China top paper warns officials against ‘spiritual anaesthesia’, the root of corruptions


The founder of modern China chairman Mao Zedong.

 

BEIJING: China’s top newspaper warned Communist Party officials not to “pray to God and worship Buddha”, because communism is about atheism and superstition is at the root of many corrupt officials who fall from grace.

China officially guarantees freedom of religion for major belief systems like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, but party members are meant to be atheists and are especially banned from participating in what China calls superstitious practices like visiting soothsayers.

The party’s official People’s Daily yesterday said in a commentary it had not been uncommon over the past few years to see officials taken down for corruption to have also participated in “feudalistic superstitious activities”.

“In fact, some officials often go to monasteries, pray to God and worship Buddha,” it said.

“Some officials are obsessed with rubbing shoulders with masters, fraternising with them as brothers and becoming their lackeys and their money-trees.”

Chinese people, especially the country’s leaders, have a long tradition of putting their faith in soothsaying and geomancy, looking for answers in times of doubt, need and chaos.

The practice has grown more risky amid a sweeping crackdown on deep-seated corruption launched by President Xi Jinping upon assuming power in late 2012, in which dozens of senior officials have been imprisoned.

The People’s Daily pointed to the example of Li Chuncheng, a former deputy party chief in Sichuan who was jailed for 13 years in 2015 for bribery and abuse of power, who it said was an enthusiastic user of the traditional Chinese geomancy practice of feng shui.

“As an official, if you spend all your time fixating on crooked ways, sooner or later you’ll come to grief,” it said.

The People’s Daily said officials must remember Marx’s guiding words that “Communism begins from the outset with atheism”.

“Superstition is thought pollution and spiritual anaesthesia that cannot be underestimated and must be thoroughly purged,” it said. — Reuters

 

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All in a day’s words in politics


 

Some phrases have become jargon for lawmakers. Many have been overused, and in most cases misused, by this category of people.

 

Ten most incredible remarks by our (or any other) politicians:

 

1. Playing politics – One politician accusing another politician of “playing politics”. If politicians are not playing politics, then what are they supposed to be doing? We expect politicians to, well, play politics and to engage in politicking. That’s their job and that’s the skill they’ve honed. Can we imagine, say, a footballer accusing another of the same act – “he is only playing football.” It’s bizarre when politicians point fingers at their counterparts for playing politics, often with negative connotations, as it amounts to accusing their reflection in the mirror.

2. Serving the people and country – Every politician in any given country says the same thing. They are supposedly only interested in serving the people, the country, religion, race, pets, families and everything they can think of – except themselves! And we are expected to believe that that’s their noble cause and that they don’t have any ulterior ambitions. Yet, they will spend their entire time and resources kicking, back-stabbing, bad-mouthing and clawing their way to the top! Of course, we will duly be told that they can serve the people “better and effectively” the higher they reach, all in the name of the people’s benefit, of course.

3. I will “take note” of the proposal – Which means the politician will do nothing. In fact, if your staff or colleague spouts
the same phrase, it only amounts to the person not deserving a pay rise. Lazy bones syndrome? Highly likely! It’s almost an expression of inertness. Amazingly, it has now become the standard “tactical response” used by politicians to answer fellow Members of Parliament on the opposite bench during Question Time.

4. I “will study” the proposal – This gives the above a run for its money.

The same disinterested, non-committal reply, aka, “I am doing nothing about it”. This merely amounts to, “We will form a sub-committee/a committee/a task force/action committee to study the matter and a report will be submitted to another committee, which will then deliberate the findings.” In short – nothing happens for a while, or probably in the end, nothing happens at all.

5. “I have been misquoted by the press” – This means the politician has screwed up by putting his foot in his mouth (foot-in-mouth disease?), and the only way to get out of the mess, is well, to deny having said it all together.

And if he did say it, then blame the media for taking it “out of context”. And in their minds, this equals: the media has an ulterior motive; the media is biased; the media has an agenda; the media creates fake news.

Well, if the media produces audio or visual evidence to prove the politician’s folly with the said contentious remarks, then the standard operating procedure would likely be “well, I did say it, but I did not mean it THAT way,” or “you did not quite understand what I said”.

6. Fake news – It has frighteningly and sneakily crept its way into Malaysian politics from the United States, President Donald Trump its greatest purveyor. The fake news accusation is a good tactical move to defend illogical/embarrassing situations created by politicians, and used to near perfection by Trump.

It is just as handy for scatterbrain politicians.

7. Trust me – When a politician requests this faith, you know you should believe in your own instincts and scurry in the opposite direction. But it has to be the most overused and, consequently, misused phrase by politicians everywhere, perhaps perfected by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who doesn’t even have to worry about standing for elections!

8. Dementia – It’s a disease all politicians should contract if they wish to survive long in the merciless business of politics. You are expected to lose your memory of past actions against your opponents, if it means, you are now required to swallow your indignation to forge a new political partnership.

“What? I took action against you? Did I? It can’t be, it’s someone else who did it. Not me. If I did, well, I hope to pardon you soon.” Sound familiar?

9. The opposition is only interested in toppling us – Well, that’s exactly their job scope, isn’t it … to take over from the present administration? If they are not interested in toppling existing governments, then aren’t they wasting their time in the opposite side of the camp?

10. There are no permanent enemies, only common interests – In Malaysia, our politicians have turned this into a near artform, hopping in and out of bed so much so voters end up losing track of the number of strange bedfellows.

Let’s not even get into the pillows and strange dreams, or nightmares that have been created for getting in the same sack. One day, a party is accusing another of being an “infidel”, and the next, it is actually working with “infidels”. Almost predictably, after that, it is seen to be friendly with the same party that it has been crossing swords with for decades.

Meanwhile, divorces are announced for the break up with the infidels, yet, the desire to stay in the same house remains, because, well, the rakyat needs to be served.

That’s not all, and this one is even more incredulous – a leader once threw his opponents into the slammer for all kinds of offences, ranging from threatening internal security to sexual perversion, but in the very next instance, touted his once greatest enemy as the leader-in-waiting and probably gave him a BFF status on his FB. Of course, our voters are expected to subscribe to all of this and believe it’s for their own good.

On The Beat by Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

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Recalling Bank Negara’s massive forex losses in 1990s


The government is moving ahead to investigate whether there were any wrongdoings in the massive foreign exchange losses suffered by Bank Negara some 25 years ago. Many people today may not have a good recollection of what happened, while many others probably had no knowledge of it until it became news again recently as the sitting government took aim at this nasty episode under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rule.

I was a reporter with Reuters then and had covered the losses that surfaced when the central bank released its annual reports for 1992 and 1993 in March 1993 and March 1994, respectively. I recall that those losses first puzzled me and others because bank officials did not come forward to talk about them at the press conference nor was the information contained in the press release. They were, however, disclosed in the last few pages of the 1992 report on the bank’s financial statement, which normally do not attract attention, as reporters would focus on the earlier parts that touched on the performance of the economy and banking sector.

But that year, we took a cursory look at those back pages and spotted something odd. Bank Negara’s financial statement showed its Other Reserves had plunged from RM10.1 billion in 1991 to RM743 million in 1992, or a loss of RM9.3 billion. There was also a Contingent Liability of RM2.7 billion.

When we asked about this, I recall that both then Bank Negara governor, the late Tan Sri Jaafar Hussein, and his deputy, Tan Sri Dr Lin See Yan, said it was nothing serious, as they were mere paper losses that could be recovered later. We were not convinced, but we were unable to challenge them, as we did not under stand the manner in which Bank Negara presented its accounts.

The next day, however, the market was abuzz with talk that the bank had lost billions in foreign exchange transactions and I remember writing stories on this for the next week or so. But nothing more came of it, although opposition MPs led by Lim Kit Siang continued to press the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara for answers.

The matter really blew up a year later when Bank Negara tabled its 1993 report and disclosed another forex loss of RM5.7 billion. Here is what Jaafar said:

“In the Bank’s 1993 accounts, a net deficiency in foreign exchange transactions of RM5.7 billion is reported, an amount which will be written off against the Bank’s future profits. This loss reflected errors in judgment involving commitments made with the best intentions to protect the national interest prior to the publication of the Bank’s 1992 accounts towards the end of March 1993. As these forward transactions were unwound, losses unfolded in the course of 1993. In this regard, global developments over the past year had not been easy for the Bank; indeed, they made it increasingly difficult for the Bank to unwind these positions without some losses. For the most part, time was not on the Bank’s side. Nevertheless, this exercise is now complete — there is at this time no more contingent liabi lity on the Bank’s forward foreign exchange transactions on this account. An unfortunate chapter in the Bank’s history is now closed.”

Jaafar took responsibility for what happened and resigned, as did the bank official directly responsible for its foreign exchange operations, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

How did Bank Negara lose the billions?

Jaafar said the losses were owing to commitments made to protect the nation’s interests. He was referring to the bank’s operations in the global forex market to manage the country’s foreign reserves and, obviously, something went wrong in a big way.

Forex traders and journalists who covered financial markets in the late 1980s knew that Bank Negara had a reputation for taking aggressive positions to influence the value of the ringgit against the major currencies. When the bank is not happy with the direction of the ringgit, up or down, it makes its intentions known by either selling or buying ringgit.

One question I had always asked forex dealers when writing market reports for Reuters was, “Is Negara in the market today?”

Bank Negara has always maintained that its market operations were to prevent volatility and undue speculation. Its critics, on the other hand, said it also did so for profits, which it enjoyed for years.


What went wrong in 1992?

That was the year George Soros and other hedge funds bet heavily against the British pound on the basis that it was overvalued. The Bank of England (BOE) fought back by buying billions of sterling while Soros and gang shorted the battered currency.

As it did not want to deplete too much of its reserves to defend the fixed rate of the pound within the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, BOE capitulated by withdrawing from the ERM on Sept 16, 1992, since called Black Wednesday.

It was widely believed then that Bank Negara had bet on the wrong side of the fight between BOE and the hedge funds. It never thought that central banks could lose against specu lators, but BOE lost and Soros was said to have pocketed at least US$1 billion.

Bank Negara has never confirmed nor denied that this was indeed what happened but the evidence, although circumstantial, points to this as the reason for the loss of RM9.3 billion in its 1992 accounts and the subse quent loss of another RM5.7 billion in 1993, bringing its total loss to RM15 billion.

Was the loss more than RM15~30 bil?

Former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid was reported as saying recently that the losses were actually US$10 billion. That would work out to RM25 billion at the then exchange rate of RM2.50 to a dollar. Murad also alleged that there were no proper investigations into the matter.

Following his allegations, the Cabinet has now set up a task force led by former chief secretary to the government, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, to investigate whether there were wrongdoings that caused the losses, whether there was a cover-up on the size of the losses, and whether Parliament was misled.

So, who should the task force call up as part of its probe? I am guessing the following:

  1. Tun Mahathir, who was the prime minister then;
  2. Tun Daim Zainuddin, who was the minister of finance from 1984 to 1991 when Bank Negara was active in the forex market;
  3. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was the minister of finance when the losses surfaced in 1992 and 1993;
  4. Dr Lin, who was deputy governor of the central bank then;
  5. Tan Sri Ahmad Don, who succeeded Jaafar as governor;
  6. Murad, who made the allegations; and
  7. Nor Mohamed, who was head of forex operations.


Who is Nor Mohamed?

Nor Mohamed is the man who lost billions for Bank Negara and resigned along with Jaafar in 1993. He then kept a low profile with short spells at RHB Research Institute and Mun Loong Bhd.

In an ironic twist, the man who lost billions for the country was later credited with helping save the ringgit from currency speculators in 1998.

Frustrated by the year-long failure of governments and central banks to fight off speculators, who had devalued Asian currencies (the ringgit plunged to as low as 4.80 to the dollar), Tun Mahathir turned to Nor Mohamed for help. The doctor did not understand how the currency market worked and Nor Mohamed took him through it in great detail. The two men then confidentially devised the plan that shocked the world — the imposition of controls on Sept 1, 1998.

Widely criticised at the time (Ahmad Don and his deputy Datuk Fong Weng Phak resigned in protest), some now say the move helped bring an end to the crisis, as speculators feared other affected countries would do the same.

Nor Mohamed’s star shone again and he later became Minister of Finance 2 under Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He is now deputy chairman of Khazanah Nasional.

But now, a ghost from his past has been dug up as fodder for the political contest between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his biggest nemesis, Tun Mahathir. The objective is obvious. Tun Mahathir has attacked Najib incessantly over 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The current administration is fighting back by saying billions were also lost under Tun Mahathir’s watch. Tun Mahathir says there is a 1MDB cover-up and his foes are accusing him of doing the same.


Will the task force unearth anything that is not already known?

The task force needs three months to complete its work, so we will just have to wait for the full picture before we can come to any conclusion that can bring closure to something that happened 25 years ago.

Perhaps, one day, we will be lucky enough to also have the full picture of the affairs of 1MDB. Current Minister of Finance 2 Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani did say this month that no action had been taken against anyone in Malaysia over 1MDB because we have only “half the story” so far.

In that case, should we not have a task force on 1MDB as well so Malaysians can have the full picture?

By: Ho Kay Tat

Ho Kay Tat is publisher and group CEO of The Edge Media Group

This article appears in Issue 772 (March 27) of The Edge Singapore which is on sale now.

RCI can shed more light on forex losses

 Figures could be even greater than what had been disclosed, says STF chairman

KUALA LUMPUR: A Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) can reveal more details on the foreign exchange (forex) losses suffered by Bank Negara (BNM) in the 1980s and 1990s, said Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

The chairman of the Special Task Force (STF) to probe the forex losses said the figure was greater than what was disclosed.

However, the STF was unable to scrutinise further due to the limitations that it had, he said in an interview on Friday.

“As a task force, we have limitations. We were established on an administrative basis and not under any legislation.

“As such, the STF had no power to coerce anyone to come forward for any discussion or to give any information,” he said, adding that it only had access to documents that were available to the public, such as BNM’s annual reports and consultations between the central bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“We also cannot compel anyone to come forward. Even if you ask them to come and they don’t want to come, there is no issue about it.

“And even if they came and we questioned them, and they refused to answer, we cannot do anything about it.

“And it was not under oath. Even if they answered, we don’t know if that was the truth.

“So, that is why the RCI is better, although it is safe to say that the STF has reason to believe that the actual loss is different and much more than the figures given earlier,” said Sidek, a former Chief Secretary to the Government.

He added that the RCI could have access to documents relating to the forex losses, for instance from the Finance Ministry or BNM.

On Jan 26, former BNM assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid revealed that the central bank suffered US$10bil (RM42.9bil) in forex losses in the early 1990s, much higher than the figure of RM9bil disclosed by BNM.

Subsequently, a seven-member STF headed by Sidek was formed in February.

Sidek, who is Petronas chairman, said the STF focused on the three points in the terms of reference, one of which was conducting preliminary investigations into losses by BNM related to its speculative fo­­reign currency transactions.

It also investigated whether there was any action to cover up the losses and whether the Cabinet and Parliament were misled and it had to submit to the Government recom­mendations for further action, including the establishment of an RCI.

On June 21, the STF submitted its findings, concluding that it found that a prima facie case to merit in-depth investigations by establishing an RCI.

Explaining the process of the investigation, Sidek said 12 people, including former BNM governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, were interviewed by the STF, and all coopera­ted well.

Among the others who were summoned by the STF were PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, and former Finance Minister II and BNM assistant governor at the time Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

Asked on the need to investigate something that happened about two decades ago, Sidek said though it took place a long time ago, it had been revealed that the losses were huge.

“I feel that the people need an explanation on the matter, and the Government had decided to conduct an investigation.

“Therefore, an RCI is the only way for a complete understanding. If this is not done now, the matter will prolong.

“Five or 10 years from now it will crop up again.

“With a full investigation through an RCI, there could be closure to this,” Sidek said. — Bernama

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MACC starts probe on Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV)



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PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has begun its investigation into alleged im­­proprieties involving Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), a day after its group president and CEO Datuk Zakaria Arshad was told to take an indefinite leave of absence.

The MACC took a statement from Zakaria, who was called to its headquarters here yesterday.

The commission’s next move will be to send investigators to FGV headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to “see what they can find” and determine if there is a case.

Zakaria, 57, arrived at the MACC headquarters at 2.20pm alone, with no lawyers or associates accompanying him.

He brought along a stack of files, which he claimed were documents on FGV.

Zakaria looked calm when he arrived and maintained the same demeanour when he left some four hours later.

“The MACC asked me to come today. I’m also here to hand over some documents to them,” he told reporters, adding that his session was not over.

“I will be called again to give my statement, and I will give my full co-operation.”

MACC deputy chief commis­sioner Datuk Azam Baki told The Star: “We will go through his statement and will decide what to do next.”

Azam also confirmed that anti-graft investigators would go to FGV headquarters at 10am today to get hold of more documents.

On Tuesday, Zakaria and three other FGV officers were asked to take a leave of absence, which chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad said was a decision made by the board.

The other three are FGV chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha, FGV Trading CEO Ahmad Salman Omar and Delima Oil Products senior general manager Kamarzaman Abd Karim.

The board’s decision came a day after Zakaria was told to resign by Isa following a series of board meetings since May 31 concerning delayed payments owed to Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd by Safitex Trading LLC, an Afghan company with an array of businesses and headquartered in Du­­bai.

Zakaria subsequently urged the MACC to investigate allegations of improprieties in FGV and asked the commission to probe the parties behind the contracts.

Sources: The Star  by mazwin nik anis, he mananthini sivanandam, syed azhar

 

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Stop corrupt practices, DPM tells police officers, reshuffles top cops to rectify problems


Video:

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KUALA LUMPUR: It is time for police officers to put a stop to irresponsible and corrupt behaviour within their ranks, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said there were reports that some senior officers had pressured lower-ranked officers, including OCPDs, to finance “celebrations” for them during gatherings.

In the end, the lower-ranking personnel were forced to be involved in corrupt acts.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is Home Minister, said such “bullying” should stop as there were complaints made on senior officers.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said there was a case of an OCPD who had to find outside sources of income to allow him to organise celebrations for the senior officers.

Such an excuse is unacceptable, he added.

“This is a stupid excuse, if this matter had actually happened, as it goes against the principle of integrity for all enforcement officers who are supposed to protect the public.

“The days of officers receiving illegal profits and income from non-halal sources are gone. We will never accept such behaviour anymore,” he said at a treasure hunt with the media organised by the Home Ministry yesterday.

He ordered Bukit Aman’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department and the Special Branch to investigate such claims within the force.

“I don’t deny that there are a few bad apples who bring a bad name to the enforcement agencies. But this behaviour must stop immediately,” he said.

On a separate matter, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the petition signed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad calling for the release of jailed PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is meant “to wash away his own sins”.

He said the people knew that it was Dr Mahathir who put Anwar in jail when the former prime minister was still in power.

He was also informed that there was another petition submitted by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to the Pardons Board for a royal pardon for her husband.

“I believe that is the better way. And I do not wish to interfere with the powers provided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to the Pardons Board for them to make such a decision,” he said.

By Rahimy Rahim The Star

Zahid: We will reshuffle police force, trust me and top cops to rectify problems within police force 

 

DENGKIL: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) is asking the public to trust him and the top brass of the police as the force undergoes extensive reshuffling to “correct things from within”.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is Home Minister, was responding to a string of arrests of police personnel by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mis­sion (MACC) recently.

“We appreciate the monitoring by other agencies, but excessive publicity on their operation has led to negative perception on the police.

“What I can say is that we are committed to making changes, and that a major reshuffle is taking place as we speak,” he told repor­ters after attending zohor prayers and lunch at the Bukit Dugang orang asli village here yesterday.

The police came under the spotlight after MACC picked up seven police personnel in Melaka, including two district police chiefs, for alleged graft.

They are believed to be part of a racket providing protection to illegal gambling dens and massage parlours.

Police have also nabbed their own men – 21 high-ranking narcotics officers – under Ops Kabaddi, a nationwide operation to weed out corrupt officers.

The narcotics officers, including a deputy superintendent and an inspector, were being investigated for alleged involvement with drug syndicates.

However, Dr Ahmad Zahid said police would not announce the de­­tails of the reshuffling in order to avoid any further misunderstanding.

“I ask the public to trust us to do what is best for the people and the country,” he said.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the police would relook their transfer policy, which stipulates that transfers should take place every three years, adding that other factors do come into play before such orders are issued.

“We have to consider costs and personal issues involving our men,” he said.

Source: The Star by mazwin nik anis

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Reject corrupt practices, weed out the bad apples, don’t hesitate reporting bribery


PENANG Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas has urged public servants to defend the good name of the civil service by rejecting corruption and misuse of power.

“I fully support efforts in eradicating corruption among public servants by taking strict action against those found guilty, including termination of service,” he said in his speech when opening the fifth term of the 13th state assembly at the state legislative assembly building in George Town yesterday.

Abdul Rahman evoked the example of Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon), who spurned bribes, as an inspiration for civil servants in carrying out their duties.

On the economy, Abdul Rahman said Penang received RM4.3bil in investments, with 106 projects approved last year.

“From that amount, RM3.1bil was from foreign investment while RM1.2bil was from domestic investment,” he added.

In agriculture, he said livestock production value increased from RM827.96mil in 2015 to RM842.55mil last year, with the amount expected to continue growing and exceed RM850mil by 2018.

Abdul Rahman praised the state for its efforts to promote medical tourism by establishing the Penang Center of Medical Tourism (PMED) involving 10 private hospitals in the state.

He said the number of tourists seeking medical services in Penang increased by 14.77% from 302,000 in 2015 to 347,000 last year.

“Income also increased by 17.92% in the same period, from RM391mil in 2015 to RM458mil last year,” he added.

Earlier, Abdul Rahman inspected a guard-of-honour by 102 Federal Reserve Unit personnel.

The state assembly sitting is scheduled to start at 9.30am on Monday.

Pulau Betong assemblyman Datuk Farid Saad was earlier quoted as saying that it was unfair to reject the Opposition’s two motions, one asking Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to step down pending his corruption trial while the other called for civil servants to take leave if they are charged with corruption.

“We will bring it up during our debate in the assembly and let the people decide if the state government practised what it preached,” he had said.

It was also reported that a motion would be tabled by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng or a state exco member to censure Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya over his controversial remarks in Parliament on child marriages.

Source: The Star by Lo Tern Chern

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Police OCPDs detained: RM800k cash in storeroom; Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes

Caught in the crackdown: (From left) A Melaka-based police corporal was remanded for seven days at the magistrate’s court in Putraja…

Police OCPDs detained: RM800k cash in storeroom; Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes


Caught in the crackdown: (From left) A Melaka-based police corporal was remanded for seven days at the magistrate’s court in Putrajaya to help in a graft probe while former
Inspector P. Kavikumar and L/Kpl Muhammad Harris Mohd Rafe were charged with
receiving bribes at the Sessions Court in Kota Baru.

Police officers on the take allegedly used middlemen – bribes paid into bank account …

RM800,000 shock – cash discovered in storeroom

A whopping RM800,000 in cash was recovered from apolice corporal at a police quarters as the Malaysian Anti-CorruptionCommission continued with its crackdown, which has led to gamblingsyndicates in Melaka shutting down operations and moving out. The blitz is still ongoing with two policemen and two prison warders being charged in Kelantan.

PUTRAJAYA: When RM800,000 in cold, hard cash was found in a police corporal’s Melaka house , it shocked even the most seasoned graft busters. The money is nearly 26 years of his highest-possible salary.

However, the corporal, who is attached to the Melaka police contingent headquarters’ secret societies, gambling and vice division (D7) denied that the money – found in the storeroom of his quarters – was his.

The 52-year-old is the 10th person arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with the case of Melaka police personnel allegedly giving protection to illegal gambling dens and massage parlours.

Sources familiar with the case said the corporal claimed to be holding the money for his superior, an Assistant Superintendent who is now under remand.

“We knew that there was a possibility that we would be finding a substantial amount of money but not that much,” an MACC source told The Star.

The source said the corporal’s claim that he was just holding the money for his superior would be investigated.

“We have both of them in custody, so we will find out more – who the money belongs to, why this man is keeping a lot of cash in his house, and where the money came from,” the source said.

The corporal was picked up at his home at around 2.30pm on Wednesday as the anti-graft body continues its investigation into a protection racket for gambling dens and massage parlours said to be run by senior cops.

He was taken to a court here where magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman issued a one-week remand order until May 24.

So far, six other police personnel – two district police chiefs with the rank of Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Superintendent, two Assistant Superintendents and two Inspectors – have been remanded to help in MACC’s probe.

Three other individuals, two middlemen and an illegal gambling den operator, are also in MACC custody.

In an unrelated case, an officer with the Subang Jaya district police was remanded for six days over allegations of receiving a RM5,000 bribe.

The 35-year-old inspector was arrested at 1.10pm at his office on Wednesday.

He is alleged to have demanded and accepted the money in return for not bringing a criminal intimidation case to court.

Source: The Star

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Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes

The recent case in Puchong may be only the tip of the iceberg, with many illegal outlets operating within the Klang Valley.

IT’S no big secret. Illegal gambling dens are thriving in the Klang Valley.

From time to time, the local councils and district police have conducted raids, but the mushrooming of these vice dens has led many to accuse the authorities of turning a blind eye to such activities.

Hardcore gamblers know where to go to get their gambling fix, but the public in general are only starting to realise the severity of the situation because of a viral video and several high-profile arrests of cops over the last few days.

The viral video shows two men entering a so-called cybercafe in Bandara Kinrara, Puchong. They rob the outlet and then take turns to rape the cashier in a hidden corner of the outlet.

While police have acted swiftly – one suspect identified from the video is now in custody – it has now transpired that the cybercafe was actually an illegal gambling den.

In fact, this is now the modus operandi of these gambling outlets. You will see a lot of desktop computers when you enter the premises, but the jackpot machines are hidden at the back.

The robbery of the cybercafe itself would have been chalked off as another crime statistic in the police district of Serdang, but the sexual assault of the unfortunate cashier and the subsequent furore on social media have thrust the case into public consciousness.

The truth is, these illegal gambling outlets have long been protected and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) current crackdown on rogue cops serves only to highlight this fact.

The Star reported yesterday that two OCPDs from Melaka – one an assistant commissioner and the other a deputy superintendent – were arrested by anti-graft officers for links to organised crime syndicates.

These two high-profile arrests come hot on the heels of a swoop on four other senior officers in an operation codenamed Ops Gopi. All six of these cops are believed to be in cahoots with illegal gambling and vice operators in Melaka.

So far, anti-graft officers have seized RM186,000 in cash and have frozen the bank accounts of all suspects, totalling more than RM459,000. MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said his officers were in the midst of tracing the links.

“Give us some time to unearth the inner networking. There may be more arrests depending on the course of our investigations,” he said.

What is even more alarming is information that officers in Bukit Aman could also be implicated in this protection racket. Sources say these officers had knowledge of illegal gambling and vice activities and were actively involved in collecting money from them.

The MACC should be commended for their crackdown on rogue cops, but they should also be training their guns on the Klang Valley. As I mentioned earlier, illegal gambling dens are operating with impunity in Selangor. These outlets can be found in Rawang, Klang, Selayang, Shah Alam, Sepang and even Petaling Jaya.

A few days ago, eight policemen were taken into custody in separate raids in the Klang Valley by Bukit Aman’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department. But this investigation seems to be focused on drug dealers and their links to crooked cops, the result of which has been a major shake-up in the federal police’s Narcotics Department.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has said that he will not condone or protect those involved in illegal activities. “Stern action will be meted out against any personnel, regardless of rank,” he warned.

Once again, kudos to the cops for trying to get rid of this cancer which has infected the force, but the recent rob-and-rape case at the illegal gambling outlet took place just 1km away from the district police headquarters in Serdang.

Three years ago, StarMetro highlighted the fact that there were up to 40 illegal gambling dens in the Sepang district within a 5km radius. After the exposé, the majority of these outlets were shut down, but recent checks show that a number of them have sprung up again. And almost all them operate behind closed doors.

The outlets could be next to a bank, restaurant, convenience store or even a workshop, but the public remains unaware, thanks to the presence of solid metal shutters and grilles.

However, regular gamblers know that they can get in through a secret door hidden in the stairwell. The door is made of heavily tinted glass with a “no helmet” sticker on it, which serves as a code to identify the outlet.

Another common feature is a switch for a bell on the side of the door. Security is tight as the door and the five-foot way in front of the gambling dens are usually under close surveillance through CCTV.

While fingers are being pointed at police for “overlooking” illegal activities in their midst, questions should also be asked about the roles of the local councils.

The local authorities are quick to take action over unpaid assessment and quit rent, but what about cracking down on illegal gambling outlets that do not have business licences?

The writer believes that these outlets could have obtained legitimate cybercafe operating licences. The onus is on the local authorities to ensure that these business licences are not being abused.

Source: by brian martin

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