Joint Statement – A FRENCH INDICTMENT IS A CHARGE, AND RAZAK BAGINDA HAS BEEN INDICTED

 

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (SUARAM) & THE CENTER TO COMBAT CORRUPTION & CRONYISM (C4 CENTER), welcome the recent developments in the Scorpene inquiry being conducted at Tribunal deGrande Instance, in Paris.

We congratulate investigating judge Roger LeLoire for his determination and diligence in arriving at such critical outcomes and bringing the inquiry to new turning points, 5 years since the investigations started.

On 1 August 2017, news broke that key negotiator to the deal Abdul Razak Baginda was indicted for active and passive complicity to corruption and abuse of corporate assets. The reports of the indictment were confirmed by our French lawyer, William Bourdon, who took a break from his summer vacation, to talk with us briefly.

He informed us that investigating judge Mr LeLoire has written a separate 11 page judgment on the grounds for Razak Baginda’s indictment and rationale for pressing criminal charges against him. Mr Bourdon has informed us that his office will obtain this document upon returning from his leave.

“Baginda has been indicted. That is confirmed on 18 July 2017. An investigating judge has the powers to press criminal charges, against suspects he finds has violated French laws, in this case the OECD convention as well. There should not be any doubts to this, as France has a 2-tier court system. All indicted persons will be brought before a higher court, when this inquiry completes shortly”, Mr Bourdon told us over the telephone yesterday evening.

The indictment of Baginda has confirmed our greatest fears that grand corruption has taken place and that millions of Malaysians tax payers’ money have been swindled, through the procurement of the arms deal back in 2002.

It has moved the inquiry at the French tribunal to a critical turning point, that requires immediate and urgent cooperation by the Malaysian government, to oblige its commitment under the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), to extend its cooperation to France and commit to resolve this case and bring the corrupt offenders to face justice and account to the Malaysian people.

It is no longer tenable for the Malaysian authorities to dismiss the Scorpene deal as above board and keep silent on the damning developments in France, given that a key Malaysian official and negotiator in the deal has been pressed with preliminary criminal charges, pointing to massive cross border corruption.

As Prime Minister Najib was the Defence Minister that signed on the contract then, we urge for him to answer, for what happened then, and what would be the steps taken by Malaysian institutions, particularly the MACC and the Attorney General’s chambers.

Let this not be another 1MDB.

Released By

Cynthia Gabriel                                                          Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director, C4 CENTER                                Executive Director, SUARAM
012-3792189                                                              016-9708370

 

CIVIL SOCIETY SAYS AYE TO RCIS ON 1MDB, BMF AND FOREX LOSSES

CIVIL SOCIETY SAYS AYE TO RCIS ON 1MDB, BMF AND FOREX LOSSES
Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser, 9 Feb 2017

At last, the two political coalitions in the country have been forced through their grandstanding to call for Royal Commissions of Inquiry (RCIs) into three of the worst financial scandals in recent Malaysian history. Pakatan Harapan has of course been calling for an RCI into the most recent 1MDB scandal that has made international headlines. To get at the former Prime Minister and new member of Pakatan Harapan, Dr Mahathir, the BN Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has called for an RCI to look into the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance Limited (BMF) and Bank Negara foreign exchange (forex) scandals as these equally big financial scandals have never been investigated by an RCI and charges imposed.

Malaysian civil society says Aye to both these calls since the government can never regain the trust of the people until these three multi-billion financial losses have been accounted for and the negligent and corrupt leaders have been brought to account.

1MDB

The first RCI should investigate the current financial scandal around 1MDB. 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the state investment fund has come under investigation for alleged impropriety after reports emerged that investigators traced some US$700 million wired into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank accounts. 1MDB was 42 billion ringgit in debt at the time of the scandal. Investigations by the US Department of Justice has uncovered the fact that insiders siphoned off billions of dollars and treated themselves to penthouse apartments in New York, a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills and paintings by Monet and Van Gogh. An independent RCI can uncover who authorized these enormous sums of taxpayers’ money to be abused in this way and recommend appropriate convictions of the corrupt and negligent.

Forex losses in the 90s

There has also been no RCI into the colossal forex losses as a result of speculation by Bank Negara in the international currency markets from 1992-1994, with the losses cited as ranging from RM10 billion to RM30 billion. Such a RCI can determine the actual extent of the colossal forex losses and whether there had been any financial malpractices and abuses by then Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Bank Negara Governor in view of the inconsistencies and conflicting explanations about the colossal forex losses. The RCI should recommend the appropriate charges for those who abused their powers.

The BMF Scandal in the 80s

One of the first scandals soon after Mahathir came into office in the 80s was the RM2.5 billion scandal in Bumiputra Malaysia Finance, a Hong Kong based subsidiary of state-owned Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad. Besides the wide range of shady dealings involving the Carrian Group, the sordid details included the murder of a BBMB auditor who had gone to Hong Kong to investigate the propriety of the loans. No RCI has thoroughly investigated this scandal to see who in Kuala Lumpur had authorized those shady deals and recommended the appropriate charges against those responsible for this massive financial scandal.

Other financial scandals of the 80s and 90s

There have been other financial scandals including the $600 million losses suffered by the country over the Maminco-Makuwasa tin caper on 19 Nov 1986, the “piratisation” of the North-South Highway in 1987, the bail out of Mirzan Mahathir’s Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd as well as Renong during the 1997 financial crisis, Perwaja Steel’s RM9 billion liabilities.

No trust if there is impunity

Malaysian civil society demands social justice, democracy and human rights and there is no place for impunity. Impunity is especially common in countries that do not respect the rule of law, that suffers from corruption and have entrenched systems of patronage, or where the judiciary is weak. The First Principle of the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity, submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on 8 February 2005 states that:

“Impunity arises from a failure by States to meet their obligations to investigate violations; to take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators, particularly in the area of justice, by ensuring that those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted, tried and duly punished; to provide victims with effective remedies and to ensure that they receive reparation for the injuries suffered; to ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations.”

CAN A SNAP ELECTION DECIDE THE CM’S INNOCENCE?

CAN A SNAP ELECTION DECIDE THE CM’S INNOCENCE?
Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 20 July 2016

After the asinine and vexatious ‘Kajang Move’ when Pakatan forced a byelection in Kajang in 2014, we now hear the DAP is contemplating a snap election in the entire Penang state. If, as some political analysts have said, that this move is motivated by internal DAP power politics to consolidate the power of the incumbent, then it is certainly asinine and vexatious. And if this is an attempt by the DAP leadership at a so-called “referendum” on the Chief Minister’s beleaguered situation, they should think again…

ALL politicians must be free of corruption

The DAP should know that even if they win a landslide victory at this proposed snap election, it does not decide the verdict of the Chief Minister’s corruption charges. The Chief Minister’s innocence can only be decided by the Malaysian Judiciary. So why burden the electorate with this time and money wasting ploy? Is the entire election campaign going to be a detailed examination of the facts in the CM’s corruption charges? Obviously not…

The question of selective prosecution is a separate issue although it does not rule out the fact that ALL politicians and public servants – without exception – must be FREE OF CORRUPTION whether these cases involve 2.6 billion or 2.6 million or even 2.6 thousand ringgit. To presume – as is implied in the snap election move – that the Chief Minister of Penang is incorruptible is as absurd as the belief in human angels!

Try and argue selective prosecution

The Chief Minister of Penang can certainly try and claim that there is selective prosecution in his case by showing that the prosecutorial policy was motivated by a discriminatory purpose and that similarly situated individuals of a different class or political party were not prosecuted. Nevertheless, the merits of his own corruption case will still need to be examined in court. Needless to say, the Attorney General will elicit cases involving past UMNO Menteris Besar who have been charged to show that there is no selective prosecution.

We can only hope that when and if Pakatan does come into federal power, they will change the system to ensure that the Attorney General is truly independent. For the moment, short of the DAP declaring itself a revolutionary party and will have nothing to do with the bourgeois state, we are stuck with the Malaysian Judiciary – warts and all – at this point in time. In fact there are so many DAP lawyers doing very well in their legal careers I doubt very much that they are about to boycott the Malaysian Judiciary!

No, a snap election for the whole of Penang state will be wasteful, counter-productive and most importantly, will not decide the innocence or guilt of the Chief Minister in his corruption charges.

DAP’S DILEMMA VISAVIS THE BOURGEOIS STATE

DAP’S DILEMMA VISAVIS THE BOURGEOIS STATE
Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, 4 July 2016

Zaid Ibrahim’s recent call to the Opposition to boycott elections in Malaysia brings into full circle the boycott of the 1969 general election by the Labour Party which gave the DAP the opportunity to replace the former as the main opposition party in Malaysia in the first place. Does Zaid really think that the DAP leadership has changed so much these 47 years that they now think in such principled terms?

In other words, the DAP were by no means the principled socialists who could see that the Malaysian state, which had incarcerated practically the entire leadership of the Labour Party before the general election, was the executive that managed the interests of the bourgeoisie. The Malaysian state used the ISA and other oppressive laws to shackle the Labour Party so that it was unable to participate fully in the electoral process. Any principled socialist would at least have an opinion about such underhand tactics by the Malaysian state ruling on behalf of the whole bourgeoisie.

Cheating at the democracy game

The dominant regime has undertaken a “rebranding exercise” in their methods of maintaining their rule – the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance have now become SOSMA, POCA and POTA while the Sedition Act remains a colonial relic that is still a useful net to fling over all detractors.

What about the Malaysian Judiciary? Have the DAP leaders ever had high hopes of its independence? So what’s new?

The ISA and other oppressive laws are merely one aspect of the ways the bourgeois state cheats at this democracy game. The other methods of bending the rules include: gerrymandering and other tricks of electioneering; control of the media by the state and its allies among the bourgeoisie, various methods of vote buying using state resources, the trusted use of communalism and not forgetting, selective prosecution.

But since the DAP do not believe in any alternative to the capitalist state of Malaysia, they have to play by the rules of liberal democracy in this system even though it is very clear that the regime practices selective prosecution.

Any leader charged with a felony HAS to step down

It is a matter of principle and procedure under such a system of liberal democracy that anyone in a position of power who has been charged with serious felony such as corruption, HAS to step down, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. This means that any elected leader who has been indicted on such a charge, is required to step down, at least temporarily, although they remain innocent until proven guilty. This rule of democracy applies to ALL leaders, irrespective of whether they are federal or state or municipal leaders.

This principle continues to apply even if the indicted leader’s executive committee votes unanimously to retain him, nor can a leader’s innocence be determined by any political campaign to whip up support for the indicted leader.

From the perspective of law and justice, a refusal to step down relies on the preposterous assumption that the leader in question, who is surely mortal, is INCORRUPTIBLE!  Unlike ABBA, jurists do not believe in angels…

If such is the case, then let the judicial system that the DAP has supported all these years, decide.

Imagine that the PM has been charged with corruption…

By not stepping down, the DAP leaders are setting a dangerous precedent for the eventuality that the Prime Minister or some other UMNO Chief Minister is similarly charged with corruption. Will we allow them to cling to their posts simply because their Cabinet or Executive Committee unanimously votes to retain them? And can the PM go on a nation-wide tour to whip up support from his supporters? Will this testify to his innocence if he receives widespread support all over the country? Or let us take this further: The PM conducts a nation-wide referendum to gauge the peoples’ opinion of his guilt or innocence – Is that going to prove his innocence?

All elected leaders are accountable and recallable

In any democracy including a workers’ government such as was seen in the Paris Commune in 1871, accountability and recallability are expected of the legislative and executive leaders elected by workers’ representatives.

PAKATAN’S UNACCEPTABLE TOLERANCE OF CORRUPTION

PAKATAN’S UNACCEPTABLE TOLERANCE OF CORRUPTION
Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 21 May 2016

A disturbing pattern is emerging. Pakatan leaders are so involved in their internal bickering they do not seem to realise what they are exposing about themselves. What is emerging appears to be a pattern of an unacceptable level of TOLERANCE of corruption within the Pakatan coalition itself…

PKR Secretary-general Rafizi Ramli’s most recent expose of corruption involving money and “women” for those wanting to deal with the Selangor government was made with the standard proviso that he “MIGHT take action unless…” He said he received the complaint from a “bonafide person that apart from money, now there are also requests for women when dealing with the state government”.

This is not the first time we are witnessing such a tolerance of corruption by Pakatan leaders in which the alleged corrupt person involved is given a CHOICE of following a course set out by the accusers in the coalition. We saw such a strategy at work during the gambit to get rid of the former Menteri Besar of Selangor Khalid Ibrahim when PKR leader Saifuddin Nasution waved a file of alleged corrupt practices over the Khalid’s head to force him to step down as MB. However, since the day Khalid did indeed step down as MB, we have heard nothing more of the alleged corruption scandals on which his removal was apparently based.

Does the former MB not have to face these allegations of corrupt practices anymore and does he not have to accept the consequences if found guilty? Did the tax payers of Selangor suffer any loss of their state revenue as a result of the alleged wrongdoing? If so, should he not have to pay these back to Selangor tax payers?

On the other hand, if the alleged corrupt practices are found to be concocted and untenable, do the Pakatan leaders who were responsible for such irresponsible ruses (including the frivolous Kajang Move) not have to face the consequences of their actions?

This is not all. During the so-called “Kajang Move”, the resignation of the Kajang ADUN to pave the way for the by-election seemed like a smooth and gallant act by the previous ADUN. In fact, insiders have intimated the fact that a similar file of alleged corruption was held over his head if he had not resigned willingly.

Zero tolerance of corruption

So what does this tell us about the attitude by the Pakatan leadership to corruption? They have shown us that they are prepared to tolerate corrupt practices as long as the guilty ones follow the coalition’s wishes. This is totally unacceptable.

In the reformed Malaysia that Malaysians yearn for, there must be zero-tolerance of corruption. We expect every case of corruption to be reported to the relevant authorities including the police, and nothing less than that.

Corrupt leaders and civil servants have to be accountable to the people. Furthermore, they have to pay back what they have corruptly obtained from the people and atone for their indiscretion. And this is irrespective of whether the amount of money involved is 2.6 billion in your personal bank account or 2.6 million that you paid for a house…

And just as the recently  proposed ‘anti-corruption’ module in education is unlikely to work unless it is taught by exemplars of integrity, all those in power would do well to remember that children will always model behaviours over words…

So watch your thoughts for they can become words, watch your words for they become actions!