Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Malaysian Insider, MACC Statement, Justification for Blocking? AG's permission to get evidence?

Why was the Malaysian Insider website blocked? Having seen the statement issued by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission(MACC) on their website dated 24/2/2016, it is clear that the Operations Review Panel did advise that the Investigation Papers be re-submitted to the Attorney General for re-consideration. (that would imply that there was disagreement with the previous decision of the AG - remember the AG said there was insufficient evidence, and suggested(or was it ordered) that investigations be closed.(I found it difficult accessing the MACC Website - I wanted to find the various statements made by MACC, including the one at the end of 2015, regarding the MLA request, as reported in Bloomberg Business 0n 31/12/2015)

The 2nd point, is that in consideration that the investigation is incomplete, a request be made to the Attorney General to issue the required permission so that Mutual Legal Assistance(MLA) process can be used to enable the MACC to be able to obtains evidence and documents from foreign financial institutions as part of the investigations concerning the RM2.6 billion case. [I could not find the English version of the statement, so only the Malay version is copied below].

Of interest also is that it is the Operations Review Panel that requested the MACC to issue a public statement on the said 2 points, which MACC did, and the said request is also contained in the Statement. The statement was issued by the MACC, not the Operations Review Panel.

Also, it may be interesting to note that the request for utilization of Mutual Legal Assistance process was made before, according to news reports.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it made several proposals and recommendations for action in the case, according to a statement Thursday. While it has completed investigations involving witnesses in the country, the MACC said it still needs permission from the attorney general to get documents and evidence from overseas financial institutions.

"This evidence can only be taken by the Mutual Legal Assistance process because it is tied to the provision of banking legislation of the country concerned," the agency said. "MACC has made an application under the MLA to attorney general to obtain documents and evidence." - Bloomberg Business, 31/12/2015, Malaysian Anti-Graft Agency Submits Probe Results of Najib Funds
So , the questions that must be asked is did the Attorney General give the required permission to get these necessary documents and evidence from overseas financial institutions? If yes, when? If No, why not?

Obviously, in reliance of the MACC statement dated 24/2/2016, the MACC clearly still needs this permission?

Then, why did the Attorney General of Malaysia come to the decision he did about insufficiency of evidence (some reports said/implied  'No evidence')...and requested(or was it ordered) the investigations be closed, when obviously the investigation looks like it is  far from over. The failure to give the required permission Mutual Legal Assistance(MLA) process requested by the MACC is also disturbing - as clearly since this matter concerns billions transferred into account of Najib Tun Razak - it is necessary for the purpose of completion of investigations that we know who send the money, whose money it is, and necessary evidence/documents concerned, and also evidence from the people who were involved in the entire process.

Personally, I am of the opinion, that the very fact that there was billions of ringgit in the personal Bank Account of Najib Tun Razak, is sufficient evidence of to raise the legal presumption section 50 MACC Act 2009 "...proved that any gratification has been received or agreed to be received, accepted or agreed to be accepted, obtained or attempted to be obtained, solicited, given or agreed to be given, promised, or offered, by or to the accused, the gratification shall be presumed to have been corruptly received..." 

In this case, the fact that the said money was received is clear. Based on the Attorney General's own 'expose' was that not only was it received, but some of it was also utilized, and the balance was returned. Was there someone else who 'hacked' into Najib's account, and did this without his knowledge? No such allegations. In fact, Najib also may have admitted, when he stated 'not for his personal use'..

So, now the the only remaining thing that needs to be investigated and determined is 'for or on account of the matters set out in the particulars of the offence' - the WHY? For what purpose? Well, this would be required for the purpose of framing the charge. 

Was Najib's relevant account immediately freezed as soon as investigation commenced? No reports indicating it was...well, on the other hand, Malaysian Insider website was blocked - and, to date, there is no clear statement from the Commission that did this as to the reasons why specifically? 

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission(MCMC) did issue a statement on 25/2/2016 - but alas no specifics as to which article, or what the wrong was. It also contained a general warning against the publication of invalid information - the word used was 'kesahihan' . Shockingly, there is no mention of who exactly issued the Statement - was it just some Officer? Was it the Chairman of the Commission - YBhg. Dato' Sri Dr. Halim Shafie? Was it one of the Commissioners? I believe that any statement of the MCMC must at least have the name of the person issuing the Statement on behalf of the Commission.

And, one of the alleged complaints about the Malaysian Insider was the anonymous source. Here, the Commission own press statement also does not even have the name of the person issuing the statement - interesting? [Or maybe, when the statement was uploaded on their website, someone made a mistake??]. YBhg. Dato' Sri Dr. Halim Shafie must explain...
Chairman of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission
YBhg. Dato' Sri Dr. Halim Shafie

Media reports a fact that a statement was made by someone... They should not have be burdened with the additional requirement of having to prove what was said was the TRUTH - this is nonsense. Media may want to get a comment/response from the party to which the statement made refers to - but if efforts were made, and they could not get a response by press time - they publish, and would try to get the response published as soon as reasonable there after. Or are we changing the laws concerning media in Malaysia? 

1,040 at Malaysian Bar EGM adopts resolution on RM2.6 billion, 1MDB and related matters?

Clear PM Najib of corruption first - then look at 'political funding', 'election spending', etc?

Malaysian Bar - The Attorney General Must Reconsider MACC’s Investigation Papers on the Transfer of Funds into the Personal Bank Accounts of the Prime Minister

AG, Is there now sufficient reasons to re-open case against Najib and on 1MDB?

Public Prosecutor should be independent and receive no other income or be a Company Director? 

TM blocks access to Malaysian Insider? Based on Multimedia Commission's request based on an alleged offence? Unjust and draconian?

Bar :- Misuse of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to Stifle Freedom of Speech and Expression Must End




Isu SRC International Dan RM2.6 Bilion: Panel Penilaian Operasi Nasihati SPRM Supaya Ambil Tindakan Lanjut

Isu SRC International Dan RM2.6 Bilion: Panel Penilaian Operasi Nasihati SPRM Supaya Ambil Tindakan Lanjut

SURUHANJAYA Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) hari ini dinasihati oleh Panel Penilaian Operasi (PPO), yang mengadakan mesyuarat panel yang ke-29 pagi ini, berhubung perkara-perkara yang telah dibawa untuk pertimbangan Panel.

Antara lain, PPO telah menasihati SPRM berhubung kes membabitkan SRC International dan dakwaan wang derma RM2.6 bilion. SPRM telah diminta oleh PPO supaya mengeluarkan satu kenyataan umum berhubung kedua-dua perkara terbabit.

PPO bersetuju bahawa SPRM perlu mengemukakan kembali kertas siasatan berhubung SRC International kepada Peguam Negara untuk pertimbangan.

Memandangkan siasatan SPRM berhubung dakwaan wang derma RM2.6 bilion masih belum lengkap, Panel telah mengesyorkan agar SPRM meneruskan siasatannya dan memohon Peguam Negara agar mengeluarkan kebenaran Bantuan Undang-undang Bersama (MLA) bagi SPRM memperoleh bukti dan dokumen-dokumen daripada institusi kewangan di luar negara sebagai sebahagian daripada siasatan ke atas isu RM2.6 bilion.

24 FEBRUARI 2016

Malaysia blocks another news portal as 1MDB scandal deepens over oversight panel probing fund

Najib Razak
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak coming under further pressure as the net closers around state fund 1MDB.REUTERS/Olivia Harris
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has blocked online news portal, The Malaysian Insider for violating the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 after it published a story on the scandal-ridden state fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In a statement released on 25 February, the commission said restrictions were imposed after material published by the news portal were deemed to fall under Section 233 of the Act. "The restriction was also done by the MCMC based on several complaints received from the public."

The commission also reminded other news portals not to "spread or publish articles from unconfirmed sources as the act could create confusion and could trigger an unwanted situation." Those who try to gain access to the news portal are forwarded to the commission's page stating that the website is "unavailable in Malaysia as it violates the National laws."

The Malaysian Insider
This is what you get when you log on to The Malaysian Insider website in Malaysia.
The portal's editor and chief executive Jahabar Sadiq said that the company had not received any notice from the authorities. "This is an unpleasant surprise. I've tried to contact the MCMC but the officers are in a meeting," Jahabar said.

He has however taken the move in his stride, joking on Twitter that the portal has become the Malaysian Insider has asked readers to gain access to its portal via its Facebook page.
This is not the first time the authorities have clamped down on the media. In July last year, the government meted out a three month suspension to The Edge publication for its coverage of 1MDB, claiming that it threatened public order and national security.

The authorities also blocked access to British-based portal, the Sarawak Report, because it violated internet laws. The website, run by Clare Rewcastle-Brown, former BBC journalist and sister-in-law to former prime minister Gordon Brown, had published reports and documents alleging graft and mismanagement at 1MDB.

So what did The Malaysian Insider publish? On 25 February, it claimed that the Operations Review Panel had advised the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to re-submit two investigation papers on SRC International Sdn Bhd, a company linked to 1MDB, to the attorney general, saying that there is credible evidence to frame charges against Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The website quoted a panel member who did not wish to be identified as saying: "The MACC investigators had collected sufficient evidence to prove a prima facie case against Najib. We came to the conclusion as MACC investigators had also briefed us on the case. They had also answered all our queries." The panel is said to have told investigators to resubmit their investigation papers to the attorney-general.

Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali, who recently took up his post after his predecessor was let go due on health reasons by Najib, had on 26 January stated that there was insufficient evidence to charge the prime minister over 1MDB.

The claims made by The Malaysian Insider report were vehemently denied by the authorities. Hamid Bugo, the panel chairman, claimed that the person who had spoken to the news portal was not authorised to so and had misrepresented what the panel had decided.

"We further wish to add that [the] panel did not at any time say that it had 'enough proof to charge Najib over SRC' as claimed by the title of the article, or that 'there is credible evidence to frame charges'," against the prime minister, the statement said. Further, the panel also did not conclude that sufficient evidence had been gathered to prove a prima facie case against Najib.

Bugo however acknowledged that the panel did advise MACC to complete its investigation. This has been confirmed by MACC in a statement on its website. The panel had recommended that help be sought for Mutual Legal Assistance to enable it to obtain evidence and documents from financial institutions outside the country as part of the investigation.

There is another twist. The terms of the oversight panel, whose members are appointed by the prime minister, expired on 24 February 2016. No replacements were announced, giving rise to fears on whether the panel will continue in its present form.

MACC head Abu Kassim Mohamad denied news reports that the panel was being abolished. He said the government was in the process of appointing members to both the Operations Review Panel and the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, which were formed under the MACC Act 2009.

He also said the panel's recommendation to MACC on 1MDB should not be misinterpreted as challenging the attorney general who had already cleared Najib of any wrongdoing. He stressed that the power to prosecute lies with the Attorney-General under the federal constitution.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Malaysian parliamentary committee looking into allegations of graft at 1MDB said it would delay until early March a meeting scheduled for this week to scrutinise the report by AG Mohamed Apandi on 1MDB's activities.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Hamid distances himself from article statements

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Operations Review Panel chairman Tan Sri Hamid Bugo has distanced himself from an article which claimed that there was enough proof to charge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over SRC International.

In an article in The Malaysian Insider, an anonymous panel member was cited as ma­king “various statements attributed to the panel”.

“We wish to state that no anonymous source is authorised to speak for and on behalf of the panel under any circumstances.

“In any event, we hereby expressly disassociate ourselves from all such statements,” said the statement signed by Hamid and another panel member Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan.

Hamid denied that the panel had at any time said that it had “enough proof to charge Najib over SRC” as claimed by the article or that “there is credible evidence to frame charges” against him.

“The panel did not conclude that the MACC investigators had collected sufficient evidence to prove a prima facie case against Najib,” he said.

The panel of the anti-graft body was set up under the MACC Act 2009.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has confirmed that it has blocked The Malaysian Insider, for violating the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998.

“The restriction was done by the MCMC based on several complaints received from the public,” it said in a statement yesterday.- Star, 26/2/2016


MCMC confirms Malaysian Insider ban, warns others against publishing unverified reports

MCMC confirms Malaysian Insider ban, warns others against publishing unverified reports
the restriction was also based on complaints and information received from the public.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) today confirmed that is has blocked The Malaysian Insider portal due to its contents which have flouted Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

In a statement today, MCMC stated that the restriction was also based on complaints and information received from the public.

MCMC also warned other news portals against publishing unverified reports since this will cause confusion and untoward incident.

Earlier today, access to news portal The Malaysian Insider has been blocked by several internet service providers for violating the country's law.

The ban was reported to have affected Celcom and Unifi users.

The Malaysian Insider, in a response earlier, said that it never received any notice prior to the ban.- Astro Awani, 25/2/2016

MCMC Sekat Laman The Malaysian Insider

CYBERJAYA, 25 Februari 2016 --- Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (MCMC) telah menyekat laman The Malaysian Insider ekoran tindakan portal berkenaan yang telah mengeluarkan kandungan-kandungan yang menjurus kepada kesalahan di bawah Seksyen 233, Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia 1998.
Sekatan tersebut juga dilakukan oleh MCMC berdasarkan aduan-aduan dan maklumat yang diterima daripada orang ramai.
Sehubungan itu, MCMC memperingatkan portal-portal berita agar tidak menyebarkan atau menyiarkan artikel-artikel yang tidak ditentukan kesahihannya. Ini kerana, tindakan sedemikian boleh mengundang kekeliruan dan mencetuskan situasi yang tidak diingini.
Friday February 26, 2016
01:00 PM GMT+8
February 26, 2016
02:03 PM GMT+8

 SHAH ALAM, Feb 26 ― News portal The Malaysian Insider was blocked due to a news report quoting an anonymous source on a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory panel which contradicted official statements by the commission, Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said today.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister said that the ministry was not in charge of making the call, but was informed of it by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) of the portal's breach of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

“One of their articles quoted a statement that could cause confusion because it contradicts with official statements by MACC.

“They don't mention who the source is. It could confuse the public,” he said after launching Karnival Karangkraf 2016 here today.

“We have no problems with freedom of speech, opinions can be shared. But there are information that must be mentioned.

In this case, the panel member was not named. We must be responsible.

“There are many websites that criticise the government. It is not a problem,” Salleh said.

Salleh Said added that the action to block TMI’s site was based on complaints and initial investigations, and that the MCMC will cooperate with the police for the full investigation.

Yesterday, members of an independent MACC panel rejected a TMI report quoting an unnamed source from the panel claiming there was enough evidence to prosecute Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In the statement issued by Tan Sri Hamid Bugo, the chairman of the Operations Review Panel, and another member, they said the individual who made the claim was not authorised to do so and had misrepresented what the panel decided.

Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act deal with the improper use of network facilities or network services, that include content that is “obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person”.

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