Thursday, April 30, 2015
The owner, Raja Bunesah Begum Kamaruddin, 38, was summoned and stood outside the witness dock to hear the five charges against her establishment, Restoran Hameeds Corner located in Seksyen 16, Petaling Jaya, on Thursday morning.
The charge was for issuing about 2,000 invoices not containing details as required by Section 22 of the GST Act from April 7 to 11.
DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran asked for RM100,000 bail for all five charges.
However, Raja Bunesah's counsel Cullin Andrew said his client had already paid RM15,000 as a bond to the Customs Department.
"There is no need for a bail because this is a summons case. If my client is not present in court, an arrest warrant can be issued," said Andrew.
Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid set bail at RM15,000 with one surety and fixed May 25 for next mention.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
“When I was kicked out, no company would touch me,” reminisced Ani in conversation with KiniBiz, adding that many companies at the time had ties that link back to YTL. “So I worked for foreign companies for a while.”
But he did not express regret at his decision – far from it. An often-repeated statement from Ani is that he does not wish to have his grave urinated on, a grave insult in the Malay culture, for dishonest dealing in life.” The late Ani Arope.
If you are one of the loony, er I mean lonely Mahathir choir boys, I am betting you don’t know that MalaysiaKini has come out with the first issue of KiniBiz. Well, now you know. There are two big write-ups on Mahathir in the fortnightly:
1. The study of contrasts between LKY and Mahathir, and
2. The man who refused Mahathir
I am sorry to tell you boys that your idol fared very badly – like, very very badly – in the battle of the bulge with the late Lee Kuan Yew. But that’s understable. Even the Singaporeans think their so-called founding father, whom they were not really fond of while he was still alive, was the better man.
What’s really damaging to your hero, boys, is the interview with Ani Arope. KiniBiz describes him as The Man Who Refused Mahathir.
The interview could not have come at a worse time. Here’s why. Mahathir has been scoring a lot of points attacking Najib over 1MDB, accusing the Prime Minsiter of incompetence, alleging that RM27 billion has disappeared into thin air, etcetera. You boys have been happily repeating the allegations (although I guess you guys don’t really know how to read let alone read audited accounts!)
The late Ani Arope, in the interview, is telling us a different story altogether. It tells us of a plan by Mahathir, using the Economic PLUNDERING Unit or EPU, to create power producers that would enrich cronies (Francies Yeoh, Ananda Krishnan, Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary, among others) and imporverish the people and Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
Ani Arope saw this. He refused to play along. He was sacked ONE WEEK after saying refusing Mahathir. Before that, a major power breakout was “arranged” to show to the people how inefficient Tenaga Nasional was and why the IPPs were needed. I am not saying all this — go read the interview in KiniBiz.
After the first IPP (YTL), Mahathir went on to start many more IPPs. These power producers all made big, big money. At who’s expense? At the rakyat’s, of course. Remember how we all complained about how much we had to pay for electrity. At first we blamed Tenaga but later on, as the years go by, we understood that it was the IPPs.
When PM Najib took over, he must have seen the plundering. So he used the 1MDB to buy the IPPs after telling Ananda, Francis and Syed Mokhtar that their contracts were not going to be renewed, thank you. Next step, list these IPPs in one mega public listing exercise and create and share the wealth with more stakeholders, not just cronies.
Three things will happen together with the IPO :-
1. It will end the ridiculous subsidies that Tenaga Nasional and Petronas had been forced to give to the IPPs year in and year out.
2. The people will enjoy lower electricity tariffs and,
3. the IPPs as we know them will be no more. So will Mahathir’s IPP legacy.
Mahathir is not alone in his onslaught of Najib. He was never alone. The IPPs have been with him from the start. Now boys, go get your copy of the KiniBiz. Rememebr there’s a Part 2 of the interview coming in two weeks.
Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said the telcos had been informed to revert to the rates before the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1.
This means that a RM10 top-up would cost RM10 instead of GST-inclusive RM10.60.
"We understand the problems affecting youngsters, who are the main prepaid users.
"Effective May 1, all telcos must revert to prices before April 1 where the price is inclusive of tax," he told a press conference.
Initially, the government announced that prices of reload cards would be maintained after the GST, as the tax replaces the Sales and Services Tax (SST) which is also rated at 6%.
Previously, the SST is absorbed into the price of reload cards.
After the GST kicked off on April 1, telcos went on to charge the 6% GST on top of the reload card price instead of absorbing it.
After a meeting between government officials and telco groups, it was decided that telcos would be allowed to impose the GST on top of the reload card price on a temporary basis until a new solution is found, but customers will also get additional talk time.
The five key indicators were:
1) The per capita income of Malaysians increased from US$7,059 in 2009 to US$10,426 in 2014;
2) The value of investment remained high with investment totalling RM142bil in 2009, and increasing to RM228bil in 2014;
3) From 2010 to 2014, 1.5 million new jobs were created in NKEA sectors;
4) More than five million people in rural areas received basic amenities including electricity supply and clean water since the GTP and ETP were implemented; and
5) Almost 170,000 poor people escapes the poverty cycle after their incomes increased during the five years.
The achievements were supported by various initiatives and investments, benefiting Sabah and Sarawak as well.
In his speech, the Prime Minister also listed out the projects and programmes which had major positive impact on the people:
* Investment activities in the Pengerang Integrated Complex with an investment value of US$27bil by 2019 and capable of providing up to 4,000 jobs to the people.
* 242km of roads constructed, 6,000 houses received clean water supply, 13,000 families received electricity supply and 5,500 new homes built.
* 307 Klinik 1Malaysia were set up throughout the country since 2010 in urban and rural areas benefiting more than 15.8 million registered cases.
* Seven million households enjoyed the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BRIM).
* 161 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KRIM) were set up since 2010 offering products which are 15% to 30% cheaper than the market price.
* More than five million people in rural areas received facilities like roads, clean water and electricity supply since 2010.
* 4,553km of rural roads built between 2010 and 2014.
* Bus Rapid Transit or BRT Sunway Line service by Prasarana Malaysia Berhad due for completion by June 2015 for the benefit of 500,000 residents in Subang Jaya and Bandar Sunway.
* Phase 1 of the Ampang LRT Track Extension Project would be completed by October 2015, benefiting residents in Sri Petaling, Bukit Jalil and Puchong.
* Almost 170,000 people from the lower income group benefited from the poverty eradication programme or 1AZAM, and almost 65,000 families were assisted through capacity and skills development.
* More than RM100mil in aid were given to almost 130,000 pre-school pupils in private institutions and from the lower-income households.
* School fees assistance amounting to almost RM7.5mil were enjoyed by more than 3,000 children in private nurseries.
* 13 more schools were identified as High Performance Schools in 2014, bringing the total to 128.
* Under the GTP, the national crime index rate was reduced by as much as 40% in the past five years.
* Car thefts reduced to almost 20% in 2014.
* The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) under the Anti-Corruption NKRA increased from level 44 in 2010 to level 52 in 2014 out of 175 nations.
* National Gross Domestic Product among the highest in Asean nations with a 6% growth compared to the 5.7% estimate by the World Bank.
* 64% of total investment value in 2014 were from the private sector.
* Attaining ETP based on overall achievement by 2010, which is achieving the per capita income of US$15,000, creating 3.3 million job opportunities, and gaining US$444bil in investments.
* The MRT Sungai Buloh Kajang Route Project which as of 2014, was ahead of schedule with 59% completed, and expected to be operational by July 2017.
* The MRT project provided job opportunities to about 2,800 Malaysian engineers.
* The Sungai Kelang and Sungai Gombak river clean-up project at 53% completion. Among the initiatives, which have been completed are eight river water treatment plants and four waste water treatment plants.
* Since 2011, almost 2,000 retail entrepreneurs benefited from the retail store transformation programme (Tukar) under the Wholesale and Retail NKRA.
* The number of tourists to Malaysia increased by 6.7% to almost 28 million during the 2014 Visit Malaysia Year.
* The Government approved one more mega project in South-East Asia near the KLIA, called the Mitsui Outlet Park, which will begin operations by the middle of this year.
* The High Value Herbal Products Initiative helped increase the value of these products. For instance, the raw Tongkat Ali herb which was RM2 per kilogramme jumped to RM2,800 per kilogramme after the standardisation process.
* The number of skilled workers will be increased to 50% of the total work force by 2020.
* Female workforce will be increased to 55% by the end of 2015.
* Almost RM48bil in business opportunities, sponsorship and education created for bumiputras.
* Programmes to increase bumiputra access to sponsorship and markets - Dana Teras worth RM2bil, Dana Halal (RM580mil), and Skim Jejak Jaya Bumiputra.
* The overall KPI for the NKRAs was 105%, while in general, the NKEA exceeded its target and reached 110%.
* The Report on Ease of Doing Business Index issued by the World Bank placed Malaysia at 18th place, compared to 20 previously.
* IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014 reported Malaysia's position improved to 12th place from 15.
Monday, April 27, 2015
“If he has anything against Najib, he should talk to him face-to-face,” said Samy Vellu at the launch of the Nepal Earthquake Relief Mission on Monday.
He praised Dr Mahathir for being a senior leader whom he respected but urged the former premier to stop weakening Barisan Nasional, MIC and everyone else through statements made against Najib.
Samy Vellu also brushed aside a question by a reporter with regard to Dr Mahathir saying that Najib had refused to speak him.
“If I take my phone now to call Najib asking if I could see him at 6pm, he would say come.
“Najib is a man who would stand and talk to you. He has a heart and feels for the poor people,” he said.
Its Youth chief Yusni Mat Piah said the move came after PKR failed to apologise by the deadline on Saturday for opposing PAS’ hudud plan.
Yusni said the PAS Youth election machinery would be grounded and its members had been told to “rest” throughout the campaigning period.
He said they were disappointed by the silence of Penang PKR Youth and certain PAS leaders in dealing with the issue.
“We stand by our views. Our operation centre will not be opened.
“The party premises under the supervision of our Youth wing will not be used for this by-election.
“We will not accept any invitation or take part in any ceramah,” he said in a statement.
PAS deputy president Mohamed Sabu had earlier claimed that the dispute between PAS and PKR over hudud had been “settled”.
When contacted, PKR strategic director Sim Tze Tzin declined to comment on Yusni’s statement but insisted that work on the ground were going smoothly with the involvement of PAS members.
In another development, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Barisan Nasional would ask for a bigger allocation for developmental purposes for Permatang Pauh if it wins the by-election.
He said for the past 17 years, the people of Permatang Pauh, especially those in Penanti and Permatang Pasir, had been deprived of development.
“The people of Permatang Pauh have to change their mindset. They must choose a local born who will spend his full time here.
“If we don’t have a local candidate who will bring up the people’s concerns and problems to the Government, then who will?” he said, referring to PKR candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who is also the Kajang state assemblyman.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Without singling out any particular individual, the Prime Minister narrated his experience in "letting his daughter go" when she got married recently.
"As a parent, it is hard for me to let go of my daughter even though she is now an adult.
"But when the time comes, I will still have to let her go, with a heavy heart, so she can lead her life independently," Najib said in an audio speech posted on his website, Friday.
He said Vision 2020 was mooted by former leaders for the well-being of the future generation and that they should be given the platform to materalise this mission.
"This younger generation are able to handle the ups and downs and overcoming obstacles because they are now more mature and resilient," he said.
Najib added that the younger generation should respect the advice and views of the elders who have had life experiences, but elders should also consider how times had changed.
"Sometimes the elders are unhappy with how much youngsters have changed since their time, and whether the decision is wrong or right. Ultimately, it all boils down to the individual.
"It is normal for elders to be protective of youngsters. But when the time comes to let go of them, then let them go," he said.
Vision 2020 was mooted by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1991, aimed at making Malaysia a developed nation by 2020.
"By 2020, I think we will have the per capita income, but we will not be a developed country," Dr Mahathir was reported as saying at the World Bloggers and Social Media Summit on Thursday.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said the Cabinet decided this two days ago.
According to him, the Government would bear the cost by paying MyEG their service fee from the RM125 levy collected from employers.
"Now, employers will not have to pay additional charges (to get their worker permits approved)," Dr Wee told reporters at the Putra World Trade Centre on Thursday.
Dr Wee also said that over-the-counter renewals at Immigration departments would be continued.
"This will solve the whole issue faced by the industry," he added.
Without mentioning anyone, Najib said "certain quarters" had stated that it could be lonely in telling the truth.
"There has been some talk lately in Malaysia about how it can be lonely in telling the truth.
"Well, I can tell you that I don't feel lonely standing here in front of you today." he told participants at the event in Mandarin Oriental Hotel here, Thursday.
"And when so many respected international bodies, individuals, and institutions have confirmed their belief in Malaysia's success and have honoured us by rating us so highly - I don't feel lonely at all - in fact I feel in a very good company".
The topic of feeling alone was first brought up by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his blog calling on Najib to resign over various issues including the controversial 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
"I know I am alone. But I feel responsible to the people, is that wrong? When the people's money goes missing and is hidden from them, is it wrong for me to ask?
"Where is the money for 1MDB. This is still unanswered," Dr Mahathir said in his blog, chedet.cc.
On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appeared to have backed Dr Mahathir when he praised the former premier for never shying away from the truth.
"Telling the truth and standing up has been your trademark since you're a young doctor and an ordinary Umno member.
"Let me assure you, sir, that you are not alone," he reported to have said at an anti-war forum attended by Dr Mahathir and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
On the same day, the social media was abuzz when Najib's brother, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak posted a photo of singer Michael Jackson with the title of his song "You are not alone" on his Instagram account.
He merely stated, "now appearing in Malaysian politics", in the caption along the late King of Pop's poster, but did not elaborate.
The Prime Minister said he was aware of the concerns by the public about any future changes to the EPF.
"In just two days of the online consultation process that was recently set up, more than 50,000 Malaysians have taken part and given their views.
"It is already the largest ever public consultation carried out," he said.
Najib said the Government always listens to the views of the rakyat.
"It is clear that the vast majority of EPF members, while understanding the importance of retirement savings at the age of 60, want the right to use their retirement fund at the age of 55.
"I want to assure the rakyat that EPF members will retain their right to withdraw at the age of 55," Najib said in his keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2015 at Mandarin Oriental KL.
He said EPF would ensure that any new enhancement will only apply to new contributors if members decide to work beyond 55.
"This strikes a fair balance between the rakyat's expectation to their hard-earned money at the age of 55, while protecting them if they retire at the age of 60," he said.
Najib also announced that EPF has embarked on an initiative to offer Syariah compliant investment options for its members as of 2017.
"This will create the largest Syariah fund of its kind in the world, and will further strengthen Malaysia's position as a leading Islamic financial centre," he added.
Earlier, the Prime Minister said that Malaysia's economy is set to grow between 4.5% - 5.5% this year.
He added that over the next four years, the OECD predicts the annual growth to be 5.6%.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
MCA central committee member Ng Chok Sin (pic), who is also the party’s state liaison committee secretary, said it was perplexing that both Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) and thre exco in charge of Non-Islamic Affairs Elizabeth Wong had made contradictory statements on whether churches needed to apply for consent to set-up worship in such premises.
"The Selangor government must clarify who is lying in this matter - its exco or MBPJ?" Ng asked in a press statement Wednesday.
He said the conflicting statements by the two parties must be clarified to prevent further confusion.
MBPJ had said the church in Taman Medan which was forced to remove the cross from its frontal interface by a mob of 50 people last Sunday, was illegal as it had not applied for nor was issued with a permit to carry out worship activities at the venue.
However, Wong on Tuesday said all churches were allowed to operate in commercial premises without the need to apply for a permit, since 2008.
"It is surprising that such confusion can still take place even though Pakatan Rakyat has been the state government for over six years.
"So the Selangor government must now make it clear who is right; MBPJ or the Selangor executive committee?" added Ng.
He said it was disappointing that such confusion could still arise over a simple matter such as this.
"Both the state government and city hall must clear up the conflicting statements on the Taman Medan church to avoid further confusion," said Ng.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
State Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi said no discussions had been held on the election as it was still early.
"We have not talked about the election yet and the Chief Minister (Tan Sri Adenan Satem) has not given any hints about it.
"We have not discussed the seats or candidates. To us it's still early," he told reporters after the opening of the State Legislative Assembly sitting here on Tuesday.
Rundi said the state Barisan was still focusing on fulfilling the promises made in the last general election.
He said it was up to Adenan to decide when to call the state polls, due by June next year.
"It's not likely to be this year," he added.
On the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) naming six potential candidates last weekend, Rundi said it was the party's decision to do so.
"Barisan will meet to decide the Barisan candidates. That includes SPDP, PRS, PBB and SUPP, so we leave it to the wisdom of the Chief Minister," he said, adding that PBB had not discussed its candidates yet.
Monday, April 20, 2015
“No, I’m not working with anyone to bring down Najib, certainly not the opposition.
“The problem is within Umno itself,” the former premier told reporters at the Putra World Trade Centre on Sunday.
Dr Mahathir, however, said that Naib should understand the sentiments of the people and it was best for him to resign as Prime Minister.
“One has to remember the results of the 13th general election. Najib’s performance was worse than Pak Lah’s (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).
He added that Najib was not receiving support, despite the number of people who have pledged their support.
“Believe me, he is not getting the support that he needs,” Dr Mahathir said.
On Saturday, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had said that he was ready to put aside past problems and work with Dr Mahathir if that is what it takes to save the country.
“For this formidable task, we must be prepared to put our differences in the past to one side and concentrate all our energies on one common agenda, to save Malaysia from all centrifugal forces to tear the country asunder.
“On this agenda, I am prepared even to work with Tun Mahathir to ‘Save Malaysia’,” Lim had said in a transcript of a speech to Malaysian students in Egypt published on his blog.
Lim was referring to the “Save Malaysia” coalition, which he had first spoken about last month.
State Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that both leaders should meet and iron out their differences.
“We do not change our stance in two to three weeks,” Khaled said when asked about whether the Johor Umno had taken a different stand following Dr Mahathir’s constant tirade against Najib.
Asked about whether the public attacks were causing a lot of problems or becoming an issue for Umno, he just brushed it aside saying that: “It will not be an issue if the media does not keep on playing it up”.
Khaled was speaking to reporters after launching the state-level Johor clean and sustainable programme here yesterday.
Friday, April 17, 2015
He said that in this era of sophisticated communication technology, the rise of social media has resulted in the “democratisation of information.”
In a blog posting, Najib said this meant information was channeled two ways and that people are free to spread information.
This democratisation he said had its good and bad points, with the latter including the wide spread of false information.
Najib said that that a lot of information has been twisted and spun, resulting in people misunderstanding a certain issue.
“As a result, we are in an era of perception rather than reality. Most of the accusations and spin do not reflect reality of the issue or statements by leaders, whether from the government or the opposition.
“We must assess the validity of the information by checking it at the source so that we are not easily duped,” he said.
According to Sultan Ahmad Shah, those who criticised Najib should not do so for the sake of criticising without having the full information.
"He (Najib) has done a good job in running the country just like his late father (Tun Abdul Razak),” Sultan Ahmad Shah said after launching the state Fire and Rescue Department headquarters in Indera Mahkota here on Thursday.
On the Rompin by-election, the Pahang Ruler said that Najib should be allowed to choose the right candidate.
"Even though I'm the head of the state, I would not interfere in the choice of candidate,” said Sultan Ahmad Shah.
He also urged the people to be patient and not speculate.
He said Najib would know best on who should be fielded as candidate.
"It's not my business to decide as I'm not a politician," added the Pahang Sultan.
The Rompin parliamentary seat fell vacant after Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis was killed along with five others near Semenyih on April 4.
Nomination for the by-election has been set for April 22 and polling on May 5.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Wee was referring to DBP’s planned proposal to introduce a Malay Language Qualification Test to foreign students studying at local public and private universities.
“Before they can come out with any regulation, they need to go through the Education Ministry and it has to benefit foreign students,” said Wee at a press conference on Thursday morning.
Wee said that it is definitely beneficial for foreign students to be able to communicate in Malay language but forcing a test on them might not be ideal in the long run.
“If there are too many restrictions, they might just go to another country,” he said.
Wee gave an example of a foreign student who intends to study at a local private college and has passed all the admission criteria but failed to pass the Malay proficiency test.
“Malaysian make money by foreigners coming here to study but you tell them they can’t come because they don’t speak Malay,” said Wee adding most colleges uses English as the teaching medium.
DBP director-general Datuk Dr Awang Sufiyan said yesterday that the proposal paper on this matter would be submitted to the Education Ministry to the Cabinet for policy approval.
He said the move to introduce the test was a good development in order to boost Bahasa Melayu as an international language.
Its president Tan Sri K.K. Eswaran said there were also many cases of corruption and mismanagement during Dr Mahathir’s time and it was unfair to blame Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“There were a lot of issues during his time such as the Perwaja steel scandal and other companies. It is not right for him to keep going on about the 1MDB issue,” he said.
Dr Mahathir, added Eswaran, should leave the investigation into the controversial 1MDB investments to the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“Dr Mahathir is not the Auditor-General. He should leave it to those who are investigating. If there is any wrongdoing, those guilty must take responsibility,” he told reporters here yesterday.
Eswaran also said that Dr Mahathir should heed his own advice and spend more time with his family.
“He once told (DAP adviser) Lim Kit Siang to retire and spend time with his family.
“It is our humble request that he, too, spend more time with his grandchildren and take care of his health,” he said.
Eswaran said much had been done for the Indian community under Najib, unlike during Dr Mahathir’s tenure.
“We are prepared to work with MIC to create a blueprint to help the Indian community and we are sure that the Prime Minister will receive it.
“How do I know this? When he was Deputy Prime Minister, he created an Indian affairs committee and he is still chairing it. Was there any such thing during Dr Mahathir’s time?” he questioned.
Dr Mahathir has been openly criticising Najib over several issues, including the question of 1MDB funds.
However, Nur Jazlan said he could not yet indicate if Low, or Jho Low as he is better known, had links to 1MDB.
“I don’t know at the moment. If there is any (1MDB) link to him we will call him to come to the PAC,” said Nur Jazlan, adding that there should be no speculation for now.
“I actually don’t know why he (Jho Low) is coming out to the press and making all these allegations because in terms of the 1MDB organisational structure, management or board of directors, he’s not there. He’s not employed or a director of 1MDB, so why is he defending himself in this matter?” he asked.
He said the Auditor-General’s report was done on a professional basis to look at the financial statements of IMDB.
“We (the PAC) look at it from a political angle as well, and we want to know what is going on.
“Our committee is one of the most independent in the country because it is made up of Government and opposition MPs. So it actually reflects the voice of the people,” he added.
On Monday, Nur Jazlan said the PAC might initiate its own audit into 1MDB’s dealings without waiting for the Auditor-General’s findings.
The move, he said, could be necessary as the issue had been politicised by many groups.
The audit could start within the next few months.
On March 4, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had instructed the Auditor-General to verify 1MDB’s accounts and forward the findings to the PAC.
The A-G began its audit on March 10, with Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang holding a meeting with 1MDB president and chief executive director Arul Kanda. He, however, did not disclose what transpired during the meeting.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
According to its chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim (pic), it was found that the RM2.4mil ring, allegedly bought by Rosmah Mansor, entered Malaysia through Singapore.
The customs department confirmed that it was later sent back to a jewelry company in New York, reported SinChew Daily.
Abu revealed that investigations commenced one hour after he received a complaint at 2pm, followed by a phone call to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself.
"What I want to say is: we have even probed the Prime Minister's wife. Do you think we still have anything to be afraid of?" he said during a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to fight graft alongside Sabah state assemblymen.
Abu added that this was the first time he publicly admitted to the investigations on Rosmah Mansor.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
“Thank you for giving way in Chempaka, but we are set to move in Rompin. This was decided by the PAS central committee which met last night,” said Tuan Ibrahim in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
He added that there was no reason for PAS to give way to Umno considering that the Government is not giving the rakyat an easy time by introducing GST while continuing its wasteful ways with Malaysia's finances.
“PAS does not agree with the statement by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, who tried to persuade PAS to not contest the Rompin by-election to save the money, time and energy of both parties. If that is so, will they give PKR a free victory in Permatang Pauh using the same reasoning,” said Tuan Ibrahim.
He added that the Rompin by-election would give residents a platform for their complaints and grouses to be heard and published by the media.
He further noted that even though Umno had not contested the Chempaka by-election, it did not mean that Umno considered PAS a friend.
Voting for the Rompin parliamentary by-election will be held on May 5.
The nomination day for the by-election has been fixed for April 22, while early voting will be held on April 30.
The by-election follows the sudden demise of Tan Sri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis in a helicopter crash on April 4.
Monday, April 13, 2015
“That is for him to handle, as that is his responsibility as Mentri Besar to make sure that Kedah Umno is not split.
“If Kedah is split, then it is a reflection on his leadership of the state. We all have our own responsibilities,” the Umno vice-president told reporters here.
It was reported that Mukhriz had come under fire for failing to categorically state his support for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s leadership, which has been criticised by Mukhriz’s father and former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed.
Bukit Lada assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Lebai Sudin said Mukhriz might as well resign from his post if he could not openly state his support for the Prime Minister.
Hishammuddin also denied that the party was splitting due to the onslaught of criticism from Dr Mahathir.
“No, I don’t think so, far from it. If the party is already split, then who is going to make sure that the country is not split. You see what is happening in the Middle East, are you telling me that our situation is worst than that?” he said when asked about whether there was a split in Umno due to the criticism from Dr Mahathir.
“Basically, the leadership in the party is still able to make sure that in the end of the day, good sense will prevail,” he said.
Re-affirming their support for Najib, MSC president Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman said it was unfortunate that many criticisms against Najib were "baseless", with others sceptical of his actions.
"The most important matter now is to move forward from this and ensure that our country is at peace.
"We should be focusing on positive things," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here Monday.
Najib has been criticised by several quarters, including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who said Barisan Nasional would not win the 14th general election if Najib remained the coalition leader, among other things.
Senator Datuk Jaspal Singh said despite facing problems, the Prime Minister together with the Cabinet were able to deal with the situation.
"Anyone can make comments and answers were given. However, the criticisms continued and it is almost like a personal vendetta.
When asked to comment on Bills being "bulldozed" through the Dewan Rakyat, Abdul Rahim said it was his personal opinion that important laws should be debated properly.
"However, because of the urgency of tackling the Islamic State threat, some Bills had to be passed to carry out preventive measures.
Last week, the Dewan Rakyat sittings went on to the wee hours of the morning, including when the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 was passed at 2.25am.
When pointed out there were other Bills like the Sedition (Amendment) Bill which was passed at 2.30am, Abdul Rahim said: "Give us a chance to go through the Bill and debate it in the Dewan Negara".
After being passed by the Dewan Rakyat, Bills have to be passed by the Dewan Negara and given the Royal Assent before being published in the Government Gazette before becoming law.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said a series of discussions between Kelantan and the Federal government on the state’s plans to enforce the Syariah criminal laws was nothing political.
“It is not right for him to say that. It’s a G2G (government to government) discussion. Nothing political about it,” he said after attending a PAS central committee meeting, here Monday.
In a statement on Sunday, Lim said Hadi should have at least informed Pakatan Rakyat of his party’s interest in working with Umno, instead of constantly blaming its disagreements with DAP and PKR.
The Gelang Patah MP said this while referring to Hadi’s statement that was reported as saying that PAS should accept Umno’s gesture to support hudud as “honest” and that it was not up to them to decide otherwise.
Hadi said only Allah could determine Umno’s sincerity in wanting to help Kelantan enact the Islamic penal code, and whether or not the party has ulterior motives did not matter as long as it helped PAS achieve its objective.
Kelantan, led by Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob, also had a series of discussions with the Federal government in a joint technical committee, consisting of religious authorities along with the police and the Prisons Department.
PAS vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who was also present at the press conference, said it was a must to discuss with the Federal government.
“Of course we have to speak to them, because hudud implementation involves the police and the prisons and these bodies fall under the federal government’s purview,” he said.
"These allegations that have been changing day by day. Eventhough Datuk Seri Najib (Tun Razak) has answered some of the issues he raised earlier, he keeps bringing other issues up," said the Umno vice-president.
"When are we going to stop having to answer all these allegations that are raised almost every day?" he told reporters when asked about Dr Mahathir's latest attack against Najib, who is also the Umno president.
"What is the end game, what is the purpose? If we continue like that who is going to run the country?" he asked.
"Some Umno leaders even consider the criticism overboard and this can be detrimental to the party," said Hishammuddin.
He said the raise was more reason for them to fully focus all their time and energy to their constituents.
Shahrir, a former minister who is the veteran Johor Baru MP, called on his fellow MPs to justify their increased allowance and said they should not “juggle constituency work with personal business.”
“The focus should be on our constituencies and people’s welfare ... not rushing off to company board meetings and thinking of what to invest in to make more money.
“We must justify the rise in our allowance and give back more to our constituents,” he told reporters after attending a bowling contest for the disabled here yesterday.
On Friday, the Dewan Rakyat passed a Bill to raise the remuneration of MPs from RM11,000 to RM16,000.
The Government had said the increased remuneration was necessary as the duty of MPs was getting heavier in coping with the high expectations of the people.
On the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Shahrir said certain people would never be satisfied with whatever answer given by the Prime Minister “as they have already formed their own judgment.”
“It is expected of them to be unhappy with his answers. What to do? We cannot please everybody, more so when that person has already formed a judgment in his head about what he chooses to believe.
“If everybody only wants to hear what they want to hear, they will never be satisfied with whatever answer,’’ he said, commenting on reaction to Najib’s interview on TV3.
Shahrir said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had at one time believed in Najib to the extent that he supported him to become Prime Minister.
“Why does he not believe Najib’s word now?’’ asked Shahrir.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
She said views or opinions raised against any parties including the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should be to correct what is not right.
"Even though we have the right to speak, write and give our views, we must do so prudently and constructively.
"Do not let other parties capitalise on the situation when the Prime Minister appeared to be on the defensive," she said in a short messaging service reply to Bernama, here Friday.
She was was commenting on the openness of the Prime Minister who is also Umno president in replying various issues in a Special Edition TV3 Question and Answer Programme last night hosted by Hamdan Ahmir.
Among the issues answered by the Prime Minister in the interview were on the management of 1Malaysia Development Berhad, implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, national economic prospects as well as criticisms by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Rafidah said the Prime Minister needed an efficient, competent and sincere team committed to collective responsibility.
"Putrajaya is not only Najib. But all those in the government. We do not want to see the Barisan National government threatened. Let us support the Prime Minister sincerely to strengthen the party and government," said the former International Trade and Industry minister.
Umno veteran, Datuk Dr Malik Munip was of the view that despite facing various pressure and criticisms, Najib was still composed and courteous.
Almost all issues raised in the interview were well covered by the Prime Minister, he said while adding that the interview benefited people who are open.
Malik said the Prime Minister should get the support of all parties to lead the country, more so in an extreme situation which had not happened during the tenure of previous prime ministers.
This, he said, would reflect the true spirit of sportsmanship while not carrying any controversial context.
Expressing opposition to the present motto, he explained that "Kita Lawan" may appear to be promoting the agenda of a certain political party.
“I very rarely pass a decree during such functions, however, today I feel compelled to do so for the betterment of sports in the state.
“This is because sports is not specified to a particular religion or race. A person of any gender, age, and religion can be a part of it, and this allows positive interaction," he said at the Selangor Sports Award Night on Friday.
Sultan Sharafuddin said sports was a venue where sportsmen learn to respect one another, in developing a healthy competition and not to be poisoned with political elements.
"I call on all sports organisations as well as athletes to put aside their political preferences and ask from them to never make politics a part of sports management.
“That said, I express my opposition to the motto by the Selangor sports contingent, as it had already been used by a political party and can be misinterpreted as the contingent's intention to involve politics in sports," he said.
PKR recently used #KitaLawan as its rallying call in protests over the jailing of its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for five years for sodomy.
Sultan Sharafuddin said sports had brought glory to the state from the 60’s to the 80’s and it was the effort of dedicated sportsmen who did not care about incentives and rewards.
“This is the kind of spirit which needs to be carried on, not only by our present athletes but the management as well.
“I was made to understand that we did not perform well in the previous Sukma and to me, this is a significant drop from where we were before,” he said.
Friday, April 10, 2015
He said in a statement that the investigation into the 2006 murder was concluded during his tenure as prime minister.
"Among the matters reported to me during my time as prime minister was the result of the investigation of the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
"Based on the findings from the thorough investigation conducted by the Royal Malaysian Police that was conveyed to me, it was confirmed that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is not involved at all in the case," he said.
Altantuya was murdered on Oct 18, 2006 and her remains were found in a forest near Puncak Alam, Shah Alam.
"I respect Tun Mahathir as I respect every other citizen of this country. It is the every rakyat’s right to ask questions of me, to question my performance as Prime Minister, and the performance of the Government I lead," said the Prime Minister in a televised interview with TV3 on Thursday night.
He added, however, that he was answerable to the people, and not to any one individual.
"At the end of the day, we are a democracy. I was elected by my party, and by the people of this country, to lead them. As such, I am answerable only to the people – not to any one individual. And if at the next general election, the people want change, they will let us know through the ballot box," said Najib.
Najib acknowledged that there were questions swirling around 1MDB, but said not all questions aimed at it were valid.
"Some of these questions are valid, but there are others that appear to be directed at the company solely with the intention of creating controversy. That is precisely why I have instructed the Auditor General to undertake a comprehensive audit of the company and independently verify its accounts. This report will then be passed on to the Public Accounts Committee, which as you know is a fully bi-partisan body for scrutiny" said Najib.
He added that with this process as well as a restructuring of 1MDB underway.
"However, there are some elements who continue to repeat the same old allegations about 1MDB, more often than not without full knowledge of 1MDB’s affairs.The people behind these attacks know that they have the potential to damage investor confidence in the country, which in turn would have a negative impact on the economy, but continue to do this. That is irresponsible and putting politics before the interests of the nation," he said.
Najib and 1MDB have faced criticisms for debts which were said to have been incurred by the investment body, with former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad being the most recent of those critics.
Dr Mahathir had asked on Thursday that those supporting Najib to also declare their support for 1MDB, which has accumulated debts of RM42bil.
"The Sedition Act is not just for Muslims; it is for the protection of all Malaysians. It is aimed at preventing any person who promotes feelings of hostility between persons or groups on the grounds of religion – whether the religion attacked is Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or any of the other faiths Malaysia is proud to be home to," said Najib in a televised interview on Thursday night.
He added that the decision to retain and amend the Sedition Act 1948 was to realise the goal of building a stable, peaceful and harmonious state.
"We will not and cannot stand for the incitement of racial or inter-ethnic conflict. We have come too far to harm the progress that we have made. And that is why the Government decided to keep the Sedition Act and amend it to make it a better and more suitable law," said Najib
The amendments, which were tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday add to the Act by allowing bail to be denied for those charged if the prosecution feels it is not in the interest of the public, the substitution of fines for offences with a jail term of between three and seven years, a new offence involving bodily injury and damage to property which includes a mandatory jail sentence of five to 20 years among others.
Najib also spoke about his 2012 promise to repeal the Sedition Act.
"You have to bear in mind that circumstances change. From time to time, we need to re-evaluate things, and leaders are allowed to change their mind when it comes to doing what is best for the rakyat," he said.
"He had a few concerns which he wanted me to address, and I have shared my views on those matters. He did not approve of the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) scheme and he asked me to build the crooked bridge to replace the current Johor causeways," said Najib in a televised interview on Thursday night.
Najib added that he regarded his discussions with Dr Mahathir to be a discussion between two individuals.
"It is healthy if we have some differences of opinion. But at the end of the day, I have to be responsible to the rakyat and the party. I brought the matters before Cabinet, and Cabinet made the decisions," said Najib.
"No evidence exists at all that I ever knew Altantuya. (There are) no pictures, writings, witnesses – there is nothing.
And the courts have decided this, all the way up to the Federal Court,” said Najib in a televised interview with TV3 on Thursday night.
He further questioned why people have to challenge the integrity of the courts, which he said should be defended.
"This is a 2008 story. It is an old story. I have sworn an oath three times when entering a mosque in Permatang Pauh that I did not know Altantuya at all and I had no direct or indirect involvement with her. At the time I was Tun Abdullah Badawi's Deputy Prime Minister and the Attorney-General had come out with a statement saying that I was not involved," said Najib.
He also denied that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had raised questions about Altantuya in his discussions with him.
"We talked about it once, but in the discussions I saw that he did not question my involvement in the Altantuya case and this matter did not arise at all when I spoke with him," he said.
"I want to know this. This is among the matters that must be determined in the Auditor-General's Report and then verified by the Public Accounts Committee," said Najib in a televised interview on Thursday night.
He added that he wanted the people to know this because he had given the rakyat a guarantee that he would not defend anyone who had abused their power with regard to 1MDB funds.
Asked why he had mentioned the allegations that money from 1MDB had been siphoned off to shoot the film, Najib said he had raised the issue because he wanted to respond to those allegations.
"I do not wish to defend anything because it involves my family, I want the Auditor-General to verify the truth of this matter," said Najib.
To questions about the restructuring of 1MDB, Najib said that he hoped the restructuring would create a more transparent 1MDB so that the rakyat could get a better picture of the investment arm.
"With the restructuring of 1MDB, I hope this is so. We need a little time, but the plan is ready and is in the execution stages," he said.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The MCA president said the party would not entertain any criticism against the Prime Minister.
It said the focus of the party was on working with Umno to develop the country, and it would turn a deaf ear to any criticism against the premier, including calls for him to resign.
"We give (our) full support to Datuk Seri Najib. We are very focused on developing the nation together with Umno and the BN (Barisan Nasional), and won't allow any attack (criticism) to disturb our stand to build the country," he told reporters at Parliament’s lobby on Tuesday.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had criticised Najib's leadership in his blog, asked him to step down.
On another issue, Liow described the inclusion of the tabling of the Private Member's Bill on hudud in the Order Paper of the Dewan Rakyat as proof that the partners of Pakatan Rakyat were disunited.
He said the action of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who was set on tabling the motion, showed that the DAP had failed in stopping the Islamist party, contrary to what it had promised.
"The DAP always said it would ensure that PAS could not act unless it had the agreement of all the three parties in the pact.
"But the DAP has proven that its words are not the truth ... the coalition is not united," he said.
Liow also urged the 37 DAP MPs to apologise to their supporters for failing to keep their promise to prevent PAS from tabling the motion on hudud in the Dewan Rakyat.
In response to Datuk Shamsuddin Lias (BN-Sg Burong), the Selangor Mentri Besar said Anwar was capable in handling the nation’s coffers, until it earned him the title of “Finance Minister of the Year” in 1996 by financial journal, Euro Money.
“We have to accept the fact that he was once the World Bank’s Development Committee chairman involving developed and developing nations.
“Even the world renowned cleric Yusuf al-Qardhawi considered him part of his family,” said Azmin, in his winding-speech of the motion of thanks to the royal address by the Sultan of Selangor, here, Tuesday.
Earlier, Shamsuddin questioned the Selangor government as to why Anwar was still the state adviser as the Opposition Leader’s movement was already restricted due to his imprisonment.
“We should also heed to the Selangor Sultan’s call, urging us to strive for the better, economically. What’s wrong with appointing another economic adviser?” he asked at the state assembly.
To this, Azmin said the state government could still seek Anwar’s advice based on his writings and paperwork that were published internationally.
“That is why I believe he should still be the economic adviser for Selangor,” he said.
Anwar was appointed as the state economic adviser during Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s tenure but his office was shut down on Khalid’s last day as mentri besar.
He is currently serving a five-year prison term after a five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria found him guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Parti Bersatu Sabah deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said Dr Mahathir is well respected for his contributions to the nation but that the former premier should look at himself in the mirror before demanding for Najib to quit.
“Maybe Mahathir has forgotten …when he was prime minister people had asked him to step down many times but he refused,” Dr Maximus said when closing PBS Mukim Ulu Bengkoka annual general meeting in Kota Marudu on Monday.
He said PBS was among those which had asked for Dr Mahathir to step down as premier 20 years ago because the party had blamed him for allowing illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship in Sabah.
“He ignored our calls then. Today he admits that there is such a thing as Project IC and that there is nothing wrong in giving citizenship to immigrants simply for being in Sabah for a long time and for having relatives here.
“By his admission, Project IC existed to provide citizenship to these people, ignoring the rules and laws on citizenship and eligibility,” said Dr Maximus.
PBS has always maintained that such an act amounted to treason, he added.
“We are disappointed by such statements but it proves that PBS’ claim against Mahathir was true all along,” he added.
Only after 22 years then only de decided to step down.
Citing the character of Pak Kaduk, who is known in the Malay folklore for his naive nature, Khalid said leaders should know the difference between reckless bravery and guided wisdom.
“What is the point if the strategy and technique used allows us to win one battle, but lose a war?” said Khalid in a statement here yesterday.
He said he was concerned about the financial and legal implications of cancelling the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project, adding that the Federal Government was looking into all aspects with the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Last week, Mentri Besar Azmin Ali said that he had to make the bold move of cancelling Kidex because a “leader could not always play safe.”
Khalid claimed that Azmin’s administration – from the time he took over the reins in September last year – had relied on rhetoric and political dramatics and called for someone more capable to take over.
Met at the sidelines of the state legislative assembly, Azmin said he cancelled the project based on feedback from residents and elected representatives from the area.
“As a state leader, you must be responsible to the stakeholders.
“You must have the humility to listen and engage with the stakeholders and that is what I did.
“I am here because of the people and I have to be fair to them,” said Azmin, adding that as a Mentri Besar, he must represent the people.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Barisan Nasional Back Benchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad (pic) said that BN lawmakers were throwing their support behind Najib as his leadership had brought positive transformation.
Shahrir, who was accompanied by more 20 Barisan MPs, described the attacks against Najib as “personal and direct” and which had not been done openly.
Shahrir said he had asked Najib the reasons behind Dr Mahathir’s attacks and had been told that the former prime minister was blowing hot and cold.
“I asked the Prime Minister what was going between them. He said that Dr Mahathir was blowing hot and cold and that he (Najib) was confused at this,” Shahrir said at BNBBC lounge on Monday.
He added that Barisan lawmakers had decided to voice their support for Najib as they were “satisfied and happy” at the transformation in Parliament where even Barisan MPs could voice their views if they did agree with the Government.
“The reason why we are doing this today is because we are not a rubber stamp and give blind support.
“We stand behind Prime Minister as we have seen the changes he has brought and we are satisfied and happy with it,” he said.
Shahrir expressed confidence that Najib would answer the allegations against him in his own time.
Dr Mahathir had upped his criticism claiming that BN could lose the 14th general election if Najib remained as prime minister. He had cited the poor handling of issues such as 1MDB and the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu among his reasons.
Khalid said the Azmin Ali's declaration rejecting Putrajaya's newly-implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) was nothing short of political drama.
"In reality, all local councils have been instructed to inform the public at all levels that GST would take effect from Apr 1.
"People should wake up from their dreams. What the Mentri Besar announced in the state assembly sitting last week will not change anything as Selangor is not exempted from GST," the Port Klang assemblyman said in a statement Monday.
Khalid, who is now an independent assemblyman after his unceremonious sacking from PKR for refusing to step down as a mentri besar last year, also criticised Azmin for a string of decisions that Khalid claimed would eventually cost Pakatan Rakyat the state.
These included earlier deals the state had signed with the Federal government such as the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) and the water restructuring exercise, which Azmin decided to shelve.
Therefore, Khalid said Azmin "needs to work harder" in order to be qualified to be called a statesman as he still based his decisions on "rhetoric and political drama".
"If this is how the new administration works, I would like to reiterate my call for the Mentri Besar to resign and offer his position to someone who is more qualified for the benefits and well-being of the people," said Khalid.
Among the most shocking incidents happened in 1976 when Sabah Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens, with 10 others including Cabinet ministers, were killed when a Nomad aircraft belonging to Sabah Air, crashed about two kilometres from the Kota Kinabalu Airport.
Witnesses heard an explosion in mid-air before the aircraft crashed in the waters of Sembulan metres from a water village, killing Fuad, his Cabinet ministers Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Datuk Salleh Sulong and eight others.
In the latest incident, an air mishap involving a helicopter killed Rompin Member of Parliament and PR1MA Corporation chairman Tan Sri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, principal private secretary to the prime minister Datuk Azlin Alias and four others.
The following is a list of other flight mishaps involving dignitaries since 1976.
> Jan 10, 1982 - Cessna 206 aircraft ferrying Foreign Minister Tun Mohd Ghazali Shafie, 50, crashed in the mountains in Kampong Som Som Hilir near Janda Baik, 37km from Kuala Lumpur. Mohd Ghazali survived while two others were killed.
> March 8, 1987 - An Alouette helicopter carrying Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak from Pekan to Kuala Lumpur crashed on the KL-Karak Highway. Najib was not injured in the incident.
> Dec 18, 1989 - Four Malaysian Armed Forces senior officers including two generals – Maj Gen Datuk Mustaffa Awang and Brig Gen Datuk Hasbullah Yussoff – were among 16 ATM personnel who died in a Nuri helicopter mishap in the estuary of the Lundu River, 54km north east of Kuching.
> March 3, 1997 - DRB-Hicom Group chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad, 50, and his wife, Puan Sri Rohana Othman, 48, were among three killed in an accident involving an Augusta executive helicopter in Benta, Pahang.
> May 5, 2013 - Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and his family were uninjured after the helicopter they were in overturned due to strong winds at the TUDM Air Base in Sungai Besi.
Friday, April 3, 2015
To wit, George Washington.
“Very visceral, very gritty,” promised Mr. McFarland, who is known as Joey, growing visibly excited. He had popped from his padded chair and was prowling a loungelike meeting room in Red Granite’s offices above the Sunset Strip.
“He’s a conflicted guy,” added Mr. Aziz, speaking of their new passion, a raw Revolutionary general.
The picture, they reckoned, should be ready to shoot by the summer of 2015. Mr. Aziz was confident they would land a filmmaker and star of the stature of Martin Scorsese, who directed “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Mr. Belfort.
So “The General,” as Red Granite’s Washington project is currently titled, may become the next large-scale film from a four-year-old company with A-list ambitions, but one that has already rattled Hollywood with its audacity and exotic connections — not to mention a tangled legal history.
Jim Carrey, left, and Jeff Daniels in “Dumb and Dumber To,” a coming Red Granite release. Credit Hopper Stone/Universal Pictures
Last month, Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland settled a fierce dispute in which they exchanged lawsuits with two producers, Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler, who had accused Red Granite and its owners of hijacking their rights in a comedy sequel, “Dumb and Dumber To.”
The settlement, which cleared the way for release of the film in November, added Mr. Krevoy and Mr. Stabler, who produced the original “Dumb and Dumber,” as executive producers of the sequel.
But it was also accompanied by a public apology from the pair to Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland for having named them personally, rather than simply Red Granite, as defendants. And that bouquet closed a fight in which Mr. Krevoy and Mr. Stabler had also filed a racketeering claim that accused Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland of funding their films with “ill-gotten gains” from a conspiracy that drew money from Indonesia, Russia, the Middle East and Mr. Aziz’s home country, Malaysia.
The accusations echoed similar assertions — particularly on Sarawak Report, an activist blog that monitors accusations of corruption touching the Malaysian state of Sarawak — that have persistently dogged Mr. Aziz. He is the stepson of the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, and has perhaps invited scrutiny by saying little in the past about the sources of his funding.
Speaking in the company’s relatively modest offices last week, Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland offered a more detailed description of Red Granite’s backing.
They were finally free to speak, they said, because Red Granite’s principal film investor, the Abu Dhabi-based businessman Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny, had agreed to be publicly identified after insisting for years on silence about his involvement. Mr. Al-Husseiny, who is the chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s government-owned Aabar Investments, previously said that he did not want to be solicited by other producers.
Continue reading the main story
In fact, Mr. Al-Husseiny has regularly shown up on Red Granite’s film sets. But whenever they were asked about their financing, Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland, honoring what they say was a nondisclosure agreement, would say only that their money came from backers in Asia and the Middle East.
“I have known Riza for many years, and have done business with Red Granite Pictures since its inception,” Mr. Al-Husseiny said in a statement last week.
Mr. Al-Husseiny added that he and a consortium of private investors — none of them from Malaysia, according to a spokesman — expected to continue what he called “fruitful and profitable investments” with the company.
Mr. Aziz, 37, said he met Mr. Al-Husseiny while working as a London-based investment banker with HSBC.
Mr. Al-Husseiny and his co-investors in Red Granite, Mr. Aziz said, were investing personal money, not government funds. The point is a sensitive one, as Sarawak Report and other critics have questioned whether money drained from the Malaysian people has found its way into the company’s films.
“There is no Malaysian money,” said Mr. Aziz, when questioned directly on that point. Mr. McFarland added: “We have no money coming from Russia, and nothing from Indonesia.”
Mr. Al-Husseiny, the producers said, has financed their films on a picture-by-picture basis, reviewing each before agreeing to invest. Their first film, “Friends With Kids,” they said, cost only about $5 million to produce, and has been profitable, as have their other projects. In four years, four Red Granite-produced films have been released, and “Dumb and Dumber To” will become the fifth.
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” they noted, cost about $100 million to make. But that amount was reduced by New York incentives that contributed roughly $20 million.
In the end, Mr. Aziz said, “We did moderately well.”
“Horns,” a horror film on which Red Granite collaborated with Mandalay Pictures, will be released by the Weinstein Company’s Radius-TWC unit in October, with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead. “Out of the Furnace,” a drama starring Christian Bale, was released by Relativity Media in 2013. Mr. Aziz acknowledged that he was personally wealthy, and confirmed press reports that in 2012 he purchased a New York penthouse for $33.5 million.
But Mr. Aziz said he had only a small amount of personal money invested as “seed capital” in Red Granite. He avoided direct investment in films, he said, to sidestep the political implications for his stepfather, who is married to Mr. Aziz’s mother, Rosmah Mansor.
If there has been a mystery around Red Granite’s rise to prominence, much of it centers on the sudden emergence of Mr. McFarland, a 42-year-old native of Louisville, Ky., as a major film producer, with close ties to the likes of Mr. Scorsese and Mr. DiCaprio.
“I want everyone to know that I don’t come from a lot,” Mr. McFarland said last week, referring to his modest roots.
Mr. McFarland said his mother was a talented baker who has sold her wares and judged contests at state fairs; his father is a real estate broker.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
After graduating from the University of Louisville, Mr. McFarland worked briefly for Chrysler’s finance arm in Cincinnati, then quit to focus on investments that included real estate and a restaurant.
Another investment, Mr. McFarland said, was in a talent brokerage company that booked performers and others into events. That, he said, led to travel, which in turn led to an acquaintance with Jho Low, a jet-setting Malaysian investor who had been a friend to Mr. Aziz during their student years in London.
Mr. Low, Mr. McFarland said, introduced him to Mr. Aziz. Somewhere along the way, Mr. Low introduced both to another acquaintance, Mr. DiCaprio, who proved willing to join forces if they could find a way to finance his favored projects.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” was one of those, and its success, they said, cemented an alliance that remains one of Red Granite’s bulwarks. The company, Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland said, means to pursue a small number of high-level projects annually, while serving as a foreign sales agent for at least a handful of additional films made by others.
To date, Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland have focused on reviving projects that stalled in the studio system. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” for instance, had hit an apparent dead end at Warner Bros. when they picked it up and shifted to a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures.
But the pair soon encountered legal troubles over the rights, leading to an exchange of lawsuits with Alexandra Milchan, a producer. The suits were eventually settled.
As for the George Washington project, Red Granite bought an original script by Bill Collage and Adam Cooper, who share in the writing credits on Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” a biblical story set for release by Fox in December.
Asked for a provocative detail or two, the writers were tight-lipped. “It’s about the most perilous moment in American history, and the moment that made the man,” said Mr. Collage, who declined to say more.
On whether Mr. DiCaprio might have his eye on the role of George Washington, Mr. Aziz and Mr. McFarland declined to offer more than a hint.
“It will have the same pedigree,” Mr. Aziz said.
New York Times.
In a statement Thursday evening, PRS president Tan Sri James Masing (pic) called Najib, "the only (Prime Minister) who really cares for Sarawak and Sabah's well-being".
Masing said, previous Prime Ministers "couldn't care less" about the two Malaysian states on Borneo.
Firstly Najib recognised Sept 16 as Malaysia Day, saying it was "a date that is so dear" to Sarawakians and Sabahans.
"Secondly, Najib has allocated funds for the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway, while the other past PMs, including Mahathir, couldn't care less," Masing said.
"Under previous PMs, highways were built in Malaysia, (and other) mega projects like the Petronas Twin Towers, two Penang bridges, and a proposal for a crooked bridge between Johor and Singapore, not to mention lots of schools and hospitals. Rural areas of Sarawak and Sabah were ignored," he said.
Masing claimed the east Malaysian states "could not afford" to withhold support for Najib.
"I'm confident Barisan Nasional with Najib as PM will continue to administer Malaysia after the 14th General Election. It would be much easier if Umno remains united, as a house divided is harder to defend.
"Don't divide it! Don't wreck it!" he said.
PRS, which has six MPs, he said, thanked Najib for recognising there would be no Malaysia without Sarawak and Sabah.
Masing's statement came hours after Mahathir posted on his blog Thursday morning calling Umno members not to be "blind followers".
The former prime minister claimed Najib has failed to address accusations against him and the public had lost confidence in him.
On March 17, Masing also issued a statement defending Najib, also in response to criticism from Mahathir.
Then, Masing said Mahathir was given 22 years to administer Malaysia and he did an excellent job despite criticism against his administration.
"Please give Najib the time to prove his worth. Don't interfere prematurely."
Notably, Najib seems to have stepped up his attempts to shore up Sarawak support – if the frequency of his visits is anything to go by.
On February 27, Najib visited the rural town of Sri Aman where he launched the construction of a hospital.
On March 31, he went to Bintulu and surrounding rural areas including a Dayak longhouse, and Masing was among officials to greet him, to launch an early phase of the Pan Borneo Highway.
At a longhouse, Najib told the audience; "Thank you for the strong support from Sarawak Barisan to me as announced by your Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
"I am thankful for all the support. It allows me to carry out duties as the leader of the Government with full confidence that there is people's support from all corners of the country."
Although Barisan officials in Sarawak have not confirmed it, talk is that Najib will come to Sarawak again in May, which has led to the Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting being brought forward by two weeks.
After that, Najib could return in June for Gawai Dayak celebrations, while he himself confirmed he would be at Sematan, which is Adenan's constituency, in September to launch another phase of the Pan Borneo Highway.