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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Websites, Clothing, Pamphlets and printed material blocked/prohibited by Ministers at the last minute? Why? Most Embarassing?

Respect the right to participate in peaceful assembly...

When did the Bersih 4 rally become 'illegal'? Who declared it 'illegal'? Did the court declare this intended peaceful assembly illegal? I do not recall any such court order..

Malaysian government is 'seriously over reacting'? Are we not a democracy? Our right is only not to 'once in every 5 years' to vote in General Elections. People want to be continuous participation in democratic Malaysia - and that means freedom of opinion, expression - and, of the right to participate in peaceful assembly...

Now, the Malaysian government has blocked 4 websites (and could be more)..

The Home Minister, who also happen to be our Deputy Prime Minister, have by order prohibited "Any yellow coloured clothing and which contains the words 'Bersih 4'" and "Any other printed material and pamphlet which leads to Bersih 4 rally". The Order is dated 27/8/2015(Thursday) - when the intended peaceful assembly is scheduled for 28-29 August. This gives no time for anyone to challenge this Order in Court, which may have been possible if this Order was made long before...

We really must review our laws that empower Ministers or Government from making such arbitrary orders that deny our freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and right to a peaceful assembly. We can also add the right to information...which we may have freely gotten through websites, or even these 'printed material and pamphlets' - so, in effect it also denies our right to share information and views with others... 

The Executive powers to act on their own in such matters should be removed - at the very least, they would need to take the matter to the courts. 

Thanks to Dr Mahathir, and our Prime Ministers, they have made the Executive too powerful..., and this must end. There must be checks and balances in place - and that certainly must include now the ordinary people of Malaysia...

 

  

 

Saturday August 29, 2015 MYT 12:03:37 AM

Bersih 4: MCMC blocks four websites

KUALA LUMPUR: The Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has blocked four websites found to be promoting and disseminating information about the illegal Bersih 4 rally. 

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the four websites were http://bersih.org, http://globalbersih.org, http://www.bersih.org and http://www.globalbersih.org.

"I was told that four sites have been blocked," he told Bernama when contacted here Friday. 

On Thursday, the MCMC said in a statement that it would block any websites or news portals found to be promoting, disseminating information and encouraging the public to participate in the illegal rally as such action could be detrimental to the country.

"So far, no news portals were found to be promoting the rally, just more on reporting, so there was no violation of law ... there's no reason for news portal operators to be worried," Salleh said. 

Bernama attempted to access the blocked websites and encountered a blank “server error” page with a note saying "the resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable". - BERNAMA - Star, 29/8/2015

Home Ministry bans yellow clothing, ‘Bersih 4’ words


A screengrab of the government gazette banning yellow clothing, as well as clothes with the words 'Bersih 4,' and also printed material connected to the rally that is set to take place tomorrow and Sunday in Kuala Lumpur and other cities. – August 28, 2015.A screengrab of the government gazette banning yellow clothing, as well as clothes with the words 'Bersih 4,' and also printed material connected to the rally that is set to take place tomorrow and Sunday in Kuala Lumpur and other cities. – August 28, 2015. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has banned the use of yellow with the words Bersih 4 in whatever form ahead of the rally in three Malaysian cities tomorrow.

A government gazette signed by the minister yesterday and which came into effect today states that the order was made under the Printing, Presses and Publications Act 1984.

The Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) (No. 22) Order 2015 lists as "absolutely prohibited throughout Malaysia" the following items:

"Any yellow coloured clothing and which contains the words 'Bersih 4'" and "Any other printed material and pamphlet which leads to Bersih 4 rally". A copy of the order in a Federal Government Gazette is available online. It was dated August 27 and comes into force today.

The order states that the "printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, sale, issue, circulation, distribution, or possession" of these items are "likely prejudicial to public order," as well as to security and national interest.

News of the order began circulating this evening, some 12 hours ahead of the rally which kicks off in the capital city at 2pm tomorrow.

In an immediate response, Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah told those bent on using the tees to proceed if they wished to do so.

"For those who have already made up their minds, carry on wearing your #Bersih4 t-shirts tomorrow. If you want to be cheeky, try adding a point zero after the number 4 on your t-shirt," she said.

She said those who are "anxious" or first-timers could wear any other attire, adding that they could wave the Malaysian flag to celebrate Merdeka which falls on Monday.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee member New Sin Yew said the order had effectively made millions of Malaysians criminal.

He said it was made with bad faith and should be challenged in court.

"It is clear that it is made to disrupt and prevent the people from exercising their freedom of expression," he told The Malaysian Insider.

New, who is a lawyer, said the order flies in the face of reason and common sense.

"There is a word for this, xanthophobia, fear of the colour yellow. Zahid has become xanthophobic," he said.

New urged the public to come to the rally without any fear because the order was unreasonable.
 
The rally organiser, electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, this week sold at least 35,000 rally t-shirts and received RM2 million in public donations – a response it described as overwhelming and unprecedented.

The rally's demands this time are for institutional reform, the right to protest, a corruption-free and clean government and political system, and measures to save the economy.

This is the fourth Bersih rally since the first in 2007, and is held at a time when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is under pressure to account for an alleged financial scandal involving Finance Ministry-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd, as well as a RM2.6 billion political donation that went into his personal bank accounts.

Participants of the rally in Kuala Lumpur are planning to meet at five locations across the city before converging on the streets around Dataran Merdeka, where they plan to stage an overnight camp-out.

Police have declared the rally illegal, but lawyers say there is no law to stop people from gathering peacefully. – August 28, 2015.
 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Believe majority supports - and survey results not a true indicator?

Surveys do not reveal the true feelings of Malaysians..

Ask a Malaysian on TV whether he supports the Prime Minister, more likely than not he will say he supports...

Ask a Malaysian personally or over the phone or even by e-mail, the result will be the same.. [Remember, there are still many Malaysians that believe that the government knows how they voted - which is most unlikely, but alas that is the perception]. 

Hence, when more people fearlessly and 'openly' come out and express their opinions, more so when it is against the PM/Government/Powers of the Day, it is indeed a strong indicator of the sentiment of the nation ... but remember, amongst those who said that they are not 'against the PM/Government/Powers of the Day' or against this 'peaceful assembly' this weakend, the truth is that more likely than not, many may have not told you the truth. 

This is Malaysia - not some truly democratic country where the government does not threaten its citizens with repercussions when it comes to freedom of expression, opinions and peaceful protests - if it is against the views and position of the powers of the day. Public sector employees, including teachers, have been threatened. Businessman worry about contracts and their future.. 

FEAR - that is a very real factor in Malaysia, and most Malaysians will not openly express their true feelings... the worry is possible identification, and the possible retaliation by the sitting Prime Minister, BN government and political parties; the risk of being 'discriminated against' is a concern...

Even on online media, how many of us really use our real names? How many even post comments or press 'Like'? Remember, our Malaysian government has instilled sufficient 'fear' - which it also shown, not to be just threats - but threats that will be followed up with action. Now, especially when we see the removal of the DPM and Ministers, the removal of the AG, the harassment of even enforcement agencies and their officers - do you think a survey will disclose the truth?

Hence, a survey in Malaysia will not reveal the true picture especially on these matters of concern now...

It is also disappointing that the people who conducted the survey do not see us all as Malaysians - but chose to be 'divisive' based on ethnicity? Why do you still want to be like the BN government, and try to divide Malaysians according to ethnicity? Why the promotion of racism? 

It is OK to look at persons response based on age-groups, household income, even geographic (Klang Valley and other places, urban or rural) - but please stop trying to keep Malaysians divided based on race and religion - you are just promoting 'racism', and I would consider it being against our vision of one day all being treated as equal Malaysians.

Well, let's talk about race, ethnicity and culture... There are fundamental differences in way people communicate 
- some wants to get down straight to the point, some will rather want to 'get to know first' and listen to other views first, ...
- some, if they object, will immediately speak out and make known their objections, others will keep quite when they object  ..
- some will tell you who they voted for - others will just never tell you who they voted for...
- some are angry if you talk business during a meal...others may be OK with it...

In a multi-ethnic multi-religious nation like Malaysia, we know and understand some of these differences...but alas, some may still be ignorant of it due to life choices and their circumstances.. Who were your friends growing up? Were they just those from the same class background, same religion, same cultural background, same language speaking group...or was it more diverse... Divisions persist and maintain primarily due to ignorance which leads prejudice.

Some Barisan Nasional parties promotes divisions based on race. The very basis of their major political parties is 'racial' - and to continue to exist and be relevant, these parties need to promote 'racism'..?
Their general thinking ...we fight for the survival of good of our ethnic group - people of a particular ethnic group must come together and fight for their rights, if not these rights will all be taken away by the 'people of the other ethnic groups' - without this party, people of our ethnicity will suffer... 

The tactic of using religion and race to divide people is a strategy that the UMNO led coalition has used since Independence, and naturally for political survival and relevance, such ethnic based parties has done us all a great wrong by continuing to emphasize on our ethnic difference rather that commonalities as a Malaysian people.

This BN 'brainwashing' has been successful - and obviously media, people who conduct surveys and also many Opposition politics still talk about Malaysians not as 1 nation 1 people - but looks and emphasizes our ethnic differences. Malaysian Bar, trade unions and civil society groups may have succeeded in avoiding using ethnic and religious issues in their movements - and hopefully all of us in Malaysia will also start looking at Malaysians as Malaysians....full stop.
When we look at things from just the ethnic or religious perspectives - it can distract or impede our focus on issues of concern in our Malaysian community. The poor and the marginalized suffer most - when we should be helping Malaysian poor, we see people just concern for the poor of their own ethnicity. Even, in our budget there is allocation help particular ethnic groups... when it really should be helping all who needs assistance, irrespective of their race or religion.

Malaysian Insider title of their report was better, whilst the Malaysiakini's title, ' Poll: Support for Bersih 4 split along racial lines' clearly emphasizes ethnicity rather than being 1Malaysian. Choice of title, and emphasis in the contents of the reports clearly rest with the reporter and the Editors.

Malaysians split over Bersih rally, survey finds


There are marked differences in opinion among Malaysians regarding tomorrow’s Bersih 4 rally. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 28, 2015.There are marked differences in opinion among Malaysians regarding tomorrow’s Bersih 4 rally. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 28, 2015. 
 
Malaysians are split in their opinions of tomorrow's Bersih 4 rally, a recent survey by independent pollster Merdeka Centre has found, with 43% viewing it favourably as opposed to 47% who do not support the assembly.

The survey found that while 48% of the men surveyed were in support of Bersih 4, only 39% of women had the same opinion. Fifty-one percent of urban voters viewed the rally favourably but among the rural folk, only 31% supported it.

Similarly, 57% of those from households earning more than RM3,000 a month were supportive of Bersih and only 28% of those who come from households earning less than RM3,000 were in favour of the rally.

But the disparity between those who were in support of Bersih 4 was more evident in the race category, where it was found that Chinese supporters of Bersih made up more than three times the percentage of Malays who were in favour of the rally. 
 
"Perhaps the most marked finding was that the rally was supported by 81% of the ethnic Chinese respondents and 51% of the ethnic Indian respondents but only favoured by 23% of the ethnic Malay voters interviewed," Merdeka Center said in a statement today.

The 1,010 people surveyed were randomly selected from Peninsular Malaysia along the lines of ethnicity, gender, age and parliament constituencies and were interviewed between August 15 and August 21.

Most of the respondents (39%), who were in favour of Bersih, said that their reasons for doing so was because they wanted to see improvement in institutions such as the electoral process and Parliament.

Twenty-five percent said that they wanted to express their unhappiness with the government, while 13% said they wanted to show their dissatisfaction towards Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Another 11% said they wanted to express anger over the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).

Most who voted unfavourably for the Bersih 4 rally said they feared the violence and chaos that could possibly take place during the rally (52%), while 22% felt that Bersih will not achieve anything significant with the gathering.

A small percentage (4%) feared that the Malays would be marginalised if Najib was forced to step down.

"In our opinion, the survey reveals a Peninsular Malaysia electorate that is polarized along ethnic and socio-economic lines," Merdeka Center said.

"While the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur is likely going to attract a high level of participation in terms of crowd size, as indicated by the overwhelming sale of merchandise and donations received by the organiser, the survey suggests that participants will likely be drawn from urban, Internet-savvy and non-Bumiputera voters," the pollster added.

The Bersih 4 rally, which has been declared illegal by the police, is taking place this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu as well as major cities around the world.

It will kick off at 2pm tomorrow and is to scheduled to continue for the next 34 hours.

The rally, organised by electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, is pressing for institutional reforms, the freedom to protest, measures to save the economy and a clean government and political system.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said the rally would be akin to a vote of no-confidence against Najib, who is under pressure to account for alleged scandals involving his brainchild 1Malaysia Development Berhad and RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts. – August 28, 2015.
 
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysians-split-over-bersih-rally-survey-finds#sthash.U3ZliumJ.dpuf




 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

MTUC - Right To Participate In Peaceful Assemblies Is Constitutionally Guaranteed Right Of Workers

Right To Participate In Peaceful Assemblies Is Constitutionally Guaranteed Right Of Workers – Employers Should Never Deny Workers Our Rights and Freedoms

27 August 2015
 
Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the rights of every citizen to freedom of speech, expression, assembly and to form association. The Government of Malaysia is entrusted with the responsibilities to ensure that these fundamental rights are in no way compromised.

Workers, including those in the public sector, are human beings, and have the right and freedom to actively participate in political, socio-economic and cultural life of the nation. All workers have the right to freedom of expression, opinion and to participate in peaceful assembly.

Workers also have the right to call on and lobby the government, including the Prime Minister, Ministers, Parliamentarians, State Assemblypersons, political parties and politicians. Alternatively, workers also have the right to seek the assistances from potential candidates who may be elected as peoples’ representatives, corporations and others stakeholders to highlight the injustices and wrongdoings, as well as in campaigning for better workers’ rights including matters that will facilitate better working conditions, safety and other rights.

Employers must never make the exercise of these fundamental rights by workers turn into employment misconduct or an alleged ‘breach’ of contract, to justify dismissal or penalizing workers. MTUC deplores the action of the DRB Hicom companies in Pekan for terminating employment of about 18 workers. These workers merely took part in an MTUC sanctioned action during their own time for promoting their choice of contesting candidate’s in the then coming General Election in 2013. The same company also terminated a senior employee for approaching the Prime Minister for assistance in resolving the dispute with the company.

The above case is not isolated. Over the past years, many trade union leaders and workers have been wrongfully dismissed and/or penalized by their employers for expressing their opinion and highlighting alleged wrongdoings and injustice by employers. Workers have been dismissed and/or disciplinary action taken for reason such as being seen having a discussion with their fellow workers and/or members of union, participating on online closed forum/debates. These activities are recognized, essential and legitimate for trade union activities. It is wrong for employers to use these ‘trade union activities’ as justification for getting rid of worker’s leaders. Even the participation of workers in peaceful assembly in front of government office is used by some employers as a justification for disciplinary actions.

Union busting and victimizing workers have escalated over the years. To name a few, workers and Union leaders from Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region, Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUWR), National Union of Banking Employees (NUBE), National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), Railwaymen’s Union of Malaysia (RUM), National Union of Tobacco Industry Workers (NUTIW), Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Alam Flora (Alam flora) and the National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW) have been adversely affected by employers action for merely carrying out their rights in Trade Union activities.

MTUC reiterates that workers’ right to freedom of expression, opinion, peaceful assembly and to form association must always be respected and upheld. Acting according to our conscience for a better Malaysia is a duty and obligation of all of us. MTUC urges the Government and the police to uphold these basic rights of us. It’s time for Employers too, to respect our fundamental rights, choices and freedom. Any denial and/or hindrances to these rights must be STOPPED.

Sincerely,

Malaysian Trades Union Congress.
N. Gopal Kishnam
Secretary General
Tel: + 6 019 317 4717
Email: gopalkishnam@gmail.com

Source: MTUC Website

3 Task Forces since March on 1MDB? What remains? Should the AG resign for the good of Malaysia?

Confronting Malaysia is perspectives that there is alleged 'interference with the administration of justice' and  alleged failure of the application of constitutional guarantee that 'All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law'. Now, its seems that the law may be treating some persons and legal entities differently...

Should Tan Sri Apandi Ali be asked to resign as the Attorney General of Malaysia, who also is Malaysia's Public Prosecutor? His appointment was already questionable following the sudden removal of Ghani Patail as AG, who was to retire in October? 

Personally, I feel that it is always best for an 'independent person' preferably from the AG's chambers or the Auditor General's office who should have been made the AG.

Not questioning the good character, personality, values or commitment to justice of Tan Sri Apandi Ali, the new AG, but taking into account the current 'concerns' and happenings in Malaysia, it may be best for Malaysia and the cause of justice, that Tan Sri Apandi Ali be removed as AG - preferably by resignation.

Tan Sri Apandi Ali, I believe, may be just a victim of timing and circumstances. But public perception of the administration of justice and the rule of law must be speedily restored for the overall good of the nation.

Maybe, Ghani Patail should be reappointed as AG, and his term of office extended for 6 months or a year so that all these allegations of corruption against Najib Tun Razak, possible breaches of law by 1MDB and other GLCs. etc may all be properly investigated and resolved.

The AG must also clarify now:-

a) Whether the investigation of the alleged acts of corruption against Najib Tun Razak is still ongoing OR has it also been dropped? Whilst the MACC may be investigating offences under the MACC Act, there are also offences under the Penal Code which the police and the AG's chambers should be investigating. So, is Najib still being investigated for corruption or not?

b)  Besides corruption, there may be other offences related to the said RM2.6 billion - money laundering, etc.. involving other persons and legal entities, other than Prime Minister Najib. Are these investigations still ongoing?

c)  Is the AG's chambers still investigating 1MDB and other GLCs - for possible violations of the law? ...

Now, the AG should also be advising the police and other members of the government about the right to freedom of peaceful assembly - especially the law as it stands now(taking into consideration judgements of the court). Clearly some of the statements of the police and others have been made in ignorance of the law...as it stands today. The AG seem to have not spoken out to clarify matters(or did he?)..., and this is sad. 

Special Task Forces - there were 3, the first 2 in March, the latest in July - which one is no more, and which one is still in existence?

The New AG came in and announced the end of the Special Task Force(not sure which one?, the one set up in July? or the ones set up in March) investigating into the RM2.6 billion, 1MDB, ...

After that, now the AG's Chambers makes the announcement of the formation of a 'new' National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) - Should the AG's chambers even make this announcement? This announcement really should have been made by the government - the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, etc .... (maybe with the presence of reps from the various bodies who will be sitting in this TEAM?).

When the AG's Chambers specifically mentioned that 'it won't probe 1MDB' - it hinted bias, and was wrong. It should be probing every legal entities without exception.

Let's go back to remember that the 'Special Task Force' that was created in July was specifically to look into the RM2.6 billion received by Najib, 1MDB...,

A special task force has been set up to investigate allegations that millions of dollars from a state investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) have been channelled into Prime Minister Najib Razak's bank accounts.

In a joint statement, the task force said it had frozen six bank accounts linked to the investigations and seized documents from 17 accounts at two banks in relation to the probe.

The task force members comprise the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar and the Anti-Corruption Commission Abu Kassim Mohamed. - International Business Times, 8/7/2015

 Wait, there were also other Task Forces set up earlier...to look into 1MDB?


A special task force will be set up to investigate troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) operations and its staggering RM42 billion debt, Putrajaya announced today.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said he would be part of the task force, which also includes Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar; Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa; and Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.


"The government has set up a task force. We are looking at it entirely including 1MDB's debts," he said in his winding up speech in Parliament today. - Malaysian Insider, 25/3/2015
And before this, there was another ...

This is besides the earlier task force announced by the Attorney-General (A-G), comprising the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the A-G Chambers and the police that will look into the fund's dealings following reports made against it. - Malaysian Insider, 25/3/2015

Now, the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET), it seems is also not new but something that have been in existence for some time now...

It said the task force has been in place since 2011........

Would such a Team really interfere, or facilitate, with the functioning of the various different agencies/department? I wonder

If MACC, for example, have completed their investigation, they should just proceed with prosecution - and not wait for the approval of the NRRET, or even the PM and Cabinet...

What has happened to the other Task Forces on 1MDB - are any still operating? Or have they all been dismantled?

The other question that we should ask, is whether the current Attorney General should resign, or alternatively be removed, for the good of Malaysia? 

 

No probe on 1MDB, AGC says of ‘new’ government team that now includes MACC

Tuesday August 25, 2015
04:39 PM GMT+8UPDATED:
August 25, 2015
06:30 PM GMT+8

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team would be taking over the role of the previous Special Task Force that was probing 1MDB matters. — File picThe Attorney-General’s Chambers said the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team would be taking over the role of the previous Special Task Force that was probing 1MDB matters. — File pic





KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) announced today the line-up of an eight-agency task force that includes national graftbusters, saying the team will investigate revenue losses but not have anything to do with debt-riddled state company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The AGC also said the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) would take over the role of the previous Special Task Force, which was probing 1MDB matters, and is not “new” but a rebranding of the previous task force with the same aims, except that it won’t probe 1MDB.

“NRRET is not in any way involved with any investigations involving 1MDB and its related companies,” it said in a statement.

It said the task force has been in place since 2011.

The AGC said the NRRET will carry out the same functions of assisting the government in dealing with evasion of custom duties and tax by individuals and corporate bodies; smuggling activities; and misuse of subsidized goods.

This taskforce will also deal with illegal outflow of funds; and acts of corruption that lead to the above actions.

Amid recent outcry over the purported omission of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from this task force, the anti-graft agency’s name was included in the list of the NRRET’s name list today.

The other members of the NRRET are the AGC, the police, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Inland Revenue Department, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, the Domestic Trade Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

This task force will primarily streamline and coordinate enforcement actions by these multiple agencies, the AGC said.

Last Thursday, Chinese vernacular daily Sin Chew Daily reported MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull as saying that the anti-graft commission has no problem if it was indeed left out of the NRRET, saying that it would continue to carry out its work as usual as it is an independent body.

Sin Chew Daily had then reported of a new taskforce that comprises the AGC, the police, Bank Negara, the Customs Department and the Inland Revenue Board.

Early last month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on government investigators finding an alleged US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) money trail that was moved around firms linked to state-owned 1MDB, including its former subsidiary SRC International, before ending up in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts.

Following the WSJ report, the special task force comprising the AGC, which was headed then by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, the Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and the MACC - confirmed the subsequent raid of the offices of 1MDB, as well as several companies mentioned in the alleged money trail.

But shortly after Tan Sri Apandi Ali’s appointment as the new Attorney-General, MACC said he had said that the Special Task Force was no longer required, with the agencies’ internal teams to carry out their investigation separately.

In the same statement indicating the dismantling of the Special Task Force, the MACC had reiterated that RM2.6 billion was deposited into Najib’s accounts as a donation, saying that it was from Middle East donors and not from 1MDB.

The MACC statement then came after a series of crackdowns, where police arrested and questioned several of the anti-corruption body’s senior officers, while also raiding their homes and offices over an alleged leak of official information related to the money trail.

Najib has denied using public funds for personal gain.- Malay Mail.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/no-probe-on-1mdb-agc-says-of-new-government-team-that-now-includes-macc#sthash.RysQRpJA.dpuf

Malaysia: Task force set up to probe corruption allegations against Prime Minister Najib Razak



Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak
A special task force has been set up to investigate allegations that millions of dollars from a state investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) have been channelled into Prime Minister Najib Razak's bank accounts.

In a joint statement, the task force said it had frozen six bank accounts linked to the investigations and seized documents from 17 accounts at two banks in relation to the probe.

The task force members comprise the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar and the Anti-Corruption Commission Abu Kassim Mohamed.

On 4 July, the Attorney-General confirmed the receipt of documents linked to allegations that $700m was channelled into what is believed to be the personal bank accounts of Najib, through entities linked to IMDB, ChannelNewsAsia reported.

Although the prime minister is facing mounting pressure to take a leave of absence pending the investigations, he has maintained his innocence.

IMDB, whose advisory board is chaired by the premier, has debts of nearly $11.6bn (£7.52bn, €10.56bn) .

It has been under separate investigations by the central bank, auditor-general, police and the parliament's Public Accounts Committee.

The Wall Street Journal, citing documents from a government investigation, alleged that there were five deposits made into the prime minister's account. The two largest transactions, worth $620m and $61m were made in 2013 from a company registered in the British Virgin Islands via a Swiss bank.

Najib has called the allegations "political sabotage" and said he is considering suing the newspaper, ChannelNewsAsia said.

"I did not betray the people. I will find ways to uphold the truth. Be calm, the truth will prevail," he said.

Najib's political party, the United Malays Organisation or Umno, has backed him over the issue.

Separately, opposition lawmakers who had organised an emergency meeting in Parliament on Tuesday (7 July) to discuss the allegations against the prime minister, were prevented from entering a meeting room.

About 100 lawmakers, activists and lawyers were left sitting on the steps of the building after officials said the meeting room had been double booked and was being used by the Youth and Sports Ministry.

"It's fairly obvious what the authorities are doing. They are in cahoots to stop any discussion about the allegations the prime minister is facing," said Tony Pua, a lawmaker from the opposition Democratic Action Party.

The former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has urged the prime minister to step aside to facilitate the on-going investigations.

"The reason why a leave of absence is important is because you have an ongoing investigation. You cannot have the subject matter as the leader of the country. You will not get an impartial investigation," she said, according to ChannelNewsAsia.

She also urged for national election to be held within a year while others wanted Najib to stand down immediately. _ International Business Times, 8/7/2015

Putrajaya sets up task force to investigate 1MDB



Troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad will now be investigated by a special government task force. The team will look into its RM42 billion debt and operations. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 25, 2015. 
Troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad will now be investigated by a special government task force. The team will look into its RM42 billion debt and operations. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 25, 2015. 
 


A special task force will be set up to investigate troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) operations and its staggering RM42 billion debt, Putrajaya announced today.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said he would be part of the task force, which also includes Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar; Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa; and Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

"The government has set up a task force. We are looking at it entirely including 1MDB's debts," he said in his winding up speech in Parliament today.


This is besides the earlier task force announced by the Attorney-General (A-G), comprising the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the A-G Chambers and the police that will look into the fund's dealings following reports made against it. 
 


Besides the government task force, Husni also announced that the government has asked CIMB Group, as a "third party", to perform an evaluation of 1MDB, which is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's brainchild, for the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its power assets.


"So we will also look at how much 1MDB can be valued at, how to use the land that it has, and joint ventures and more, which we believe, will solve 1MDB's cash-flow problems," he said.



Husni today reiterated his previous notion that the debt-ridden 1MDB's main issue was its cash-flow problems as it was deep in debts, noting that the company's woes would be resolved once the IPO takes off, expected in the second quarter of this year for its power plant assets.

"We have no problems with the principal as they are long-term debts. But the interests... we are confident that once the IPO is done, the interests will decrease.

"With proceeds from the land that can be sold off and from the joint ventures, we hope to not only pay off the interests but also the debts, that is the principal," he added.

Reuters had reported in December that the IPO is aimed at helping the state investor reduce a debt burden that exceeds US$11 billion (RM40 billion).

Plans for the sale have been delayed several times, bankers say, due to a longer-than-expected due diligence process and debt refinancing negotiations.

However, critics of the strategic investment fund have said that the IPO was not enough to solve 1MDB's cash-flow problems, as the exercise would barely raise RM18 billion against its RM42 billion debt.

Even in the event where 1MDB is able to successfully list its energy subsidiary and sell its landbank at premium prices, the financially stricken company can only raise barely RM18 billion to repay its RM42 billion debt recorded as at 31 March 2014," said DAP's Tony Pua on March 13.

Husni had also announced then that 1MDB had used up some RM600 million of the RM950 million standby credit provided by Putrajaya, adding that 1MDB is expected to recover from the cash flow problems that it is currently facing, by the end of this year.

Prior to that, Najib had ordered the Auditor-General to "independently verify 1MDB's accounts", with the findings to be passed to a bipartisan parliamentary public accounts committee. – March 25, 2015.
 
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-sets-up-task-force-to-investigate-1mdb#sthash.O1141WBC.dpuf

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SUHAKAM :- Concept of Illegal Assembly no longer existed in the Law

Did go to the SUHAKAM website, with the hope of copying and disseminating their Statement :-
“SUHAKAM CALLS FOR FULL ADHERENCE TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS PRINCIPLES OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY”
  - but somehow, the statement itself could not accessible. All I got were the following words

Whoops!
There was a problem previewing this document.

Give better reasons to ban Bersih 4, Suhakam tells cops



Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam says the concept of illegal assembly no longer existed in the law, which means the Bersih 4 rally cannot be banned. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 21, 2015. 
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam says the concept of illegal assembly no longer existed in the law, which means the Bersih 4 rally cannot be banned. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 21, 2015.
 


Following the police decision to "ban" the Bersih 4 rally, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today said the burden was now on the authorities to provide "convincing and compelling" reasons to justify interferences to the right to assemble as provided under the Peaceful Assembly Act. Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said the concept of illegal assembly no longer existed in the law, which meant the Bersih 4 rally could not be banned.
 
"As such, an assembly is to be considered peaceful if its organisers have clarified that its intentions are peaceful and have duly conveyed them to the authorities," he said in a statement.

"The commission reiterates that any restriction must be lawful, and in pursuit of a legitimate aim such as in the interest of the security of the country or public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others." 
 
This comes as Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said the organiser, Bersih 2.0, had failed to abide by PAA.

He said the police were only notified of the rally on Tuesday and the documents did not have the rally venue’s permission.

Later, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed lauded the move, saying that it was wise of the police to stop disruptions to preparations for the Merdeka Day celebrations.

Suhakam today proposed seven recommendations for the police, including recognising that an assembly had to be considered peaceful if its organisers had similar intentions, adding that this should be ascertained through dialogue with the organisers.

The commission also said the police ought to understand their powers and duties as provided under Section 9 of the PAA.

"Regrettably, the police continue to justify the requirement to seek permission from them (to hold an assembly) prior to an assembly, which is now bad law," Hasmy said.

Another recommendation called for the police to respect the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, where it was ruled that assembly organisers were only required to give advance notification to the district police chief of the area in which the assembly was to be held.

Suhakam also urged the police to refrain from preventing, hindering or applying unreasonable indirect restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly.

Lastly, Suhakam urged police to make public their standard operating procedure (SOP) in relation to the control and management of public assemblies in the interest of transparency.

Bersih had previously stated that participants would gather near Dataran Merdeka, and vowed not to disturb Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) Merdeka Day preparations.

Police later requested that the organisers change the rally location, saying it was not suitable.

The rally will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, as well as major cities worldwide.

The event at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur will be a 34-hour sit-in to demand reforms, such as clean elections, a corrupt-free government, right to protest, strengthening parliamentary democracy and saving the economy. – August 21, 2015.

 
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/give-better-reasons-to-ban-bersih-4-suhakam-tells-cops#sthash.ghQ9ktIQ.dpuf

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Malaysian Bar:- Respect and Facilitate — and Not Deter — the Right to Assemble Peaceably and Without Arms

Press Release | Respect and Facilitate — and Not Deter — the Right to Assemble Peaceably and Without Arms
Saturday, 22 August 2015 04:02pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar abhors the decision of the police, reported in the media earlier this week, to “disallow” the BERSIH 4 rally that is scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur on 29 and 30 August 2015.

The constitutional right to assemble peaceably and without arms is guaranteed by Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution, subject to the limited restrictions under Article 10(2)(b).  Such a restriction was previously found in Section 27 of the Police Act 1967, whereby a licence from the police was required for an assembly. 

However, Section 27 was repealed in 2012, and the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (“PAA”) was enacted, which came into force on 23 April 2012.  Thus, the requirement to obtain a licence from the police under the Police Act 1967 no longer exists. 

Under the PAA, there is a requirement to notify the police of an intended assembly,[1]  and the police may regulate the assembly by stipulating restrictions and conditions for the purposes of security or public order.[2]   There is no requirement of licensing by the police for an assembly, under the PAA. 

Thus, the police have no power under the PAA to prohibit a rally.  The decision of the police to “disallow” the BERSIH 4 rally is therefore contrary to the PAA, and legally flawed.

Recently, the Court of Appeal in the case of Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad v Public Prosecutor [2014] 4 CLJ 944 dealt with the PAA,[3]  and unanimously affirmed the constitutional liberty to assemble peaceably — as enshrined in Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution — as a fundamental right of all Malaysians. The Court of Appeal decided that the failure to give notice of an intended assembly will not be subject to criminal sanction under the PAA. 

In this regard, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Dato’ Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim, had reportedly initially said that the police would not object to the rally, that “the public has the right to gather, has the right to voice out their dissatisfaction”, and that “the right to assembly is allowed under the Federal Constitution”.[4]   The reversal of this decision now is perplexing and untenable. 

The police must respect and facilitate the constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble peaceably and without arms.  This is a duty imposed by law on the police, and it is not a question of their “tolerance”[5]  of the exercise of the constitutional right by citizens. 
 
The police should also learn from their past mistakes in mishandling and deterring public assemblies. The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, SUHAKAM, in its “Report of the Public Inquiry into the Incidents During and After the Public Assembly of 28 April 2012” found that “the police did not assist or facilitate in the dispersal of the participants during the public assembly of 28 April 2012 as envisaged under section 8 of the PAA”,[6]  that “there was use of disproportionate force and misconduct by the police towards the participants”, and that “the actions of the police were driven more by anger, frustration and the need to inflict punishment than by duty”.[7] 

It is appalling that the police have yet to take any action against the group of approximately 30 persons who reportedly committed acts of intimidation and harassment directed at the organiser of the BERSIH 4 rally, on 20 August 2015.  It was reported that they poured red liquid onto a life-sized cardboard cutout of Maria Chin Abdullah, the Chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, stomped on it and threw it in a rubbish bin.  The spokesperson of the group also announced his intention to gather 6,000 to 7,000 persons to open up stalls in front of her home.  Such conduct is offensive and must not be condoned by the police.  

The Malaysian Bar is also revolted by statements — attributed to the Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor — which were directed at BERSIH 4 rally participants.  The Minister had reportedly said, “If they want to, they can go to any stadium they want . . . Do whatever, you want to shout, want to be naked, do whatever you like.”[8]   This callous remark by a Minister displays a shocking level of ignorance of, and blatant disrespect for, the constitutional rights of Malaysians.  

The Malaysian Bar strongly urges the police and the authorities to respect the constitutional right of citizens to assemble, and to allow the BERSIH 4 rally to proceed unhindered.  If the police cooperate with the organiser, facilitate the rally, and employ restraint in the exercise of their powers, a peaceful and incident-free assembly can be held on 29 and 30 August 2015, in the true spirit of “Merdeka”.

 
Steven Thiru
President
Malaysian Bar

22 August 2015


[1] Section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (“PAA”).
[2] For example, under Section 15 of the PAA.
[3] Sections 9(1) and 9(5) of the PAA.
[4] “Action against Bersih 4 if rally turns seditious, says deputy IGP”, The Malaysian Insider, 12 August 2015.
[5] “Nur Jazlan: Malaysian police ‘most tolerant in the world’’”, The Star Online, 20 August 2015.        
[6] Press release by SUHAKAM dated 17 April 2013, entitled “SUHAKAM’s Findings from the Public Inquiry into the Incidents During and After the Public Assembly of 28 April 2012”. 
[7] Paragraphs 5.27 and 5.42 of SUHAKAM’s “Report of the Public Inquiry into the Incidents During and After the Public Assembly of 28 April 2012”.

Bar Council calls for EGM over Najib's RM2.6bil


Bar Council calls for EGM over Najib's RM2.6bil

Today 11:31 am Today 11:47 am
The Bar Council has called for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to discuss the apparent interference in investigations including into the RM2.6 billion deposits into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's personal bank accounts.

This was decided by the Bar Council in a special meeting last Friday.

In a circular to lawyers, the Bar Council said the EGM has been fixed for September 12 but the venue and detailed agenda will only be unveiled at a later date.
"The matters for discussion at the EGM will include the reports of interference with the ongoing investigation into the flow of funds from SRC international Sdn Bhd (a former subsidiary of 1MDB), and the transfer of RM2.6 billion into the prime minister's private bank accounts...

“…as well as the steps that the Malaysian Bar should take to affirm and uphold the rule of law, and to prevent the administration of justice from being perverted," read the circular.

Up until July, a special task force was investigating SRC International and the RM2.6 billion while the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was investigating 1MDB.

However, Najib in a cabinet reshuffle on July 28 paralysed the PAC by appointing four of its members, including the committee's head, into the government.

On the same day, the attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail was sacked (photo) and replaced with Mohamed Apandi Ali, a former federal court judge and former Umno member.

Mohamed Apandi then proceeded to disband the special task force which comprised the police, Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Attorney-General's Chambers.

However, the MACC vowed to press on with the investigation on its own.
Investigators arrested

Following this, several of its investigators were arrested by police and two officers, including MACC's lead investigator into Najib's case, was transferred out.

However the transfers were aborted after a public outcry.

Last week, the deputy head of the police Special Branch Abdul Hamid Bador was also transferred to the Prime Minister's Department.

Abdul Hamid had speculated that his transfer might have been linked to his insistence for proper investigations into 1MDB.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had in July reported that US$681 million was deposited into Najib's personal bank accounts from middle eastern-linked Tanore Finance.

It also claimed that another RM42 million from state-owned SRC International was also deposited into his private bank accounts.

Najib had initially threatened to sue the WSJ but later admitted to receiving the US$681 million, claiming that it was a political donation.

However, he has yet to address the RM42 million which is from the Finance Ministry-owned company.

M'sia Migrant Worker Online Management - from ex-Home Minister's company to new Home Minister's ...?


It is so wrong, in my opinion, when the Minister's brother/family gets access to large contracts. Government decision and approval is needed, and in this case the decision will be that of the Home Minister...

Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, in which Zahid’s brother Abdul Hakim Hamidi is executive chairperson, aims to provide an online system where, for a fee, workers can be registered and monitored from Bangladesh and Malaysia. 

Zahid is also home minister, and the approval of foreign workers into Malaysia comes under his ministry’s purview.
Baira official said one shareholder of Real Time was a close relative of a powerful Malaysian minister and others were connected to the ruling party one way or the other - (Daily Star, 10/8/2015)
It is also very wrong for senior public servants to also be getting contracts from Ministries under which they served before. They are privy to a lot of 'confidential information' when in service, and it is wrong to use this to secure contracts. Further, being senior - they may likely have an influence on their 'juniors' or fellow seniors still in service. 

Hakim is listed as executive chairperson in the Real Time proposal and other correspondence, but he is not registered as an office-bearer with the Companies Commission of Malaysia....Instead, his son Mohd Akmal, 25, is a director, along with former Home Ministry deputy secretary-general Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap, and one Salihah Kasim, 25.

Now, it is interesting how many relatives of BN leaders have become rich....and, I believe that something is amiss..

Leaders of the nation is supposed to be working for the people of Malaysia - and certainly must take extra effort in not being working for the enrichment of themselves or family members...

"Zahid Hamidi and the rest of the federal government would also do well to learn from the Penang state government, which has since 2008 explicitly forbidden any family member of an elected representative from conducting any business dealings with the state."

Now, we have Zahid Hamidi, the Home Minister; and it is disturbing that the company that has both his brother, and his brother's son eyeing a contract that obviously the Home Minister has a lot of say... Even if Zahid Hamidi, is not involved in the finally decision, could his ministry officials act independently without bias? 


"All proposals from these companies pertaining to the system will first be studied and considered by a committee in the ministry, in accordance with the existing procedure," it said.... "All proposals from these companies pertaining to the system will first be studied and considered by a committee in the ministry, in accordance with the existing procedure," it said.(Bernama Report - 11/8/2015)

Was there even an open tender...?

Now, following the recent news report on 18/8/2015, it looks like the Home Minister has already considered and decided on the successful proposal ....they have been carrying out trials > that indicates more likely than not the choice of which proposal and which company may have already been made... Let us hope that it is not some long time contract ... which makes it difficult to break by this government...and subsequent governments...
"However, the online applications will be approved within 48 hours after the application meets the conditions set by the ministry. We have carried out trials and found the system to be more effective. "The single-window synchronisation system was created so that there is no overlapping and cross-communication between the ministries.”
Before making changes, really there should be consultations...with the public > not the kind where a few selected reps are called for a meeting or two. Public and open consultations is the only way to do it.

NOT A NEW IDEA? - Before company of former Home Minister ... 


However, Malaysia suspended a similar online system on January 26 two weeks after its introduction following allegations from Indonesia and Nepal that their workers were being charged higher fees.

These countries had also threatened to stop sending workers to Malaysia if Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) was used and biometric health checks were done.

Malaysia had outsourced the services to Bestinet, which is owned, among others, by Tan Sri Azmi Khalid, a leader of the Malaysian ruling party, and Bangladeshi Aminul Islam, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia.
So, what really has changed....it did not work earlier....what are the differences? Just ownership of the company that gets the contract... ?

The Penang government's position is a good one - explicitly forbidding any family member of an elected representative or companies they are involved in from conducting any business dealings with the state - more so with the Ministry where the relative is the Home Minister.[Maybe, decision making should maybe be shifted to Parliament...or some Independent body]. 

In this case, if it did not come out in the media, I have my doubts whether the Minister would have publicly disclosed this...

We really do not need any more 'issues' involving our Cabinet Members. 

I propose that the Home Ministry and the Government just do not consider Minister's brother's company's proposal... and will call for an 'Open Tender'...and do it right. [We need a Malaysian Principles of Good Governance??]

I also think that it should this online management should really be handled directly by the government - and not outsourced to some private company...

After, the 'Open Tender' process, which really be for the 'system' which then the government will buy and use. The developer of the system may be required to be available for maintenance, etc..


Zahid's kin eyes system for 1.5m Bangladeshis


11.6K1
Aidila Razak             177






A firm owned by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s brother is in talks with Dhaka and Putrajaya to provide a management system for the 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers Malaysia intends to allow in through a new business-to-business system.

Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, in which Zahid’s brother Abdul Hakim Hamidi is executive chairperson, aims to provide an online system where, for a fee, workers can be registered and monitored from Bangladesh and Malaysia. 

Zahid is also home minister, and the approval of foreign workers into Malaysia comes under his ministry’s purview.

Real Time’s online system - dubbed Workforce Management & Networking System (Workman) - is similar to that provided by Bestinet, a firm owned by former home minister Azmi Khalid.

Bestinet’s agreement with the government was suspended earlier this year after outcry by recruitment agents in sending countries over its high service fees.

When contacted, Hakim confirmed that Real Time is eyeing the deal but stresses that it is not a government contract.

Rather, it is in collaboration with the Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (Baira), he said.

“We have the model of a system where we get a payment for a package (service) and we can send people (from Bangladesh) for 60,000 Bangladeshi taka (RM3,000), including the air ticket.

“This is not a government contract. Yes, their government need to approve because it involves citizens but they are only monitoring,” Hakim said.

If approved, agencies such as the Immigration Department and Manpower Department will be linked to Real Time's system and all recruitment agents must go through Real Time to send workers to Malaysia.

'No issue if brother's minister'

He also refuted any claim of nepotism, arguing that he is experienced in the field.

“My brother is the minister but I am a businessman. It is a democratic country and I can do anything, other than be a drug pusher.
“Malaysians are very difficult. They say if my brother is a minister, I cannot do anything. They want us all to be jobless.

“I have experience in the field and I am an IT man. All these designs are from my brain,” Hakim, who is now in Dhaka, told Malaysiakini.

Hakim has experience in IT operations at Motorola Semiconductors and Tenaga Nasional Bhd and is an executive director of labour supply firm Warisan Juara Padu Sdn Bhd.

Documents show that Real Time was incorporated in March this year.

Hakim is listed as executive chairperson in the Real Time proposal and other correspondence, but he is not registered as an office-bearer with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

Instead, his son Mohd Akmal, 25, is a director, along with former Home Ministry deputy secretary-general Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap, and one Salihah Kasim, 25.

Salihah shares the same address as one Md Abu Hanif Abul Kashem, another director of both Real Time and Warisan Juara Padu.

Md Abu Hanif is a Bangladeshi national and Malaysian permanent resident, according to Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star.

Md Abu Hanif is also listed by Baira as an “overseas representative of Baira”, in a letter to Zahid dated June 24, sighted by Malaysiakini.

‘Dhaka very happy’

Hakim is currently in Dhaka to present the new business-to-business system to government officials and Baira.

His visit coincides with official visit by a four-member Malaysian delegation, led by Immigration Department secretary-general Mustafa Ibrahim, which arrived Aug 9 to discuss the recruitment of 1.5 million workers for Malaysia.

According to Hakim, there are at least two other firms vying for the deal, but the Bangladeshi government is keen on the Real Time system.

“I met with Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam on Sunday and he is very happy with our system,” he said.

Baira has also endorsed the system in the June 24 letter.

“We really appreciate Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd to provide a great and wonderful system called WM25 (Workforce Management & Monitoring System), which we found can sustain smooth operations that will benefit both countries,” Baira president Md Abul Bashar states in the letter.

However, when met last week, Baira vice-president Ali Haider Chowdury said Real Time’s system, although favourable, is one of a few systems offered by private parties for the same purpose.

Chowdury said it would depend on the two governments to decide, and denied that Baira has any stake in Real Time.

“It is totally private,” he told Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini understands that Bangladesh’s Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry has also received various proposals and it is weighing up options with the aim of keeping the migration costs of the workers low.

Indonesia, Nepal and The Philippines, too

Real Time presented its proposal to the Malaysian government through a letter to Zahid on June 17, a copy of which was sighted by Malaysiakini.

Zahid’s private secretary Nur Azman Mohd Aminuddin forwarded both Real Time’s June 17 proposal and Baira’s June 25 endorsement to Home Ministry secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim on July 8.

Zahid had, in a handwritten note, instructed Alwi to review the proposal “for comparison”.

Hakim believes his system will “most probably” receive the green light.

“There is no issue with the business-to-business relations, just some modules (in the system) that need some technical tuning.

“If the Bangladesh government accepts it, the Malaysian government will accept it. The receiving country must follow the supplier,” he said.

While the 1.5 million workers is the focus for now, Hakim added, Real Time is also heading to Indonesia, Nepal and The Philippines to propose the same system for the recruitment of workers into Malaysia. - Malaysiakini, 11/8/2015








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zahid’s note on entry of Bangladeshi workers not an approval, says Home Ministry






Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s note to a company’s request for the provision of an online system for the entry of Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia is not an approval or directive, says the Home Ministry. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 11, 2015.  





Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s note to a company’s request for the provision of an online system for the entry of Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia is not an approval or directive, says the Home Ministry. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 11, 2015.  
 




Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's note relating to a company's request for the provision of an online system for the entry of Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia is neither a directive nor an approval, according to the Home Ministry.

Referring to a news portal's article on the note from Zahid, who is also Home Minister, to the ministry's secretary-general on the application from Realtime Networking Sdn Bhd, the ministry in a statement today clarified that the note was general in nature.

The ministry also stated that it had not appointed or given approval for any company to provide an online system to manage the entry of Bangladeshi workers into Malaysia, as reported.

The ministry said several companies including Realtime Networking had forwarded proposals to the ministry to provide an online system for managing foreign workers, but the ministry had not made any decision on this. "All proposals from these companies pertaining to the system will first be studied and considered by a committee in the ministry, in accordance with the existing procedure," it said.

A news portal reported that Realtime Networking, of which Zahid's younger brother is its executive chairman, had proposed the provision of an online system, whereby by making payments, the workers could be registered and monitored from Bangladesh and Malaysia.

In the statement, the Home Ministry also said that the Malaysian and Bangladesh governments would continue to discuss on solving the problem of illegal repatriation of workers.

It said both governments would cooperate in drawing up a new process for the hiring of new workers in stages and to be carried out transparently and systematically, including using the online system in managing foreign workers.

"In this matter, the government is considering involving several parties with the relevant expertise to help smoothen the operations of government agencies," it said. – Bernama, August 11, 2015.
 
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/zahids-note-on-entry-of-bangladeshi-workers-not-an-approval-says-home-minis#sthash.zmUojPVf.dpuf

Disqualify application by Zahid’s brother to recruit foreign workers, says DAP







DAP's Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari says Datuk Abdul Hakim Hamidi’s proposal for an online system to register and monitor 1.5 billion Bangladeshi workers creates a conflict of interest for Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 12, 2015.DAP's Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari says Datuk Abdul Hakim Hamidi’s proposal for an online system to register and monitor 1.5 billion Bangladeshi workers creates a conflict of interest for Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 12, 2015. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Putrajaya should immediately disqualify the application by the brother of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to register and recruit Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia, said an opposition federal lawmaker, citing public accountability.

DAP's Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari (pic, right) said Zahid, who is also the home minister, must come clean and clarify his role in the introduction of his brother's company, Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, to the ministry as well as to the Bangladeshi authorities.

"If he has been found to violate ethical boundaries, then he should resign as home minister and deputy prime minister," Zairil said in a statement today.

Malaysiakini reported yesterday that Real Time Networking, owned by Datuk Abdul Hakim Hamidi, is currently negotiating with the governments of Malaysia and Bangladesh to provide an online system. The system would register and monitor 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers whom Putrajaya recently announced would be brought in over the next three years.

The news portal said the company was offering a package whereby they would collect 60,000 takas (RM3,000) for each prospective worker who wished to work in Malaysia.

The proposed system would then act as an intermediary to link the databases of the various agencies, including the Immigration Department and the Manpower Department in Malaysia.

According to documents sighted by Malaysiakini, Real Time Networking had presented its proposal to the Malaysian government through a letter dated June 17 this year to Zahid, which was then forwarded to the ministry's secretary-general, along with a handwritten note by Zahid.

When questioned about claims of nepotism, Hakim replied: "My brother is the minister but I am a businessman. It is a democratic country and I can do anything, other than be a drug pusher."

He added that "Malaysians are very difficult. They say if my brother is a minister, I cannot do anything."

Zairil said today that such a statement not only smacked of ignorance, but made a mockery of public accountability.

"The fact is Hakim can do as much business as he wants to, so long as it does not involve any government agency or department that any of his direct family members have an interest in.

"As his brother is the home minister and the ultimate approving authority for all foreign workers in our country, there is no denying the glaring element of conflict of interest involved."

Zairil said the nonchalant admission from the ministry on the matter yesterday confirming that Real Time Networking was among several local companies bidding for the project and that Zahid's written note did not constitute an instruction or approval was shocking.

"They must take Malaysians for fools if they think that the obvious conflict of interest in this case can be simply glossed over by an assurance that they will evaluate the proposal by the home minister’s brother in a fair and objective manner.

"Zahid Hamidi and the rest of the federal government would also do well to learn from the Penang state government, which has since 2008 explicitly forbidden any family member of an elected representative from conducting any business dealings with the state." – August 12, 2015, Malaysian Insider.
 
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/disqualify-application-by-zahids-brother-to-recruit-foreign-workers-says-da#sthash.vGdeOqum.dpuf


Employers must submit online applications for foreign workers, says Zahid

Published: 18 August 2015 10:12 PM



Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says employers must fill up online applications for foreign workers. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, August 18, 2015.Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says employers must fill up online applications for foreign workers. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, August 18, 2015.
 
Soon, applications for foreign workers will not involve agents, but the employers must submit their applications online, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He said the online management system of foreign workers would be introduced soon to reduce the time needed to bring them into the country.




Zahid, who is also home minister, said the conventional application where the employers were required to go to the ministry's One-Stop Approval Centre took between three and six months.

"However, the online applications will be approved within 48 hours after the application meets the conditions set by the ministry. We have carried out trials and found the system to be more effective. "The single-window synchronisation system was created so that there is no overlapping and cross-communication between the ministries.”

Zahid said this after chairing the first Cabinet committee meeting on foreign workers and illegal immigrants, following his appointment as deputy prime minister in the Cabinet reshuffle on July 28.

Asked if the process would be monitored by the Home Ministry, he said: "Employers will fill up the online forms and the government will look into how many foreign workers are needed.

"After that, the ministry concerned will liaise with the source country which has the list of registered workers to provide the number of workers requested, as well as several pre-conditions such as data and the foreign worker's biometrics which must be complied with, before the delivery process is undertaken."

On agents who were registered with the ministry, Zahid said once the online application system was introduced, the employers would cut their costs as the government provided this service free of charge.

Besides online applications, Zahid said the two-hour meeting also decided on two other matters relating to foreign workers – to meet the needs of the industry and boost national economic growth.

He said employers would now be required to provide the foreign workers with accommodation based on minimum standards set by the government.

He added that the provision of accommodation by the employers would be made a pre-condition for the approval of applications by employers who intended to bring in foreign workers.

"Centralised housing will be provided with basic amenities like dining area, toilets, prayer centres for different religions for humanitarian reasons, as well as to reduce the risk of social problems and crime."

The deputy prime minister said a pilot housing project had been carried out in Pengerang, Johor to accommodate 10,000 foreign workers in one housing area.

However, he stressed that priority and social safety nets would be given to local workers to be trained as professional and semi-professional employees in certain sectors.

"This is because foreign workers are only performing jobs which the locals are not interested in, as they are deemed as dirty, dangerous and difficult work."

Zahid added the meeting also decided that employers observed the principle of strict liability in their intake for foreign workers to ensure they were fully accountable for workers in their employ.

"Accountability begins at the application stage, to salaries and until the foreign worker is returned to his country of origin.

"The employer must also be accountable if the return to the country of origin exceeds the duration (of stay) and if the foreign worker moves to another employer."

He said employers who did not fulfill the conditions would face a penalty, subject to the offence committed.

Meanwhile, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot, who also attended the meeting said the centralised housing provided for foreign workers must comply with the condition of 4.5 sq m rooms and a toilet for every five foreign workers. – Bernama, August 18, 2015.
 


'Name company for workers online contract'


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PKR wants to know the company which has been awarded the government contract for the online management system of foreign workers.

The party's demand comes after Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that employers will soon have to submit applications for foreign workers online.

"PKR is surprised with his announcement that online applications will be approved within 48 hours (after the application meets the conditions set by the home ministry).

"But I realised that Ahmad Zahid in his announcement yesterday did not inform the public which company was 'gifted' with this government concession and that the cost that will be borne by employers who wish to make applications," said Semambu state assemblyperson Lee Chean Chung in a statement today.

"The question is, was the government concession awarded through an open tender process?"

Lee (photo) also expressed his doubts over Zahid's announcement that the applications would be approved in 48 hours.

"Approving applications in just two days makes them look like they are in a hurry and this might raise all kinds of issues related to the country's security," he said.

Zahid was yesterday quoted by Bernama as saying that an online management system of foreign workers would be introduced soon to reduce the time needed to bring them into the country.

Raise more eyebrows

The home minister pointed out the existing conventional application system where employers were required to go to the ministry's One-Stop Approval Centre took between three and six months.

Zahid's latest announcement is set to raise more eyebrows after Malaysiakini reported that a firm owned by his brother is in talks with Dhaka and Putrajaya to provide a management system for the 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers Malaysia intends to allow in through a new business-to- business system.

Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, which Zahid’s brother Abdul Hakim Hamidi is executive chairperson, aims to provide an online system where, for a fee, workers can be registered and monitored both in Bangladesh and Malaysia.

As home minister, the approval of foreign workers into Malaysia comes under Zahid's ministry’s purview.

PART - 2


Worry hangs over hope

Malaysian delegates in city to settle new recruitment system for workers
Porimol Palma
 
It has always been mutual: Malaysia needs workers, and Bangladesh has plenty of them. That's why, Malaysia, after Saudi Arabia, has become the second most sought-after destination for Bangladeshi jobseekers. Given this, a transparent system for labour recruitment could have dismantled the human trafficking chain and also save the lives of hundreds of migrant workers. But why the two countries have so far failed to devise one such mechanism? In the second part of a three-part series, The Daily Star focuses on new recruitment system for workers.
A Malaysian delegation reached Dhaka yesterday to discuss the mode of labour recruitment through the private sector amid a number of controversies and unaddressed concerns.
The four-member delegation, led by Malaysia's immigration department's Director General Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim, would hold discussions with high officials of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training today.
Tomorrow, they would hold a meeting with Expatriates' Welfare Minister Nurul Islam and then the ministry officials, an official of the ministry told The Daily Star.
“We will share our ideas … but the recruitment mode will be finalised later,” the official said.
A Malaysian business delegation also arrived in Dhaka on Saturday to discuss its online recruitment system with the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira), said a leader of Baira.
As the discussions are about to begin, the question is how the two countries are going to have a mechanism that would be foolproof. The private sector engagement in manpower export in 2007-08 had caused massive labour exploitations.

Additional migration cost, surplus labour recruitment due to the involvement of too many agents, and the introduction of outsourcing companies had resulted in a ban on labour migration to Malaysia in early 2009.
More than four lakh Bangladeshi workers were recruited during that time, but many had remained jobless, coerced into working without wage or were given low wages and many were deported penniless.
After four years of the freeze, Malaysia introduced recruitment through state management (G2G), but employed only 10,000 workers in its plantation sector in more two years.

In late June, Malaysia's Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said his country would recruit 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers in the next three years through private sector (B2B). He also said a similar number of irregular or undocumented workers already in Malaysia would be deported.

ONLINE RACE

Malaysia plans to introduce an online system for the management of workers' recruitment, visa processing, medical checkups and the monitoring of workers, officials at the expatriates' welfare ministry and Baira said.

However, Malaysia suspended a similar online system on January 26 two weeks after its introduction following allegations from Indonesia and Nepal that their workers were being charged higher fees.

These countries had also threatened to stop sending workers to Malaysia if Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) was used and biometric health checks were done.

Malaysia had outsourced the services to Bestinet, which is owned, among others, by Tan Sri Azmi Khalid, a leader of the Malaysian ruling party, and Bangladeshi Aminul Islam, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia.

Aminul Islam, who went to Malaysia as a worker over a decade ago, got PR status marrying a Malaysian and had made a fortune through manpower business over the years, sources said.

Some agents in Malaysia said Bestinet was now trying to introduce its system for recruiting Bangladeshi workers.

Another IT company, Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, registered in Malaysia on March 5 this year, was also trying to have a contract with the Malaysian home ministry for an online system on recruitment and monitoring of Bangladeshi workers, a Baira source said. 

The owners of Real Time Networking include Dato Raja Azahar bin Abdul Manap, Dato Abdul Hakim bin Hamidi, Dato Md Abu Hanif bin Abul Kashem (a Bangladeshi with Malaysian PR status), Datin Nur Firzanah, Abbas Ali and Rosli Ab Ghani.

The Baira official said one shareholder of Real Time was a close relative of a powerful Malaysian minister and others were connected to the ruling party one way or the other.   

Involvement of politically backed people in the migration of Bangladeshi workers could result in problems, the official said.

THAT MANY WORKERS?

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) Executive Director Datuk Hj Shamsuddin Bardan said they were focusing on local labour instead of foreign workers.

“Outlook of our economy is not that encouraging. Ringgit is depreciating and petroleum price is going down. The demand for services and product is declining,” he told The Daily Star over the phone on July 27.

Malaysia's state-owned oil firm Petronas reported in late May a net profit of 11.4 billion ringgit for the January-March period, which was 7.3 billion ringgit lower than that of the same period in 2014, according to Reuters.

These factors led to about 10,000 job cuts in Malaysia as of July this year, Malaysian newspaper Daily Express quoted Shamsuddin as saying in a report on July 23.

"Also, the government has decided not to employ new staff, save for critical or sensitive posts," said Shamsuddin, adding that this would affect about 10 percent of the job market and leads to an economic slowdown.

Against this backdrop, MEF had requested the government to review its decision to recruit 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers. The MEF has not received any response from the Malaysian government yet, he said.

4.6M IRREGULAR WORKERS

Malaysia said it would deport 1.5 million illegal migrants in phases as it recruits the same number.

Malaysian Trade Union Congress Secretary General N Gopal Kishnam said the country had some 2.4 million documented and 4.6 million undocumented migrant workers.

Of an estimated six lakh Bangladeshis there, 3 lakh are irregular. 

“The government has to address the issue of the undocumented migrant workers first and then, if needed, recruit fresh workers,” he told The Daily Star.

Regularising the irregular migrants would help Malaysian economy as they were already skilled and know the local language, he said.

Contacted, Bangladesh High Commissioner in Malaysia Shahidul Islam said creating job opportunities abroad was important for Bangladesh, but it must be at low cost.

“For this to happen, we are discussing various options, including online system. Nothing is finalised yet,” he told The Daily Star at Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Malaysia now has a shortage of 57 lakh workers, and if Bangladeshis do not take the opportunity, others will, he said.

On regularising undocumented workers, Shahidul said it was a security issue for Malaysia, especially those coming to Malaysia through the sea.- Daily Star, 10/8/2015