Everything appeared to be rosy after the Barisan Nasional government was stunningly defeated in the May 2018 General Election. For the first time in 61 years since independence in 1957, the extremely corrupt coalition had lost power. Prime Minister Najib Razak, plagued with 1MDB scandal, could not believe the results as his advisers and surveys said he would win.
Momentarily, there was fear that Najib would resort to emergency rule, refusing to concede defeat. Mahathir Mohamad, the 92-year-old former premier who ended the ruling coalition’s 6-decade in power, told news media that he cannot seek an audience with the King without an official election announcement, which the corrupted Election Commission was ordered to delay indefinitely.
The despicable Najib, in his attempt to cling to power, had offered US$6 million (RM20 million) to opposition candidates willing to switch sides. At the same time, Najib had tried to swing Warisan, a local party of Sabah that won 8 parliament seats. There were also reports that the King and Malay Rulers, who were notoriously anti-Mahathir, was refusing to swear him in.
It would take hours for the Palace, after interviewing all leaders of the opposition parties, to finally agree to swear Mahathir into office – the oldest leader in the world. The Pakatan Harapan government was formed with a majority of 122 seats out of 222. The Election Commission’s delay tactic to facilitate Najib’s desperate attempt to bribe opposition candidates failed spectacularly.
With Mahathir in power, all eyes were on Najib, who was expected to face corruption and money laundering charges for his role in 1MDB scandal, where US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) was discovered in his personal bank account. Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, known as the Imelda Marcos of Malaysia, has long been suspected of using stolen money to fund her jewellery spree.
The U.S.-DOJ investigation results says that over US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from the 1MDB fund, with some of the money used to finance Hollywood films, and buy hotels, private jet, luxury Equanimity superyacht, Picasso paintings, jewellery and real estate. Najib has claimed money found in his private bank was “donation” from Saudi Arabia royal family, a claim that could not be fully proven.
A leaked flight schedule sparked speculation that Najib and Rosmah were trying to flee the country on May 12, 2018 – four days after they lost power. Based on the flight information, a private jet owned by Indonesian businessman Peter Sondakh would fly the former Malaysian leader from Subang Airport in Malaysia to Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in Jakarta.
Billionaire Sondakh, the owner of conglomerate PT Rajawali Corp., was working hand-in-glove with Najib when the former Malaysian premier ordered Felda to invest 37% stake in PT Eagle High Plantations (EHP), an ailing palm oil company owned by Sondakh. The “forced investment” of US$505 million (RM2.3 billion) was inflated by more than 300% when the stake was worth only US$114 million.
Najib and Rosmah had to abort their mission after hundreds of angry people scrambled to the airport to stop them from fleeing the country. Denying that they were trying to run away to Indonesia, Najib claimed his family just wanted to take a short holiday. However, PM Mahathir gave the orders to the immigration to blacklist him from leaving Malaysia.
On the night of May 17, 2018, police raided three luxury Pavilion Residences condominiums in Kuala Lumpur owned by Najib Razak’s children. Besides RM117 million cash and RM1 billion worth of 12,000 pieces of jewellery, an eye-popping 567 handbags consisted of luxury handbags from 37 different designers – including Chanel, Prada, Hermes and ultra-luxury Bijan – were confiscated.
Less than 2 months later, Najib was finally charged on July 3, 2018 with multiple counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and corruption for graft involving transfer of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of 1MDB) to his personal bank account. He was arrested at his residence in Jalan Langgak Duta and had spent a night at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detention facility.
The next month (August 2018), Najib’ spy chief – Hasanah Abdul Hamid – was arrested and charged for helping herself to election funds from the prime minister’s office (PMO). The former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO), along with six of her officers, had stolen US$12.1 million (RM50.4 million) while transporting the election funds.
The disgraced 62-year-old Intelligence Chief, who siphoned the money between April 30, 2018, and May 9, 2018, had instructed her boys from the “Research Division” of the Prime Minister’s Department to purchase six luxury watches. The Najib’s Bond girl also made payments to third parties and transported the remaining monies out without handing them over to the division nor the government.
May 9, 2018 was the day after Najib stunningly lost the election. As chaos erupted after Barisan Nasional was defeated, 17 security personnel were also helping themselves to some RM3.5 million cash in the Prime Minister’s Office. Apparently, Najib’s office was loaded with tons of cash and his defeat had prompted former spy chief Hasanah to steal the money from his boss.
Hasanah was previously exposed to have had committed the highest degree of treasonous and treacherous act when she wrote to invite a foreign power to interfere in the sovereignty of Malaysia. Her letter dated May 4, sent just days before the May 8 general election, was addressed to CIA Director Gina Cheri Haspel soliciting for the spy agency’s help to maintain Najib Razak as prime minister.
Unfortunately, the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government collapsed in March 2020, some 22 months after the historic May 2018 General Election. Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, together with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, betrayed their own government when they conspired and plotted with defeated UMNO and PAS extremists to form a backdoor government.
Not only backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin ordered his newly appointed Attorney General Idrus Harun to discharge Riza Aziz (in May 2020), the stepson of Najib Razak, but also dropped all 46 criminal charges against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman in June 2020 involving corruption and money laundering relating to timber concessions in Sabah.
Riza Aziz was initially slapped on July 5, 2019 (under Pakatan Harapan government) with 5 charges of money laundering involving US$248 million (RM1.25 billion), which were misappropriated from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). Musa Aman was freed so that he could help the power-crazy Muhyiddin snatches Sabah state government.
On June 28, 2020, Najib, who walked the corridors of power from 2009 to 2018, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse of power, and 10 years in jail for each of six counts of money laundering and breach of trust (CBT). Additionally, Najib was fined RM210 million, and will serve an additional 5 years if he fails to pay. However, he is free pending appeal.
Make no mistake. Muhyiddin’s refusal to help Najib was not because the former was interested in fighting kleptocrats, but because Najib will compete with Muhyiddin for the prime ministership once acquitted. Therefore, by hook or by crook, Mr Muhyiddin had to ensure his former boss remains convicted, pretending that he would not interfere in judiciary to help crooks.
Interestingly, some RM114 million cash confiscated during a dramatic raid at Pavilion Residences condominiums in 2018 have been returned to Najib Razak in August 2021. Muhyiddin regime, in a strange move, decided not to appeal the High Court’s decision. Clearly, the prosecution under A.G. Idrus Harun had deliberately screwed the case to help UMNO.
In yet another disappointing decision, Najib’s former spy chief, Hasanah, was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in April 2021, despite overwhelming evidence – including 69 CCTV video clips – of RM50 million thefts from her former boss’ office. Again, the prosecutors under orders from Attorney General’s Chambers have, for some strange reasons, decided not to further prosecute her.
But in the land of crooks and pirates, the story did not end there. If you think it’s incredibly jaw-dropping that a convicted criminal like former PM Najib could get back the stolen RM114 million cash, wait till you read how former spymaster Hasanah had gone to the MACC to also claim her stolen RM50 million, only to discover a huge amount of the money were fake notes.
Exactly why the stolen RM50 million must be returned to a crooked spy chief, and not directly to the government, is absolutely mind-blowing. But the best part was how three anti-corruption officers helped themselves to the stolen cash, stealing half of the dirty money – RM25 million – which had been stolen by Hasanah from Najib, who in turned stole it from the people.
It’s equally breathtaking how the MACC officers could replace a large portion of the RM25 million with counterfeit currency. The three suspects were part of a “special team” assigned to investigate the abuse of power and criminal breach of trust involving the former spy chief. In fact, the MACC crooks have a close relationship with the MACC Chief Commissioner – Azam Baki – who was promoted by Muhyiddin in March 2020.
The joke continued when the MACC said it will investigate their own officers, attracting criticisms of cover-up and conflict of interest. More stunningly, neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the Finance Ministry (owner of 1MDB) nor any agency of the government was interested in lodging a police report, until it was voiced out publicly by Opposition MP Gobind Singh Deo.
Now that the police said it will summon the three MACC suspects and the “owner of the money” – spymaster Hasanah – for an investigation, will the authorities insult the people’s intelligence again with a declaration that the entire episode was nothing but a huge “misunderstanding”? After all, the MACC would have stacks of files of corruption involving top police officers and politicians.
This is not the first time that the MACC has found itself plagued with scandal involving its own officers. In June, 41-year-old MACC officer Shahrul Izuan Mohd Zin was charged for conspiring with Teoh Peng Sin to receive RM100,000 in cash as an incentive not to conduct investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (Act 613).
In April, two MACC officials were among 12 enforcement officers arrested by the police for their involvement in criminal activities linked to Malaysian fugitive businessman Nicky Liow Soon Hee, the founder of Winner Dynasty Group who is wanted for money laundering and organised crime activities. Nicky is said to have ties to convicted Hong Kong triad boss Wan Kuok-Koi.
Source : Finance Twitter