The “1 Malaysia Development Berhad” Scandal.
The “1 Malaysia Development Berhad” (= 1MDB) is a development company which is owned by the Malaysian government. The organization was founded in the federal state Terengganu, when it was called “Terengganu Investment Authority”. It should support the economic development in Terengganu. When Najib Razak became Prime Minister in 2009, the company was renamed to 1 Malaysian Development Berhad and was expanded. It should benefit other Malaysian states as well. By creating global partnerships and promoting foreign direct investment it should drive strategic initiatives for a long- term economic development in Malaysia. It focuses especially on areas of energy, real estate, tourism and agribusiness.
1 MDB is led by a board of advisors, a board of directors and a senior management team. The head of the board of advisers is Prime Minister Najib Razak.
In recent times “1 Malaysia Development Berhad” was criticized by several politicians, e.g. by the former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who questioned the credentials of the company because it “has no business address and no appointed auditor.” Furthermore there was a lack of transparency given to the 1 MDB´s accounts, it has debts of 11 billion US$ and massive corruption issues: In 2012 1 MDB made overprized purchases of power assets in Malaysia through the Genting group. It was claimed that the Genting group donated the money to a foundation which is controlled by Najib Razak. But the money was spent for the UMNO election campaign in 2013, which can´t be regarded as something from which citizens can benefit.
When several newspapers like the Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/scandal-in-malaysia-1436113149) discovered that 1 MDB money was transferred into accounts of the Prime Minister and people who are associated to him in 2015 the highlight of corruption was reached: 700 million US$ were transferred from 1Malayasin Development Berhad to AmBank´s and Affin Bank´s accounts which are registered under Najib Razak´s name.
Until now the Task force has frozen six bank accounts- three of them belong to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
While the Malaysian Prime Minister denies all allegations the Malaysian anti-corruption said that the funds deposited in Najib´Razak´s accounts weren´t money from 1 MDB, but donations. Nevertheless, it wasn´t elaborated who the donor was and therefore seems like a stupid justification.
It seems that Malaysia is sinking in a political chaos at the moment. Najib Razak has claimed that he has nothing to do with the scandal and accused former Prime Minister Mahathir of “political sabotage”. While the opposition is weakened by intern fights, former Prime Minister Mahathir and Najib Razak´s own coalition (UMNO) became the greatest enemies.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said he believed Mahathir worked “hand in glove” with foreigners as part of a campaign “to topple a democratically elected prime minister.” He said these attacks began when he refused to implement Mr Mahathir’s “personal demands”.
Reshuffle of the cabinet
A reshuffle of the cabinet took place when UMNO ministers began to criticize Najib Razak. Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail, who had led investigations into 1MDB was replaced by the government. It was claimed that he had to step down because of health reasons.
After former deputy Prime Minister Mr. Muhyiddin called for a more detailed explanation by the prime minister of any involvement, and warned the allegations could hurt the credibility of the government he was replaced with Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was the former home minister and a public supporter of Najib Razak.
Four other ministers who questioned Najib Razak`s credibility were replaced as well.
The Prime Minister explained “I can accept dissent and criticism as part of the process of decision-making. However, as a member of the cabinet, differences of opinion and viewpoint should not be conducted in an open forum that can affect public opinion against the government and the state.”
Absolute loyalty seems to be more important than regarding what´s best for a country. To make it simple: stupidity rules!
Consequences for all Malaysians are rising living costs and the increasing of taxes, which many people can´t afford anymore. Imagine that Malaysia is regarded as an emerging nation. Hopefully it won´t become a failed state. It seems that dark times are rising at least as long as Mr. Najib Razak and his beloved wife Rosmah are still in power.
Until now no one knows where the money went to, but it´s obvious that Prime Minister Najib Razak is avoiding the issue and can´t justify himself. Instead he has initiated several measures which are influencing human rights in Malaysia.
What´s happening to human rights?
First of all “The Edge Media Group” was suspended for three months because it published several reports about the financial scandal over the past year.
The Home Ministry said The Edge’s reports on 1MDB were “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest.” What´s wrong with informing the people what´s going on in the own country? Isn´t this exactly what a serious newspaper should you? Aren´t you serving in the national interest when you´re researching in a good way? And how can you endanger the public order by only giving information?
Obviously freedom of press, which is guaranteed in the federal constitution, was limited. Once again…
But “The Edge Media Group” hasn´t been the only affected one. It also hit the British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown (the sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown) who is facing an arrest warrant in Malaysia because of her reports on alleged high-level corruption on her Blog Sarawak report.
She´s now receiving police protection after she was followed and photographed in Hyde Park. The UK- based website Sarawak report was blocked by the government.
Activist Adam Adli announced a rally one week after the reshuffling of the cabinet which took place on 1st of August and aimed to get Najib Razak to step down. It was organized by a group which call themselves “Demi Malaysia”.
Although the organizers Adam Adli, Syukri Razab and Mandeep Singh stuck to the rules which were given by the police and therefore were promised not to be arrested, they were arrested one day before the demonstration took place. Adam and Syukri were remanded for six, Mandeep Singh for four days. Adam and Syukri were investigated over a press conference which hasn´t taken place during their arrest. It was claimed that Mandeep was arrested because he supported Adam at the Dang Wangi police distract headquarters, although he was at another location during that time.
It is believed that all three were arrested to prevent them from participating in the #TangkapNajib rally.
Although there were police warnings and those three arrests before the demonstration even took place, around 200 youths and other supporters assembled outside the Sogo shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur to attend the #TangkapNajib rally. Police asked the crowd to disperse while PKR Youth vice Chief Tan Kar Hing was speaking. After the group didn´t follow a wave of detention started. At least 20 people were arrested during the first 30 minutes of the demonstration.
Among them were PKR Youth vice Chief Tan Kar Hing, assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, Fahmi Zainol, Aunty Bersih and loyal Opposition supporter known as Uncle Song. All of them refused to leave the area.
The Bersih demonstration will take place on 29th and 30th of August and I`m sure it´s gonna be huge.
It will be interesting to observe how government and police will handle this demonstration. So many people have already been arrested, that the prison cells should be jam-packed by now.
Regards from Anoymous Malaysia.
Yesterday a video turned up on youtube which was created by the Anonymous group Malaysia. I was quite surprised, because I didn´t know that the group also exists in Malaysia.
The video sends a clear message calling Najib Razak to step down as Prime Minister. Anonymous talks about the crimes Najib Razak committed and claimed that many incidents like the mobile phone stealing which led to a racial fight were initiated by Najib Razak to distract the people from his own person.
Future of Malaysia?
Many people have voiced out against Najib Razak since months. The struggle will continue during the Bersih 4.0 demonstration which will be held on 29th and 30th of August in front of the SOGO shopping complex. The aggression is increasing, people are angry and the atmosphere is tensed.
It´s obvious that Prime Minister Najib Razak has to resign, but like bad leaders do Najib Razak is still fighting for his power by manipulating people and by misusing his power instead of acting in a responsible way and to realize that he lost the fight. But maybe he´s still fortunate and can receive the prize as one of the worst head of states.
It´s also obvious that it will become more difficult to organize and hold demonstrations, but I`m sure that the Malaysians won´t give up. Although things are getting complicated the people still believe in their country, which gives a lot of hope and a reason to believe in the future of Malaysia.
I believe that Najib Razak has to resign, it´s just a question of time. Let´s hope that there will be a better Prime Minister. One who acknowledges human rights, one who´s able to improve the economy and therefore the living standards of the people and one who´s willing to work against corruption, which can bring total destruction to a country and which seriously affects the harmony.