Archive for December, 2018


Good job AG Tommy Thomas.

Malaysians are amazed by the professional difference between the present AG Tommy Thomas to that of the previous AG Apandi Ali. Previous AG Apandi Ali proudly announced that there is no criminal case against Najib Tun Razak and his conspirators, what a clown!

Anyway, Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs over the 1MDB scandal. It accused the bank of making false and misleading statements, a rare rebuke of an institution that has long represented the pinnacle of money and power.

The Malaysian authorities also charged several individuals in connection with the multibillion-dollar investment fraud that ensnared Goldman and led to the ouster of Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak. The government said it would seek criminal fines in excess of $2.7 billion.

The charges relate to a Malaysian state investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, from which officials and employees are suspected of looting billions of dollars. The money funded an enormous spending spree, according to U.S. federal prosecutors.

Read the rest in the nytimes.com

GOLDMAN SUCKS CHARGED FOR GIGANTIC MALAYSIAN FRAUD.

The filing of federal charges could increase pressure on Goldman, the…


Finance Twitter

The older the ginger, the spicier it gets – goes a very popular Chinese idiom. It means the older a person becomes, the wiser the person gets. When Mahathir Mohamad led the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), to a stunning victory in the May 9th general election, the world was shocked and impressed with the emergence of the world’s oldest prime minister.

This is not the first time the grand old man walks the corridors of power. He had enjoyed and tasted the power before – as prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. But to return to his old job after retired for 15 years is particularly satisfying for him. From a dictator, Mr. Mahathir suddenly becomes a very popular saviour who successfully defeated the evil and corrupt (former) PM Najib Razak.

Heck, he has become so popular that there were concerns the 93-year-old man would be pressured to continue his premiership for as long as he likes, nullifying the agreement to hand over the most powerful job after 2 years to Anwar Ibrahim, his protégé-turned-nemesis-turned-ally. However, Mahathir has repeatedly said he will honour the agreement signed by Pakatan Harapan partners.

The two year period may sound very short, but when a man like Mahathir is put to work, he can deliver more than what an idiot can do in 20 years. The fact that his party – Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) – commands almost the equal share of ministry portfolios among the 4 partners in the ruling coalition, despite being a minority party, was already impressive.

After the historic May 9th win, Anwar’s party (PKR – People’s Justice Party) possessed the lion’s share of 47 parliamentary seats, while DAP (Democratic Action Party) grabbed 42. Mahathir’s PPBM (Malaysian United Indigenous Party) won only 13 seats and Amanah (National Trust Party) managed 11 seats, giving the Pakatan Harapan coalition the required 113 simple majority.

Sure, Mahathir was sworn in as the country’s 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia primarily because all the component parties had agreed to the arrangement. Another factor was due to the fact that there is no dominant party with super majority seats in the coalition. Still, after Anwar was granted a full pardon by the Agong (King) and released from prison, he can kick Mahathir out of the government.

There were strong rumours that Anwar Ibrahim was plotting to partner with either UMNO Malay nationalist party (which was dethroned for the first time in 61 years) or PAS Islamist party or both so that he can instantly grab power. After all, how hard could it be to replace Mahathir’s 13 seats party? Anwar’s advisers believed Mahathir might play him again like in 1998.

Mahathir easily checkmated Anwar, pampered PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali with a very powerful portfolio – a specially created Minister of Economic Affairs. The divide and conquer tactic has essentially split PKR into half. To ensure DAP and ethnic Chinese loyalty to his premiership, Mahathir rewarded them with 6 ministers, including the powerful Minister of Finance.

After ensuring stability and no rebellion within the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition, Mahathir proceeded to break up the opposition Barisan Nasional coalition. Out of 79 parliamentary seats initially won by the old regime, UMNO alone had in its possession 54 seats. Like a skillful sushi chef, Mahathir skinned Barisan’s so-called fixed-deposit Sarawak Barisan Nasional.

About a month after its humiliating defeat, the extremely corrupt Barisan was shocked when it lost 19 parliamentary seats in June. All the Sarawak parties – PBB, SUPP, PRS, and PDP – abandoned the coalition. Including UPKO (1), PBS (1) and PBRS (1), the Barisan was reduced from 79 to 57. The once arrogant former Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi was reportedly begged the Sarawak Chief Minister not to quit, but to no avail.

It was not a coincidence that Sarawak former Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s party PBB, the biggest in the state with 13 parliamentary seats, launched the rebellion after his meeting with PM Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin. In exchange for not investigating Taib’s decades of corruption and illegal logging, Mahathir single-handedly took away Barisan’s fixed-deposit.

UMNO plunged into disarray almost instantly. Its self-proclaimed 3-million members were running around like a headless chicken. From a mighty coalition of 13 component parties, the Barisan Nasional is now reduced to just 3 parties. With MCA and MIC holding 1 seat each (after MIC’s Cameron Highland was declared null and void), the coalition was reduced to 56 seats.

But the slaughtering has just begun. With UMNO members already disillusioned and demoralised by their clueless president Zahid, Mahathir didn’t have to do any heavy lifting. Like it or not, the old man was a master strategist. Besides to gauge the real support of UMNO and PAS, there appeared to be another reason why the anti-ICERD rally was allowed to proceed.

Zahid Hamidi and PAS President Hadi Awang thought the ICERD was a God-sent opportunity to rally the Malays and Muslims against the Mahathir government. The much hyped demonstration had turned out to be a flop – only managed to attract 55,000 protesters. Both gangster Zahid and extremist Hadi had wanted to test the feasibility of UMNO and PAS joining forces.

But the same racial and religious rally would come back to haunt both Zahid and Hadi, sooner than they had expected. On Dec 12, just four days after the mega rally, a mass exodus from Sabah UMNO has begun with nine of 10 of its assemblymen, five of six MPs and two senators leaving the party. There were dozens of reasons (or rather excuses) given for the mass resignations.

However, according to sources, the main reasons were the fear of UMNO becoming too Islamic-centric and getting closer to PAS. There’s a reason why the PAS Islamist party doesn’t have a presence in Sabah. UMNO in Sabah is different from the Peninsular. Perhaps the stupid Zahid Hamidi hadn’t a clue that Sabah UMNO actually has “non-Muslim” members.

A day after the December 8 rally, which Mr. Zahid proudly declared as a huge success and attended by 500,000 Malay-Muslims, PAS and UMNO told all and sundry that they will set-up a joint committee to discuss and deliberate issues concerning the position of Islam as well as special privileges of the Malay, suggesting a partnership or a coalition or even a merger could be on the horizon.

Mahathir was absolutely naughty to give UMNO enough ropes to hang itself. All UMNO Sabah leaders & elected representatives who were leaving the party have pledged full support to the Pakatan Harapan Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. UMNO is now left with only one assemblyman and one MP in the state of Sabah.

Thanks to anti-ICERD rally, UMNO’s 54 MPs has been diluted further to 43 after the Sabah fiasco. That’s close to half of the initial 79 MPs lost within 6 months under Zahid leadership. Not bad for a Java-migrant who had dreamt of becoming UMNO president. After the collapse of Sabah UMNO, a second wave of exodus from UMNO is reportedly coming very soon.

At least 32 UMNO MPs have allegedly switched loyalty to Mahathir Mohamad. If that happens, UMNO would be crippled with only 11 MPs left, presumably the most toxic and unacceptable even to the “garbage collector” Mahathir. The PPBM now possesses 16 MPs, up from 13 after three UMNO MPs jumped ship earlier on.

If Mahathir’s PPBM decides to accept all the 32 UMNO frogs, it would be boosted with a whopping 48 MPs, just second to Anwar PKR’s 50 MPs. To be fair to him, the prime minister did not say all of UMNO MPs will definitely be accepted. They must first become independent or Pakatan-friendly. This is important because the frogs can be used to initiate institutional reforms.

Yes, as a 13 MPs small “mosquito party”, as previously mocked and insulted by former Tourism and Culture Minister and UMNO warlord Nazri Aziz, it’s incredible that Mahathir could control the 222-seat government. Even without the 32 UMNO frogs, the 19 (Sarawak) and 5 (Sabah) respective friendly votes means Pakatan has 146 votes, just 2 seats shy of two-thirds majority.

Pro-UMNO cybertroopers, propagandists and bloggers had predicted and hoped that a merger between UMNO and PAS could create a new powerful force. They suggested that what Zahid and Hadi needed to do was to scream, whine and bitch about 3R (religion, racial and royalty) and the Pakatan Harapan government would collapse.

Instead of a merger, clearly Mahathir has a better solution – to slaughter UMNO like a pig and deny PAS the satisfaction of taking a free ride out of UMNO misery. From the leader of a minority party, Mahathir has not only divided UMNO into pieces of junks, but also recycle the garbage to become useful parts, without any promise of keeping the trash.

This piece is by Finance Twitter and it can be found HERE.


This is when the Nuclear Age all started, seventy-five years ago this week, scientists from the University of Chicago created the first controlled, self-sustained nuclear chain reaction, and eventually came the atomic bomb. Sad that all these innovative concepts resulted in actions which were destructive….

Physicists Enrico Fermi and Léo Szilárd, along with Martin Whittaker, Walter Zinn, George Weil, and Arthur Compton, gathered together in a squash court under the west stands of the University of Chicago’s abandoned Stagg Field. In the center of the court, as Fermi explained, was “a crude pile of black bricks and wooden timbers;” a stacked pile of graphite and uranium, with large removable rods of cadmium, indium, and silver.

The group had gathered to conduct a crucial experiment as part of The Manhattan Project; an experiment that would send research in energy and weaponry in a totally new direction. Without any radiation shielding or cooling system, Fermi’s team initiated the world’s first controlled nuclear chain reaction.

Hungarian physicist Leó Szilárd first proposed the idea of a nuclear chain reaction, “whereby neutrons released from radioactive atomic nuclei would hit other heavy nuclei causing them to split (fission) into smaller nuclei. Every time this splitting happened, a little bit of energy was released.

“Szilárd knew that the possibility of a chain reaction represented a shift in world history,” Gleiser, a professor of physics at Dartmouth College, writes. “An explosive device with an uncontrolled chain reaction would have devastating consequences.”

A group of scientists persuaded Albert Einstein, the most famous scientist of the day, to write President Franklin Roosevelt urging him to launch a major bomb-making effort. The letter essentially said, “If we don’t build a bomb, Germany will first.”

The Italian Physicist Enrico Fermi’s pile experiment, which served as the framework for modern nuclear reactors, generated only about a half watt of power.

University of Pennsylvania physics and astronomy professor Gino Segre writes in the Chicago Tribune:

The experiment focused on a crude pile — a 20-foot-high structure made of close to 40,000 graphite bricks, weighing 20 pounds each and embedded with a total of almost 100,000 pounds of uranium. Thirteen-foot control rods, ready to be pushed in or out depending on the neutron count, protruded from the pile. Fermi, cool and collected throughout the experiment, gave orders from the balcony above the squash court.

The 49 attending scientists and observers fully trusted this Nobel Prize winner, called the “Pope of Physics” by his admiring peers because of his scientific infallibility. At 3:25 in the afternoon, after ordering the last control rod to be pulled halfway out, Fermi announced the pile had “gone critical.” The chain reaction gradually accelerated, reaching dangerous levels ever more quickly. After the neutron count dramatically intensified at 3:49 p.m., Fermi continued to run the pile for nearly 5 minutes before calling a halt to the experiment. But those minutes marked the beginning of a new era.

While the reaction only produced a small amount of energy, Isaacs says the event was a “remarkable engineering feat” that dramatically changed the landscape of science. Three years later, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

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Najib and his cousin brother Hishammuddin had essentially placed the country at risk of “terrorism target” because the operation was held during the peak of Syrian War. 

Finance Twitter

We raised our suspicions two years ago in 2016 when Saudi Arabia bragged about their massive military exercise – Northern Thunder – which involved 350,000 troops from 20 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Pakistan, Djibouti, Mauritania, Senegal, Sudan, Chad, Tunisia, Morocco, Comoros, Mauritius, Egypt, Maldives and Malaysia.

Saudi news media boasted that the force included 2,540 aircraft, 460 helicopters and 20,000 armoured vehicles, arguably the largest military operation in the region since the liberation of Kuwait in 1990’s Operation Desert Storm. But it raised the red flag, simply because Malaysia was the only country in the Southeast Asia involved in the military exercise (from February 16 until March 4, 2016).

It was particularly strange because not even Indonesia or Brunei was invited. So, why was Malaysia so special that their armed forces were involved in the military exercise some 6,000 kilometres away? Did then-PM Najib Razak send the country’s military to the Gulf as part of his commitment to boost Saudi propaganda machine, in exchange for the US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) discovered in his bank accounts?

Read more here


The government estimates that about 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s roughly 22 million people suffer from some sort of mental disorder, with nearly 800,000 suffering from depression. Studies in the northeast, where much of the fighting was concentrated, found as many as 30 percent of children suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder around the end of the war.

For many, the trauma has been refreshed by the latest political crisis. Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who led a brutal offensive against the rebel Tamil Tigers, is back at the center of power, his face looming from posters on the street.

See below the New York Times, a well written piece on the human trauma of that chapter of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The United Nations says at least 40,000 civilians were likely killed in the last stage of the war.

A government psychiatrist in Sri Lanka goes door to door in an area…

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition.”

In January of 1954, just a year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote the following letter to philosopher Erik Gutkind after reading his book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt,” and made known his views on religion. Apparently Einstein had only read the book due to repeated recommendation by their mutual friend Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer. The letter was bought at auction in May 2008, for £170,000; unsurprisingly, one of the unsuccessful bidders then was Richard Dawkins. Yesterday it was bought by an as yet unknown buyer for $2.9 million.

(Translated Transcript)
Princeton, 3. 1. 1954

Dear Mr Gutkind,

Inspired by Brouwer’s repeated suggestion, I read a great deal in your book, and thank you very much for lending it to me. What struck me was this: with regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common. Your personal ideal with its striving for freedom from ego-oriented desires, for making life beautiful and noble, with an emphasis on the purely human element. This unites us as having an “unAmerican attitude.”

Still, without Brouwer’s suggestion I would never have gotten myself to engage intensively with your book because it is written in a language inaccessible to me. The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and whose thinking I have a deep affinity for, have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything “chosen” about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual “props” and “rationalization” in Freud’s language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,

Yours,

A. Einstein

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(A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which he grapples with the concept of religion has smashed predictions and sold for nearly $2.9million (£2.3million).)

2017 Auditor-General’s Report Series 2 has vindicated the previous Musa state government. As published in the 2017 Auditor-General’s Report , the accumulated balance in the Sabah State Treasury was RM3.8 billion in 2017.

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 5 — The Auditor-General’s 2017 report on Sabah clearly vindicates former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, whom the current administration accused of mismanaging finances, Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor said today.

Hajiji said that they were not surprised by the A-G’s Report as it was just a continuation of similar reports for the last 15 years under Musa as Sabah Minister of Finance.

“It is not too far-fetched to even say that Musa was one of the best financial managers Sabah ever had. He managed to present a surplus Budget for 2018 despite the dismal price of oil back then and surplus accounts for 16 years in a row,” he said in a statement here today.

Hajiji said in terms of basic accounting, the report means the previous administration did not spend more than it earned, and Warisan’s claims that the state’s finances were badly managed and that the party was left with not enough to fulfill their manifesto, were untrue.

“In the wake of May 12, Warisan openly claimed the state’s finances were in dire straits. Sadly, this alleged lack of funds is the old song and dance that they keep using as an excuse to not deliver to the people…however, the figures for 2017 speak for themselves,” he said.

May 12 was the date Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was sworn in as Sabah chief minister.

“The recent revelation of the A-G’s report proves that the state government has contradicted itself when presenting the Sabah Budget 2019 recently. Since helming the office, the Warisan government has committed numerous flip flops on Sabah’s financial position,” Hajiji said.

“Initially they said there is no money in coffers and then, suddenly there is money but wait…it looks like there is money but it is through accounting manipulations,” he said.

According to the report from the A-G which was released on Monday, the state’s consolidated fund increased, there was surplus resulting in the accumulated balance rising, revenue collection increased, and also an increase in operating expenditure.

The consolidated fund rose last year by RM390.64 million or 16.2 per cent to RM2.8 billion in 2017, compared to RM2.41 billion in 2016. There was also a surplus of RM56.66 million in 2017, resulting in the accumulated balance rising to RM3.8 billion or 1.5 per cent while revenue collection increased by RM444.44 million or 12.9 per cent to RM3.89 billion in 2017.

Investments in fixed and state deposits reached RM2.51 billion and investments in public corporation and statutory bodies totalled RM6.58 billion. The two investments brought in RM112.67 million and RM140.43 million in interests and dividends.

Hajiji said that in spite of Musa’s achievement, the Warisan-led government chose to mislead the people on Musa’s performance as chief minister and finance minister for the last 15 years, which was not only an act of incompetence but malice in an attempt to belittle the achievements of the previous state government.

“If the new administration does not have the decency or the courtesy to acknowledge the milestones of its predecessor, the least it can do is to not mislead the people. In civil society, in spite of political differences, gentlemen still shake hands and give credit where credit is due,” said Hajiji, who is also Sulaman assemblyman.

After taking office as chief minister, Shafie announced he was taking up the Finance portfolio as well, to clean up the “financial mess”. He also later said that the state Barisan Nasional government had not been forthcoming about the state’s financial status, claiming the state’s RM4 billion reserves were non-existent.

Musa was chief minister of Sabah from 2003 to 2018, when he was ousted from the post despite a controversial narrow win in the state and general elections.

He has since been trying to get the courts to declare his ouster as unconstitutional but is also facing several charges of corruption.

This piece came out in the Malay Mail

http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=129243