Friday, May 20, 2016

Malaysian Minister says time WSJ starts quoting reliable and REAL sources

Salleh: WSJ's use of anon sources cowardly 
Puchong, 20 May: Malaysia's Multimedia and Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak has accused the Wall Street Journal of fabricating the "sources" and "investigators" the newspaper has been quoting on the 1MDB affair for the past year or so. In other words, the combative Salleh is saying that the WSJ's "anonymous sources" and "anonymous investigators" do not exist.
"If they actually exist, then why doesn't the WSJ tell Malaysians who they are? ... But we know they won't provide names, because they can't. " - SSK 19 May
The Minister went on to describe the WSJ's use of anonymous sources as "a cowardly way to avoid being sued".

This is not the first time Salleh has taken the WSJ to task over their reporting on Malaysia and I fear for him. Insulting a powerful newspaper like the WSJ can get one in an awful lot of trouble. Salleh is either very brave or foolish. Or both. Kind of remind me of Dr Mahathir back then ....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jay cleared by Board: Bad news or good news?

Updated 20/5: On his widely-followed Instagram account, Nazir thanked his Board members. End of story.

Original story:
CIMB finds its Chairman NOT guilty of abusing his position

His detractors, of course, will have a good laugh at the news that the CIMB board had found their own Chairman and former CEO Nazir Razak innocent of the charge that he had misused his position with regards to money in his personal account meant to be disbursed to certain politicians (do read the MalayMail Online story h e r e).

Some of the comments that I have been getting:

"As opposed to the Islamic Bank CEO who "abused" his position via a FB posting?" 
"That means the BOD of CIMB condones the bank staff in distributing political funds? If so - did the Bank review who the monies were paid to? Was there audit of all Nazirs transactions?"  
"Why not an independent enquiry but an internal, you can't investigate yourself ? Why not call MACC to do the investigations?"  
"Seems to appear like a conduit to clear name - very much like the DAP clearing LGE over his bungalow purchase before MACC starts investigation!"

I am sure Nazir's supporters will agree 100 per cent with the CIMB's Board. I hope they will share some of their views with me ...

In any case, in a very related development, the Bank Negara is said to be looking at New banking rules to ensure that a former chief executive of a bank will never again be table to take over as Chairman of the bank's Board.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How Mahathir is helping Najib (and Anwar's warning from prison)

Anwar fears for his PKR comrades

Bangsar Village, 17 May: "I believe Tun is trying to help Najib out. They are in this together." 

When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad started his brutal offensive against Prime Minister Najib Razak, folks back in my kampung in Lubok China, Melaka, an Umno-stronghold since the beginning of time, accused me of not telling them everything. These folks believed Dr Mahathir was feigning the attacks but I was saying otherwise. These folks thought what the Old Man was doing would prove to be beneficial for Najib (including weeding out the disloyal among his generals). Don't ask how. Like many things Mahathir have done, you may begin to understand only years afterwards. Dr M works in mysterious ways, they believed.
And I kept telling them NO, "what you are witnessing, pakcik and makcik, is what you get: the Old Man is out to get Najib, just like he got Pak Lah out just a few years back".
They wouldn't listen. Stubborn in the way politically-unsavvy people are. They saw what Dr M did to Tunku and Hussein and they saw what he did to Malacca's own son Ghafar Baba and they saw how he took Abdullah Ahmad Badawi down, but folks just wouldn't accept the fact that Mahathir could do the same to Najib Razak. 
So I said to those uncles and aunties back home, "lantaklah, tak dapek den nolong (as you wish, I can't save you).

But now, with his don't-vote-BN statement, I'm thinking that the folks from my kampung may have been right all along. 
By default, I think Mahathir has gotten Najib a lot of support and sympathy than the PM could dream of. The Save Malaysia campaign, which got him to sleep with his deadliest foes, was ill advised. With this latest statement aimed directly at the coalition he had led for 22 years, Dr M is really pushing it.   
"Old Man's showing his true colours."
"He's crossed the line". 
The serpent that did sting...Now wears the crown.’ [Shakespeare]

And Mahathir's antics have got one man worried to death. Anwar Ibrahim's epistle from prison to his PKR comrades says a lot. In the context of Malaysian politics, one quotes Shakespeare when things are getting dire and when the end is near. For whom, perhaps my kampung folks will tell me ...

19 May
Leading Pro-Opposition portal Malaysiakini is still going to town with Anwar's letter. It won't end any time soon. The stage is set for  Mahathir vs Anwar fight again. The Final Battle, for sure.

Malaysiakini 18 May

Why now? Dr M-aligned ex-editor to Anwar
"Is it because the Mahathir-led Citizens Declaration received over 1.2 million signatories in just over two months?" 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Encik Banker from Rio days, Templeton's Mabius and why 1MDB is not working for Najib's detractors

TTDI, 12 May: Had a drink last night with a banker whom I met in Rio during the World Cup. Not one as privileged as Nazir Razak (oh, we did speak about him fleetingly) but as frank and honest, if not even more, and not as detached for sure. "Things are in slow motion these days," he said, referring to the economy - his own and in general (mine, for sure!). A client had just cancelled what would have been a pretty deal for him, citing ambiguous excuses. But Encik Banker was philosophical and remained optimistic. "That's what business can be like, even in the best of times."

What's needed - and what he's looking forward to - is a clearer direction from "above". An impetus everybody needs to kickstart whatever they are doing into quicker motion. 1MDB is not an issue anymore. "We accept there were flaws but please get on with it: address those weaknesses, punish whoever the culprits might be, and close the book so everybody else can move on." Instead, we are allowing politicians - or people with political motives - to continue using 1MDB as a hammer to knock around ONE MAN. "Their political games are hurting everything else. It's not funny anymore."

Encik Banker said we were lucky that the Prime Minister has been responding to the attacks the way he has. Calm. Collected. Calculating. "Most people would have lost their composure and jumped under that kind of pressure and siege. And that would have had a disastrous effect on everything. It would have wrecked confidence."

Encik Banker must have read PM Najib Razak's "I can't be daunted" interview on Tuesday:


Sharing his secret of being so composed, Najib, who is also Umno president, said: "As a leader, I cannot be daunted."
He said he was aware that every leader or individual could not escape from being tested by Allah, no matter in whatever way.
In fact, Najib said, the challenges he faced now were not as major as those during the time of former prime ministers like Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"During his time, Tun Razak faced the test of the May 13 incident while Dr Mahathir was confronted with even more challenges when Umno was declared illegal, the devastating financial crisis with many going bankrupt and the problem of (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim," he said in an interview at his office in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Umno.
The interview was conducted by Prof Dr Azizul Halim Yahya, dean of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara.
"In my time, the issues are actually not so big but due to the social media and parties using the foreign media, it brought on a little more pressure," said Najib.
According to Najib, the issues faced by him were unlike the Asian financial crisis at one time or when Umno was declared illegal because the country's economic and political fundemantals were still strong.
"It is just a perception, as people in the west say the noise level is slightly louder due to the roles played by the social media and foreign press," he said.

But are our political and economic fundamentals really that solid as Najib insists? 

Mr Banker said yes, certainly, but I shall not take his word for it. I'll let Mark Mobius, the exec chairman of Templeton, do the analysis here. Mobius' views would be more acceptable especially since "our" detractors and their politicians - or those people with political agenda - really would rather believe foreigners and their reports these days:

You can read what else the Templeton boss has to say h e r e.

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