Friday, March 24, 2017

A landmark court decision that the WSJ, Sarawak Report and the like wouldn't want to know

I would like to share a message on my whatsapp this morning with my Dear Readers ...

"While a purported "intention to charge" based on sources make headlines, this landmark COURT decision seems to be ignored by WSJ and the likes. Anyway since when is "intention to charge" become a major revealing story?  In any case, isn't it oxymoron? If there is an ongoing investigation, there must be "intention" to charge ... DUH!"

Note: The sender is referring to an earlier report The US is preparing to charge financier Jho Lo on Malaysian 1MDB scandal published by WSJ on March 21

The landmark court decision the WSJ is allegedly ignoring:

(Bloomberg) -- Family members of Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho were allowed to challenge U.S. attempts to confiscate hundreds of millions in real estate and other investments allegedly acquired with money siphoned from a state investment fund. 
A federal judge in Los Angeles this week granted requests by the holding companies that control the assets on behalf of Low to file late claims in eight forfeiture lawsuits. The holding companies asked for permission to file claims after courts in New Zealand and the Cayman Islands allowed them to swap out the Swiss trustees that had refused to fight the U.S. allegations. 
The Low assets at issue include a stake in New York’s Park Lane Hotel, a $107 million interest in EMI Music Publishing, a $35 million Bombardier Jet and a $30 million penthouse at Time Warner Center in New York. The U.S. has asked for default judgments against some of the assets because no valid claims had been filed in time. 
The Justice Department filed more than a dozen cases last year to recover over $1 billion in real estate and other assets the government claims were bought by Low, known as Jho Low, and his accomplices with money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The family members, including Low’s brother and father, had previously been denied permission to bring claims because as beneficiaries of the trusts, rather than trustees, they have no legal standing to fight the U.S. allegations. 
U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer rejected what she called the U.S.’s “rough justice" argument that the Low family couldn’t have it “both ways" by shielding their assets in convoluted ownership structures and at the same time being allowed to pursue claims by replacing the trustees who had failed to do their bidding.
‘Inevitable Conclusion’
“While the government’s ‘live by the complex ownership structure, die by the complex ownership structure’ argument has a certain appeal, consideration of the relevant tests leads to the inevitable conclusion that the defaults should be lifted and the claimants should be allowed to file late claims," Fischer said in a ruling Tuesday. 
Low, who is known for partying with Hollywood celebrities Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, is also friends with Riza Aziz, a stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister and a producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which the U.S. alleges was funded with stolen money. 
Low has said he provided consulting to 1MDB that didn’t break any laws, while the fund and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have both denied wrongdoing. 
The case is U.S.A. v. Any Rights to Profits, Royalties and Distribution Proceeds Owned by or Owed to JW Nile (BVI) Ltd., 16-cv-05364, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Malaysian Inciter

Kay Tat and Jahabar after a night in prison in 2015

Bangsar, 23 March: Was thrilled to bump  yesterday into Jahabar Saddiq, who has become a pain in some people's necks with his plan to bring back The Malaysian Insider's glory days in the form of a brand new portal called The Malaysian Insight (copyright of TMI belongs to Tong Kooi Ong's The Edge now, hence the change from Insider to Insight). 

We (ex colleagues at NST) poked fun at his "quarrel" with Ho Kay Tat (also an NST alumni), who is Tong's trusted editorial supremo at The Edge. Jahabar downplayed it, insisted he and Kay Tat were not at loggerheads, so we let it be.

I didn't ask him about the Insight's funders, either (always a sensitive issue in this country and something Kay Tat has challenged Jahabar to come clean with in a letter to editor The Edge man sent to the Straits Times after Jahabar was quoted by the Singapore daily blaming Kay Tat's The Edge for Insider's demise; pls read Reveal source of funding, soon-to-be-launched news portal told - The Star, 21 March 2017).

I know - or I think I know - at least one of the parties backing Jahabar's new, exciting venture but the thing I needed to know was not who but when ...

"Bila Insight mau start?"

Unless Jahabar was setting me up for an early April Fool's joke, the Insight should be up and running from April 1. That would be exactly two years after he'd spent a night in jail for an article in the TMI [The Malaysian Insider CEO: I'd like to go back to being a journalist - The Star, 1 April 2015]

All the best to the new TMI. And good luck, Jahabar, here's a chance to go back to being a journalist!

Journalists in Malaysia, meanwhile, are up in arms against the Dewan Rakyat Speaker, pressing him to reconsider the restriction imposed on those covering the parliamentary proceedings. Please read Journalists protest parliamentary restriction - The Mole, 22 March 2013.

I was thrilled to read former Information Minister and ex-Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief Zainuddin Maidin's comments on the subject. Dignified and thoughtful. I think that's because Zam was speaking (and thinking) as a journalist ...

If they had asked me, I'd call on the journalists to boycott the Parliamentary proceedings until the Speaker lifts the restriction. Takde pasal cari pasal! 

I was not thrilled to read this:

Read the story h e r e

But you know what would be really thrilling? If NSTP and Jahabar's new portal were to join forces and take on the rest (and at the same time help restore Jahabar's faith in the big media companies ...)

"The Edge experience has soured me on working with big media companies that say they share same values but close you down for commercial reasons on the first sight of trouble," Mr Jahabar said. - Comeback bid by Malaysian news site that was shut down - Straits Times, 16 March 2013

Thursday, March 16, 2017

With regards to that apology to HRH Sultan Selangor that the HRH Sultan Selangor did not demand ...

TTDI, 16/3: Last Thursday, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) sent out a Media Statement that accused two bloggers, including yours truly, of writing something that we didn't write. In that statement, reported by all major newspapers and aired on RTM and Youtube, MAIS demanded that the bloggers apologize to the Selangor Sultan in writing, within 24 hours, or it would sue. The Istana, for the record, made no such demands of me. 

I have kept quiet and did not blog about MAIS' wrath because I was half hoping that the Council was bluffing, that they were just dropping the Sultan's name in the hope that it was the best way to  silence me.

But yesterday someone sent me this press release by Bank Muamalat with regards to MAIS and the apology to the Sultan, so I thought that was interesting. Especially the part where it says:

Bank Muamalat has not initiated any legal action against MAIS and/or KUIS in respect of the Payment Guarantee provided by MAIS and KUIS. We will act in the best interest of the Bank to recover the amounts due. Bank Muamalat’s rights against MAIS and KUIS are reserved.

The full press statement

My posting While the Agong makes headlines ...

Read also:
Dua penulis blog dituntut mohon maaf hina Sultan Selangor - Panglima Perang Siber
Mais denies claims Sultan Selangor involved in Redha suit - Malaysiakini
Mais: Sultan not involved in lawsuit - The Star

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Countering fake news

KL, March 14: About time the authorities take the bull(shitters) on social media by its horns. There will be plenty of half-truths and outright lies on blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc for MCMC's to verify, for sure. It won't be a walk in the park. A lot of ordinary Malaysians have made it their business to try and counter fake news, so the launch of the new portal is something they'd welcome with open arms. 

The Bernama news:
CYBERJAYA, March 14 (Bernama) -- The SEBENARNYA.MY portal was launched Tuesday for the public to check on the authenticity of news spread through the social websites.
Launched by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, the portal developed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), is among efforts taken by the government to curb the spread of false news and ensure the public receive truthful news.
In his speech at the launch, Salleh said related information would be gathered, analysed, validated and uploaded to the portal for reference by the public regardless of their political background.
He said till now, the MCMC had identified close to 1,000 false news of public interest being spread in the country.
"False news not only confuse but could also threaten security, prosperity and wellbeing of the people and country.
"This does not only happen in Malaysia but also in the United States, Indonesia and the European countries," he said.
According to Salleh, generally netizens in Malaysia allocated about three hours daily for surfing the Internet and the study conducted also found that among the activities was obtaining news and information.
Stressing that the SEBENARNYA.MY portal bore the main message of "Not Sure, Don't Share", Salleh said: "Do not read and accept any news completely without verification."
He said through this portal, the government wanted to educate the public not to totally accept news or information without verifying it first.
"We don't want the public to share news with the excuse that it was received from another group and seeking explanation," he said.
Salleh also stressed that curbing the spread of false news should be a joint effort of the government and people.
The government, he said, had carried out various programmes and campaigns such as "Klik dengan Bijak" (Click Wisely) and "Semak sebelum Sebar" (Check before Disseminating) to efficiently curb the spread of false news.
"However, the ministry and MCMC also view that the awareness programme needs to be accompanied by initiatives to enable the public to check and report on unverified news that they receive," he said.
Salleh also explained that the portal was not geared towards the coming 14th general election or to curtail the freedom of expression of any quarters.
"The SEBENAR.MY portal is not just meant for political news, but all types of information received from the social media, blogs and other sources can be checked, verified and shared.
"This portal is created not because of the general election and is not owned by the government alone. This portal is for the people. The opposition too can use this portal to obtain valid news," he said.
Salleh said the ministry would be promoting the portal nationwide so that the public could access this technology.

Read also: 
Blogs, "moled" and verified - Rocky's Bru 15/9/2011