Picking non-auditor as A-G shocking, says Zaid

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PETALING JAYA: The appointment of a non-auditor as the new auditor-general is “shocking”, says DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim.

“The appointment of a non-auditor as our new auditor-general is clear proof that we do not care about our country,” said Zaid, who is also a former de facto law minister.

“We all know the scope of a government audit is broader, far more complex and diverse compared with a private sector audit because the demand for compliance is far greater.

“The constitution and the Audit Act 1957 put an onerous burden on the auditor-general. It’s not just about auditing financial statements and carrying out a performance audit.

“The constitution requires the auditor-general to carry out a compliance audit as well, which requires the auditor-general to ensure the activities of departments and ministries comply with our laws and regulations.

“The auditor-general is also duty-bound to inform MPs if the government is doing its job properly. That’s why the Auditor-General’s Report is tabled (although not debated) in Parliament. Continue reading

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Who is Hadi to call Muslims ‘lost sheep’, asks Siti Kasim

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PETALING JAYA: An incensed Siti Kasim has hit back at PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang for his demeaning remarks about Muslims who chose to give his pro-shariah rally the miss last weekend.

Speaking to FMT, the outspoken activist and lawyer said Hadi had no right to chastise Muslims who had refrained from participating in the PAS Himpunan 355 rally last Saturday.

“How can he speak in such a tone of the people who didn’t turn up for his rally? We could have done the same to those who didn’t turn up for our counter rally. But we didn’t.

“The bottom line is, he has no right to speak on behalf of anyone. This goes to show the arrogance of Hadi. Who is he to label Muslims who didn’t turn up as ‘lost sheep’?”

Yesterday, Hadi declared PAS’ pro-shariah rally a success while calling those who failed to attend “sheep separated from their flock, only to fall prey to wild wolves”. Continue reading

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Police: North Korean diplomat seen sending off 4 murder suspects

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PETALING JAYA: Police sources say the North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over Kim Jong Nam’s murder was caught on video sending off four suspects back to Pyongyang.

Speaking to online portal Channel NewsAsia, a senior police source said closed-circuit television footage showed the diplomat sending off the suspects at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“He was there at KLIA together with a staff from Air Koryo on Feb 13,” the source was quoted as saying.

The police source was referring to the North Korean embassy’s second secretary Hyon Kwang Song, 44, and North Korean airline Koryo Air employee Kim Uk Il, 37. Both men are wanted for questioning in connection with Jong Nam’s death.

Kwang Song was asked to come in for questioning yesterday, but according to The Star, officials had said that Hyon was protected by diplomatic immunity.

Unless North Korea agrees to lift the immunity, The Star added, no action could be taken by the police. Continue reading

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Malaysia losing to Indonesia, says Bloomberg

Talking about the politics of ethnicity and religion, Bloomberg.com said Malaysia is slowly losing out to Indonesia in what it calls the reversal of fortunes of the neighbouring states.

It said the two Muslim majority nations are still wrestling with the politics of ethnicity and religion at odds with the capitalism of market competition, but corruption is setting Malaysia and Indonesia apart.

But the neighbours in Jakarta are gaining the favours of investors, for example, while Malaysia is shunned on many fronts.

The article lists down the changes that are occurring in both Malaysia and Indonesia and which are indicative of a reverse of fortunes.

Yet the only thing that seems to put the two countries on the same path is the rise of a form of Islamism or a need to be more Islamic in both countries.

In Indonesia, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese Christian who is the governor of Jakarta, is running for office while defending himself against charges of blasphemy against Islam in a country of predominantly Muslim voters.

A crowd of ten thousand – indeed of Muslim faith – thronged the street of Jakarta today in a bid to put pressure on the 50% of Jakarta who is still undecided on their final choice for the future governor of one of the largest metropolitan cities in Southeast Asia.

In Malaysia, the Islamist who have now de-facto joined the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) against the opposition parties in the Pakatan Harapan, organised a rally to press for a version of Islamic law or Hudud to be implemented in the state of Kelantan.!

Then starts the stark differences, where Malaysia is losing out to Indonesia amid a barrage of corruption allegations challenging Prime Minister Najib Razak.

To Najib, the hundreds of millions of dollars in his personal account are a gift from an unidentified Saudi donor.

But to the U.S. Justice Department complaint filed in federal court last July, the accusation is that Najib took from a Malaysian government investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB.

The money is “just a portion of the more than $3 billion that was stolen from 1MDB and laundered through American financial institutions in violation of United States law,” said then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch as reported by Bloomberg.

“Unfortunately and tragically, a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account,” Lynch said at a briefing in Washington.

The civil action and asset seizures represent the “largest single action ever brought” by the Justice Department’s six-year-old Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, she said.

The Justice Department complaint says that $681 million transferred to Najib in 2013 originally came from $3 billion of bonds sold for 1MDB by an investment banking unit of New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Najib started 1MDB in 2009 to promote Malaysia development. He was the chairman of the advisory board of the fund, which is wholly-owned by the Finance Ministry.

While global investors aren’t waiting for a legal verdict, they’re already making Indonesia the favored regional economy at Malaysia’s expense, Bloomberg noted

There is also crony capitalism, which was rampant in Indonesia in during the reign of Haji Mohamed Suharto, the former Indonesian army leader who ousted President Sukarno in 1967 and who ruled for 32 years, resigned in 1998.

In the past several years, crony capitalism became one of the dubious distinction Malaysia has enjoyed in the past years, said Bloomberg.

Then there is the local currency, the Malaysian ringgit, which became the worst performer in the region, while the Indonesian rupiah strengthened 26 percent against the Malaysian ringgit since June 2014, the biggest rally so far in the new century, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

During the past three years, the Indonesian economy also has been growing at a faster rate.

As recently as the second quarter of 2014, Indonesia’s gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 1.56 percentage points less than Malaysia’s. Today, the trends are reversed, with Indonesia’s GDP advancing 0.71 percent faster than the Malaysian economy.

The creditworthiness of Malaysia worsened, with the deficit exploding to 4 percent of GDP.

That’s another way of saying that business and investment conflicts of interest don’t pay. – The Independent

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TMJ vows to ‘kick’ politicians out of Malaysian football

KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has pledged to save Malaysian football and “ensure that FAM is not used for political mileage.”

In a two-hour meet-the-fan session at a hotel here on Wednesday, Tunku Ismail vowed that he would completely overhaul the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), which he said has been in the doldrums for three decades.

Tunku Ismail is contesting the FAM president’s post on March 25 with former Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

© Provided by The Star Online

He said his main task “is to change the structure of the national body.”

“I want to make sure that the problems in FAM – mismanagement of funds, lack of professionalism, lack of passion, corruption and favouritism – will be corrected,” he said. Continue reading

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Woman shot dead five minutes after leaving office

GEORGE TOWN: It was the after- office rush hour and Ruby Lee Poh Ai had just left her freight forwarding company at a building in Lebuh Pekaka 1.

However, just some five minutes later, Lee was dead, gunned down hitman-style.

As her white car pulled out onto the main road that leads to Jalan Bukit Gambir at around 5.45pm, two men drew up on a motorcycle beside her car.

Suddenly, the pillion rider fired at least 10 shots at her.

Lee, 49, died on the spot. At least six shots struck her and her car rammed into a four-wheel drive in front at Jalan Pekaka here before screeching to a stop.

The driver of the four-wheel drive escaped unhurt.

Police believe that the assailants had been waiting for her to leave the office before killing her.

Devastated: Lee’s (inset) husband Siak Kum Guan, 51, (in off-white shirt) trying to come to terms with the news of his wife’s fatal shooting. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

Devastated: Lee’s (inset) husband Siak Kum Guan, 51, (in off-white shirt) trying to come to terms with the news of his wife’s fatal shooting. — ZHAFARAN NAS IB/The Star

Penang CID chief Senior Asst Comm Zainol Samah said she had been working in a shipping and logistics industry.

“She was neither a Datin or Datin Seri. She was also not the wife of any gangster as far as we know.

“The incident is not related to any gangland activity.

“We are still in the dark over the motive,” SAC Zainol said, adding that the case had been classified as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code. Continue reading

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Kit Siang’s 76th birthday wish: A more Malaysian Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang (pic) says his 76th birthday wish is for all Malaysians to be more “Malaysian in their thinking, outlook and response”.

In a statement released on his birthday on Monday, Lim expressed concern that even when tragic accidents occur, people involved were identified based on their race.

Citing the tragedy in Johor Baru where eight teenagers were killed when a car rammed into a group of cyclists early Saturday, Lim said the racially-charged reactions to the disaster were evidence of why Malaysians needed to embrace a more “Malaysian” mentality.

He said that this was “one example why Malaysians need to be more Malaysian in their thinking, outlook and responses, regardless of race, religion, region or culture”.

“This is not a racial but a social problem,” he said, adding that the tragedy highlighted a major social issue that parents, teachers, politicians, and authorities needed to take responsibility for. Continue reading

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