ADALAH kebiasaan dalam dunia politik dan korporat bagi pesertanya mengalu-alukan berita baik kerana berita baik memberi keuntungan.
Satu perkembangan yang diura-urakan mempunyai ciri baik atau positif itu adalah berita Malaysia capai persetujuan dengan Abu Dhabi untuk selesaikan kes saman timbang tara di Mahkamah Timbang Tara Antarabangsa, London.
Kalau kita masih ingat, pihak berkuasa Abu Dhabi saman kerana 1MDB tidak bayar balik hutang.
Di bawah penyelesaian itu, 1MDB melalui kerajaan Malaysia akan bayar kerajaan Abu Dhabi AS$2.5 bilion (kira-kira RM11.25 bilion pada kadar tukaran hari ini) bagi melupuskan sebahagian hutang 1MDB.
Menurut laporan media antarabangsa, kedua-dua buah negara juga bersetuju untuk tidak menggunakan saluran undang-undang sebelum Disember 2020 dalam merundingkan pertikaian mengenai AS$3.5 bilion (kira-kira RM15.75 bilion) lagi hutang yang bersangkut-paut dengan dua bon lain yang dikeluarkan oleh 1MDB.
Penyelesaian itu digambarkan sebagai baik. Tapi apalah baiknya kena bayar balik hutang bilion ringgit dan pada masa yang sama berbilion hilang dalam kecurian.
Yang sudah disahkan adalah lebih AS$600 juta masuk ke dalam akaun peribadi Perdana Menteri (Datuk Seri I Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sandrobone Sultan Abdul Jalil), Mohd Najib Abdul Razak di Arab Malaysia Bank, Kuala Lumpur pada tahun 2013.
Dalam kadar tukaran masa itu jumlahnya RM2.6 bilion. Najib dan konco-konconya cuba kelentong kata duit itu derma Arab dan sebahagian besarnya dipulangkan.
Selesai atau tidak, beban hutang 1MDB tetap terpikul di atas bahu rakyat jelata dan pembayar cukai. Ini adalah kerana semua hutang dan tanggungan 1MDB telah dipindahkan kepada Kementerian Kewangan.
Bagi orang politik, terbabit dalam berita baik memberikan mereka keuntungan politik dan bagi ahli perniagaan, berita baik mungkin menyebabkan harga saham mereka naik.
Jadi adalah kebiasaan bagi mereka tumpang sekaki. Kalau boleh mereka akan mengaku terlibat membawa perkhabaran baik itu. Paling-paling busuk pun mereka akan mengalu-alukannya.
Menteri Sendiri Tak Percaya
Tapi apabila Menteri Kewangan Kedua, Johari Abdul Ghani, sendiri menafikan penglibatan dengan “penyelesaian” itu, jelaslah ia bukan penyelesaian sebenar atau meyakinkan apatah lagi menguntungkan negara.
Johari: Saya tidak terlibat
Kalau ia penyelesaian sebenar dan diyakini, orang politik macam Johari tentulah akan cuba tumpang sekaki.
Sebaliknya, dia berkata dia tidak terlibat dengan penyelesaian itu sambil menambah bahawa ia adalah kerja 1MDB dan Jabatan Perdana Menteri.
Dia sekadar berkata angka-angka yang dia tengok mengenai penyelesaian itu meyakinkan. Satu hujah yang selamat sekadar melepas batuk di tangga.
Mudah cakap, saya kata macam ini. Jentera propaganda kerajaan dan panglima siber A9 Umno boleh berbohong kepada sesetengah orang kampung, orang Felda dan orang PPRT tetapi mereka tidak boleh kelentong orang dalam kelas Johari.
Busuk-busuk pun Johari ada pengalaman korporat. Saya kenal dia sejak dia bekerja dengan anak syarikat Kumpulan New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad sehinggalah dia jadi Pengarah Urusan CI Holdings Berhad. Jadi dia tahu hal korporat dan hutang-piutang.
Maaflah kalau saya terlepas pandang. Saya tidak terbaca berita orang politik dan korporat mengalu-alukan berita penyelesaian itu, kecuali sekarat dua.
Hatta panglima A9 Umno yang baru saja diarah “attack attack attack attack” oleh Najib pun nampaknya tidak berapa ghairah menguar-uarkan penyelesaian ini.
Adakah mereka tidak faham, tidak yakin, tidak menghargai sumbangan JPM atau mereka tidak mahu terus terpalit dengan najis 1MDB? Boleh jadi.
Masalah 1MDB Belum Selesai
Hutang 1MDB sebanyak RM11.25 bilion yang setuju dibayar kepada Abu Dhabi dengan bantuan kerajaan itu hanyalah sebahagian daripada hutangnya yang menggunung. Menurut laporan Jawatankuasa Kira-kira Wang Negara Parlimen (PAC), hutang 1MDB pada bulan Januari 2016 berjumlah RM50 bilion dan bukan lagi RM42 bilion seperti yang didakwa oleh Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Kerajaan kata, hutang 1MDB kepada bank sudah selesai. Mungkin benar. Tapi bukan kerana 1MDB ada banyak duit, sebaliknya kerana hutang dan tanggungannya diambil alih oleh kerajaan.
Bila jadi hutang negara, rakyat jelata dan pembayar cukai lah yang kena tanggung. Kita dan anak cucu kitalah yang kena bayar.
Itu baru hutang 1MDB. Tak kira lagi hutang kerajaan yang lain yang naik melambung di bawah kelolaan Najib sebagai Menteri Kewangan.
Yang terbaru laporan Bank Negara mengatakan hutang luar negara kita telah naik kepada RM908.7 bilion pada suku keempat tahun lalu, iaitu paras paling tinggi dalam masa hampir 20 tahun.
Majoriti pengamal media massa arus perdana prokerajaan dan panglima A9 mungkin tidak faham ekonomi untuk mengetahui bahawa apa yang berlalu sekarang adalah kesan lingkaran ganas (vicious cycle) yang berpunca daripada hutang negara yang tinggi, ekonomi yang lembap, skandal 1MDB, rasuah dan kurang kepercayaan kepada kerajaan dan banyak lagi faktor-faktor negatif.
Semua petunjuk utama ekonomi merudum. Nilai ringgit jatuh, pengangguran meningkat kepada lebih setengah juta orang, kira-kira 200,000 graduan tidak ada kerja, inflasi naik ke paras paling tinggi dalam masa lapan tahun (sama dengan tempoh Najib jadi PM), hutang kerajaan melambung ke tahap paling tinggi dalam sejarah dan kewangan kerajaan lemah.
Senarai bencana ekonomi dan sosial ini terterusan. Lagi rendah peringkatnya, lagi parah masalahnya. Sampai ada menteri kelas ayam yang cadangkan pesakit pulangkan ubat yang tidak habis dimakan.
Kerana Najib Sayang Jho Low
Yang sangat tidak adil dan mendukacitakan adalah tujuan tersirat pemindahan hutang dan tanggungan 1MDB kepada kerajaan melalui Kementerian Kewangan kerana mahu menyelamatkan Jho Low dan menutup mulut bekas-bekas pegawai 1MDB.
Jho Low (kiri sekali) kunci keselamat isi rumah Najib
Kalau Jho Low ditangkap dan disiasat, habislah Najib dan isi rumahnya.
Natijahnya, selagi Najib dan Barisan Nasional berkuasa, bolehlah mereka timbus bangkai gajah Tok Mia 1MDB dan SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Mereka boleh guna berbagai-bagai tindak-tanduk korporat, pentadbiran, kehakiman dan kepolisan untuk menutup bangkai 1MDB.
Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani should publish the letter from the Registrar of Corporate Affairs claimed to prove that the British Virgin Island (BVI) registered Aabar belongs to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC), PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli said.
1MDB had paid US$3.5 billion to Aabar BVI for services in the issuance of two bonds, but IPIC says it has no links to the firm, which has an almost identical name with an IPIC subsidiary.
“He should publish the alleged letter of confirmation from BVI’s Registrar of Corporate Affairs so that the public can help him and the government get to the bottom of this issue.
“He should (also) publish the money trail that allegedly was fraudulently transferred to the wrong company so that the public can ascertain who was the final beneficiary,” he said in a statement.
He added Johari should resign from his post if he cannot reveal the letter, in the footsteps of former Finance Minister II Husni Hanadzlah, who after resignation raised questions on 1MDB in Parliament.
“Otherwise, his continuing attempt to wash his hands is getting pathetic.
“He is being paid to trace the money and bring back whatever is left out there.
“Instead, the country continues to lose money because of 1MDB and all he can say is ‘I don’t know’,” Rafizi said.
Johari yesterday told Malaysiakini that the government is certain that Aabar BVI belongs to IPIC because it has a letter from BVI’s Registrar of Corporate Affair to prove this.
Asked to show the letter, however, Johari said he can vouch for its veracity and that he has also raised this in Parliament.
He also said it is not unusual for 1MDB to have opted for a settlement in the midst of arbitration, and that the government had considered bilateral ties with Abu Dhabi before deciding to settle.
IPIC is an Abu Dhabi state investment firm.
‘Use letter for arbitration’
Rafizi said the possession of this letter should prompt Johari to try to stop the settlement from being ratified by the cabinet.
He also said the minister should return to the arbitration process to seek a better outcome.
“While that confirmation letter itself should be subjected to the highest scrutiny, it is indeed suspicious that after going on record that the government is confident of getting a good settlement out of the arbitration process the government backtracked and settled,” the Pandan MP said.
He also questioned the veracity of the letter given that the BVI is known for keeping details of company ownership strictly confidential.
“I am surprised that the (BVI) Registrar of Corporate Affairs actually issued a letter to confirm an ownership of a company because the very nature of an offshore company (either at BVI or Caymans Island) is intended to conceal the ownership and directorship of a company,” he said.
On Monday, IPIC in a filing with the London Stock Exchange said 1MDB agreed to pay IPIC US$1.2 billion.
The US$1.2 billion repayment is believed to be for the US$1 billion loan plus interest, which IPIC gave to 1MDB in 2015 to cover the defaulted interest payments on bonds. The bonds were guaranteed by IPIC and 1MDB.
The bonds, valued at US$3.5 billion, were issued in 2012 to finance 1MDB’s energy unit – 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited and 1MDB Energy Limited. Both bonds are due by 2022.
As part of the settlement, 1MDB and Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc) agreed to assume responsibility for the two bonds.
IPIC also said the two parties will also head into further negotiations on payments made to “certain parties” – believed to refer to the US$3.5 billion 1MDB paid to Aabar BVI.
People make mistakes and no one is an exception. To err is human, to forgive divine. But when one makes a mistake, the right thing to do would be simply to own up and sincerely apologise. Sadly that is not what the Mufti of Perlis, Dr Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin (Maza) did. Rather, he is currently digging an even deeper hole that the one he previously dug!
It all started last week, when Maza posted a poem which insulted Hindus. That poem included elements of ‘cow worshipping’, ‘widow burning’ and the caste system. You may read my rebuttal of it here. However, after a tremendous backlash courtesy of Malaysians from all races and religions, Maza was forced to reconsider his position. However, instead of recanting his position and asking for our forgiveness, he started spinning his poem in another way..
According to Maza, he aimed his poem at the Indian BJP led government and their nationalist stance which emboldened atrocities against Muslims by Hindu fundamentalists. His poem was actually misunderstood. Was it really? Allow me to analyse some of its contents and offer some comments (the poem is in italics and Malay):
…APABILA YANG MEMPERTUHANKAN LEMBU BERSATU…
Asri later claimed that ‘mempertuhankan’ here means to glorify, rather than deify. Why did he then not use the word ‘menyanjung’. Given the cultural baggage which comes with the Hindu association with cows (Muslims tend to pejoratively call them ‘cow worshippers’), why was Asri not more careful?
Moreover, if the word ‘mempertuhankan’ can mean ‘to glorify’, what if non-Muslims say Muslims ‘mempertuhankan Muhammad’? After all, Muslims recite the salawat prayers on him and expect him to intercede for them on judgement day. Would Asri agree that Muslims ‘mempertuhankan Muhammad’? What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander!
…LANTAS MENYERU AGAR PENDAKWAH KITA DIBELENGGU…
This ‘pendakwah kita’ is thought to be Zakir Naik. If this is true, then how on earth is this vile Islamofascist ‘our preacher’? He has done nothing but sow seeds of disunity since he came here. In a recent comment, he has actually said that Umno and Pas would make an ideal coalition! What kind of ‘Islamic preacher’ would ask for a nationalist government?!
…MAHU DISERAHKAN KEPADA KERAJAAN ZALIM MENYEMBAH API DAN PENGANUT SATI…
This is the sentence which exposes Maza’s pathetic spin. If the ‘yang mempertuhankan lembu’ starts to ‘menyeru agar pendakwah kita dibelenggu’, then they want him to be surrendered to the oppressive government, then how can the first party be equivalent to the second? Obviously the ‘cow worshippers’ and the ‘oppressive government’ are two different parties! The first is Hindraf and the second is the Indian government. This should be patently obvious to any literate!
…PEMBAKAR WANITA JANDA..DI BENUA SANA…
Is Maza talking about ISIS here? Because he cannot be talking about Hindus in India as they do not practise that anymore! ISIS however still burns people alive. Here is another damning proof that Maza was not talking about the Indian government. They do not practise Satti. Maza is clearly talking about a past Hindu practice here.
…AJARAN YANG MENGKASTAKAN MANUSIA…
What does a secular, democratic Indian government have to do with a caste system? Again, Maza was taking aim at cultural peculiarities associated with Hinduism.
Also, in an Islamic state in the classical sense of the word, non-Muslims have severe restrictions. They cannot be leaders, soldiers or judges. In the same Islamic state, women cannot marry, work, or even leave the house without the man’s permission. How is this not a caste system?
Do I believe Maza aimed the poem at Modi’s government? Not for a second! Maza is trying to cover his mistake, that is my opinion. What a pity too. He has lost all credibility with the right thinking people of Malaysia. We can tolerate mistakes, but not from those who are too arrogant to sincerely apologise. If I was Dr Maza, I would hold my hands up and say ‘sorry, this will never happen again’.
A newly-formed Malay-Muslim coalition today announced its plans to challenge the process of granting citizenship to about 1.75 million Malaysians who received the status between 1957 and 1970.
Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam (Bertindak) spokesperson Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz said this was on grounds that the process had allegedly violated the stipulated terms under the Federal Constitution.
“Schedule 1 of the Constitution is in relation to the taking of oath for citizenship. Between 1957 until 1970, 1.75 million citizenships bypassed this process of taking the oath.
“Therefore, this gives us the space to challenge and question the granting of the citizenship, once given to the non-Malays,” he told a press conference at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kuala Lumpur today.
“This is a legal issue which needs to be brought to court and we want the court to decide,” he said.
While reiterating that Bertindak is not out to target all Hindus or Indians, the group had condemned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and its chairperson P Waythamoorthy for allegedly stoking racial and religious sentiments against Muslims in Malaysia.
“The secretariat (Bertindak) in the meeting had agreed to consider few legal actions which we have been weighing and refining to be executed.
“Truthfully, legal violations were found, based on a research done. Therefore, we have been given the mandate to initiate legal action to question the granting of citizenship to non-Malays,” Mohd Khairul said.
Aside from the legal challenge, Mohd Khairul said Bertindak will also be lodging police report against alleged inflammatory postings online, starting from tomorrow at the Dang Wangi police station.
Bertindak, among others, comprise groups including Perkasa, Pertubuhan Muafakat Malaysia and Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia.
ALOR SETAR — After months of flirting with Umno and threatening to call quits on its working relationship with PKR, PAS is set to outline a clear picture on how it will position itself in the next general election in its 63rd Muktamar gathering that kicks off here today.
Boosted yet again by the progress of their proposed amendments to increase the power of Shariah Courts via the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which was allowed to be read out in the Dewan Rakyat for the second time earlier this month despite being a private member’s Bill, PAS leaders will look to consolidate party ranks following a fractious two years for the party.
The muktamar is also likely to be the last gathering of all party grassroots before the 14th general election.
Following their break-up from the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in 2015, PAS has seen the progressives of the party break away to form their own party in Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), which in turn formed a new opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan, with PAS’ former allies PKR and DAP.
Last year, the formation of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) led by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad further increased competition for PAS’ Malay-Muslim voter base.
Despite initially courting PAS, PPBM recently joined the Pakatan Harapan coalition after failing to get PAS to come on board for a mooted “grand coalition” for all opposition parties.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who pushed for the Shariah Bill, has weathered the internal storm within the Islamist party and has used the relative success of the bill’s progress to consolidate his position. He has retained his post uncontested for this muktamar.
In fact, four of the five top leadership positions in the party are secure- with information chief Nasruddin Hassan being the only one who is challenging three incumbents for one of the vice-president posts.
“This is for PAS to close ranks, because there are still problems at the grassroots level. It needs to outline for it can become a party for all Malays,” University Utara Malaysia (UUM) political analyst Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said.
“This is also where they set up their direction for the general elections- their manifesto, and their policies. And they need to be clear about their position itself- are they the third force or are they aligning with Pakatan or Barisan Nasional? The people are confused because their direction is not clear,” he added.
PAS’ relationship with Umno has been intriguing since it started pushing for the Shariah Bill.
Putrajaya allowed Hadi to read out the bill for the first time just before last year’s Muktamar in Kota Bharu, before even pledging to turn the amendments into a government bill and re-introduce it to Parliament.
However, the government later said it would not be bringing the bill following discussion with Barisan Nasional partners, who, along with the likes of DAP, always saw the bill as a backdoor route for PAS to attempt implementing the Islamic penal code, Hudud, in Kelantan.
But just weeks later, Putrajaya deferred some of its own bills, including a Bill aimed to end unilateral conversion, in order to pave way for Hadi to read the amendment bill for the second time in Parliament, though the debates were deferred for the next session.
“There is obviously a cooperation between them (PAS and Umno) on the issue of Islamisation. PAS’ agenda now however is something that has been brought by Umno all this while. PAS has to explain what is the new idea that they can bring to the people. Otherwise there is no point of having PAS,” he said.
However, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies senior fellow Oh Ei Sun believes that PAS and Umno already have a pact that is not being spoken about.
“I think they have some sort of pact with Umno,” he said, while adding that the muktamar would also focus mainly on the next general election.
“Such a pact is of course not disclosed in this setting,” he added, pointing out that issues such as the Shariah Bill will instead be extensively spoken about.
But what will likely be spoken about is the party’s relationship with PKR, with several PAS divisions in Penang having moved for a motion to sever ties with PKR, the only Pakatan party with whom PAS has a standing relationship.
PAS previously used the 2015 muktamar as the stage to sever its ties with DAP, which led to the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat.
However repeating such an act during the 63rd muktamar with PKR could also mean consequences for the running of the Selangor state government- which remains governed by PKR, PAS and DAP in their old Pakatan make-up.
Amendments to Bankruptcy Act now official, ensuring social guarantors cannot be declared bankrupt if borrower defaults on loan.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2016 which was approved in the Dewan Rakyat on March 29, which among other things, provides bankruptcy protection to social guarantors, was passed by the Dewan Negara yesterday.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said, when winding up debate on the bill, said under the amendments of the act, social guarantors cannot be declared bankrupt because they did not profit from it (loan) but guaranteed individual loans on humanitarian grounds.
“They become victims when out of sympathy they become guarantors for other people but when the borrower doesn’t pay someone else (guarantor) pays the price. The government is aware of this and believe they should no longer be penalised. So, with this bill, guarantors will be protected,” she said.
However, she said the social guarantor would still be facing other legal processes to prevent them from abusing the amendments to the act.
According to Azalina, under the bill, the maximum amount for bankruptcy is raised to RM50,000 from RM30,000 previously.
She said the amount is deemed apt for the time being and could possibly be raised in future amendments.
Earlier, the debate on the bill attracted the attention of 15 senators including Senator Rahimah Mahamad, Senator Mustapa Kamal Mohd Yusoff, Senator Azizah Harun and Senator Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail.
Siti Aishah, in her debate, asked the government to consider giving flexibility to individuals declared bankrupt to enable them to perform the Umrah or Hajj.
“They should be given the flexibility and I hope the government will look into the matter,” she said.
Earlier, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Razali Ibrahim, when tabling the bill for second reading, said the government would consider eight policy changes to amend the bill including barring action to make social guarantors bankrupt and raising the minimum for bankruptcy.
Charles Santiago expects hikes in book prices with an impending rise in the cost of paper.
PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has urged the government to consider subsidising book purchases if the cost of paper goes up.
He was commenting on a report by Nanyang Siang Pau which quoted a stationary wholesaler and supply company as saying that the price of A4 paper was expected to go up. The company attributed this to the depreciating ringgit and increases in raw material costs and transportation costs.
Speaking to FMT, Santiago said the prices of all sizes of paper would likely go up with the price of A4.
This would in turn cause the prices of books to rise, he added.
“Published material, including both fiction and non fiction books, are important in the life of a nation for a variety of reasons,” he said. “If we are aspiring to be a nation of excellence, then this requires educational materials to be affordable.”
Santiago said it would be wise for the government to bear a big proportion of the increase in price should books become more expensive.
“It’s an investment in the future of the country. The government should ensure that prices of printed materials are kept under control and it can do this through such initiatives as providing subsidies for book purchases.” -FMT