannot be challenged in court?

Finance Minister Zafrul can continue his silly and childish chest-thumping stunt that everything is rosy. But it has failed to convince Fitch Solutions, the research arm of Fitch Group that has just cut Malaysia’s real GDP by half to 4.9% from 10.9% (after having slashed it earlier from 11.5%) due to the third wave Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown measures.

The next Parliament meeting is scheduled from March 8 to April 8. Should the Parliament be opened during this calendar date, the opposition could seek a confidence vote and if Mr Muhyiddin lost, he would either have to resign or seek the King’s assent to dissolve parliament, paving the way for an election. Alternatively, the monarch can choose a new prime minister who commands the majority support in the Parliament.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sheraton Move a year later - Malaysians romanticise past rule of BN/Umno or Harapan but the past created the problems of today


Sheraton Move one year on

by Bridget Welsh

One year after the Sheraton Move, Malaysia is struggling to move forward. Arguably, the backroom deals made public from the Sheraton Hotel epitomise the problems of the country’s elite politics.

The ABCs - Ambition, Betrayal and Cunning - were on display in a self-absorbed show that was about the politicians rather than the people. That politicians look out for their own interests is neither new nor surprising, but for many watching the week-long political theatre, it was heartbreaking. For some, a year later, it still is.

Painful transition

Malaysia’s political trajectory since the major turning point of 1998-1999 - the reformasi movement - has witnessed repeated openings and contractions in Malaysia’s democratic space.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Abdul Razak both promised reforms and left offices with mass public disappointment, and in Najib’s case, anger.

Pakatan Harapan in its 22 months in office delivered some modest reforms but a year later almost all of these initiatives have been reversed, a reversal that has been engineered by many who were elected into office on a Harapan ticket.

For over two decades, the contestation over reform has vacillated between hope and despair. What has made the Sheraton Move so powerful is how much it has provoked the latter negative emotions, a sense of disempowerment and despondency.

The Sheraton Move was so powerful because of what it exposed. By bringing into the open the petty squabbling of leaders in Harapan and the paralysis this caused, many of the leaders fell off their pedestals. For those that shifted their rhetoric from being advocates for reform to defenders of the old order, there was "Jekyll to Hyde’ transformation.

The role that leaders from Umno and PAS played in bringing about the change has been downplayed - but all of those who worked to sow division and capitalise on it played a role in bringing in a year of unprecedented political instability.

Covid-19 obscures the impact of the Sheraton Move - the loss of investment, more inclusive politics to address a crisis, the widening social inequalities - but make no mistake, the shift toward a government with weaker legitimacy and a deepening of the divisions in Malaysian society has left a mark.

The Sheraton Move created conditions where a political polarisation would be so deep that it would be impossible for a society and elites to adequately come together to address the economic and health crises the country is facing.

The Sheraton Move created conditions ... 
would be so 'deep' ...

When history will look back on this event decades in the future, the Sheraton Move will be remembered for undercutting Malaysia’s forward trajectory, for spiralling the country inward and undermining its capacity to move forward.

Locked in the past

A year later, the political elites have not moved on. Harapan is still focused on winning back what they believe was stolen from them rather than given away. Its leaders are still concentrating on "a numbers game," not fully appreciating that attention to securing power has wasted the ability of the now opposition to address their own internal problems.

News about Harapan still revolves about proposed power-sharing arrangements between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, with the latter in the form of a senior minister position for Mahathir.

The proposal highlights the perpetuation of the leadership problem for Harapan and the opposition as a whole. Over the last year, the opposition has not proposed a shadow cabinet, nor offered an alternative plan to get the country out of the crises it is facing. Instead, in many ways, they have become part of the crisis.

They are not alone. Umno has been at the core of Malaysia’s instability over the last year - arguably even longer.

Umno leaders were key players in the Sheraton Move, they similarly played a role in the drama around the two parliamentary votes Muhyiddin Yassin’s coalition won last year and ultimately were pivotal in creating the conditions for the declaration of the Emergency last month. The party remains divided between those that want to get rid of the old leadership and those beholden to it.

Splits inside Umno have grown, as Muhyiddin has shown himself as effective as Mahathir in using divide and rule to control the party. The party is arguably the most divided it has been in its history - and this is a history of considerable party division. New leaders within the party have not been allowed to rise.

Umno still holds onto their own sense of political entitlement, unwilling to accept anything but the first position at the political helm. It expected the penthouse after the Sheraton Move and instead is sharing a smaller room.

The party has been unable to let go of its own past - a past in which the party has refused to meaningfully reform and embrace alternative leadership and practices beyond patronage for its own.

Until Harapan or Umno address the problems that created the conditions for the Sheraton Move, neither is able to offer alternative leadership for Malaysia.

Muhyiddin benefitted from the divisions in Harapan a year ago. Thanks to the Emergency declaration, he is also seen as strengthening from the divisions in Umno.

What is personal gain is not advantageous for Malaysia, however. Many Malaysians hold onto visions of the past as well - some romanticising the rule of BN/Umno or others that of Harapan. The fact is the past created the problems of today. It will take new solutions and new leadership to move the country forward.

BRIDGET WELSH is a Senior Research Associate at the Hu Fu Centre for East Asia Democratic Studies and a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Centre. She currently is an Honorary Research Associate of the University of Nottingham, Malaysia's Asia Research Institute (Unari) based in Kuala Lumpur. She tweets at @dririshsea

Iran Slams Western Double Standards as Israel Expands ‘Nuclear Bomb Factory’

Military Watch:

Iran Slams Western Double Standards as Israel Expands ‘Nuclear Bomb Factory’

Satellite images reveal Israel quietly expanding secretive Dimona nuclear site

Amid ongoing tensions between Iran and the Western Bloc countries over Tehran’s partial withdrawal from its commitment to limit its uranium enrichment activities, which could potentially pave the way for the country to become the world’s tenth nuclear weapons state, the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has accused Western powers of hypocrisy over reports of Israel’s expansion of its Dimona nuclear plant.

Dimona is the only nuclear facility in the Middle East which produces weapons grade uranium - leading Zarif to refer to it as the region’s only ’nuclear bomb factory.’

Of the nine countries which currently possess nuclear weapons, four have done so without being signatories of the Treaty on Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea. Of theses, only North Korea has been singled out for criticism in the West with its status as a nuclear weapons state arbitrarily deemed unacceptable by the Western powers.

Iran has in much the same way viewed in the West as an unacceptable prospective nuclear weapons state, as its development of such weapons would directly contravene Western interests in the Middle East.

The fact that Israel’s own very large nuclear weapons program has been largely condoned and suffered no similar Western pressure or criticism, however, has been highlighted by Iranian sources repeatedly as a gross double standard and an indicator that the Western position on nuclear weapons states is shaped by conformity with Western interests rather than any less arbitrary standard.

Israel's Dimona Nuclear Facility (nrcn)

With Western leaders repeatedly expressing concern at the expansion of Iran’s uranium enrichment, Foreign Minister Zarif rhetorically questioned whether U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were even a little "concerned" at the Israeli expansion of Dimona. This appeared to be an effort to highlight the inherent double standards Iran and Israel were being held to.

Iranian officials have threatened in the past to withdraw the country from the NPT - the only legal barrier to development of nuclear arms - in order to pursue the development of a nuclear deterrent. The country also threatened in January 2021 to block inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Iran is currently enriching uranium at a rate of half a kilogram, although only at 20 percent purity where a level of 90 percent or higher is needed to develop nuclear weapons. It has agreed to roll back its nuclear development in exchange for a relaxing of Western economic sanctions which were meant to have been lifted permanently under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear activities, but were reimpose partially in 2016 and more fully from 2018.

Iran has repeatedly sought to use it nuclear program to exert pressure on the West to roll back economic warfare efforts against the country, although failing this the possibility has not been ruled out by analysts that it could seek to develop nuclear arms to equip its large arsenal of ballistic missiles and gain a degree of strategic parity with Israel.