Thursday, October 29, 2015
This followed after Amanah’s communications director Abdul Khalid Samad told PAS to make their stand clear on whether the Islamist party wanted to work with Barisan National or topple it.
"What happens in our party is our business. You handle your party and we will handle ours," said PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan.
He also ruled out working with Amanah, adding that it would be better for PAS to “stand alone” rather than joining its splinter party.
"We will go our own way. It is better to cooperate with our enemy than with our ex-friend.
"Your ex-friend knows all your secrets.
"If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone. But it doesn't mean that we won't have a partner ... we may have a new partner. Siapa? (Who?) Just wait and see," he said at Parliament lobby on Thursday.
"If it's not a party, maybe an individual," he added.
On Barisan, Takiyuddin said there was no political pact with them, adding that PAS was open to cooperating with any individual or party if it was for the good of the people.
"We remain as Opposition. We will work together with all parties including the Federal Government and DAP, for the good of things," he said.
He, however, said this did not mean that PAS would join them in the next election.
"We will never work with Barisan in the next election. That is very clear. We remain as Opposition," he said.
However, the 1MDB president said that Pua first had to resign from his position in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
This came after Pua, the DAP national publicity secretary, said Arul had merely "recycled" responses to the allegations during a live interview on Bernama TV, and Malaysians were "no nearer to the truth" on the matter.
Pua said he would host the show and ask the questions, and would give Arul "every opportunity and as much time as he likes to answer these questions".
"However, I am, as ever, willing to be proven wrong," he said.
"In fact, I will bear no grudges if he succeeds in embarrassing me by showing evidence from any 1MDB financial documents which disprove my allegations.
"The question is, will he have the courage to accept the challenge?" he said.
In an immediate reply, Arul agreed to the challenge.
"I hereby accept his challenge and look forward to answering his questions," he said.
"Despite his efforts to do so, YB Tony Pua cannot be judge, jury and executioner.
"As such, I trust he will have the courage to do the right thing and resign from the PAC in order for us to have, in his words, a 'no-holds barred' discussion on live television," he said.
In the live interview with Bernama TV on Wednesday, Arul had said that there was no cover-up in relation to 1MDB and that it would be impossible to do so as there are five investigative agencies looking into them.
Pua is a member of PAC, which investigations into 1MDB were postponed after four of its members, including former chaiman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, had to step down from the Committee after they were included in the Cabinet in a recent reshuffle.
Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity (MOVE) president Samsul Kamal Ariffin said he felt there was a different agenda.
“If the ministry is concerned about our health, why not ban cigarettes altogether?
“Why only put health warnings on the cigarette packets? It does not make sense,” he said.
Samsul said a study by MOVE showed that 75% of vapers wanted to continue to vape or would go back to smoking if vaping was banned.
“Most of them will pick up the bad habit of smoking again. Moreover, the black market for contraband vape will also thrive.”
Samsul said although vaping was not exactly good for health, it was 95% safer than smoking.
He said the figure was obtained from Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, a researcher on vape-safety research, with whom MOVE has been in constant contact.
Although the ministry had repeatedly claimed that vape was detrimental to health, he asked why it had not revealed empirical studies to support the statements.
Samsul said MOVE was a non-governmental organisation set up in May to push for regulations on the distribution, sale and use of vape.
“What MOVE wants is to act as a bridge between vapers and the Government. We are not a pressure group,” he said, adding that MOVE would like to work with the Government in solving the issues.
Samsul acknowledged that there were problems related to the vaping community including underaged vapers and the contents of e-liquid.
“In the end, vapers just want to quit smoking. Don’t ban it, that’s all,” he said.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
"You're all Malaysians. You can ask me any question and I will answer. Same thing goes for Muhyiddin," Nazri told a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday.
"We are not like Zimbabwe or something. It is a free country. He can make comments."
However, Nazri said if the comments made by Muhyiddin, who is Umno deputy president, "are degrading," then it was for the Umno leadership to act on them.
"You have to ask the party leadership. I'm not in the leadership, I am just the Padang Rengas Division chief," Nazri said.
On Saturday, Muhyiddin told grassroots members that he "is not the enemy from within” and would continue to speak out for the sake of Umno's future.
Muhyiddin said he was surprised when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak referred to critics “from outside and within” during the closing minutes of tabling Budget 2016 at Parliament on Friday.
Muhyiddin also challenged Umno leaders, especially division chiefs and those holding party posts to voice out what the grassroots members had been keeping in their hearts.
“Where are the rest? Are they too afraid that if they speak out they might lose their positions or even risk their chances of becoming a wakil rakyat?” he asked.
"There are seven people. I would not like to name the seven people. But I think the seven people know who they are and then maybe you people (reporters) will also know who they are," Tengku Adnan told reporters at Parliament House.
Asked if Dr Mahathir "is part of investigations," Tengku Adnan said he would not comment but a committee was looking into it.
"After the technical committee have given their findings we will table it at the presidential council. If the council gives its approval, they will bring the matter to the disciplinary committee," explained Tengku Adnan.
"Once that process goes, we will suspend their membership and suspend whatever position they are holding," he said.
Tengku Adnan said that Umno has its constitution and ethics code for all members to adhere to.
"We can't take all these nonsense anymore. If you don't believe in the party's struggle, leave the party.
"We do not want people like anai-anai (termites) or duri dalam daging in our party," said Tengku Adnan.
He said the party was "sick and tired" of members who made statements that are not meant for the public.
Nasharudin, currently the Nassar Foundation chair, is an Islamic Jurisprudence graduate from University of Jordan and has a Master's degree in Comparative Laws in Malaysia.
"With the appointment of Nasharudin, the GMMF is confident of continuining its efforts to strengthen the relevance and application of moderation in foreign policy and in the country's context.
"The foundation will work closely with relevant stakeholders in realising the operationalisation of 'Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movements of Moderates," said GMMF chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail in a statement on Wednesday.
Saifuddin resigned from the post after joining PKR on Oct 15. Nasharudin was former Yan MP (1999-2004) and the Bachok MP from 2008 until 2013.
The Changkat Jering assemblyman openly apologised to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Sessions Court here before judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin on Wednesday.
"Based on the remark made against the Prime Minister, I realise it is baseless.
"Therefore, I sincerely apologise to him," he said in court. "I will be careful with my remarks and it will not recur," he added.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yusaini Amer Abdul Karim said Nizar has also sent a letter to apologise to Najib on Oct 22.
He said Najib has accepted the letter and asked the case to be compounded with an open apology.
Nizar was alleged to have defamed Najib during a rally at Taman Desa Pakatan here on April 23. He was charged in January this year.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, however, said the move was not towards forming a unity government as cooperation between the party and the Government had previously existed.
"PAS joined a mixed Government in the 1970s to form a cooperation between 1974 and 1978.
"This is not a start but a new approach that we are taking.
“We are willing to meet the ministers concerned and the Prime Minister towards resolving issues of the people,” Abdul Hadi told reporters at Parliament lobby on Tuesday.
He also said that the Islamist party is willing to work with any party, be it DAP or PKR, as long as it is for good.
"We will work together if the cooperation is for good but not if otherwise," he said.
Asked on his views of the newly formed Opposition pact of Pakatan Harapan between DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara, Abdul Hadi said he had no hope for an alliance with them.
He likened Parti Harapan to an express bus travelling aimlessly without a proper destination.
He added that PAS is willing to go into the polls alone if the situation dictates.
"We have always stood alone as we have the branches and grassroots which other parties can rely on," he said.
Abdul Hadi cited the recent Bersih 4.0 rally as an example where a PAS pullout left the event lacking of Malay support.
In a written response to Tony Pua (DAP - Petaling Jaya Utara) on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said there was no such record in 1MDB’s financial report for the year ending March 2014.
“Notes in the 1MDB financial report for the year ending March 2014 clearly states that there is no such amount owed by 1MDB to IPIC.
“I also wish to state that it is the company’s prerogative to decide on their own methods of preparing their financial reports,” he said.
Pua had asked Najib, who is also Finance Minister, if 1MDB still owed US$481mil as stated in the IPIC financial report for the year ending December 2014.
He had also asked Najib to state the amount paid by 1MDB to reclaim Powertek Investment Holding and 1MDB Energy (Langat) from Aabar Investment.
At the G20 summit, leaders from the world’s major economies are due to give final approval to a new plan to crack down on tax evasion by multinational corporations that costs countries at least US$100bil a year.
The 15-point plan aims to tackle low tax bills for the likes of Google, Apple and McDonald’s, which have managed to sharply reduce their taxes while remaining within the law, provoking public outrage in recent years.
Obama “will spur international efforts to ensure strong, sustainable and balanced global economic growth” during the talks, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
During the foreign travels from Nov 14-22, Obama will also “emphasize the importance of reaching an ambitious and durable global climate change agreement in Paris.”
The aim of the Paris conference is to ink an agreement to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two Celsius) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
The meeting marks the culmination of six years of work since the ill-fated 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, which failed to lock down significant agreements.
Obama will also stop in the Philippines for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, and in Malaysia, for the US-Asean and East Asia summits.
Meetings there “underscore America’s support for Asia’s regional institutions, which enhance security and prosperity, while also advancing the US strategy to rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region in all of its dimensions,“ Earnest said.
“These visits also will support the president’s efforts to expand opportunities for American businesses and workers to sell their products in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets.”
Friday, October 23, 2015
“I have a plan, and the plan is working. I will not be distracted, for there are serious consequences of not seeing the plan through,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday ahead of the tabling of Budget 2016 in Parliament.
He added that this year, the Government is focused on strengthening the resilience of the economy while managing the impact of external vulnerabilities and safeguarding the interest of the people.
“Despite the oil price fall, and the challenges faced by emerging markets around the world, Malaysia’s economic fundamentals remain strong with growth expected to be 4.5 to 5.5% this year.
“The Government is therefore well-placed to continue to put the people first and will provide assistance, especially to vulnerable groups.
“It will work to help with rising living costs, support the private sector with pro-business policies and ensure inclusive growth while enhancing human capital development, innovation and green technology,” said Najib.
He added that pro-active measures are being taken to mitigate the impact of the decline in Government revenues.
“Two things we have done to increase resilience is to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and rationalise subsidies.
“These decisions have been our saviour. GST collection is higher than anticipated due to higher compliance, and fortunately, we have other resources,” he said, adding that the Government has been prudent with expenditure.
He stressed that Budget 2016 will demonstrate how the plan of the Government will improve the lives of all Malaysians.
“It is our next steps towards achieving Vision 2020 and achieving developed nation status. The future and welfare of all Malaysians is my top priority,” said Najib.
Speaking to reporters at the police academy here Friday, Khalid said police were still investigating Dr Mahathir for a statement he made against Umno members during the Bersih 4 rally.
"I never said we've made arrangements to interview him - I said we couldn't find the time to interview him.
"Don't think just because we've not summoned Tun Mahathir to record his statement or interview him, we are not carrying out an investigation.
"The investigation continues. If there's a necessity to summon him, we will," he added.
Khalid again clarified that Dr Mahathir was not being investigated over his appearance at the Bersih 4 rally on Aug 29 and Aug 30, but for a statement he made in the rally against Umno leaders.
"A police report was made against him over his statement," he said, while adding that Dr Mahathir was being probed under Section 500 of the Penal Code for criminal defamation.
Khalid declined to reveal the details of the investigation.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
The motion was submitted at 1pm at the office of Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Although the motion was accepted by Pandikar's office, a decision has not been made on whether it will be included in the order paper for the current sitting which will be discussing Budget 2016.
A total of 112 votes from the 222 parliamentarians are needed for the motion to be passed.
Even with the support of PAS, the Opposition can only garner 88 votes. Thus, the final decision on the motion rests on Barisan National MPs.
"You have to wait and see," said Dr Wan Azizah, who is PKR president, said at Parliament lobby when asked if any government MPs would support the motion.
She added that Pandikar received the motion even though he earlier suggested that the opposition submit names of those who would back the motion.
"It must be noted that the motion only relates to the loss of confidence in Datuk Seri Najib but not in the Government.
"This is because I and many others irrespective of political affiliations believe that the difficult economic, social and political crisis this country is facing is due to the leadership crisis in the country," Dr Wan Azizah said.
"I trust that all Members of Parliament would vote according to their conscience. We must put aside our politics and put the interest of this nation above all else. We cannot keep someone in office and have thousands lose their jobs," she said.
The motion to suspend Lim was tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
After a heated debate, the motion was approved by bloc voting - 107 for and 77 against.
The House turned chaotic as the lawmakers argued the validity of the motion.
Lim, who was given a final chance to explain himself in the House, remained defiant, saying he was saddened by "the fiasco."
"I have been an MP for 40 years and I have never felt so sad, its not because of my suspension but I am sad by what is taking place here.
"This is an insult to Parliament, it shows how shallow you all are," he said.
Lim stressed that he had never insulted the Speaker, adding that "my fate is sealed."
Lim said he was the "latest victim" in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd debacle, adding that the issue had changed the institution of Parliament.
In winding-up, Azalina said Lim was given ample time, "several days to be exact," to apologise but he refused.
"I am saddened that as a veteran politician he refused to apologise. The government has no choice but to table this motion," she said.
Lim, the Gelang Patah MP, waved and said "bye-bye" and left the House. Some Barisan Nasional lawmakers waved back at him.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said explained that if Lim "stands up to explain himself to Pandikar and if he accepts the explanation, the Government will not proceed with tabling the motion."
"Today's proceedings is quite simple, he can explain himself between now and the time when I stand up to read the motion.
"And if the Speaker accepts what he has to say, the government is happy to withdraw the motion.
"It is now between him and the Speaker," Azalina told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Thursday.
She said even if Lim did not want to apologise, he should have taken the opportunity to explain himself when Pandikar gave him the opportunity.
"And I heard very clearly the Speaker mention that he can explain himself after the motion on haze.
"So for me, the best thing to do was to wait after the haze motion was debated and explain himself," she added.
Azalina said that was why the government decided to put a fresh notice of the motion to suspend Lim at around 6pm on Wednesday.
Earlier yesterday, Azalina retracted the first notice to suspend Lim on Pandikar's orders.
Pandikar said Lim could explain himself after the debate on the emergency motion on haze was over at 5.30pm.
Lim left the House at around 4.30pm. He told reporters at the lobby shortly before leaving, that he had "explained" his remarks and refused to elaborate further.
On Monday, Lim had accused Pandikar of abusing his powers by temporarily suspending the Public Accounts Committee proceedings.
On Tuesday, Pandikar had ordered Lim to retract and apologise for his allegations or face suspension.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said she would table the motion later in the evening.
"The motion is ready and it has been signed," Azalina told reporters Wednesday.
The motion has been sent to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia's office, who has the prerogative to approve it.
On Monday, Lim accused Pandikar of abusing his power when he temporarily suspended the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) probe into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
On Tuesday, Pandikar had ordered Lim to retract and apologise for his allegations or face suspension.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said there had been efforts by several parties to get international agencies to look into 1MDB.
"These efforts will not affect the Prime Minister's duties which demand him to make overseas trips.
"They are politically motivated to tarnish the image of the Prime Minister and affect confidence in the Government as well as foreign investors of the country's stability," she said in a written reply to Ng Wei Aik (DAP-Tanjong).
Ng had asked if Najib was facing problems travelling overseas, should more countries investigate 1MDB.
He also asked to specify if there were any countries that Najib was not permitted to visit, if any.
"Rather than conduct a trial by media, we must wait for the outcome of these investigations, and if any evidence of wrongdoing is found, I can assure you that the strictest action will be taken against those responsible," he said in his opening remarks at the Global Transformation Forum (GTF2015) Wednesday.
Najib added that there were a number of investigations - some in Malaysia, which he himself had ordered - and others by international authorities, which he welcomed.
"1MDB is in the midst of implementing a rationalisation plan which, if allowed to continue unimpeded, will allow the company to pay off its outstanding debt and resolve the cash flow issues it is currently facing," he said.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
He said the audit should cover Lebuhraya Pantai Timur 2 (LPT2), where there had been 85 deaths and 1,991 accidents since it opened in 2011.
Dr Muhammad questioned why there hadn’t been any audit by independent bodies despite the high fatal accidents on highways.
“Statistics show that 70% are single accidents (accidents without involving other vehicles) and about 30% are due to faulty roads.
“But do the highways have features or barriers that could save lives?
“It’s a basic thing. Everything should and must be audited. If audits can be done in departments, why can’t they be done on our Malaysian highways?” asked the senior researcher with Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).
He noted that with the lives of the toll-paying public at stake, it was highly important and necessary to have independent parties carrying out frequent audits on the highways.
Dr Muhammad, who was involved in the designing of the LPT2 some 10 years ago, said highway designers would never compromise on safety but he questioned if the contractors had fully complied with the design or if the construction was done to specifications.
“Many will tell us that the highways are built according to international designs. I agree with that.
“But were the design specifications followed through during the construction? Independent auditors will be able to tell us that,” he said.
He pointed out that certain stretches of highways were bumpy and created “water ponds” when there was heavy rain.
Meanwhile, Gerakan Anak Terengganu Insaf (Ganti) president Wan Mohd Faizul Wan Abas said they had observed that the LPT2 highway, from the Gemuruh to the Kijal exit, had weaknesses.
Among them were the bumpy road surface due to unequal settlement, lack of lights at most of the stretch, short acceleration and deceleration lanes from an exit that abruptly joins the highway.
Monday, October 19, 2015
At a press conference immediately after the motion to appoint him was passed in the Dewan Rakyat, Hasan said the investigation, along with all other matters concerning the country’s finances, was a priority of the committee.
“Once the select committee has chosen the remaining three PAC members, I will call for a meeting to discuss and continue investigations into pending matters.
“I am new, so I will look at all the reports forwarded to me by the Auditor General in the meantime,” he said.
Hasan also denied allegations that the government was out to delay the PAC investigations into 1MDB, dismissing them as mere perceptions.
“The government has promised that it will be investigated, and the government MPs have said that we will speed up investigations and produce a report for the Dewan Rakyat.
“I cannot say when exactly I can call for a PAC meeting, because I have to wait for the other appointments, but if I can call for one within this sitting, then certainly I will,” he said.
Asked about the matter at Parliament lobby on Monday, Tengku Razaleigh said he had nothing to do with an alleged group of Barisan Nasional MPs who were purportedly trying to remove Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as Prime Minister.
“I have nothing to do with this. I have no spies on the inside, so how do I know what they are discussing?
“Let’s just see what they are planning to do. I’m sure they have their ideas. But what I know is that I have no hand in the matter,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh also said the chances of a no-confidence vote being brought up in the Dewan Rakyat were very low, seeing as the focus was on other matters like Budget 2016.
Asked on his expectations for the Budget, Tengku Razaleigh said: “It’s difficult to say. Let’s wait until the 23rd.”
She said that the earlier motion submitted by Hee Loy Sian (PKR-Petaling Jaya Selatan) would be retracted.
"After the Pakatan Harapan council meeting, we agreed to submit a no-confidence order against Najib.
"It will be in the form of a Private Members' Bill and expected to be within this sitting," she told reporters after a council meeting in Parliament on Monday.
The earlier no-confidence motion tabled by Lee appeared on the Order Paper but was listed as the 25th out of 28 items on the list.
The Permatang Pauh MP said that it would take 14 days for the motion to appear on Parliament's Order Paper after submission.
She also announced the appointment of Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who recently jumped from Umno to PKR, as the chief secretary of Pakatan Harapan's secretariat.
A task force comprising three members from each Opposition party will be formed to draft the coalition's common policy framework.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
He explained Malaysia could not go beyond the first two weeks of 2016 to decide whether to sign the agreement or not.
"But next week, there is the tabling of the national budget, so, we cannot disturb that process.
"Of course, I will have to discuss with the Speaker to get an appropriate date (for the tabling of the TPPA)," he told reporters after giving a talk on the TPPA during the ministry's Free Trade Agreement Outreach Programme on Thursday.
Negotiations on the TPPA concluded on Oct 5 in Atlanta, the United States and the text of the document would likely be available at the end of this month.
The TPPA negotiations, which were first launched in 2005, involves 12 countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Mustapa said the TPPA was the most controversial agreement, which required the government to go all out to explain the pros and cons of the agreement.
He said at the moment, general discussions were based on speculation.
Although there would be more certainty on the agreement once the document was out, the government would still be required to carry out another round of discussion to explain it, he added.
"Even before MPs (members of parliament) can make informed judgments on the TPPA, the people need to be educated on what it is all about," noted the minister.
1MDB said the Petaling Jaya Utara MP had been making claims that he had “clear-cut” evidence of criminal breach of trust, abetting misappropriation and embezzlement.
“These are serious criminal accusations, so we urge Tony Pua to walk the talk and provide his “clear-cut evidence” to the lawful authorities for further investigation,” 1MDB said in a statement yester-day.
1MDB said this in response to Pua’s claim that 1MDB was trying to cover up their “criminal shenanigans” by obsessing over who leaked the information.
Pua who was a member of the Public Accounts Committee said in a statement yesterday he placed greater priority on misappropriation, embezzlement and criminal breach of trust involving the fund rather than on figuring out who leaked the information on the investigation into 1MDB.
1MDB said even the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had cleared them after reviewing relevant documentation contained in the Bank Negara investigation papers. Bank Negara had recommended action against 1MDB for alleged breaches under the Exchange Control Act 1953.
1MDB said the AGC’s confirmation was consistent with the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) statement on Sept 22 affirming that the company was not under investigation.
But MACC denied the fund’s claim it was not under investigation.
“We never said that there were no investigation.
“We only said MACC is not conducting investigation against 1MDB. But we mentioned that the police were carrying out the full investigation.
“Therefore any queries pertaining to the investigation should be referred to the police,” it said in a statement yesterday.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi called on authorities to check the bank account balance of those suspected of leaking information to outsiders including foreigners.
“Sarawak report had on Monday stated clearly that they have received documents from Bank Negara,” he said.
Mohd Puad regretted that Bank Negara had kept mum despite the severity of the allegation.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
"As far as 1MDB is concerned it needs to fill up the relevant form and respond to the queries by Bank Negara Malaysia. If Bank Negara does not request for certain or specific information, how could 1MDB be faulted as it has filled up the form as required and responded to the queries made," said Apandi.
Speaking at a press conference at the Attorney-General's Chambers here, Apandi added that 1MDB "rightfully furnished the information required" for the purpose of the remittances.
He said that 1MDB obtained three permissions from Bank Negara to make remittances, on Sep 29, 2009, Sep 6, 2010 and May 20 2011.
"It is noted that Bank Negara did not take more than three days to grant the permissions on all three occasions," said Apandi.
He added that the relevant exchange control forms, 09A and 06B do not require the applicant to supply the names of beneficiary owners or the bank account numbers of recipients or the manner as to how the funds are to be channeled.
Apandi said that when 1MDB requested Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad to remit to a different account, the bank sought clearance from Bank Negara.
"Bank Negara being the controller did not stop the remittance or direct Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad to advise 1MDB to revert to Bank Negara For a review of the permission. Clearly there was no information or further information requested by Bank Negara Malaysia at that material time," said Apandi.
He added that 1MDB rightfully furnished the information required for the purpose of the remittance.
Apandi said the alleged offence investigated by Bank Negara is Paragraph (4)(b) of of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control Act 1953, namely knowingly or recklessly making a statement which is false in a material particular.
"In short the statement must be false and material to the subject matter i.e. the information requested by Bank Negara at the time when the application for remittances were sought for and in response to further information requested by Bank Negara," said Apandi.
Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali said the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 covered security offences and was not limited to terrorism and terrorists.
"This has been questioned by certain parties ... as being an abuse of power," said Mohd Apandi, referring to the accusation made by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad and six former Cabinet members.
He further clarified that Khairuddin and Chang were charged under Section 124(L) of the Penal Code, while Sosma was only a procedural law to facilitate investigations and prosecution.
"We did not charge them under Sosma," said Mohd Apandi, in his first press conference since taking the reigns of the A-G's Chambers.
He said the clarifications were to prevent any further misleading statements regarding the provisions used.
"However, the Attorney-General's Chambers is not at liberty to divulge any facts pertaining to their cases, as the matter is pending before the court,” he said.
Mohd Apandi also refused to take any questions from the media.
On Monday, Khairuddin and Chang became the first ever to be charged under Section 124(L) of the Penal Code, for attempting to sabotage Malaysia’s banking and financial services.
The former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chairman and his lawyer were accused of jointly committing the offences at the Paris Police Station; Charing Cross Police Station, London; Switzerland Attorney-General’s office, Bern; Wai Chan Police Station, Hong Kong; and Cantonment Police Headquarters, Singapore, between June 28 and Aug 26.
They face a maximum jail term of 15 years if convicted.
Datuk John Ambrose, head of the Penampang Umno Division, was quoted by a news portal as saying that Muhyiddin and Shafie might have forgotten that both of them had voted in support of Sosma in Parliament.
They did not, at that time, oppose the law or speak out against it, the portal was quoted as saying.
Ambrose reportedly made the remarks after Muhyiddin, the former deputy prime minister, and Shafie, the former rural and regional development minister, gave a press conference headed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Monday to protest the use of Sosma against Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang who were charged with attempting to sabotage Malaysia’s banking and financial systems.
Ambrose also reportedly took Shafie to task for allegedly accusing government investment arm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) of insulting the people’s intelligence and saying that many details had not been addressed yet.
The Penampang Umno chief said that Muhyiddin and Shafie had been members of the Federal Cabinet until July this year and that 1MDB matters had been discussed at Cabinet meetings.
He said Muhyiddin even chaired a Cabinet meeting when 1MDB was discussed and the whole issue was explained.
Ambrose said 1MDB had presented its rationalisation and debt-reduction programme in June and Cabinet had approved.
He said it was made clear then that 1MDB would need at least six months to complete the rationalisation and debt-reduction exercises, and Muhyiddin and Shafie had not opposed this or disagreed with it.
The Government investment arm was referring to a statement by the Petaling Jaya Utara MP on Tuesday morning, where they criticised Pua being “an instant expert on certain technical matters”.
“It is important to highlight Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) clearly stated ‘... the Bank concluded that permissions required under the ECA for 1MDB’s investments abroad were obtained based on inaccurate or without complete disclosure of material information relevant to the Bank’s assessment of 1MDB’s applications’,” said 1MDB in a statement on the same day.
They added that the above findings are “very different’ from the “unproven allegations” of fraud, embezzlement, theft, money laundering and more made against 1MDB by Pua, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and others.
“Accordingly, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, having reviewed the investigation papers and recommendations of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), has determined that no further action is to be taken,” they added.
Bank Negara has clearly stated that under the Federal Constitution, the decision to initiate criminal prosecution lies solely with the Attorney-General.
“We suggest that YB Tony Pua focus his attention on matters on which he has taken a "tidak apa" (lackadaisical) attitude, e.g. did he know that Clare Rewcastle-Brown was involved in the sale of stolen goods, based on the following quote attributed to her (which neither Clare nor Tony has denied) – “I have told Tony that if he doesn’t pay up then he will be seen to have been dealing with me as you (Justo) are threatening to publish (make public the deal),” said 1MDB.
They also suggested that Pua begin an enquiry as to how confidential Bank Negara investigation documents ended up in the possession of online portal, the Sarawak Report.
“...Or how confidential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) documents such as the Auditor-General interim report ended up with the foreign news publication, the Wall Street Journal.
“We trust YB Tony Pua will take all necessary actions to, at the very least, preserve the now questionable integrity of the PAC process,” they added.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad held a press conference today in response to Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang being charged in court under Section 124L of the Penal Code. They had both earlier been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
Dr Mahathir said this was an abuse and disrespect of the law, and the only crime that the two committed was to tell the truth. It has not been established yet whether what Khairuddin and Matthias said is the truth so let the trial determine this.
Anyway, Dr Mahathir of all people should know that the truth is subjective and just because one tells the truth that does not mean one has not broken any laws.
Dr Mahathir must be reminded of many cases during his time when people who told the truth were arrested, charged and convicted for the crime of telling the truth.
For example, Marina Yusoff was convicted and sentenced under the Sedition Act in 2000 for telling the truth and the judge ruled that just because she told the truth does not mean she is not guilty of a crime.
Under the Sedition Act, telling the truth can actually get you jailed, the court reminded the defence.
At least Khairuddin and Matthias are being allowed a trial where they can defend themselves and if they are not guilty will be freed.
During Dr Mahathir’s term as Prime Minister he used the Internal Security Act on dissidents and critics of the Government where there was no trial.
In 2001, 10 of Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters were detained without trial on allegations that they were terrorists.
Six were made to serve two years under detention and the court later ruled that they were not terrorists and that their detention was illegal.
Monday, October 12, 2015
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the duration of the patents should be reduced to enable a particular nation to produce generic medicines.
Previously, he said, the duration was 20 years, but the United States had suggested recently that the duration be extended to protect intellectual property rights.
“The Health Ministry has announced that we do not agree on the extension of the duration of patency of the medicines as it will burden the people,” he said after launching the “Pesta Tanglung Universiti Sains Malaysia”.
He said the production of generic medicines would not be allowed during the patent period if the US proposal was accepted.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
The Defence Minister said such allegations against Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak were irresponsible.
"Don't try to put words into the mouth of the Rulers.
"If the Rulers lost confidence (in the Prime Minister), they could have just said it. They need not use 1Malaysia Development Berhad," he told reporters after attending the revamped National Service 2.0 at the ministry here on Thursday.
"If they don't trust his leadership, they would not have said it as it is," said Hishammuddin.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Rulers stressed that all concerned should extend "real and sincere" cooperation to ensure investigation over 1MDB achieves its objectives.
"The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the Government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth," they said.
The statement was released by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.
Former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had welcomed the proclamation by Malay Rulers on 1MDB calling for the issue to be settled speedily and action taken against those found to be implicated.
“It’s not worth mentioning his name at all and giving him unnecessary publicity that would only make him to continue issuing nonsensical and absurd statements. Just blanket him from the media.
“My stance is loud and clear that people with ‘bad intentions’ shouldn’t be entertained in this historic and harmonious state,” he said when contacted on Wednesday night.
Idris said he was working very hard to make Malacca a progressive state and the people should enjoy the fruits of success without being disrupted by anyone with ill intentions.
“I can assure that all Malaccans are safe and no one could utter overt threats or hurt them when I am at helm as the Chief Minister.
“At any cost, I will not allow any person to snatch our solidarity and strong bonds that have been at its pinnacle since time immemorial,” he said.
Idris said Malacca has been a melting pot of cultures for centuries and he will continue to flourish ethnic cohesion to a greater level.
“We have respected each other for many years and those with malice are not welcome here,” he said.
Mohd Ali was planning a rally in defence of Immigration officers who were attacked by thugs in Malacca.
Idris chided Mohd Ali for interfering into Malacca’s affairs and making a mountain out of a molehill on a trivial issue.
“Don’t teach me my job, who does he think he is?” he exclaimed.
Idris said he was aware of any developments taking place in the state, and know what actions to execute, accordingly.
“I have built my grassroots rapport through years of friendship and trust, where every single development whether good or bad, were brought to my attention.
“I am also confident with Malacca police in handling any issues, so let them do their job, too,” he added.
Earlier, state Immigration Department deputy director Abu Bakar Sidek Hassan had told the former soldier not to use an incident on Sept 30 as an excuse to hold his planned rally on Saturday.
Abu Bakar said his men had accepted the incident as a job hazard and brushed off any racial element in the incident which saw some 40 thugs assaulting his officers during a raid at a karaoke outlet in Taman Melaka Raya.
He said the raid at the outlet was conducted following a tip-off that there were a number of foreign guest relation officers without valid documents.
“I don’t understand why the issue has suddenly been blown out of proportion. We never sought any help from Ali Tinju to defend us or utter racially tinged statements,” he added.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The former Selangor Mentri Besar believed this would happen because the party was not properly managed.
“There have been too many complaints by party members that have not been dealt with in a fair, transparent and holistic way,” he said in a Facebook posting on Wednesday.
He said the actions of the parties in Pakatan recently failed to provide a conducive and inclusive avenue.
“I prefer looking at these things from the outside and am not be directly involved in their efforts to create this third force,” he said.
Khalid said he would focus his energy and give insights on restoring the country’s economy which is facing internal and external pressures,” he said.
He added that he was still waiting for the decision on his complaint with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on his illegal removal from PKR.
Khalid has claimed that his removal was not done in accordance with the party constitution.
Talk of a split in PKR is rife after supporters of deputy president Azmin Ali have supposedly formed an alliance with those who were unhappy with president Dr Wan Azizah's impromptu announcement of Pakatan Harapan's formation.
A petition was sent in by 25 party members demanding a Supreme Council meeting to discuss Dr Wan Azizah's announcement.
The petition was signed by Batu MP Tian Chua, Padang Serai MP N.Surendran, Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Lee Hoy Sian, Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, Sri Muda assemblyman Shuhaimi Shafiei, Kampung Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha, Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong, Kota Anggerik assemblyman Dr Yaakob Sapari and Batu Caves assemblyman Amirudin Shari.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
The statement, entitled, "MCA's Liong Sik joins call for Najib's ouster for allegedly putting people's money in his own pocket," was published on Malay Mail Online portal on Oct 3 and remains accessible to the public on the Internet.
The letter of demand issued by Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak was served to Ling and his wife Datin Seri Ena Ling acknowledged receipt at 4pm on Monday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the landmark trade deal would boost the country’s economy and shape its strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region for the long haul.
“The TPP will spur economic growth and prosperity, enhance competitiveness, and bring jobs to American shores.
“It will provide new and meaningful access for American companies, large and small. And by setting high standards on labour, the environment, intellectual property, and a free and open Internet, this agreement will level the playing field for American businesses and workers,” he said in a brief statement following the conclusion of the TPP talks in Atlanta on Monday.
Kerry also praised the negotiating teams for bringing a successful end to the proposed trade pact.
In Malaysia, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the country had managed to gain several concessions from the TPP’s negotiating parties to ensure that national interests were upheld.
“Parties agreed to take into consideration almost all of our concerns and sensitivities particularly in the areas of government procurement, state-owned enterprises and the bumiputra issues.
“Elements of flexibilities accorded to Malaysia include longer transition periods and differential treatment for Malaysia’s sensitive areas,” Mustapa said in a statement.
He said the outcome of the negotiations had opened up greater market-access opportunities for Malaysian companies in countries like the US, Canada, Mexico and Peru, which Malaysia has no existing free trade agreements with.
“Malaysian exporters will gain competitive advantage over regional competitors in exporting products such as from our electrical and electronics sector, chemical products, palm oil products, rubber products, wood products, textiles as well as automotive parts and components.
“All of these represent major exports for Malaysia and generate huge amounts of revenue for our national economy and employ tens of thousands of Malaysians,” he said.
He added that Malaysia’s decision to subsequently sign on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement would only be made after careful and extensive discussion with all stakeholders in the country, including presenting the agreement in Parliament for debate.
Meanwhile, the US-Asean Business Council has also voiced its support for the trade deal, which sees Asean countries making up 40% of the signatories.
The council’s president, Alexander Feldman, said the TPP would open opportunities for American companies in the 11 Pacific countries and create a level-playing field for US businesses looking to expand into what have been labelled the fastest growing markets in the world.
“The agreement will significantly and positively impact commercial relations between the United States and these important countries and is a critical component of America’s engagement with Southeast Asia in particular and with Asia more generally,” he said.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Abdul Rahim, 65, who was present alone in the Sessions Court here made the plea after the charge was read before judge Slamat Yahya.
He was alleged to have committed the offence via his Facebook Rahim Tamby Chik in Jalan Permata 7/1, Section 7 here at about 8 am last Sept 25.
Abdul Rahim was charged under Section 4 (1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 and is liable to be fined a maximum RM5,000 or a maximum jail term of three years or both upon conviction.
He also pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of using his Facebook account to make and send comments of a seditious nature with the intention to hurt the feelings of another person at the same place, time and date.
Under the alternative charge, framed under Section 233 (1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, he could be fined under Section 233 (3) of the same act with a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a maximum jail term of one year or both upon conviction.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, who appeared for the prosecution, applied that Abdul Rahim be imposed bail of RM10,000 for both charges.
Counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, who represented Abdul Rahim, however applied to the court to have his bail reduced to RM2,000.
Judge Slamat allowed bail at RM7,000 with one surety and fixed Nov 5 for a re-mention.
Besides Mohd Dusuki, the prosecution was also represented by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz while the defence team also comprised counsel Wan Azmir Wan Majid and Ahmad Al-Hady Abdul Razak.
The Prime Minister and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrived at 9.55am, Monday to cheers from the crowd.
The crowd, comprising Umno and Barisan Nasional members as well as representatives of NGOs, had gathered at the Bunga Raya complex as early as 7am, carrying banners and placards expressing support for Najib.
The Prime Minister was also greeted by his Cabinet members and some senior civil servants.
Among those in attendance were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Health Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.
The Prime Minister also shook hands with supporters who chanted "Hidup Najib" and "Hidup Barisan".
Najib was in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly and Milan, Italy for the Expo Milano 2015.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, the Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister said Dr Ling had underestimated the mood within Umno when he declared that Najib should step down as Prime Minister.
“Ling Liong Sik is grossly mistaken if he thought his statement was doing someone a favour by weakening the position of the PM.
“In fact, I believe his statement will further strengthen, not weaken, the PM’s position in Umno. Watch and see!” tweeted Abdul Rahman.
The minister added that Dr Ling, who headed MCA from 1986 to 2003 and was Transport Minister throughout those 17 years in Tun Dr Mathathir Mohamad’s Cabinet, had underestimated the mood in Umno, adding that the party’s members did not want outsiders dictating who should be their leader.
Earlier on Saturday, Dr Ling had stated that he was in agreement with Dr Mahathir that Najib should step down as Prime Minister.
“I went to the Bersih demonstration in Perth. My aim is to call for a vote of no-confidence against Najib,” Dr Ling had said after attending the Malaysia Festival of the Mind at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.
Friday, October 2, 2015
Congratulations on your appointment as President of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Your experience and wisdom will be invaluable in guiding us.
This session’s theme – “The United Nations at 70: the Road Ahead for Peace, Security and Human Rights” – is timely. For we urgently need to find new approaches, to rise above the political divide and put people first, in an age when the old ways are proving inadequate to the challenges we face today.
We are a world of nation states. But new conflicts and threats imperilling our peace and security do not recognise borders. Non-state actors, such as the so-called Islamic State, threaten to destroy sovereign states.
They don’t confine their horrific acts of cruelty within official boundaries. Expert at using social media to recruit followers in faraway countries, they lure them with false promises, persuading many young people that their barbaric actions will bring them closer to God.
It is sickening, and there could be no greater a slur on Islam – a religion of peace, moderation and justice. But these extremists cannot be defeated by traditional military means alone.
Five years ago I stood before this assembly and called for a Global Movement – of moderates of all religions, of all countries – to marginalise extremists, reclaim the centre, and shape the agenda towards peace and pragmatism. We in Malaysia have followed up, both with practical action and by building intellectual capacity.
Central to this effort is reaffirming Islam’s true nature, as we must acknowledge that we are not winning the propaganda war against the so-called Islamic State. Their twisted narrative is not being adequately countered to prevent many misguided people from joining or supporting from afar.
So it is more important than ever that we spread awareness of authentic Islam. Most especially when conflicts persist and people lose hope. For it is there that extremism finds fertile soil. And those who fight for extremism – for a perversion of true Islam – are one of the main drivers of the current migration crisis from the Middle East.
Islam unequivocally prohibits killing civilians during war. It explicitly protects minorities and respects those of other faiths. It urges the pursuit of knowledge, and stresses both justice and compassion. As the Prophet Muhammad said: “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith; and you will not complete your faith, till you love for one another what you love for yourselves.”
This means there should be no strife among Muslims. Not between Shia and Sunni, who may take different paths, but seek the same destination.
Islam condemns the destruction of historical sites that are part of the world’s cultural heritage. The lies of IS include the claim that it is their duty to destroy historical sites, because the Prophet Muhammad destroyed the idols that had been introduced into the Ka`ba in Mecca.
This is based on a false analogy. The Ka`ba was built by the Prophet Abraham for the worship of the One True God, and later generations added the idols. The Prophet Muhammad was commanded to purify the Ka`ba of these idols for its use by his followers, to bring it back to its original form.
The historical sites being destroyed by IS were never used for the worship of the One God and then later desecrated; so the argument for destroying them does not and cannot apply. Moreover, God informs us that these sites we travel by, and which denote past civilizations — some of which were global superpowers of their time, but are now no more — are signs to remind us not to be arrogant, but to walk the earth humbly.
We must combat IS’ warped ideology in this way: explaining why their path is un-Islamic; why their actions are evil, theologically incoherent and a travesty of Islam – which commands us to be knowledgeable, compassionate and humble.
The Malaysian Government has helped develop an important body of scholarship that does just that. An international group of Sunni and Shia scholars representing a cross-section of the global Muslim community was convened in Kuala Lumpur. Its mission was to define an Islamic State, based on the continuity of Islamic religious thought through the past 14 centuries.
It is nothing like the entity in Syria and Iraq that usurps that name. The scholars unanimously emphasized that an Islamic State must deliver justice in all its forms – political, economic and in the courts – to its citizens. It must be based on the objectives of Shariah, or Maqasid Shariah, which is to protect and enhance life, religion, intellect, property, family and dignity.
An Islamic State must defend the different peoples under its rule, and preserve their religions, languages and historic sites – because God commands us: “Indeed, we have made you nations and tribes, that ye may know one another.”
He could have created us as one religious community, but He did not do so – in order to test us – and orders us to compete with each other in being virtuous. A true Islamic State therefore aids God’s Divine Intent in testing humanity, and urges us to compete in virtue, in knowledge, kindness, compassion and humility – but, crucially, not coerce us in this.
These are Islam’s true principles. The so-called Islamic State knows nothing of Islam’s noble ideals, of its compassion, or of the solemn duty to care for and learn about our fellow man. They are violating the Divine will. They are desecrating the name of our religion through their self-proclaimed caliphate – to which no true Muslim will pledge allegiance.
This is the message we must spread, to Muslims and non-Muslims. And I call on the Umma to rise with one voice, and let the world ring when we say to IS: You do not represent us.
Let no one doubt how seriously Malaysia regards the problem of militants: both those who wish to use Kuala Lumpur as a transit point, and those who wish to sow violence and destruction at home.
Much of this work cannot be revealed for security reasons. This may lead some to think that because Malaysia has not suffered from a successful terrorist attack, we do not have national security challenges. That is not the case.
Our tireless, ever-vigilant security forces have intercepted many would-be IS recruits transiting through Kuala Lumpur. It is because of our efforts that they have not fallen into the darkness that blights Syria and Iraq.
But some have. We have identified 39 Malaysians who have travelled to join IS. And we have arrested over 100 of our citizens suspected of links to IS. These threats are real.
There are people who want to bring terror to our streets.
We will not stand for it, neither will they succeed. For Malaysia has been, and will always be, a land where many faiths and ethnicities freely prosper and thrive.
But we must strive harder to combat this threat together. Militaries and intelligence services need to share information, and countries need to collaborate more, daring to pre-emptively arrest as necessary.
We have instituted legislation to allow this. When evidence is irrefutable, we will unhesitatingly take action. If our citizens’ lives are threatened by bombing a mall or a station, we would be negligent of their trust not to intervene before it is too late.
2015 gave us examples of inspiring new approaches. For example, the United States restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. This was a historic achievement, an exemplary display of moderation in action. It took courage. It would not have happened had those wishing to cling to old political divisions held sway.
Forward-thinking leaders put their people’s interests first. Similar courage, Mr President, is needed to permanently address the injustice suffered by the Palestinians since 1948.
Decades of impunity and the systematic dehumanisation of Palestinians has culminated in increasing violence, increasing illegal settlements, and increasing violations of rights. The frustration and anger felt by Palestinians resonates with Muslims worldwide.
If the world continues to turn a blind eye to their sufferings, we risk another catastrophe in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We will also fail to uphold the right to self-determination, which was at the very basis of the United Nations when it was created 70 years ago.
On that note, given the Rosh Hashanah violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and aggression against its worshippers three weeks ago, I call on the Israeli government to live up to Judaism’s highest ethical principles, and the essential message of the Torah as succinctly expressed by the first century BC sage Hillel. When asked to describe the Torah in a soundbite, he said, “That which is hateful to you, don’t do to your fellow human being.”
This dictum, known universally in all religions as the Golden Rule, could herald the dawn of a much needed revised relationship between Muslims and Jews.
Currently Israel has forced its authority over Islam’s Third Holiest Site – in defiance of the jurisdiction of King Abdullah of Jordan, the lawful Custodian. It is therefore Israel’s duty to facilitate Muslims from around the world to visit. For this is an aspiration that all devout Muslims harbour and pray to be able to realise in their lifetime.
Putting people first will not always be easy. But the problems of today require new and global solutions.
Malaysia will raise these issues as a member of the UN Security Council – and reforming the Security Council to better reflect 2015’s realities, not 1945’s, represents a good start towards building a new, adequately responsive global architecture.
We in Malaysia know how much that is needed. We were extremely disappointed that the proposed resolution to set up an international tribunal into the shooting down of flight MH17 did not go through because a veto was imposed. We will continue to seek justice through other legal options, because we owe it to the families of those who perished in this outrageous crime.
But whether it be reform of the UN, tackling extremism or dealing with migration, greater mutual effort is necessary. We must look into ourselves and our own traditions to create new mechanisms. We believe that moderation is key.
Moderation is not about being weak. On the contrary, it is courageous and shows strength. The strength to push for peace and put the people first.
It is a principle that runs through all civilisations and faiths. Islam embodies it in the concept of “wasatiyyah”, Confucianism as “chung yung” – both of which mean “middle path” or “the Golden Mean.” But this is a principle we must rediscover, and at the 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia this April, we reaffirmed our commitment to this approach when we adopted the Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates.
Malaysia stands ready to share its experience; of upholding Islam and marginalising extremism; of implementing the objectives of Shariah while practicing democracy; of maintaining a multi-ethnic society where different faiths coexist and prosper; and showing that Islam can not only succeed, but drive progress and successful economic development.
As we cooperate to solve the scourges of poverty, hatred, war and man-made and natural disasters that have given us the refugee crises we see today, we must draw from our spiritual traditions – and that generosity of spirit which goes beyond legal requirements.
Sura `Abasa, the 80th chapter of the Quran, opens with God criticizing the Prophet Muhammad – whom we Muslims regard as God’s Beloved – because he frowned and turned his face away when one of his followers, a poor blind man, interrupted to ask him a question while he was occupied preaching to a rich and powerful unbeliever.
If God promptly rebuked the Prophet Muhammad, how much more will we, the community of Muslim world leaders especially, stand to be rebuked by our Creator if we “frown and turn our faces away” from our fellow-Muslim poor and marginalized, now fleeing Syria in massive numbers – causing social and economic stresses in Europe? Don’t we stand partly responsible for any ensuing European hostility towards Islam, the faith we love, and towards our fellow Muslims?
This is why Malaysia has taken, over the years, many people fleeing war, starvation and persecution. We currently have hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants, and we took in more earlier this year when there was a dire humanitarian situation in the Andaman Sea.
I am pleased to announce today that, to help alleviate the current refugee crisis, Malaysia will do its share, and open our doors to a further 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years.
New international solutions are needed to deal with the migration crises. The millions fleeing are people – like us. They should concern us all. We must respect our common humanity.
For it is only when we transcend the silos of race and faith;
Only when we look at images of desperate migrants, the victims of extremists, and those whose lives are degraded by hunger and poverty – and see not strangers, but our brothers and sisters;
And it is only when we see that dreadful picture of three year old Alan Kurdi washed ashore – and recognise our own children in that tragic boy’s innocent face – that we will act as our better selves.
People around the world cry out for our help. We cannot – we must not – pass on by.