Hong Kong’s social problems stem from British rule, faces risk of Beijing rule as UK’s ‘toothless threat’ against China


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China urges UK officials to stop making wrong remarks on Hong Kong

The Chinese way of ruling https://youtu.be/BPV8mBAiuZ0

https://rightwayspro.blogspot.com/2019/06/a-destiny-tied-to-china-tackling-it.html

 Graffiti reading ‘Cancel Functional Constituencies’ is seen on lawmaker desks after protesters entered and vandalised the chamber of the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong in the early hours of July 2. — Photos: Bloomberg
Graffiti reading ‘Cancel Functional Constituencies’ is seen on lawmaker desks after protesters entered and
vandalised the chamber of the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong in the early hours of July 2. — Photos: Bloomberg

LAST Monday, I watched the live telecast of protests in Hong Kong in horror as hundreds of protesters forced their way into the Legislative Council building, ransacking the chamber and defacing the emblem of the Hong Kong Government.

July 1 marked the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, when British colonial rule and humiliation ended, but it turned out to be one of the city’s darkest days.Protesters were seen waving large Union Jack flags in the middle of the chamber, searching for documents and destroying computers. Watching the TV footage was worrying and mind-boggling. Western media, including CNN, reported that there was no leader – but to me, the chaos seemed organized.

Hong Kong, which had been under British colonial rule for 155 years before 1997, is now under the jurisdiction of China. Hence, the display of the British flag lent credence to Beijing’s accusation that Britain was one of the Western forces behind the series of protests in Hong Kong.

In vandalising the building and its interior, protestors showed a complete disregard for the rule of law – the core value of keeping public order in this international financial centre.I continued to monitor the news on various international news channels until past midnight, when the armed police finally moved in in heavy trucks to clear the rioters. A key reason the police stayed away from confronting the rioters was due to a directive from China’s President Xi Jinping to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam that “there must not be blood”, according to local newspaper Apple Daily.

Before marching to the Legislature on Monday, protestors had already taken to the streets previously in an attempt to disrupt a flag raising ceremony carried out by officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (as Hong Kong is formally known under China’s rule), but they left after a scuffle with the police that left many hurt.Peaceful pro-democracy street marches on July 1 have been an acceptable annual routine ever since the 1997 handover. This year, however, the situation was tense due to massive demonstrations in earlier weeks against the tabling of an amendment Bill to Hong Kong’s extradition law.

The Bill was first proposed by the Hong Kong government in February 2019 in response to a 2018 murder of a woman by her boyfriend while the Hong Kong couple was visiting Taiwan. Since Hong Kong has no extradition treaty with Taiwan, which is part of China, the Hong Kong boyfriend could not be sent to Taiwan to face the law.

The Bill, based on United Nations model used in the West, is meant to target fugitives suspected of one or more serious crimes. But it rules out targetting people based on political and religious grounds. In essence, the Bill is meant to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a sanctuary for fugitives and criminals.

However, anti-China activists have argued that this Bill will facilitate the sending of suspects to Beijing, whose law is harsher. They say it will destroy the Western rule of law and freedom now enjoyed by people in Hong Kong.

This wider interpretation has spread fear among ordinary residents, who are grappling with the high cost of living and housing in Hong Kong. The main objective of the Bill seems to have been overlooked completely.

Among the vocal protestors are pro-democracy activists, advocates of Hong Kong independence, China critics and dissidents, opposition politicians, and people who conduct shady commercial deals and crimes on the mainland. Also unhappy with this Bill, according to several YouTube narratives, are Taiwan and foreign governments with regional intelligence headquarters in Hong Kong who fear being rooted out from this centrally located “paradise” which gives them much needed “immunity”. Perhaps this is the reason why Western forces have been supportive of the protests.The upheaval has forced Lam to suspend tabling of the Bill.

On June 10, as protests were fast gathering momentum, the state-owned Global Times said in an editorial that, “Some international forces have increasingly collaborated with the opposition in Hong Kong…. Washington has been particularly active in meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and some radical opposition members in Hong Kong are (working) hand-in-glove with the US,” it said.Global Times reported that two opposition groups visited the US in March and May to notify the Americans about the amendment to the extradition law.

After these visits, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Bill threatens the rule of law in Hong Kong. The British and Canadian governments also issued a joint statement disapproving of the Bill.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has, on several occasions, publicly warned foreign forces not to meddle in Hong Kong’s affairs.

The violence of the July 1 protests may have embarrassed Westerners who support Hong Kong demonstrators. But some attributed the violence to a lack of response from the government to opposition demands.

Despite widespread condemnation of the July 1 crimes, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the Hong Kong protesters “have inspired the world” and their courage should not be ignored.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Monday: “… want to stress UK support for Hong Kong and its freedoms is unwavering on this anniversary day. No violence is acceptable, but HK people must preserve their right to peaceful protest.”

The next day Hunt warned Beijing that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 and setting out the terms for Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, was “to be honoured … and if it isn’t there will be serious consequences”.

As stated in the Joint Declaration and under the “one country, two systems” principle, socialism practised in mainland China would not be extended to Hong Kong. Instead, Hong Kong would continue its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years after 1997.

In anger, China responded by lodging protests with Britain over Hunt’s warning.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had made “stern representations” over the comments, and accused Hunt of still harbouring “colonial illusions”.

“We called on the British, especially Hunt, to stop being overconfident and grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs. This is doomed to fail,” Geng said.

Hong Kong became a British colony at the end of the First Opium War in 1842. Although it was returned to China in 1997, British and Western influence is still strong.

China’s state media reminded Hong Kong’s citizens of the disastrous consequences of past “revolutions” promoted in many countries by the West. When these countries were in turmoil and needed economic assistance, the Western countries shied away, various media said in their commentaries and editorials.

There were also reminders that the semi-autonomous territory’s destiny is tied to the mainland, and that Beijing has looked after the interest of Hong Kong well.

It is not known whether the arrest of people responsible for the July 1 riots will spark further major protests, but if Lam resigns and the situation gets out of control, Article 18 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law could be invoked to allow China’s military forces to take control, according to an analysis from the mainland.

Article 18 of the Basic Law reads: “In the event that the National People’s Congress decides to declare a state of war or, by reason of turmoil within Hong Kong that endangers national unity or security and is beyond the control of the government of the region, decides that Hong Kong is in a state of emergency, the Central Government may issue an order applying the relevant national laws in Hong Kong.”

“For those people demanding the resignation of Carrie Lam, you had better not allow her to quit, as her stepping down can be construed as Hong Kong being out of control,” says one YouTube commentator, Tey Kok Seng.

Another, Mei Han, says in a video: “Stop the ‘one country two systems’ principle immediately, take back Hong Kong now,” adding that she is organising an online petition that has collected more than 10,000 “support” clicks.

China has been patient with Hong Kong’s demands and protests, but it is also time for Hong Kong’s residents to respect the principle of “one country, two systems” that has brought prosperity and stability to the territory.

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During an interview Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt still refused to directly criticize the violent protesters who stormed and vandalized the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Instead, he superficially stated that the UK condemns “all violence” and warned China again. He did not elaborate on the “serious consequences” that he previously warned China that it may face, but said the UK is “keeping options open” over China.

Almost all analyses believe Hunt is putting on an air. Nobody believes the UK will send its only aircraft carrier to China’s coast. Nor would anyone believe the UK will punish Beijing at the cost of hurting trade with China. The UK has been dwarfed by China in military and trade. Hunt’s inappropriate statements make many British people nervous: Will Beijing cancel an order from the UK to warn British politicians?

If China-UK relations deteriorate, will expelling Chinese diplomats become a card for London? This was the way that the Theresa May government used to deal with Moscow when a former Russian spy was poisoned in the UK. BBC reporters asked Hunt about the possibility for expelling diplomats. But it seems more like these BBC reporters, who bully politicians for pleasure, were using the unreliable option to make things difficult for Hunt.

Launching a diplomatic war against China leads to nowhere. European countries will not stand by London on the Hong Kong issue. By worsening diplomatic relations with China, the UK will only isolate itself.

What’s important is that Beijing has done nothing wrong on the Hong Kong issue. It is obvious to all that China persists in the “one country, two systems” policy, and Hong Kong’s system is different from the mainland’s. The Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, proposed by Hong Kong regional government, was a small cause of the unrest. It was politicized and magnified by opposition factions. The situation escalated according to the logic under Hong Kong’s system, not that of the mainland. But such storming and vandalizing is not acceptable under Hong Kong’s system or any system worldwide.

Instead of blaming violent protesters, Hunt directed his ire against Beijing, which is based on his selfish interests to win the election. Hunt wants to defeat Boris Johnson. In charge of diplomacy, Hunt believes the Hong Kong issue is a chance that dropped into his and the UK’s lap. But this is not the 19th century when the Opium War broke out. The UK has gone past its prime.

Hunt knew that Beijing would sniff at his threat of “serious consequences.” But he still said it because he needed to play in front of voters. This is political fraud. Hunt obviously believes that the British people can be manipulated like a flock of sheep.

But Hunt’s stunt has no good effect. Many British people are more worried whether Hunt’s words would lead to “serious consequences” from China. Purpose and ability should match in diplomatic strategy, but Hunt is obviously outwardly strong and inwardly weak. Even the British people think his performance is amusing.

In a few short years, one minute the UK calls its relations with China the “Golden Era,” and the next minute it warns China of “serious consequences.” Although these statements are from different administrations and politicians, the UK still shows inconsistency in policy. The country also swung from side to side on Brexit. The UK’s politics have become politicians’ coffers and plots. They are undermining the UK’s image.

Under such circumstances, we should not be too serious when dealing with the UK. Regardless of whether it shows a friendly or an opportunistic gesture, we should remind ourselves this will not be its first or last attitude toward China, and by saying that we mean it will be in a relatively short time, to be specific.

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US hypocritical in accusing China of tech theft


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The US has no lack of a “criminal record” in terms of technology theft.

 

The US has repeatedly ignored China’s innovative breakthroughs through self-reliance and hard work but accuses China of “stealing” US technology and intellectual property rights. These arguments do not hold water.

These absurd accusations imply that the US must be the absolute leader in technological innovation – only the US is qualified to make major breakthroughs while others should merely follow its lead and import its technology, otherwise they are “stealing.” Such logic is ridiculous.

A country’s technological innovation capability is closely related to its scientific research resources, such as talents, capital, and scientific experimental devices. Leading scientific research resources have determined the US leading position in various science and technology fields. Nonetheless, economies including the EU, China, Japan, Russia and India have also mastered considerable scientific research resources and developed technological innovation capabilities with their own characteristics and advantages.

It is due to such relatively scattered distribution of global research resources that the US can never be an “all-round champion” of technological innovation. It is natural that other countries will catch up with the US in certain fields.

Historically, the US made a great fortune during WWII, and out-competed the Soviet Union in terms of comprehensive national strength during the Cold War. Even so, the US failed to gain absolute dominance over the Soviet Union in technological innovation.

As a major technological innovator keeping pace with the US, the Soviet Union set multiple world records in its golden age. The world’s first nuclear power plant, artificial earth satellite, manned spacecraft, space station and intercontinental missiles were all built by the Soviet Union. As far as weapons and equipment are concerned, both the Soviet Union and the US had something in which they excelled. Even now, Russia, the successor state to the Soviet Union, surpasses the US in some respects.

The US made its first nuclear power plant, artificial satellite, manned spacecraft, and intercontinental missiles after the Soviet Union’s success. Based on its current logic, should these US cutting-edge technologies be regarded as something stolen from the Soviet Union?

There are more examples. China led the US in the processing power of supercomputers for many years. In June 2018, the US retook the world’s lead thanks to its machine “Summit” which could process 200,000 trillion calculations per second. By following US logic, should we say the US surpassed China by stealing China’s supercomputing technology?

Some have already noted that the US is actually the guilty party that files the suit first. The country has no lack of a “criminal record” in terms of technology theft. In the first decades after its founding, the US tried hard to “steal” advanced industrial technology from the UK to develop its own industries.

During WWII, prior to Germany’s surrender, the US established the Alsos Mission. The team was sent to Germany not to fight, but to capture top German scientists and their technologies ahead of the Soviet Union. It is said that Wernher von Braun, one of the founders of the US space program, was a leading figure in Nazi Germany’s rocket development program.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the US took the opportunity to obtain advanced military technology that the Soviet Union had accumulated for years and to lure away many top technical talents.

After that, plenty of US weapons benefited from the Soviet Union’s technology to varying degrees, which saved the US time and money. The US technology theft from the Soviet Union has produced generous returns.

However, the US is not ashamed of such records. Many Hollywood blockbusters have molded American spies conducting such theft into the embodiment of justice, and molded theft into a just act. Perhaps it is precisely because of this that the US is now judging others by itself.

In recent years, China has continued to increase investment in science and technology. In 2018, the country’s research and development funds amounted to nearly 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion), second only to the US. The efforts will naturally pay off.

Nevertheless, the US deliberately turned a blind eye to China’s efforts to promote independent innovation and contain China’s development. The past actions and current absurd logic of the US are being seen through.

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Innovation is a driving force within China’s economy today. Yet behind that innovation, what’s the role of research and development?

 

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Crime and cost of living are top concerns for Malaysians – Ipsos Global Research


Global market and opinion research spec

PETALING JAYA: Corruption is no longer the top concern for Malay­sians as crime and the cost of living have taken over as more pressing issues, says an independent market research firm.

Ipsos Sdn Bhd, in its What Worries The World survey, found that the top five concerns of Mal­aysians this year were crime and violence (39%), inflation and the cost of living (34%), corruption (32%), poverty and equality (31%) and unemployment and jobs (28%).

The survey noted that corruption, which was ranked as a top concern among those in the central region, non-bumiputras and those with a household income of more than RM5,000, had fallen to third place due to significant measures made by the government to address the issue.

Inflation is the “biggest concern” of urban Malay­sians, particularly youths and those in the low household income bracket.

“Corruption has dropped significantly by 15%. Now, only 32% feel that corruption is their main concern.“For crime and violence, it is only the positioning but it has remained the same between what it was now and before,” Ipsos managing director Arun Menon (pic) said during a press conference yesterday.

Founded in France, Ipsos is a global research group with offices in 89 countries delivering insights across various specialisations.

Among other studies Ipsos has conducted in Malaysia are the What Worries Malaysia: Post-GE 2018 survey in August 2018.

It had tracked the sentiments of Malaysians bef­ore and after GE14, as well as 100 days following the change of government.

The What Worries The World survey is Ipsos’ international monthly poll of 20,000 adults under the age of 65 in 28 countries, including Malaysia.

A total of 1,500 Malaysians were asked about their perception of what worried the nation the most.

The survey also found that Malaysians believed the country was headed in the wrong direction, with the figures increasing from 25% in June last year to 43% in March this year.

“Between March and last month, the people who are most upset about the country’s direction were the younger generation across different incomes, specifically people of the middle and upper education,” Menon said.

The survey also noted that the perception of the country heading in the wrong direction was gaining mom­entum and that Malaysia was getting closer to the global average.

The poll said the global average of people who thought their country is on the wrong track was at 58%.
What Worries the World – March 2019

New global poll finds four concerns top the world’s worry list: financial/political corruption, poverty/social inequality, unemployment, crime/violence. Meanwhile, in most countries surveyed (22 of 28) the majority think that their nation is on the wrong track.

The Ipsos What Worries the World study finds the majority of people across the participating 28 nations feel their country is on the wrong track (58% on average), with South Africa (77%), France (77%), Spain (76%), Turkey (74%) and Belgium (74%) recording the greatest levels of apprehension. There are, however, wide-ranging disparities in scores across the globe.

“What Worries the World” is a monthly online survey of adults aged under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

Right Direction

    • China (94%) inspires the most confidence about its national direction. More than 9 in 10 Chinese citizens say that China is moving in the right direction.
    • Saudi Arabia (84%) is once more in second place followed by India (73%) and Malaysia (57%).
    • India and Sweden are the are nations with the greatest month on month increase in positive sentiment of all 28 countries, with both reporting an 8-point increase in those seeing the nations as heading in the right direction.
  •         Notable rises in citizens considering their country as headed in the right    direction are also seen in China (94%) and Hungary (28%) – both reporting a 6-point increase.


Wrong Track

    • At the other end of the spectrum, South African, French, Spanish, Turkish and Belgian nationals have the greatest apprehension about the direction taken by their country. Just 23% of South African and French citizens consider their nations to be heading in the right direction, followed by 24% in Spain and 26% in both Turkey and Belgium.
  •          Mexico (56%) has seen the biggest fall in optimism— with a reduction of 12% from a positive sentiment spike reported last month (68%).There are also 6-point falls in both Italy and Canada.

The four major worries for global citizens are:

  1. Financial/ Political corruption (34%). South Africa (69%) has the most citizens apprehensive about this issue, followed by on Peru 63% and Hungary on 60%. Canadians (30%) have the greatest month on month increase in this concern, with a rise of 11 percentage points. Germans (9%) are the least worried citizens along with Great Britain (14%) and Sweden (15%).
  2. Poverty/Social Inequality (34%). The greatest levels of anxiety are held in Russia (58%), Hungary (56%) and Serbia (54%). Sweden (19%) and Saudi Arabia (20%) are the least concerned nations in this area followed by the US (21%). In terms of trend, we observe a strong 8-point increase in concern in this area in Hungary.
  3. Unemployment (33%). The highest levels of worry are seen in Italy (69%), South Korea (66%) and Spain (61%). Turkish citizens (+7%) and Argentinians (+6%) are the nations which have recorded the greatest month on month increase in this issue. The US public and Germans (11%) are the least concerned, followed by citizens in Great Britain (14%) Sweden (15%) and Poland (15).
  4. Crime & Violence (31%), The highest levels of worry in this issue are seen in Mexico (64%) – closely followed by Peru (62%) and Chile (59%). China (22%) records the largest increase in anxiety with an increase of 11 percentage points from the previous month. There are other increases in Chile (+9), Malaysia (+9) and Turkey (+7). Concerns around crime are lowest in Russia and Hungary (8%), and Poland (11%). The greatest falls in this issue come from Poland (-10) and Serbia (-9).

Top five global issues

  1. Financial/ Political corruption (34%)
  2. Poverty/Social Inequality (34%)
  3. Unemployment (33%)
  4. Crime & Violence (31%)
  5. Healthcare (24%)

The survey was conducted in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The 28 countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. 20,019 interviews were conducted between February 22nd, 2019 – March 8th, 2019 among adults aged 18-64 in Canada, Israel and the US, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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What Worries the World – March 2019

 

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Clean up the graft and power abuse at Human Resource Training & Development provider HRDF


Scandal-hit: The clean-up at HRDF appears to be far from over.

 

Questions over HRDF Bangsar South property

PETALING JAYA: The clean-up at scandal-hit Human Resources Deve­lopment Fund (HRDF) appears to be far from over.

In fact, to add to its woes, details have recently emerged about the possible mishandling of a multi-million ringgit property acquisition.

The HRDF management has made police reports claiming there was misconduct or abuse of power in the purchase of part of a building in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur, four years ago, because it was done without the knowledge of the board of directors and the investment panel.

HRDF bought six floors of a “landmark skyscraper” for RM154mil, including goods and services tax (GST). It has been alleged that some RM40mil was paid even before the issuance of the tax invoice.

But the bigger issue, according to sources, was that the HRDF’s board of directors had actually approved the purchase of a different piece of property – another building, also in Bangsar South, for RM141mil before GST.

It was learnt that the investment panel was only informed of the switch five months after the first tranche of RM15.4mil had been paid.

The sources confirmed that the HRDF has gone to the police and investigations are underway.

An agency under the Human Resources Ministry, the HRDF manages a fund comprising contributions from employers for the purpose of training and development.

In November last year, minister M. Kulasegaran said staff and management personnel were running HRDF as if it was their own company and that the management had in some instances exceeded authority and approved projects beyond its approval limits.

This latest accusation regarding the Bangsar South purchase reflects the same governance problems.

“The board was also informed that the minister (at that time) approved the change of the property to be acquired,” said a source. “The sale and purchase agreement was signed by the chief executive officer prior to the approval of the investment panel and the board.”

The first RM40mil of the purchase price was paid in eight tranches.

The source said under the Pem­bangunan Sumber Manusia Bhd Act 2001, the minister could only direct the board on matters and was not empowered to approve or consent to entering into agreements.

The remaining RM114mil was paid after the signing of the agreement. The six floors of the Bangsar South building were handed over to the HRDF in March 2017.

Documents sighted by The Star showed that the investment panel voiced its intention to invest in property in a meeting at the end of 2014.

In February 2015, the board of directors approved a proposal to set up a reserve fund and an allocation of RM250mil.

It was stated by the CEO then that the property would be for HRDF’s use.

Another approval came two months later for the RM141mil property.

In May that year, the first payment of RM15.4mil was made, but for the property that cost RM154mil. This was also when the agreement was inked, said the sources.

Five months after receiving the keys in 2017, the investment panel decided to rent out the office floors. The board agreed with this move.

In May last year, the HRDF began paying service charges of RM66,670 per month for its Bangsar South property. Only one floor out the six has been rented out, giving a monthly income of RM115,168.

Surprisingly, the board of directors agreed in March last year to purchase two additional floors in the same building to be used as HRDF’s office.

Kulasegaran had previously said that high-ranking staff of the HRDF misappropriated about RM100mil, around a third of the fund’s RM300mil coffers.

He also said certain management staff members were overpaid with high salaries and bonuses and there was collusion between managerial staff and external parties to award contracts.

When contacted about the Bangsar South acquisition, former HRDF CEO Datuk C.M. Vignaesvaran Jeyandran said the board of directors had given approval before any property was bought.

On the claims that the property purchased was not the one which the board had approved originally, he clarified that it was part of a better building by the same developer and was adjacent to the first building.

“Everything was done according to the appropriate procedures, that’s for sure. There’s no such thing as buying before getting board approval.

“It went through our legal adviser, the investment committee and the audit committee. When we bought the six floors in the other building from the same developer, we also went back to the board and rectified it,” he said.

Asked on the purpose of the acquisition, Vignaesvaran said when he stepped down on June 21 last year, it was still an ongoing discussion at the board level whether the property was to be used as HRDF’s office or for investment purposes.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department acting director Deputy Comm Datuk Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said the department received two reports on this matter.

“We have since referred the case to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as it is under their purview,” he said.

At the time of the Bangsar South property purchase, the HRDF chairman was Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Abdul, who also chaired the investment panel.

Datuk Seri Richard Riot was the then human resources minister.

By royce tan The Star

Panel set up for HRDF clean-up

 

Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin

The Human Resources Development Fund is to undergo a complete overhaul. A committee has been set up to ensure the fund is rid of weaknesses and misuse of power among senior staff members as well as a promise by its new chairman to personally deal with allegations of graft.

The HRDF will also have the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission seconding one of its officers to the organisation.

Its chairman Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin said this was so that the MACC could establish the proper rules and regulations in the HRDF governance’s clean-up.

“HRDF has sought and received the support of the MACC in implementing rules, regulations and procedures to prevent any further misuse or abuse of employers’ money.

“MACC has agreed to second one of its officers to HRDF to beef up the unit and to expedite this process,” she said in a statement to The Star yesterday.

Last month, the HRDF set up an ad hoc Compliance and Governance Unit to implement the recommendations made by the Governance Oversight Committee (GOC) for the HRDF and to assist in investigations by various law enforcement agencies, said Noor Farida.

This came about after Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran formed the five-member GOC in June 2018 to review and investigate allegations that RM100mil had been misappropriated under the previous HRDF’s administration.

Key findings and recommendations by the GOC were finalised and published publicly on the HRDF website, said Noor Farida, who was appointed as its chairman on Jan 1 by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Top on the list of GOC recommendations was to stop the segregation of 30% of employers’ human resources development levy towards the Consolidated (Pool) Fund, which was set aside for special projects.

“This was made effective from Nov 1, 2018. No funds have since been allocated or spent on special projects,” she said.

Noor Farida noted that the move was not received well by certain quarters, including training providers, training institutions and trainers, who claimed that their incomes were affected.

The human capital development agency faced heavy public scrutiny following reports of alleged wrongdoings that had taken place under the previous administration.

In November last year, Kulasegaran revealed that high-ranking staff members of HRDF misappropriated about RM100mil out of the RM300mil that was in the fund.

He also highlighted several wrongdoings such as abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and arriving at decisions without reporting to the board of directors.

The Star, in an exclusive report on Jan 9, also highlighted the purchase of a RM154mil property in Bangsar South, also conducted without the approval of the directors and investment panel.

The new HRDF management lodged two police reports. The police have since referred the cases to the MACC.

Meanwhile, it was reported by an online portal that police would be questioning former HRDF chief executive officer Datuk C.M. Vignaesvaran Jeyandran over the “missing” RM100mil.

“On behalf of the HRDF board of directors, I want to reiterate that the board is fully supportive of the actions being taken against the wrongdoers by the HRDF,” said Noor Farida.

She said she would look into these allegations personally and urged those with any complaints or allegations to email her directly at anoorfarida@hrdf.com.my by Jan 31 so that she could initiate an independent investigation.

“If any further information is forthcoming from time to time, it will certainly be investigated,” she added.

The findings would also be published over the HRDF website, said Noor Farida.

By clarissa chung and fatimah zainal The Star
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HRDF chief Vignaesvaran resigns amidst allegations – Nation

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UMNO President Zahid hit with 45 charges of CBT, money laundering and graft


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been slapped with 45 charges at the Sessions Court here under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

The Umno president faces 27 counts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, 10 counts for committing breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code and 8 counts of receiving bribe under Section 16 (a)(b) of MACC Act 2009.

The 27 charges under Amla involve RM72,063,618.15 , while the 10 CBT charges involve RM20,833,132.99 and the eight charges of corruption RM21,250,000.

He pleaded not guilty to all 45 charges.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi set bail at RM2mil to be paid in two instalments on Friday (Oct 19)

The court ordered RM1mil to be paid on Friday (Oct 19) and the balance before or on Oct 26.

The mention date has been fixed on Dec 14.

On Thursday, investigators arrested the 65-year-old former deputy president at 3.15pm.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was investigated over allegations of misappropriation of funds belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi, of which he is the chairman.

He is said to have used RM800,000 of the foundation’s money to settle his credit card bills. – The Star

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Najib & his strong wife Rosmah with 17 charges in Court over money laundering

 

Najib’s wife Rosmah says she is okay after 13 hours long grilled by anti corruption agency over 1MDB


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When asked for comment, she said: “I’m okay. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God).”

Wife of ex-PM questioned by MACC for 13 hours over 1MDB

While MACC investigators question Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at length, believed to be over the 1MDB saga, a Dubai-based firm wants RM20.69 mil in bling back. The royal jeweller claims that he could bring his exquisite masterpieces to the ex-premier’s wife without having to go through Customs – thanks to officers from the PM’s Department. PUTRAJAYA: It proved to be a long, gruelling day for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as anti-graft officers interrogated her for 13 hours.

She entered the Malaysian AntiCorruption Commission (MACC) headquarters here at 9.50am yesterday.

Speculation was rife that the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would be held overnight and charged today.

But at 10.40pm last night, Rosmah emerged from the MACC headquarters. Although she looked exhausted, the 66-year-old afforded a meek smile to waiting journalists outside the building.

When asked for comment, she said: “I’m okay. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God).”

Her lawyers Datuk K. Kumaraendran and Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent said Rosmah would not be returning for further questioning.

“Datin Seri Rosmah has finished giving her statement. I will not comment further,” said Kumaraendran.

On June 5, Rosmah was questioned for about five hours by MACC investigators over a probe into SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary.

The latest interrogation is believed to evolve around the 1MDB scandal.

Rosmah looked calm when she alighted from a Proton Perdana and walked past a horde of journalists who converged outside the MACC building earlier in the morning.

Her attire and accessories were the centre of attention, as she had colour coordinated her green baju kurung and tudung with a Loewe designer handbag and wedge shoes.

The last time out, she wore a blue baju kurung and red tudung, with her bright red Versace handbag drawing the most stares.

Throughout the day, her lawyers were seen coming in and out of the MACC building at least three times.

As is the practice, lawyers are usually not allowed in the interrogation room. Both spoke of their long wait as journalists tried to find out from them how long the questioning would take.

This was the second time Rosmah had been questioned by the MACC.

Last Thursday, Najib was slapped with 25 fresh corruption and money-laundering charges. He was granted bail of RM3.5mil with two sureties in his latest court case.

Investigators have not ruled out that Najib as well as other individuals could be faced with even more charges related to the 1MDB case. – The Star

Goldman Sachs banker’s obscene commissions netted 11% from 1MDB believed to be most compelling evidence of rogue behaviour


Jho Low Has Offered A Deal To The DOJ

 

Settling the civil action would free up prosecutors to pursue the Goldman bond issued on behalf of 1MDB, which netted the bank suspiciously obsence commissions of up to 11% –  Sarawak Report

Sarawak Report has learnt that Jho Low’s new legal team, headed by the well-connected former federal prosecutor and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, has already obtained a high-level meeting with officials of the DOJ and that at that meeting they offered to come to a settlement on behalf of the fugitive Malaysian advisor to 1MDB.

This would represent an effective acknowledgement by Low, who is currently believed to be holed up in China, that he is unlikely to be able to persuade the US courts to return some $1.2 billion in assets seized from him alone, which investigators have traced to money stolen from Malaysia’s development fund.

However, by cutting a deal the billionaire, who is facing criminal charges in Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland and elsewhere, including the United States, will be hoping to retain some of the value of the assets.
Malaysia Kept On Sidelines?

Malaysian entities have expressed concern that the United States authorities may be tempted to negotiate with Jho Low’s new, high-powered legal team, in order to close a case that could otherwise carry on for years. Notably, the US recently refused to grant a Malaysian official request for a guarantee it would return all the money back from the assets seized.

“It doesn’t mean that the United States will not return the money to Malaysia, but it does mean the US is insisting on keeping control over the process and that might include settling the case for less than the entire amount”

one person who is well versed in the matter explained to Sarawak Report. It is further understood that the approach from Jho Low’s team has not yet been formally discussed with the Malaysian authorities, who may very well react with dismay at the prospect of any settlement of this nature.

Particularly galling to Malaysians is the likelihood that Low’s new and well-connected legal advisors are being generously paid by money that was itself stolen from 1MDB. US investigators have been reported as concluding that the origin of the cash received by Christie and one of President Donald Trump’s go-to law firms, Kasowitz Benson Torres, is indeed 1MDB.

Likewise, the money sent to pay the libel lawyers Schillings in the UK, which has been doing its best to disrupt the publising othe the book The Sarawak Report as well as the Wall Street Journal’s own book in Britain, is also thought to trace back to 1MDB.
Going For Goldman Sachs

The apparent willingness of US prosecutors to discuss such matters with Low’s new team and the news that they may indeed be tempted to reach a deal, may indicate that the DOJ sleuths are already focusing on other aspects of the case, informed observers have told Sarawak Report: namely the pursuit of the banking giant Goldman Sachs. Settling the civil action would free up prosecutors to pursue the Goldman bond issues on behalf of 1MDB, which netted the bank suspiciously obscene commissions of up to 11%.

The bank has earned the anger and ill-feeling of countless Americans as a result of its pivotal role in causing the crash of 2008 and yet none of its bankers have been brought to book so far. The apparent negligence and huge sums earned through 1MDB have provided US investigators their most compelling evidence yet against what many believe to be rogue behaviour by the major bank.

It was Sarawak Report that first exposed the huge commissions being earned by Goldman Sachs from 1MDB in 2013, by publishing the terms of two so-called power purchase bonds, which together with a later third offering netted commissions totalling just under $600 million for the bank. The market price for such services was a fraction of that amount.

The former South East Asia boss, Tim Leissner has already been picked up in the United States and is understood to be cooperating with the DOJ enquiries. A new case against the global bank is where 1MDB now seems headed as it gains even more international significance.
Related:

 

Report: Jho Low Seeking Deal with DoJ — The True Net

 

Jho Low planning to negotiate deal with DOJ – Nation | The Star Online

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