Not So Honorary Doctorate?

PM Ismail Sabri receives honorary doctorate from Nihon University
[Bernama May 24th]

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was today awarded the Honorary Doctorate in Medicine by Nihon University, one of the most distinguished and oldest private universities in Japan.

The honorary degree was in appreciation of Ismail Sabri’s efforts and contributions in the fight against Covid-19.

Ismail Sabri received the honorary doctorate from Nihon University president Dr Naoto Kato at the university in Itabashi, one of the cities in the metropolis of Tokyo during his six-day official working visit to Japan.


Nihon University chairman arrested for allegedly evading ¥53 million in taxes
[Japan Times Nov 29th]

Prosecutors Monday arrested Nihon University Chairman Hidetoshi Tanaka for allegedly evading around ¥53 million in income tax.

A special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office suspects that the 74-year-old head of the Japanese private university evaded income tax between 2018 and 2020 by hiding earnings, including kickbacks, in violation of the income tax law.

The squad searched Tanaka’s home in Tokyo in September, when it also raided the university’s headquarters. The squad also searched his home in October, when Tadao Inoguchi, a 64-year-old former board member of Nihon University, and Masami Yabumoto, 61, former head of the Kinshukai medical group, were arrested. The two have been indicted on breach of trust charges.

According to sources, investigators found over ¥200 million in cash at Tanaka’s home during the searches, and the squad was looking into the matter.

Our comment

It appears that the head of this distinguished university was arrested at the end of last year for hoarding kickbacks in his home for which he had moreover evaded tax (given they must have been hard to declare).

One has to wonder what kickbacks a university chairman might be expecting to receive to the tune of hundreds of millions of Japanese yen? The issuing of academic accolades most certainly comes to mind as one possibility.

How unfortunate then that this should have been the university that just happened to wake up to Ismail Sabri’s contribution to the efforts against Covid (which had so lamentably by-passed the rest of world and indeed most Malaysians) in order to present him with this honorary doctorate in medicine!

Secret Political Bribes In Return For Contracts IS Corruption!

The High Court here was told today that the money given by Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) to former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was a political donation.

It was not for corrupt purposes, said former UKSB director Harry Lee Vui Khun when cross-examined counsel Hamidi Mohd Noh, representing Ahmad Zahid at the trial of the Foreign Visa System (VLN) corruption case.

Yesterday, Lee told the court that UKSB made monthly cash payment in Singapore Dollars (SGD) to Ahmad Zahid from 2014 to 2018 for the Foreign Visa System (VLN) contract.

Meanwhile, when questioned by lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, also representing Ahmad Zahid, whether the political donation was for UMNO, the witness said to his understanding, it was for the government of the day.

Ahmad Zahid, 69, is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to SG$13.56 million from UKSB for himself as Home Minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of OSC service in China and the supply VLN system as well as to maintain the contract agreement to supply the VLN integrated system to the same company by KDN.

Our comment

The excuses presented by some of Malaysia’s most senior political figures and their defenders in court are sometimes so staggering that one fears there must be people out there ready to believe them.

This witness, in testimony designed to exonerate Zahid Hamidi for taking bribes for contracts, spells out in detail the essence of a corrupt transaction, explaining how he made monthly secret payments to the then Home Minister (now fittingly head of UMNO) in return for a lucrative contract to his company.

Apparently, he had admitted to anti-corrupti0n investigators that he used to drive up to Zahid’s residence with the cash in a bag to hand to the then deputy prime minister for the favour on a regular basis.

Yet, this self-admitted crook is now lecturing the court that because the money was allegedly  proffered and received on behalf of the UMNO political party (in fact, the evidence shows it was used for Zahid’s own purposes) the transactions were not corrupt!

The phrase “only in Malaysia” sadly comes to mind that anyone thinks they could get away with such an argument and that it is OK to secretly bribe political parties for favours just not the politicians themselves…. even if you are paying the politician in cash in the name of donating to the party.

Of course, this was how Musa Aman was let off the first time after the Hong Kong authorities caught his stooge with a sack of $19 million he happened to be smuggling through the airport in cash on the way to his Swiss bank accounts – namely bribe money for timber contracts.

At that time back in 2012 the UMNO authorities merely organised for it to be ruled as a ‘political donation’ and therefore categorised as being excused.

The Malaysian public are not fooled. Musa Aman was eventually prosecuted for this and other crimes under the newly elected government. It was only after the Sheraton Coup restored UMNO to the driving seat that prosecutors again let Musa off (he is apparently preparing for his planned political return).

Zahid, unfortunately for him, is rather further down the road with his proceedings. And this excuse now brought before the court is unlikely to impress the judges any more than the jaded Malaysian public.

Contempt of Court or Just Contemptible?

Naza group chairman SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin has asked the shariah court to enhance a seven-day jail sentence on Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah over her criticism of a jail term on his former wife.

Faisal filed a cross-appeal to the shariah court, saying Maria’s appeal against her sentence should not be considered because of the “blatant disrespect” she had shown to the shariah judiciary.

Maria had been found guilty of contempt of court for a statement she made criticising an earlier shariah court decision to sentence Faisal’s former wife Emilia Hanafi to seven days’ jail, also for contempt of court.

Faisal said in his appeal that Maria’s challenge to the seven-day jail sentence indicated that she had no sense of remorse or regret over her actions.

Our comment

Malaysia’s thin skinned judiciary has struck again. Apparently, not even a member of parliament is allowed to express criticism or concern about the way in which justice is meted out, particularly perhaps if the MP happens to be a woman.

Of course, this is not a civil court that has acted thus but a religious court. Had the MP not converted maybe she would have been accorded her right to freedom of speech to criticise laws and their application? Unfortunately, there have been plenty of intimidating and heavy-handed reactions by Malaysia’s secular courts as well.

Meanwhile, and note the contrast, there has been an eye-catching lack of action against the concerted witch-hunt against the judge who passed a solid conviction against the former PM for grand crimes against his country. For doing his duty Nazlan Ghazali has been criticised, accused, hounded and harassed and yet none of the perpetrators have been called to account for questioning this particular judgement.

That conviction has been upheld on appeal, yet the courts have done precisely nothing to counter the gross contempt by Najib and his friends who refuse to accept the judgement or treat the judge with honour and respect.

So, back in UMNO Malaysia, Najib has yet to spend one day under lock and key for his horrendous crimes whilst the judge who convicted him is publicly libelled.  At the same time a woman MP has been sentenced to jail for opening her mouth on women’s rights and the cry is to sentence her longer…. on the grounds she questioned a judge.

Malaysian Justice Is Too Slow

Former prime minister Najib Razak says Pakatan Harapan had failed to prove that he was involved in the bribery scandal linked to the procurement of submarines from France in 2002.

Najib said PH’s investigation in 2018 did not find any evidence that he was involved in the deal, adding that it was a part of the opposition’s propaganda to tarnish his image.

He said PH also tried to link him with the 2006 murder of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu by two police officers of the Special Action Unit (UTK) who were previously his bodyguards.

In a Facebook post, Najib explained that while he was the defence minister when the deal was signed to buy two Scorpene-class submarines from French defence equipment manufacturing group Thales, it was the former prime minister (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) who made the purchase in a deal worth US$1.2 billion.

“It was not me who negotiated the deal. It was the 4th prime minister who selected the submarines and negotiated the deal,” he said.

This comes after a report that a French court had charged Thales with complicity in bribery over the purchase of the submarines.

Our comment

Malaysians deserve better protection against the delusional self-justifications of a convicted mega-crook, now years after he should have been banged up to confront his own demons.

Nothing is Najib’s fault, according to Najib. He held the top job and took credit for everything that went well, but denies all that went wrong and all that he did wrong.

And there was a lot he did wrong. Proof is never enough for the great denier. The reason Thales has been convicted of bribery is laid out very clearly in the French court papers. They have been convicted of bribing him as the known recipient of the €119 million that was paid in bogus ‘consultancy fees’ to a company fronted by his appointed side-kick, Razak Baginda.

If Najib hadn’t been judged guilty of receiving the bribe then Thales would not have been found guilty of delivering it. Period.

Najib was merely acting true to form, as the crook he has proven himself to be time and again over 1MDB. And speaking of murder, since Najib raised that matter also, Razak Baginda was also the front man when it came to the brutal killing of the woman who threatened to expose this very Scorpene bribe. Altantuya may have been standing outside Baginda’s house and Baginda may have been the person claimed to be her lover cum handler by that stage. However, it is Najib’s bodyguard who did the deed and who has testified that he was ordered to do so personally by Najib who explained to him she was a ‘foreign spy’ and needed to be …. at which point the PM gestured with a slit throat action, says Azilah Hadri.

Azilah and his junior are documented as having indeed sped direct from Najib’s house  (they say straight after this meeting and instruction) to scoop Altantuya off the street, bundle her into their government vehicle and later murder her in cold blood. It is also documented that Najib later expended huge amounts of energy in attempting to shut up a witness to all that happened, PI Bala, who testified to many aspects of this case including the fact that Altantuya was indeed stating that Najib was involved in the corruption and had also been her lover.

However, Najib still brazenly claims that he is proven innocent. Malaysians need to be spared his poisonous self-promotion, funded by their own stolen cash. Justice should be served and he should be removed from spreading his toxic and cancerous lies that only harm his country further.

Malaysian Libel Law Needs Urgent Reform

Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil has been slapped with a lawyer’s letter from the Pahang government seeking an apology and RM1 million in damages after she spoke on deforestation and logging in the state.

In a Facebook post this morning, Shariffa Sabrina shared that the notice was issued by law firm Messrs Hidayah Ishak & Partners, representing the state government.

The environmental activist was asked to issue an unconditional apology to the state government through all sharing platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram.

Should she fail to comply with the notice within 14 days of receiving the letter, the Pahang government will file a claim with the court without referring to her and will see other damages as well…..

“This will not be (the) last as threats, intimidation, blackmail, and abuse of power will continuously be used to try and stop me from exposing the government’s wrongdoings when it comes to crime against our priceless nature,” she said when contacted.

Our comment

Only in Malaysia, thanks to a recent outrageous Federal Court interpretation of the law, can a body such as a state government hound an individual for ‘defamation’ over criticism of its actions and speaking out on matters of public concern.

By contrast, when PAS brought their unsuccessful suit in the UK against Sarawak Report they had to frame an argument that somehow their leader Hadi Awang had been personally defamed. A political party, a government, a council, a department cannot sue in genuine democratic countries where the right to protest and freedom of expression are enshrined.

Yet in Malaysia, this brave lady who has protested at Pahang’s wanton destruction of its protected forests (for the benefit of the richest people in the state and to the detriment of the poorest) is being bullied by officials who are protecting the interests of those rich beneficiaries using public money!

More than anywhere in the world Malaysia therefore needs urgent anti-SLAPP legislation to outlaw such outrageous suits designed to silence individuals who raise attention over matters of vital public concern and official corruption.

State government bullies who use taxpayers’ money to try to silence criticism over their corruption and ineptitudes need putting in their place.

Najib's Story Shifts To Admission, But Says He Only Took "Peanuts" ($30 Million)

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have only gotten a relative sum amounting to “peanuts” if he had received US$30 million (RM90,899,927.28 million at the time of the charge) from multi-billion ringgit bonds raised by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in comparison to funds amounting to US$577 million diverted from 1MDB bonds to fugitive Low Taek Jho and a fake Aabar entity, Najib’s lawyer suggested today.

Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said this while cross-examining the 12th prosecution witness Azmi Tahir.

Azmi, a former chief financial officer of 1MDB, was testifying in Najib’s power abuse and money laundering trial involving the alleged misappropriation of more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.

Shafee was going through the transactions that followed after 1MDB subsidiary 1MDB Energy Limited (1MEL) took on debt via the issuance of a US$1.75 billion bond in May 2012 in order to fund the purchase of an independent power producer.

Shafee listed various transactions in a chart he showed to Azmi, including how US$907.5 million of the US$1.75 billion bond was paid out on May 22, 2012 to 1MEL, and that a sum of close to US$577 million was on the same day then transferred to a British Virgin Islands company known as Aabar Investments PJS Limited — now known to be a fake entity that had a strikingly similar name to the actual company Aabar Investments PJS.

Our comment

Wow! For the first time in the seven years it has taken (almost to the day) to get this far in holding Malaysia’s crook ex-Prime Minister to account he (or at least his counsel) has admitted that yes he did filch from the fund.

But…. according to Mr Shafee (who is himself waiting to be tried for filching money also) Najib should be given credit for only taking $30 million out of a trail that saw $577 million stolen in total from the first bond issue the fund took out through Abu Dhabi using Goldman Sachs.

What a modest man his client turns out to be… by comparison, is the argument with which Shafee seeks to beguile the court and melt the hearts of the Malaysian people and the world. Just a poxy $30 million when in his position he could have taken so much more.

Except, Najib did take a whole lot more as everyone knows full well and as will be made perfectly clear at later stages of the trial when the full picture of larceny is dissected. Remember the $681 million that went into Najib’s account just two days after the third and final bond was raised – that came from 1MDB and from that bond issue.

What’s more other sums were pouring into the same KL account – $170 million from Julius Baer in Hong Kong was one – that took the PM’s personal war chest to over a billion dollars in advance of GE 13 before he later shipped the majority back out of the country and into a swathe of hiding places round the globe.

And what about the half billion that went to his wife’s diamond and jewellery habit? Does that not count?  And the quarter of a million to his step son’s movies and who really owned that yacht?

In short, what an idiot admission to have finally made after years of claiming first no money had disappeared from the fund, then that it had all been the scheme of Jho Low!

Kanga Kitingan Fights To Keep His Pet Payback Deal

The State Government has appointed Sabah Foundation as a local partner to implement the controversial carbon trading deal known as the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA).Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) said that the state Cabinet endorsed the decision last Wednesday for Sabah Foundation to work closely with Singapore-based firm Hoch Standard Pte Ltd over the NCA.“Hoch Standard will assist Sabah Foundation in this new role by providing the necessary technology and know-how to ensure the implementation of the NCA will be done accordingly,” he said.

“Sabah Foundation will sign a separate service agreement with Hoch Standard. Under the service agreement, Hoch Standard is expected to pay Sabah Foundation 5 per cent of its gross revenue from the NCA for the Sabah Foundation’s activities related to the NCA.”It is believed that Hoch Standard will be paid some 30 per cent of earnings from the carbon deal.Sabah Foundation is a state body that was set up to further educational opportunities for Sabahans but has since diversified into other economic investments and activities to boost its income.

Our comment

Given the deputy chief minister’s exposed position over this notorious affair you might have thought the Sabah state government would have wheeled out someone else to make this announcement about an alleged state cabinet decision to keep the discredited Carbon Cowboy scam alive (aka the Nature Conservation Agreement).

However, clearly no one else is prepared to touch the issue. Equally clearly Sabah’s deputy CM has remained determined to double down and leverage his ‘kingmaker’ position as the defector who has kept the present coalition in office by keeping alive this this astonishingly outrageous but lucrative proposal.

The billions in potential private profit earmarked under this so-called NCA Agreement are due to go to an anonymously owned BVI company called Lionsgate. Perhaps Mr Kitingan can enlighten Sabahans as to the shareholders given it is he who has driven this deal?  So far he has refused to do so.

Meanwhile, his latest ploy is to attempt to fig leaf the “Incomplete”, “illegal”, “inequitable”, “absurd”, “unfair” arrangement (to quote Sabah’s own Attorney General) by dragging the already discredited Yayasan Sabah into the mix as the new ‘local partner’. This is an organisation that has sadly been enmeshed in numerous timber kickback scandals over the years as the forests it was meant to conserve were mowed down.

Indeed, some of those scandals involved the very same Mr Kitingan who was charged in 1990 with receiving over a million ringgit in timber kickbacks whilst himself director of the Yayasan foundation (his brother being chief minister of the state). His aide de camp at Yayasan was the same Stan Lassa Golokin who is now the ‘authorised representative’ of the Singapore private company Hoch Standard Pty Ltd that is party to the ‘NCA’.

As for the laughable claim that “Hoch Standard will assist Sabah Foundation in this new role by providing the necessary technology and know-how” might one remind readers that Hoch Standard is a one thousand dollar special purpose vehicle set up to sign the agreement that gives it a guaranteed 30% of the putative $80 billion that Sabah could stand to earn in profits from carbon sales under this arrangement. All costs of the arrangement will be carried by the state and there is a cast iron penalty clause.

Hoch Standard therefore is a shell company without staff, expertise, resources or anything else beyond the dubious record of Mr Golokin to recommend it as an advisor to Yayasan Sabah. By agreeing now that in return Hoch Standard will pay 5% of its loot to the foundation Kitingan has merely agreed to a minor haircut on the deal in what he plainly sees as a compromise having been caught red handed trying to loot the state.

Everyone knows the situation is preposterous and outrageously corrupted. However, the present Sabah government is in hock to Kanga Kitingan and his Hoch Standard, Lionsgate consortium. So, rather than bring in the cops they are giving in, in just the same manner they let the timber kickback king Musa Aman off his string of kleptocracy charges.

Meanwhile, the same Kitingan who achieved his good election result by preaching racial politics against Sabah’s settlers is now abandoning those voters by agreeing to tackle the necessary concessions he had promised to oppose.

If the present state government is unable to act against Kitingan Sabahans should accept the fact that corrupt actors will never work in the public interest and vote the lot of them back out.

Blatant Greed Will Crash Sarawak's Ambitions To Make Easy Carbon Money

Mambong assemblyman Datuk Dr Jerip Susil has revealed that Sarawak might pass a law or Bill on carbon credit trading this year.

When that happens, the state will be the first in Malaysia to do so.

Dr Jerip, who is also  Assistant Transport Minister said, “This year, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg is going to enact a law or Bill to ensure that there is carbon credit trading (in the state). By June this year, there will be laws to ensure how to do carbon credit trading. It will be one of the big things coming this year.

“Our neighbouring country, Indonesia is already far ahead with carbon credit trading.

“After all, with the climate changes in the world, there are people who are going to pay a certain amount of money for  preservation of forest and timber  in the jungles. But we need laws for that, so either by May or June, the law will be there..

“There is also going to be a huge conference in Sarawak this year on how to do environmental sustainability in all these areas because Borneo is one of the oldest rainforests that still exist  (in the world),” he said during the official launch of the new logo for Persatuan Usahawan Bidayuh Penrissen (PUBP)  at a renowned hotel here on Saturday (Feb 19).

“Imagine all the Bungs – Bung Penrissen, Bung Bratak, Bung Sepit – all the mountains, all the Tapang trees being preserved and  every Tapang tree being paid five United States dollars every year,” added the assistant minister.

Our comment

Back in 2006 the Editor of Sarawak Report was invited to Sarawak to attend a grand ‘Environment’ Conference…. about conserving the oldest rainforest in the world.

What she discovered was that the then Chief Minister, having grabbed control of all the levers of power and positions of state, had in fact been mowing down the 150 million rainforest as fast as he could cash it in. In the process he had magically become a multi-billionaire. Sarawak Report was formed and has been watching these greedy hypocrites ever since.

Now his successor has plainly decided to follow much the same playbook. Having conducted a preposterously stage-managed election in the middle of Covid to secure his position against his rivals Abang Jo has now likewise taken control of every position worth having in the government to make absolutely sure no one can question anything he does. Parliament tends to sit for a fortnight a year in Sarawak.

However, now that most of the once abundant rainforest is in fact destroyed he is looking to his various options. On the one had he is seeking to destroy what little jungle is left along the borders with Indonesia where his government this week said it was applying to Putrajaya to get support to ‘develop’ the region to take advantage of Indonesia’s plans to move huge numbers of people to destroy the other side of the border to build a new capital (having sunk the previous one).

On the other he hopes to make money out of pretending there is jungle to claim carbon credits off besides the areas he is seeking to log and destroy.

A basic education is needed for these power grabbers who are blinded by the dollar signs in their eyes. REDD credits are not going to be offered to a country who destroys what jungle they have, whilst promising to grow something somewhere else. And palm oil plantations do not count as ‘conserving jungle’ either – nor do Acacia or other plantations. To brag about the oldest jungle in the world when you are responsible for having destroyed it is an obnoxious advertisement for the rest of the world as well.

The present rulers in Sarawak do not love nature, the trees or the people and animals they love cash. They want all the symbols of extreme wealth without realising these are things you cannot eat and that the resources they are destroying are finite. However, those who are proposing to pay for carbon credits do understand these things and they will not invest in a sham that does them no favours with regulators or their governments.

It is time these greedy old men were replaced by a more sensitive and educated younger generation who might just be able to repair some of the epic damage that has been done to save a living habitat for their own children and beyond.

Who Owns Lionsgate (BVI) Mr Kitingan?

Everything is alright about Sabah’s Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA), said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

“It is going good (well). Those who make noise, they do not understand or because they have some personal or private interests, that is why they said something.

“Actually nothing is not good, everything is good, the only thing is that we do not open about it (NCA) earlier,” he told reporters after the launching of “We Be-Leaf” initiative programme at a preschool here.

Last year, the 100-year agreement was secretly signed between Sabah government and Singapore’s private firm Hoch Standard that would look into carbon and nature trade deals involving up to 2 million hectares of state land.

Jeffrey, who is also state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, had said that the Chief Minister had instructed him to realise the carbon trade deal.

Following the expose, conservationists and politicians have come forward to object to the deal due to lack of transparency.

Our comment

So, the Deputy Chief Minister has had the brass necked cheek to accuse those who have raised the alarm over the disgraceful secret plot to put billions of dollars worth of Sabah’s carbon assets into the hands of a private company of having “personal interests” in the matter!

Thus does he highlight the exact concern about his own management of the shady arrangement which his own government’s Attorney General has now slammed as “Incomplete”, “illegal”, “inequitable”, “absurd” and “unfair”.

However, in the process of making this libellous allegation against his critics, before hilariously claiming he can say no more because the matter is ‘sub judice’ (it is not yet a criminal case so sub juice does not apply), Kitingan made a major admission. He said that the Chief Minister had put him in charge of the whole process of setting up this carbon trade deal.

So we are now confirmed that Kitingan is indeed the man responsible for this entire scandalous state of affairs. He drove through the secret ‘negotiated’ contract that was NOT put to tender nor any form of consultation either. He CHOSE the private company Hoch Standard with whom this deal that is so contrary to the interests of the people of Sabah was made.

So, Mr Kitingan, who is the anonymous shareholder of Hoch Standard, namely the beneficial owner of Lionsgate in the British Virgin Islands? If anyone knows the answer it has to be you.

It is this anonymous entity that holds the ‘private and personal interest’ in this bogus Nature Conservation Agreement not those who rightly criticised the deal for all the reasons that have been pointed out by the state’s own chief law officer.

Unless Mr Kitingan is prepared to stop hiding behind his ludicrous and baseless excuse that the matter is now the subject of a civil action (which accords no privacy rights in the manner he suggests) and unless he is prepared to provide this simple piece of what ought to be public information about who owns Lionsgate, then the people of Sabah are fully entitled to come to an obvious conclusion.

That conclusion would be that the owner is either Mr Kitingan himself or interests connected to him. In short, that the “private and personal interest’ is his own.