Rowther or Ravuthar or Rawthar or Rawther is a distinctive Islamic community from the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Together with the Kayalar .
The real truth is that when we refer to Mahathir movement, we should perhaps add the words “Sponsored by UMNO” to it. In any case, the people of this country have figured this out. Why not acknowledge it publicly then? There is no shame in being a political movement. But there should be shame in trying to hoodwink the public…. Very bold and daring allegations being made about the Prime Minister and the world is watching for a reaction. Makes us very upset and embarrased that a guy from another country, accuses our top leader and government of wrong-doings of collosal proportions. We want the PM to say something about it. The world should hear from him, that he is innocent and that the allegations are cooked up. And why are his deputy and the others also not defending him. Why are the BN coalition partners also not saying anything about it. They should come out and defend him and lend their support. Also the exes. The ex-PM, for example, instead of commenting on the weakness of the PM’s leadership, should come out defending him strengthen the leadership. Where are all these guys when you need them? This is more important than sabotaging opposition ceramahs so go defend our PM.With this case so hotly noted overseas, our DPM could take the golden opportunity to kick Najib out and take over as UMNO chief thus become next PM.
When all the monkey from Defense Ministry was questioned by Public Account Committee (PAC), all the answer was ” This is national defense secrete, cannot be reveled”. But now this kind of highly confidential report end up in the hand of France Defense Ministry. The rakyat has been betrayed by Defense Ministry of Malaysia and army.Incidentally, how did this company manage to get hold of the secret document before selling to the French? Definitely some top brass in the armed forces have a hand in it! Now we can see where the real traitors are. Hey, where are the butts twitching army veterans? The real traitor is not AMBIGA!!!Go to London and bring back the real traitor to face the music!Obviously, our PM or then Defense Minister and his political agent has violated one of the five National Principles. KESETIAAN KEPADA RAJA AND NEGARA.After GE13, he and the rest of Umno will also be fugitives in 1Malaysia. I can’t wait for that day. TraitorsJust to recap: 1] Payment to Perimekar, which is nothing more than a travel agency, for ‘co-ordination services’ was €114 million (RM450 million); 2] Payment to Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd., €36 million (RM142 million); and 3] Terasasi and Perimekar are both owned by Abdul Razak Baginda. His wife, Mazlinda, is a director in Perimekar, while his father is a director in Terasasi. We have been informed that, among other details, there was an invoice by Terasasi dated 1 Oct, 2000 for €100,000 (RM400,000), and there was also an invoice from Terasasi to Thint Asia, dated 28 Aug, 2004 for €359,450 (RM1·43 million) with a handwritten note stating, ‘Razak wants it in a hurry’. Najib is definitely involved in the corrupt, treacherous practices. What is the penalty for treason? Isn’t it hanging? The worms are slowly crawling out of the woodwork! MACC must look into this aspect of the Scopene Scandal! MACC, your silence is most deafening! Police should also look into the treason aspect of the case! Do I hear any squeak from the IGP?
Probably APCO if they still hold retainership would come out with something like MACH 1MALAYSIA. They could use KIM QUEK’S comments asJUSTIFICATION . Dang! everything in this country has a 1 prefix except our international ratings! LANc…..ah….never mind. Don’t waste time, click on JUSTIFICATION above.
The BN government had failed to fulfill the promise vouchsafed the nation by the Merdeka Proclamation of 1957 and the country’s founding constitution. This content of this promise constituted a prevision of the Sen parameters of liberty, economic amenity, security and good governance.
Lim claimed that the DAP-led Pakatan state government of Penang had fulfilled these parameters.
He listed the steps taken towards fulfillment as the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, Penang Local Government Elections to restore the 3rd vote, the public declaration of personal assets of all state executive councilors, including the Chief Minister’s, the eradication of hardcore poverty with a RM600 minimum income for all households, the implementation of open tenders, the provision of free wifi in public places, and increased cash assistance to people.
Lim said the fulfillment of these parameters has boosted public and investor confidence resulting in Penang being a top investment location for two years (2010-2011) resulting in state garnering 30 percent of the foreign direct investment that flowed into Malaysia.
He said the icing on the cake of Penang’s success was the state’s freedom from corruption scandals that plagued the BN in states it controlled and at the federal level where it had been dominant since independence in 1957.
“I would like to suggest that to enjoy development as freedom under Amartya Sen we need to be free from corruption scandals,” said Lim. Anwar approached the development modules posited by Sen from a cultural perspective, lauding the Nobel recipient for rebutting the “Asian values” school of thought, promoted by Mahathir and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew.
This was that Asians preferred satiated stomachs to rights acquisition, consensus building to individualism, and social order to demonstrations.
“He (Sen) debunked the theory that Asians preferred authoritarian rule to the disorder bred by democracies,” said Anwar. The Opposition Leader said Sen recognised the inalienable right of citizens to know what their governors were doing so that they could make an informed decision on whom to support.
Anwar said that, for that reason, he supported investigations on all the scandals that had occurred in the past few decades on the basis of the public’s inalienable right to know the truth.
He said he believed that contrary to what was being feared by those in danger of being investigated, this quest to know would not heighten the impulse to vengeance.
Anwar said he himself was in no mood to be vengeful about the humiliations to which he has been subjected, but the right to know how and why things happened the way they did will be instructive for the future.
Anwar sounded like he was endorsing the famous French saying, ‘Tout comprende, c’est tout pardonner’ (‘To understand everything is to forgive everything’).
A squirreled-away scandal of two decades ago begins to unravel in the light of Pakatan Rakyat’s ascendancy.
Terence Netto “Power tends to corrupt; absolutely power corrupts absolutely,” is one of the more renowned sayings of Lord Acton that deserves its fame for its perspicuity.
Much has happened in the last century’s political history that enables this insight of the 19th century British historian to gain for itself the immortality the Delphic oracle – “Know thyself” – attained to from the Hellenic times.
Something comparably penetrating that Lord Acton said about nature of public affairs is set to gain a relevance to Malaysia that would not only showcase its perceptiveness but also its applicability as a political truism.
“Nothing is safe that does not show it can bear discussion and publicity,” may lack the lilt of Acton’s aphorism on power, but the force of its truth can hit you four square. That, at least, must have been the reaction of a packed audience to the revelations unveiled at the public forum organized by the Penang Institute in Georgetown yesterday that was themed ‘Bank Negara Forex Scandal: When Government becomes Speculator’.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng opened the forum, at which the speakers were Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Rosli Yaakop, a former Bank Negara official, by highlighting the Freedom of Information bill the Penang legislature passed last year.
Its passage displays to advantage the merits of the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government of Penang with its emphasis on openness and transparency, derided as a sham by its BN critics but lauded by admirers as exemplary governance for both state and nation.
Presumably, a comparable bill, had it been promulgated by the Federal government, would not have left unexposed for so long one of the more damaging scandals to beset the country which occurred nearly two decades ago.
This was the Bank Negara foreign currency trading scam in which a mind-boggling sum was conjectured (its precise amount, until yesterday, was a figment of public speculation than of authoritative disclosure) to have been lost and was, at the time of its initial revelation, officially dismissed, in what must now be viewed as a staggering euphemism, as “paper losses.”
“They were real, not paper losses,” said Anwar, who revealed that he first came to know of Bank Negara’s speculative forays on the forex markets from a friend in Zurich in 1991 and, later, from the editor of the now defunct Far Eastern Economic Review.
At that time the losses were incurred, as the first gleanings of the disaster reverberated across the political arena, these were disclosed as amounting to RM10.16 billion until 1992, and as RM5.76 billion, in 1992 alone.
Rosli Yaacop, in his presentation yesterday, held that losses suffered were closer to a stupefying RM30 billion. What Rosli, a deputy manager in Bank Negara at the time the scandal ran its course (between the late 1980s to the early 1990s) and what Anwar, the Finance Minister on whose watch it came to light, revealed to the 400-plus people at yesterday’s forum reinforced the truth of Acton’s insight on the futility of camouflaging what democracies, including Malaysia’s makeshift version, would inevitably engender over time: the outing of the truth about tawdry goings-on.
The Bank Negara foreign currency trading scandal was, in yesterday’s sketches by Rosli and Anwar, conceived in secrecy and conducted by subterfuge between the then central bank’s Governor, Jaffar Hussein, and its foreign currency arbitrageur and rougue trader, Nor Mohamed Yaacop, with the knowledge, if not connivance, of then Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
Anwar, who replaced Daim as Finance Minister in early 1991, did not know about the machinations of Nor Mohamed who apparently enjoyed a free hand; Governor Jaffar was not obliged, on account of the central bank’s statutory independence of the Treasury, to brief the Finance Minister.
After Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, raised the alarm in 1991 that Malaysia’s exposure on forex trading was alarmingly high — drawing a typically combative rebuke from Prime Minister Mahathir — the qualms about Bank Negara’s speculative forays, viewed as reckless gambling by finance moguls in the know, burgeoned to the point where Anwar demanded in 1994 that Jaffar come clean on the matter.
By then, when the stupendous losses suffered had escalated beyond the point where the huge profits garnered in earlier years had become a tantalizing mirage that paved the way to disaster, Anwar raised the matter with Mahathir.
Mahathir allowed that the forays had brought huge gains in the initial stages but that subsequent losses had made the exercise no longer sustainable. He publicly maintained that the losses were only on paper to a public to which DAP’s Lim Kit Siang strenuously raised the alarm that a numerically feeble opposition could not sustain above nuisance-level. This scenario has now changed with the Opposition’s beefed up numbers and pretensions to take over Putrajaya.
The half-buried financial and corruption scandals of past decades in Malaysia, scams that would have brought down most democratic governments, are now on course for disinterment by a fortified opposition and a newly sensitized public.
But Anwar’s take on the whole gamut is that the public has a right to know but that the imperative of understanding must overcome the impulse for vengeance.He said the country must have its own version of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission whose purpose was to expose the enormities of the apartheid era with a view to sedating the torments of that oppressive period.
In that Anwar said he was moved by what Nelson Mandela told him when the father of that nation invited him, wife Azizah and children to Johannesburg to be his guests shortly after Anwar’s release from jail, after serving six years on corruption and sodomy convictions, in 2004.
Mandela was apologetic for not doing enough to free Anwar. He had seen Mahathir personally to plead in Anwar’s cause. But Mahathir was reportedly silent and unmoved. “I told Mandela ‘Never mind, yours was a 27 years march to freedom, mine was a short six year walk’ ” recalled Anwar.
In other words, life is too short to be small but scandals must see the light of an Actonian reckoning.
How can it be? How can UMNO with three million members, five decades in power, a mile-long string of successes as claimed by their leaders, still be so unsure of when it is safe to hold the country’s 13th general election?
No doubt, the party grassroots and warlords will point the finger back at Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the UMNO president. Some leaders will even defend him. It’s up to him, he’s boss, it is his prerogative. Yet the more critical ones will slam him – it’s his fault, he is to blame for having no confidence in himself and the people to return the UMNO-BN back to power for another 5 year mandate.
But whether they take Najib’s side or go against him, a late GE-13 does no one nor the nation any good. The global economy is sinking and Asian stock markets are crashing. Adding political uncertainty to an already scary cocktail is not going to help. Worst still, for Malaysians to continue supporting a weak leadership unable to reform because of internal bickering within the ruling party itself, i.e. UMNO, is certain suicide.
Never before has any PM been so afraid of calling for an election
So, why is Najib is so apprehensive about GE-13. If the UMNO pundits are right, BN will still scratch together a small victory. It may not be as glamorous or flashy as Najib would like but a win is still a win. With his back to the wall, Najib should be thankful to get through with a pass rather than aim for flying colours such as winning two-thirds of the 222 seats in Parliament.
Indeed, UMNO’s own internal polls show that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Rakyat is likely to win 107 to 109 seats, which may trigger a hung Parliament and thence a mass exodus into the Pakatan, sealing the nation’s first regime change ever since obtaining independence from British rule in 1957.
“UMNO must not take it for granted that money can buy everything. There are many BN leaders waiting to cross over but in politics, timing is everything. They won’t do it until they get a clear signal from their people,” PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
Indeed, even in the 12th general election held in 2008, Pakatan won more than half the popular vote but lost in terms of the number of seats due to gerrymandering of electoral boundaries by the past BN governments led by Mahathir Mohamad.
Now that nearly 5 years have passed, and Pakatan has been able to show it can do the job of a good government as proven by the state administrations of Selangor and Penang, popular demand is expected to rest on the side of a regime change instead of being cautious and sticking with the status quo.
BN has run out of ‘good times’: Stop dreaming, Najib
GE-13 strongly touted to be in June this year, then shifted to July and later to September is again ‘blowing in the wind’. No one except the most gung-ho still imagine going to the ballot boxes in July. Najib himself put paid to speculation that GE-13 would be in September when he announced that the Budget 2013 would be brought forward and held on September 28.
Speculation is now rife Najib may try to gain ‘extra advantage’ by holding GE-13 during the pilgrimage or haj season in October but that will backfire and anger Muslim voters as his predecessor Abdullah Badawi has warned with a pre-emptive salvo – albeit directed against the opposition rather than at Najib himself.
“Don’t tell me the prime minister wants to hold the election then. He is also a Muslim,” Abdullah told reporters over the weekend.
Yes, Abdullah’s warning – indirect as it was – is crystal clear. Najib, whose approval rating plunged to 65% from 69% after ordering ill-judged police attacks against the Bersih 3.0 rally goers during their April 28 sit-in for free and fair elections, does appear ‘lost’ and in need of ‘guidance’ from his predecessors.
Najib is biting his nails, hoping for a period when the situation is good enough to hold the GE-13. But it looks like he may only be dreaming because that won’t happen, at least from now until March 2013 when the BN’s mandate expires and Parliament will have to be automatically dissolved.
“The real issue is to clean up the electoral roll but Umno does not want to do it. Najib is looking for opportunities as to how to ensure his victory, which includes calling for election during the haj season. Najib knows that PAS supporters, many of them, would be away on the haj during that time,” PAS president and Marang MP Hadi Awang said over the weekend.
Propped up by Dr M: Infighting brings the party down
Nothing that Najib has done thus far has really worked; from economic policies to social programs – it has all gone terribly wrong. Almost everything has gone wrong and he is now clinging to power with the help of former premier Mahathir Mohamad.
At 86, Mahathir is now indisputably the most powerful ‘warlord’ or ‘power-broker’ in their party – able to influence who gets to become the next UMNO president at internal polls slated for later this year.
According to BN critics, the people of Malaysia could actually live in peace in harmony much better without the interference or input of UMNO. Or to be more precise, to forever draw the curtains on its brand of abrasive politicking that champions the vested interest of its ruling elite first and foremost at the expense of the ordinary people.
“UMNO is bad for the country as has been proven by the endemic corruption and plunder of wealth that the UMNO leaders are fighting hard to keep secret from the masses. When one power broker has the upper hand, he will rule according to his whim and fancy as Malaysia belongs to him and his family,” said an academic teaching political science at a local university. He asked not to be named.
“UMNO will also be bad for Malaysia when there is no warlord powerful enough to control the party, thereby exposing the country to haphazard policies and meddling as the factions within UMNO jostle for space and authority within their own party.”
Selfishness and the talent vacuum in Umno
How did this come about? Selfishness may well be the answer, according to pundits.
They said the selfishness of top leaders such as Mahathir and Najib in keeping out talented newcomers has led to a situation where despite its claims of a 3 million membership, UMNO is basically a closed-door ‘old-boys’ club.
Indeed, UMNO is about a core group of leaders who struck the political limelight during the 1960s and 70s and are now clinging on. They do appear to be trying their best to pass off their ‘inheritance’, i.e. their power and authority in the party, to their own kids and family.
But times have changed and UMNO insiders themselves admit Najib has mismanaged the party and Malaysia so badly that his failures can no longer be tolerated or hidden. He has failed to understand that the simmering troubles in UMNO have ballooned and reached a stage whereby no one person manage these single-handedly – not even Mahathir.
That’s right Mahathir won’t be able to save Najib. UMNO has had enough of Mahathir and for many of the large factions, the situation has reached a stage where it is ‘either us or them’ – with ‘them’ referring to Najib and Mahathir. The party is polarized – those siding Mahathir and indirectly Najib and those who blame the duo for plunging UMNO to its current abyss.
So, while Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat remain an ever looming danger, Najib and Mahathir may get their just deserts from ‘internal sources’ instead of from external foes.
Situation in UMNO irreversible
Even so, Najib is still adamant and continues to stick to his agenda – emboldened by Mahathir ‘s support. Najib continues to ignore what is going on in UMNO and tries to focus on GE-13. Despite the strong warning from the Bersih 3.0 rally, he stubbornly carries on with the much-criticized use of the government machinery to win votes, distributing election goodies such as granting cash handouts to the people to blatant vote-buying and vote-rigging.
BUT the people of Malaysia have changed with the times and Najib may not succeed despite all his attempts to secure a win by hook or by crook at GE-13. He can rig the results but will the people accept an outcome obviously against their wishes and obtained by cheating. Looking at the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who came to support Bersih’s call for clean polls, Najib and Mahathir would do better to forget about their ‘bright’ idea of stealing the people’s mandate by devious means.
Mahathir too appears to have run out of fresh ideas on how to improve things in UMNO except to blame Badawi for all the party’s problems. Mahathir is not able to make UMNO strong and united. Deep in his heart, Mahathir knows that he is the one who has failed both UMNO and Malaysia. He even admitted it on several occasions. Sad to say, it is too late and the situation in UMNO is not reversible.
Najib’s list of ‘winnable candidates’ for GE-13 has still not been finalized. The BN grapevine has it that each seat has at least two ‘winnable’ individuals and Najib – indecisive as ever – does not dare to make a final decision yet for fear of losing support from his own side.
But no one in the list is willing to sacrifice for UMNO or BN. Like it or not, Najib will have to be bad guy and make a call. For example, who can fill the shoes of the Selangor Menteri Besar if UMNO really manages to regain this prized trophy.
There is also no certainty that UMNO-BN can win back the five states despite its mudslinging and onslaught against the Pakatan leaders. Instead, it is Pakatan which is very likely to make further inroads and may even win Terengganu, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan and Perak.
Najib’s deputy Muhyiddin Yassin has also started to worry because the impending disaster for UMNO-BN is so clear for all to see except for Najib and his core group of advisers, who have bungled on every major issue. Several prominent ex-civil servants and personalities have already joined the Pakatan and that the ‘dark secrets’ of the UMNO-BN leaders will soon be revealed by the Pakatan as they fight tooth and nail for the federal government.
Mahathir’s son Mukhriz has been openly rejected by Kedah UMNO as the next Menteri Besar. What a slap in the face and a real warning for his dad and Najib, who had hoped to secure Mahathir’s favor by giving Mukhriz the Kedah state government – provided of course, UMNO can wrest it back from Pakatan in the first place.
Other signs of big trouble brewing include several top UMNO leaders announcing they will contest in seats other than in their traditional stronghold areas. What message are they sending Najib?
UMNO is also troubled by the scandals involving their topmost leaders. No, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission’s declaring Wanita UMNO chief Shahrizat Jalil ‘innocent’ won’t give her back her lost credibility. The RM250million NFC corruption scandal still sticks out like a sore thumb and it is a certainty Wanita UMNO members will show their displeasure over Najib’s double standards practiced in this matter. For reasons best known to himself, Najib has insisted on sticking with Shahrizat rather than punishing her for the debacle involving her family.
It does look like UMNO is a gone case and with the rest of the BN component parties also in disarray, pundits say Malaysians should wise up. There may be much more stability in a regime change than in sticking with a status quo that has already moved into IMPLOSION MODE!
A highly-classified document – the Royal Malaysian Navy’s evaluation of the Scorpene-class submarines to be purchased by the government – were allegedly “bought” by a French defence company.
French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting on behalf of human rights NGO Suaram, revealed that the company paid 36 million euro (RM142 million) to Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, ostensibly for “commercial engineering” works.
Breham (right) said French investigative judges probing the case lodged by Suaram against Paris-owned shipmaker DCNS for alleged corruption inquired what those payments were for and demanded reports of financial transactions from the company.
“They (the inquiry judges) were given information thqat is already available in the Internet and newspapers, except for this one document,” Breham told a press conference in Bangkok yesterday.
“It was a secret document by the Malaysian Navy – an evaluation for the order of the submarines, which is a highly confidential report,” he told journalists at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.
Breham, who based his expose on the French prosecution papers, said the act of “selling” top secret papers to a foreign country such as this is considered treason.
In France, he stressed, it would be absolutely illegal to sell such reports as it could either be considered a breach of defence secrets or high treason.
“It’s treason because you are selling to a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon,” replied Breham, when asked by a journalist if it was legal for an individual to sell such reports.
“In France, if you release them (secret documents), you can be punished with up to 10 years in jail,” said Breham, who is with Sherpa, a non-profit legal and human rights NGO based in Paris, which is representing Suaram in the legal action.
Najib can be arrested by Interpol
Hong Kong-based Terasasi had been accused of funnelling moneythrough its accounts to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as “commissions” for the sale of the submarines.
The submarines were purchased from the French company Thales International, also known as Thint Asia, in a deal inked in 2002 when Najib was deputy prime minister and defence minister.
Thales is an off-shoot of French defence giant DCN, which later changed its name to DCNS, a company facing legal charges filed by Suaram in 2010. The case recently opened for hearing in the French court.
Two Terasasi directors are Najib’s close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and his father Abdul Malim Baginda.
In 2006, Razak, together with two of Najib’s former bodyguards were charged with the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, but the political analyst was acquitted without his defence being called.
Najib (left), who has refused to comment on the matter, has also denied ever being involved in the scandal, but Breham has reiterated that the PM cannot avoid testifying in a French court if he is either subpoenaed or issued with a warrant of arrest by Interpol.
Breham said it was possible that Thales decided to pay the money to obtain the classified documents so that it could better its bid for the project, and this meant “paying someone to commit an offence”.
The other possibility, he added, is that the French company had paid the commission to channel money to ruling party Umno or to high-ranking individuals in Malaysia, as already revealed in French prosecution papers.
Breham said that this “demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt” that the French counterparts knew the money was illegal and should not be paid, and that it would go to top Malaysian officials.
He added that the money, whether legal or illegal, was paid to individuals “for no forseeable reasons” when it could have been put to better use.
“To put it blunt and clearly – if the money had not been paid to high-ranking officials, it could have been used to allow Malaysians to pay less taxes for the same services or to have much more services for the same amount of taxes,” suggested Breham.
“The Malaysian taxpayers are the first casualties in this case,” he added.
Selling nation’s secrets a crime
Meanwhile, Subang parliamentarian R Sivarasa, who was at the Bangkok press conference, said the expose on the top secret document being sold to a foreign country could land a person in jail.
Sivarasa (right), who is also a lawyer, said anyone familiar with the Malaysian legal system knows that the country has the toughest official secrets legislation.
In terms of the broad scope of the law, he added, the breach of any official secret document or publication is punishable with a mandatory jail sentence.
“These documents – as mentioned by Breham – fall into the highest category of official secret documents as it has implications for the security of the country,” said the PKR leader.
“Without any question, it is a criminal offence (to sell the documents to a foreign company). There have been people who went to jail for revealing far less innocous documents,” he added.
Sivarasa was in Bangkok together with Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel, lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and Breham to reveal ‘damning details’ surrounding the alleged Scorpene scandal.
The press conference was held in Bangkok as Breham was unable to get a proper visa to enter Malaysia.
His law partner, William Bourdon, wasdeported from Malaysia after he attended a fundraising dinner in Penang last year.
The Bangkok event, attended by foreign journalists and Malaysian embassy officials (left) – who left immediately after the function – was hosted by regional human rights NGO Forum-