Sebarkan. Ramai-ramai hadir ke Istana Kehakiman Putrajaya pada 14 Disember 2016 Jam 9pagi bagi menunjukkan solidariti untuk Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Insyallah beliau dibebaskan! #BebasAnwar
Sebarkan. Ramai-ramai hadir ke Istana Kehakiman Putrajaya pada 14 Disember 2016 Jam 9pagi bagi menunjukkan solidariti untuk Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Insyallah beliau dibebaskan! #BebasAnwar
Meanwhile, free-thinking, liberal Muslim thought leaders and reformers are struggling to live and work in peace at home. Muslim-majority nations are either ruled by nasty autocrats, military strongmen or flawed and fragile democrats. In many places, to speak up is to find yourself dead or in prison. If you are lucky, you can go into exile – but perhaps not for long.
Escape routes to the West are closing fast. Islam-bashing has become the favourite sport not just of Trump but also of populist parties across Europe. Rants against Islam unite members of the ‘populist international’ on both sides of the Atlantic. As the far right looks set to perform well in elections in many Western countries in the coming months, expect the anti-Islam vitriol to get nastier.
Europe should indeed focus on keeping out Muslim extremists. But it must not ignore the plight of Muslim reformers who are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Speak up at home, and they are likely to be branded ‘kafir’ (unbeliever). Head for shelter abroad, and they turn into potential troublemakers or even terrorists.
“Space for freedom of expression has been shrinking in the Muslim world,” says Surin Pitsuwan, Thailand’s former foreign minister and a much-respected former secretary-general of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“Muslim intellectuals cannot pursue their examination of laws and principles at home… they have to do that outside the Muslim world,” he told a World Forum for Muslim Democrats meeting in Tokyo last month. “Academics have to migrate in order to do their job. Muslim democrats feel the space for exercising their role is being limited… they cannot visualize their future.”
The Muslim world is suffering from a severe democratic deficit. Muslims long for freedom, the rule of law and representative government, said Nurul Izzah Anwar. She is Vice-President of the People’s Justice Party of Malaysia, which was set up by her father, Malaysian opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim (who is still in jail).
“There is confusion about how Muslims relate to democracy and to the challenge of facing extremism,” said Nurul Izzah. Muslims have to deal simultaneously with “fanatic ideologies and kleptocratic regimes”.
For many Muslims also, the struggle centres on efforts to reclaim their religion from the stranglehold of Saudi-based Wahhabist interpretations of Islam.
“It’s a fight that is long and difficult. Wahhabism is a dirty word in Indonesia. It is considered to be primitive,” said Indonesian scholar of Islam Azyumardi Azra. Unlike other countries, Indonesia is not dependent on money from Saudi Arabia, he said. “Our flowery Islam is embedded in our local culture.”
Yet for all its traditional tolerance and openness, Indonesia faces the challenge of protecting its minorities. Indonesian police has opened a criminal investigation into Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as ‘Ahok’, for alleged blasphemy.
Ahok, a Christian, is the first member of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese community to be elected as the capital’s governor. The investigation shows the authorities are “more worried about hardline religious groups than respecting and protecting human rights for all,” according to Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
What happens in Indonesia is particularly relevant given the country’s reputation as a role-model for other Muslim countries.
Muslim reformers and intellectuals could once find shelter and asylum in the West. And while many have benefited from such protection and continue to do so, extremists in the United States and Europe are making clear that Islam is their new enemy.
As the extremists gain traction, the welcome for Muslims will wear even thinner in Europe. As former Egyptian member of parliament Abdul Mawgoud Dardery told the conference, “We feel betrayed by the US and Europe”.
Tragically, such betrayals are likely to become the norm. The US President-elect is likely to side with fellow ‘strongmen’ in the Muslim world. Europe’s populists can be expected to be just as indifferent to the plight of Muslim human rights defenders and democrats.
But Europe must keep its doors open to those in the Muslim world who want change, reform and democracy. As Surin underlined, “Muslim democrats have to face a dual challenge: we have to fight extremism in our midst and Islamophobia outside”.
oleh Dr Siddiq Fadzil
Dalam era kekuasaan media, kita selalu tertipu dengan propaganda. Media sebagai image maker banyak melakukan pemalsuan citra, yang kecil diperbesar dan yang besar diperkecil. Antara yang cuba dimangsakan adalah Anwar Ibrahim, tokoh yang sumbangannya selalu dinafikan, dan kebesarannya selalu diperkecilkan. Mudah-mudahan kita masih memiliki kejujuran nurani, daya fikir kritis dan keberanian bersikap objektif dalam menilai seseorang. Anwar Ibrahim adalah tokoh multi-dimensi dalam pengertian memiliki kemampuan yang pelbagai. Umum mengenalinya sebagai pemimpin karismatik, ahli politik berkaliber dan strategis yang cemerlang. Tetapi selain itu beliau juga sebenarnya adalah seorang pemikir serius dan ilmuwan berwawasan luas. Banyak wawasan dan gagasannya yang segar dan menginspirasikan: wawasan kebangkitan Islam, wawasan kebangkitan Asia, wawasan ekonomi kemanusian, wawasan pendidikan keinsanan, wawasan masyarakat madani, dan yang terkini gagasan World Forum for Muslim Democrats.
Anwar Ibrahim adalah pemimpin-pendidik yang gigih memperjuangkan pendidikan sebagai birth right, hak yang lahir bersama kelahiran setiap anak manusia. Sejak muda beliau sangat memprihatinkan nasib anak-anak yang tidak mendapat peluang dan kemudahan belajar, terutama kanak-kanak di luar bandar. Mereka adalah antara korban kepincangan dasar urban biased development, dasar pembangunan yang lebih memusat di kawasan bandar. Sementara itu mereka yang berpeluang mendapat pendidikan pula, banyak dirosakkan oleh sistem pendidikan yang terlalu bersifat pragmatik dan utilitariansehingga mengabaikan objektif utama islah al-insan (pembaikan insan). Akibatnya berleluasalah gejala moral decadence, kebejatan moral dalam pelbagai bentuknya. Yang paling menyolok adalah hypocrisy elit kepimpinan sebagaimana yang dirumuskan oleh Anwar sendiri ketika diwawancarai oleh Zainah Anwar,
The leaders were condemning corruption, but they were enriching themselves. They talked about Malay nationalism but they were alienated from the Malay masses.
They were obsessed with the west. They were too accommodating to non-Malay sentiments. They were extremely slow in implementing national policies in education and language. We wereimpatient and angry about the plight of the Malays, their education, rural development, rural health. There was this huge University Hospital, but no clinics in the rural areas. There were schools with no laboratories, no libraries and no qualified teachers. We were very angry, disgusted and critical of the government. There seemed to be no moral foundation and no spiritual guidance. We turned to Islam to fill this vacuum and to look for solutions. (Zainah Anwar, 1987:12-13)
Ketempangan sedemikian itulah yang membibitkan kesedaran reformatif-islahi yang kemudiannya mengorientasikan gerakan kesiswaan PKPIM (Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia) yang dipimpinnya. Dalam wawasan reformasi-islahinya, agenda pendidikan menempati posisi teras sebagaimana terserlah dalam orientasi gerakan kepemudaan yang muncul menyusul pada tahun 1971 iaitu Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM).
Sebaik sahaja menamatkan pengajiannya di Universiti Malaya, Anwar Ibrahim terus terjun ke dunia pendidikan kerakyatan dengan menubuhkan Yayasan Anda, sebuah sekolah menengah kerakyatan di Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, yang menampung pelajar-pelajar yang tidak mendapat tempat di sekolah-sekolah kerajaan. Mengenai sekolah ini Nagata menyebutnya sebagai gabungan pola pendidikan agama dan sekular:
Religious and secular education patterns in such a way that pupils can both sit for the national promotional examinations which open the doors of occupational opportunity to government and private sector and receive a solid religious and moral foundation for life as good Muslims. (Nagata, J., 1984:92).
Persekolahan model Yayasan Anda segera berkembang dengan memakai nama yang berbeza-beza di Ipoh, Taiping, Sungai Petani, Alor Star dan Kota Kinabalu. Yang menjadi ciri khas persekolahan model ini ialah pengajaran subjek Prinsip Islam yang memperkenalkan shumuliyyat al-Islam, iaitu Islam sebagai cara hidup yang utuh dan menyeluruh. Selain itu ialah orientasi keislamannya yang kental sebagai jelmaan semangat kebangkitan Islam yang menggelora ketika itu. Sekolah-sekolah tersebut rata-rata dikendalikan oleh aktivis-aktivis gerakan Islam ABIM. Majoriti besar aktivis ABIM ketika itu adalah guru-guru, dan mereka memang sangat instrumental dalam gerakan pemerataan kesedaran Islamiah yang berteraskan pendidikan.
Gerakan kependidikan ini juga didukung kekuatan idea demokratisasi pendidikan, bahawa pendidikan tidak seharusnya menjadi hak eksklusif golongan istimewa, sebaliknya harus dapat dinikmati secara kolektif oleh seluruh rakyat, tanpa mengira kaum dan agama atau status sosialnya. Komitmen terhadap semangat democratization of education yang dikobarkan oleh Anwar Ibrahim telah membangkitkan kesedaran pemerataan pendidikan, di samping pemerataan kesedaran tentang hak mendapat pendidikan berkualiti.
Komitmen kependidikan Anwar Ibrahim juga terbina hasil penjelajahannya yang luas dalam dunia keintelektualan. Pelbagai aliran pemikiran, Timur dan Barat dipelajari dengan tekun, untuk kemudiannya diadun menjadi suatu gagasan yang segar. Demikianlah beliau mengadun pemikiran Paolo Freire dari Brazil dengan pemikiran ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibiy dari Syria untuk menggagaskan pendidikan pembebasan dan pemberdayaan. Paolo Freire (1921-1997) adalah tokoh pemikir yang menggagaskan pendidikan untuk kaum tertindas. Antara bukunya yang banyak dibicarakan dalam kalangan masyarakat pendidik ialah Pedagogy of the Oppressed dan Education as the Practice of Freedom. Paolo Freire menggunakan pendidikan sebagai wahana membangkitkan kaum tertindas yang buta huruf dan terbenam dalam budaya bisu. Freire berkeyakinan bahawa manusia betapa pun jahilnya, dan berapa pun lamanya terbenam dalam budaya bisu (submerged in the culture of silence), ia tetap berpotensi untuk mampu melihat dunianya secara kritis. Pendidikan yang tepat akan membangkitkan kesedaran tentang hakikat dirinya sebagai manusia yang bermartabat. Pendidikan yang tepat juga akan membebaskannya dari budaya bisu, dan seterusnya memberinya keberanian tampil di pentas dialog kritis. Dengan kata lain, pendidikan liberatif mampu menciptakan transformasi radikal, merubah manusia buta huruf yang pasif dan bisu, menjadi manusia baru yang berani bangkit menggugat budaya dan order masyarakat yang menindasnya selama ini.
`Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibiy (1854-1902) adalah ilmuwan-pejuang yang termasuk dalam rangkaian tokoh-tokoh gerakan islahakhir abad ke-19 dan awal abad ke-20 yang dipelopori oleh Jamal al-din al-Afghaniy, Muhammad `Abduh dan Rashid Rida. Kekuatan al-Kawakibiy adalah analisisnya tentang gejala penindasan sebagaimana yang tertuang dalam bukunya Taba’i` al-Istibdad wa Masari` al-Isti`bad. Bagi al-Kawakibiy, ibu segala bentuk penindasan adalah penindasan politik. Rakyat diindoktrinasi untuk menerima hakikat bahawa golongan penguasa memang diciptakan untuk memerintah semahu mereka, sementara rakyat pula memang dicipta untuk mengabdi kepada penguasa, adil atau zalim. Al-Kawakibiy mengatakan bahawa rakyat yang tertindas dalam pemerintahan despotik dilayani bagaikan anjing yang dihina tetapi tetap setia, rela mengabdi walaupun hanya diberi tulang. Rakyat Muslimin di pelbagai rantau dunia terbelenggu dalam kezaliman para penguasa yang dibantu oleh fuqaha’ al-istibdad (ulama penindasan). Umat diindoktrinasi dengan fiqh al-istibdad (fiqh penindasan) yang berintikan ajaran syukur kalau penguasa adil, sabar kalau mereka zalim. Satu-satunya cara melawan penindasan bagi Al-Kawakibiy adalah pendidikan pembebasan, ilmu yang dapat menyedarkan umat tentang betapa buruknya kehidupan yang sedang mereka alami, dan sekali gus memberikan harapan bahawa mereka boleh memperbaikinya. Dengan kesedaran sedemikian, mereka akan mulai merasakan sakitnya ditindas dan diperas.
Wacana penindasan dan pentingnya pendidikan pembebasan memang sangat relevan dalam konteks masyarakat pasca-kolonial yang masih terbelenggu dalam sikap jiwa hamba warisan penjajahan, dan dilanjutkan oleh penguasa pasca-kemerdekaan. Anwar dan rakan-rakannya menyedari bahawa kemerdekaan telah tidak diisi dengan pembinaan jiwa merdeka, malah telah berlaku proses dehumanisasi (penghakisan ciri dan nilai keinsanan). Manusia yang kehilangan hak dan martabatnya adalah manusia yang telah kehilangan kemanusiaannya. Kerana itu isu insaniyyat al-insan menjadi keprihatinan utama, dan seterusnya membangkitkan kesedaran tentang pendidikan keinsanan.
Pendidikan yang berorientasi keinsanan inilah yang menjadi tumpuan utama ketika Anwar Ibrahim menjadi Menteri Pendidikan. Antara sumbangan besar beliau sebagai Menteri Pendidikan ialah perumusan Falsafah Pendidikan Negara yang berintikan idea keinsanan, “…memperkembangkan lagi potensi individu secara menyeluruh dan bersepadu untuk mewujudkan insan yang seimbang dan harmonis dari segi intelek, rohani, emosi dan jasmani berdasarkan kepercayaan dan kepatuhan kepada Tuhan.” Bagi Anwar human development adalah paksi pembangunan di segala sektor dan bidang, termasuk pembangunan ekonomi yang harus menjadi bahagian integral daripada keseluruhan falsafah pembangunan insan. Beliau mengingatkan bahawa manusia yang dimaksudkan dalam konteks pembangunan ekonomi yang digagaskannya, bukan manusia menurut definisi humanisme sekular yang sentiasa haus dan rakus, tetapi manusia unggul seperti yang dikonsepsikan dalam tamadun-tamadun besar dunia, iaitu seperti chun tzu(manusia sempurna) dalam Konfusianisme, dan insan salih (manusia baik) dalam Islam. Pembangunan ekonomi tidak dilihat dari perspektif homo economicus yang materialistik, tetapi dari perspektif homo islamicus yang mampu menciptakan keseimbangan material-spiritual.
Universiti dan Kualiti Keintelektualan
Berbicara tentang kebangkitan Asia, Anwar Ibrahim mengingatkan peri pentingnya kecemerlangan intelektual dan pengayaan budaya (intellectual excellence and cultural enrichment). Mediokriti harus segera digantikan dengan kecemerlangan (intelektual). Justeru, kemajuan dan kebangkitan tidak mungkin berlaku di tengah kebekuan dan kegersangan intelektual. Mengenai kepentingan iklim keintelektualan yang segar sebagai prasyarat perubahan, beliau mengatakan, “The reengineering of society, to make it more open, transparent and tolerant, is also contingent upon a vibrant intellectual climate.” (Anwar Ibrahim, 1997:30).
Ternyata Anwar Ibrahim sangat memprihatinkan kualiti keintelektualan di negara ini, dan seterusnya kepiawaian para graduan yang ditampilkan oleh universiti-universiti tempatan. Dilatari keprihatinan tersebut, ketika menjadi Menteri Pendidikan, beliau telah mengarahkan semua Naib Canselor membaca sebuah laporan tentang kemerosotan pengajian tinggi di Amerika Syarikat. Laporan berjudul A Nation at Risk (1983) itu mengungkapkan keprihatinan terhadap tahap kekuatan intelektual, moral dan spiritual bangsa Amerika, “Our concern, however, goes well beyond matters such as industry and commerce. It also includes the intellectual, moral and spiritual strength of our people which knit together the very fabric of our society.”
Perhatiannya terhadap mutu pengajian tinggi tidak terbatas hanya ketika menjadi Menteri Pendidikan, tetapi berterusan hingga sekarang. Dalam pesanan khasnya kepada penulis, beliau menyarankan agar diteliti juga laporan selepas A Nation at Riskdi atas, iaitu A Test of Leadership (2006) yang memprihatinkan pelbagai gejala kemorosotan dalam pendidikan tinggi Amerika Syarikat. Kesimpulan laporan tersebut menyatakan:
The future of our country’s colleges and universities is threatened by global competitive pressures, powerful technological development, restraints on public finance, and serious structural limitations that cry out for reform.
Our report has recommended strategic actions designed to make higher education more accessible, more affordable, and more accountable, while maintaining world-class quality. Our Colleges and universities must become more transparent, faster to respond to rapidly changing circumstances and increasingly productive in order to deal effectively with the powerful forces of change they now face.
Laporan-laporan sedemikian menarik perhatian Anwar, kerana beliau sendiri memang mengaspirasikan universiti berkualiti tinggi yang dapat menjadi pusat pengembangan minda kreatif dan adventurous. Beliau menerima pentingnya pengkhususan, tetapi tidak harus terkurung dalam kepompong pengkhususan. Sebaliknya harus ada pendedahan secukupnya kepada idea-idea penting dari disiplin lain dan perkembangan pemikiran umum semasa. Di samping cemerlang dalam bidang masing-masing, para graduan juga harus memiliki cita rasa seni, sastera, musik dan karya-karya yang tinggi nilai estetikanya. Para graduan universiti yang menguasai bidang yang pelbagai itulah yang beliau sebut sebagai multidimensional men.
Beliau juga menginginkan agar institusi-institusi pengajian tinggi memiliki kesanggupan dan keberanian melakukan penerokaan baru dalam pelbagai bidang falsafah, agama, perundangan, ekonomi, seni dan sains. Pelajar-pelajar universiti pula tidak harus hanya terpaku pada buku-buku teks semata-mata, tetapi harus dibimbing untuk meneroka idea-idea dari karya sarjana-sarjana besar, dan mengikuti polemik intelektual dari pelbagai aliran. Di samping membangkitkan ghairah keintelektualan, beliau juga mengingatkan pentingnya nilai-nilai murni kerohanian seperti keihlasan, kerendahan dan kemurahan hati, serta kecintaan pada kebenaran dan keadilan. Tanpa didasari nilai-nilai tersebut, ilmu setinggi mana pun tidak akan membawa kebaikan. (Anwar Ibrahim, 1997: 106-107).
Anwar Ibrahim memang sangat komited dengan epistemologi Islam. Peranan kuncinya dalam penubuhan Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM) membuktikan kesungguhannya dalam usaha membangun semula tamadun keilmuan Islam berteraskan epistemologi tawhidik dalam pengertian Islamisasi ilmu. Sebagai ilmuwan Islamis, beliau cukup menyedari masalah-masalah yang membelit tradisi keilmuan sekular Barat dengan segala akibatnya. Kritiknya yang konsisten terhadap sekularisme, mengimplikasikan komitmen terhadap de-sekularisasi ilmu, untuk seterusnya dikembalikan kepada tawhid sebagai prinsip dan kaedah integratif menuju kesepaduan ilmu dalam suluhan wahyu Ilahi.
Anwar Ibrahim adalah contoh manusia pencinta ilmu yang setulennya. Beliau benar-benar telah mengecapi ladhdhat al-ma`rifah (kelazatan ilmu). Kerana itu beliau selamanya sangat akrab dengan ilmu dan ilmuwan. Apabila berbicara tentang sesuatu, dapat dipastikan beliau memang tahu apa yang dibicarakannya, bukan pura-pura tahu seperti sesetengah orang. Pidato-pidatonya yang memukau, bukan hanya kerana gaya retorikanya yang istimewa, tetapi lebih daripada itu adalah kekentalan ideanya yang terhasil dari penjelajahannya dalam dunia keilmuan yang memang cukup luas. Kemanusiaan seorang manusia, bukan pada raga jasmaninya, tetapi pada akal budinya. Demikianlah keyakinan dan pegangan hidup Anwar Ibrahim yang ternyata sangat teruja dengan bait-bait puisi Abu al-Fath al-Busti:
Ya khadima ‘l-jismi, kam tashqa li khidmatihi,
Litatluba ‘r-ribha mimma fihi khusranu,
Aqbil `ala ‘n-nafsi wa ‘stakmil fada’ilaha,
Fa anta bi ‘n-nafsi, la bi ‘l-jismi insanu.
Wahai pengabdi jasmani, betapa penat kau merawatnya,
Bak mencari laba, di pasar ruginya segala niaga
Hadap sajalah jiwa dan minda, bina hingga sempurna
Dengan akal budi, bukan raga jasmani, kau jadi manusia.
Allers, Charles. 2013. Anwar Ibrahim: Evolution of a Muslim Democrat. Singapore:
Al-Kawakibiy, `Abd al-Rahman. 2009. Taba’i` al-Istibdad wa Masari` al-Isti`bad. Kaherah: Dar al-Shuruq.
Anwar Ibrahim. 1997. The Asian Renaissance. Singapore: Times Book International.
Freire, Paolo. 1968. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: The Seabury Press.
Nagata, Judith. 1984. The Reflowering of Malaysian Islam: Modern Religious Radicals and Their Roots. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Siddiq Fadzil. 2014. Pendidikan al-Hikmah dan Misi Pencerahan. Kajang: Akademi Kajian Ketamadunan.
—————– 2015. Misi Kecendekiawanan dalam Gerakan Reformasi Islahi. Bangi:
Wadah Pencerdasan Umat Malaysia (WADAH)
Zainah Anwar. 1987. Islamic Revivalism in Malaysia: Dakwah Among the Students. Petaling Jaya: Pelanduk Publication.
Kita sudah gunakan segala ikhtiar untuk memastikan negara memperkasa demokrasi yang diikrarkan dalam Perisytiharan Kemerdekaan 1957 dan Perjanjian Malaysia 1963. Di antara tunggak proses tersebut adalah pelaksananaan pilihanraya adil dan bersih.
Selama ini amanah tersebut dimungkiri. Tuntutan Bersih 2.0 juga diketepikan.
Maka saya menyeru semua rakyat untuk menyertai perhimpunan Bersih 5 dengan semangat setiakawan pada 19 November 2016.
Kehadiran saudara-saudari akan membantu menjana perubahan di negara Malaysia tercinta.
2 November 2016
By Rasa Sarwari – ASEAN TODAY (20 October 2016)
Corruption-hunting Swiss and Singaporean authorities are targeting banks connected to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) strategic development fund; recently bringing Falcon Private Bank into their sights. The outfit has something of a record, losing its banking license in Singapore only a day before due to regulatory mishandlings.
But as Falcon is forced to close its operations, several other 1MDB-linked banks are still allowed to take business and being let off with minor fines. In fact, of the banks that were fined by Singapore’s monetary authority; UBS handed over $1.3 million SGD in punishment payments and DBS Group Holdings Ltd paid $1 million SGD. Falcon, meanwhile, paid $4.3 million SGD for their conduct.
Cracking down on banks
To catch-up on the foundations of the fall of Falcon, Malaysia’s current Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was the chair of the 1MDB fund. The state-owned investment vehicle is now under investigation across six countries, including the US, Singapore, and Switzerland, where respective authorities are looking into money-laundering and corruption by Malaysian government officials. The allegations are they siphoned off billions of dollars.
In light of this, “regulators are increasingly willing to investigate and punish banks that don’t properly vet their clients or where their money comes from” explains Patrick Emmenegger, a leading economist at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. He continues, “Singapore and Switzerland have made real inroads against the banks.” For 1MDB’s part, senior officials have denied wrongdoing and committed to work with the local authorities.
Banca della Svizzera Italiana (BSI) was the first Swiss bank investigated by Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) about the saga, but it seems attention has now clearly shifted to Falcon. This second private bank is owned by the Emirati International Petroleum Investment Co, based in Abu Dhabi, and its officials have also agreed to “cooperate with the OAG to help ensure a speedy resolution to the investigation”. This is the latest development in a year-long investigation, but so far only four people face criminal charges.
Pressing Najib’s inner circle
In January 2016, the OAG said there was evidence that around $4 billion USD had been embezzled from 1MDB and now new allegations that are emerging that point to a $800 USD million Ponzi scheme connected to the fund. In light of this news, Prime Minister Najib Razak has again denied his involvement in any wrongdoing.
But can there be smoke without fire? Despite the Malaysian leader’s continued pleas of ignorance of the matter, the OAG might be unintentionally building a case around him – simply by picking apart his former associates and financial partners. Swiss authorities are currently questioning Falcon about a $681 million USD “pass through” transaction from an anonymous account of a Malaysian businessman. Although the Swiss authorities are not releasing any details of where this money went, the $681million USD is the exact amount seen in Najib’s personal account before Malaysia’s 2013 general election. The beleaguered leader has stated he returned $620 million USD of what he says was a political donation, but the remaining $61 million USD is still unaccounted for.
Although the Swiss authorities are not releasing any details of where this money went, the $681million USD is the exact amount seen in Najib’s personal account before Malaysia’s 2013 general election. The beleaguered leader has stated he returned $620 million USD of what he says was a political donation, but the remaining $61 million USD is still unaccounted for.
The criminal charges that Falcon faces relate to the investigation by Switzerland’s financial watchdog, FINMA buht many of their actions are under the spotlight. For their part the OAG points out that “the information suggests that the offences of money laundering currently under investigation in (the) 1MDB case could have been prevented had the Falcon Private Bank Ltd been adequately organised”.
Falcon have responded to the charges saying that “based on the findings of the regulators, Falcon Private Bank has initiated additional measures to prevent future issues.” However, this will not stop FINMA from taking $2.56 million USD of illegal profits they have earned, as well as raising charges against two unnamed former Falcon official. Though Najib continues to cover his tracks and deny responsibility for the 1MDB scandal, his inner circle of banks and associates are facing criminal persecution from some of the highest international authorities. What will emerge next?
Bradley Hope- The Wall Street Journal (19 October 2016)
Representatives of Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio contacted the Justice Department in July immediately after the government alleged some money embezzled from a Malaysian government fund financed his film The Wolf of Wall Street, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
The comments are the first from DiCaprio’s camp since the Justice Department filed civil forfeiture suits against luxury real estate, artwork and other assets purchased with allegedly stolen funds from 1Malaysia Development by a cast of characters including Malaysian financier Jho Low, who was a friend of DiCaprio’s.
They also come in the wake of protests from Switzerland’s Bruno Manser Fund, a rainforest charity, which called earlier this month for DiCaprio to explain his ties to the alleged fraud or step down from his position as a United Nations “Messenger of Peace for Climate Change”.
DiCaprio’s spokesman said the star was seeking to determine whether he or his charitable foundation had “received any gifts or charitable donations directly or indirectly related to these parties, and if so, to return those gifts or donations as soon as possible”.
“Both DiCaprio and LDF (Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation) continue to be entirely supportive of all efforts to assure that justice is done in this matter,” the spokesman said. “DiCaprio is grateful for the lead and instruction of the government on how to accomplish this.”
DiCaprio has been tangled in the 1MDB affair because of his association with Mr Low and others connected to the film, including Riza Aziz, co-founder of Red Granite Pictures and stepson of the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak.
DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese were interested in making The Wolf of Wall Street for years before Red Granite agreed to help invest in the risky R-rated project. DiCaprio’s relationship with Mr Low and Mr Aziz grew from there.
Mr Aziz and Red Granite have denied any wrongdoing and said they believed the funding they received was from a legitimate business partner in the Middle East. Mr Najib has denied wrongdoing and been cleared of any crime by the Malaysian Attorney General. Mr Low and his representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment and haven’t publicly commented on the allegations.
The Justice Department’s complaints refer to “Hollywood Actor 1,” who is DiCaprio, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
On July 15, 2012 — a few months before The Wolf of Wall Street began filming — Mr Low withdrew $US1.15 million at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas and gambled with the Hollywood actor, the complaint says.
Red Granite’s office is also in the same building as DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company, and the actor and Red Granite executives were spotted together at parties across town.
In late 2012, Mr Low and Aziz, and others connected to the film, gave DiCaprio a unique birthday present: the Oscar statuette presented to Marlon Brando in 1955 for best actor in On the Waterfront. The statuette had been acquired for around $US600,000 through a New Jersey memorabilia dealer, according to sources.
The men also spent time together and with others on the world’s fifth-largest yacht during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and were part of a New Year’s celebration in 2012 that involved a party in Australia followed by a ride on a chartered 747 to Las Vegas to do the countdown a second time, the people said.
When the actor hosted a charity sale at auction house Christie’s to support environmental causes in 2013, Mr Low allegedly used 1MDB funds to purchase two pieces of art by Mark Ryden and Ed Ruscha for a total of about $US1.08 million, according to the Justice Department complaint.
Mr Low also bought a home in the high-end Bird Streets area of Los Angeles very close to DiCaprio’s home in the area.
While Mr DiCaprio and Mr Low were friends in the past, “they are no longer in contact and haven’t spoken in a long time,” according to a person close to DiCaprio.
Japan Times- by Joshua Kurlantzick (18/10/2016)
WASHINGTON – Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death was long anticipated, but it still came as a profound shock to Thailand. When it was announced, vast crowds gathered in towns and cities to weep and pay homage to their monarch, who had reigned for seven decades.
Thailand’s stock market has fluctuated, and the country has entered a period of uncertainty. Most Thais have never known any other king, and Bhumibol inspired great devotion during a time of enormous political and economic change. During his reign, Thailand was transformed from a poor country into Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.
Bhumibol was Thailand’s most influential political figure, despite technically being a constitutional monarch like Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. Absolute monarchy formally ended in 1932, and what remained of it was endangered by 1950, when Bhumibol was formally enthroned. But he worked tirelessly to restore the influence of the palace.
During his reign, royalists, in alliance with the military, rebuilt the monarchy’s image. The king represented stability during a period of repeated coups and wars in Indochina, and the United States and other foreign powers embraced him. He exercised vast economic influence, with the Crown Property Bureau — reportedly worth more than $30 billion — controlling some of Thailand’s most valuable real estate and other assets. And yet he created a reputation for supporting and protecting the poor.
In the absence of strong governance institutions, Bhumibol was often called in to manage domestic political disputes, most notably in 1992, when the military fired on tens of thousands of protesters who had gathered in Bangkok. The king summoned the Thai junta leader and the leader of the protest to his palace in the center of the city, and on live television both men prostrated themselves before him while he demanded an end to the bloodshed. The junta pulled back, a civilian government was installed, and by the 2000s Thailand seemed to be building a solid and stable democracy. The king was touted as a force for democratic change.
But as working-class Thais, who had tolerated military and technocratic rule for decades, came to embrace the kingdom’s new democratic politics, they voted for populist parties that would shift political power away from the royal, military and political elites. Soon enough, Thailand’s elites struck back, and the country’s politics descended into a cycle of palace-endorsed coups, elected governments and violent street protests. Despite the threat of stiff jail sentences for lese majeste, Bhumibol increasingly drew criticism — on social media and occasionally even in public — after endorsing the 2006 coup.
Adding to the uncertainty after Bhumibol’s death, Thailand’s current military junta has said that the king’s heir, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, will not immediately assume the throne, because he needs time to mourn. In the meantime, the monarchy will be managed by a regent, longtime Bhumibol ally and former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda.
Prem is a divisive figure. Although he oversaw a period of rapid economic growth as prime minister, many poor Thais dislike him, favoring populist parties linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose sister was also prime minister until she was ousted in a 2014 coup. Many Thais consider Prem an archenemy of Thaksin, whose own government was toppled by the military in 2006. To them, Prem represents elites who would deny Thais outside the capital a voice in determining the country’s future. Moreover, at age 96, Prem may lack the stamina to manage the crown’s transition.
There could be several reasons why Vajiralongkorn is not immediately assuming the crown. For starters, he may realize that he is nowhere near as popular as his father and needs time to build public goodwill. Alternatively, the junta (and Prem and other Bhumibol advisers) may have forced the crown prince’s decision, because they fear his playboy reputation and reported friendship with Thaksin. Yet another explanation is that the junta is stalling so that it can maneuver Vajiralongkorn’s sister, the beloved Princess Sirindhorn, into power instead, even though there is no constitutional basis in Thailand for a woman to reign.
Bhumibol’s death further destabilizes an already unstable region. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is mired in a corruption scandal, while former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently founded a new political party that may ally itself with longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s party, despite Mahathir having once purged Ibrahim from the government. Until national elections, Malaysian politics will likely get messier and potentially more repressive.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, in power since June, has sent shock waves across Southeast Asia by denouncing the U.S., inching closer to China and calling for the end to American-Philippine joint military exercises. Moreover, Duterte has launched a drug war that has brought on a wave of extrajudicial killings.
All Southeast Asian countries must balance their ties between China and the U.S. But Duterte’s threat to realign the Philippines is sending up red flags in other countries involved in territorial disputes against China in the South China Sea, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Moreover, Duterte’s wild public statements have unsettled the Philippine economy, leading other Southeast Asian countries to worry about spillover effects.
Thailand is scheduled to hold a national election next year, having approved a new constitution in August. Many Thais hoped that the upcoming vote would put the kingdom back on a path toward stability after more than a decade of political turmoil. But, given the uncertainty implied by Bhumibol’s death, and the prospect of an unpopular crown prince eventually reigning, stability seems unlikely any time soon.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd and its editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak will have to pay Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim RM200,000 in damages for defaming him in two articles relating to his BBC interview four years ago.
This is because the publisher of the Malay newspaper and Abdul Aziz failed to obtain leave to proceed with their appeal to the Federal Court, thus could not appeal against the decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal in awarding damages to the former opposition leader.
The Federal Court three-man panel chaired by Justice Tan Sri Hasan Lah unanimously dismissed their application for leave to appeal and ordered them to pay RM10,000 in legal costs.
Justice Hasan said the court did not find any merit in the application. Presiding with him were Justices Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin and Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim.
Utusan Melayu’s counsel, Wan Azmir Wan Majid sought the court to give leave to appeal and proposed four legal questions for determination by the Federal Court relating to the issue of whether Anwar’s Sodomy II conviction could be used to reduce the quantum of damages in the defamation suit.
Lawyer Latheefa Koya, representing Anwar, said the court should not grant the application for leave to appeal as the issues raised were not novel and had been decided by the Federal Court.
Anwar, 69, sued Utusan Melayu and Abdul Aziz alleging that they had published two libellous articles against him on the front page and page 10 of the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, dated Jan 17, 2012, in relation to his BBC interview.
He won his claim against Utusan Melayu and Abdul Aziz who were subsequently ordered by the High Court on Oct 19, last year to pay him RM100,000 in general damages and another RM100,000 in aggravated damages.
They lost their appeal at the Court of Appeal on May 25, this year, prompting them to bring the matter to the Federal Court.
Anwar is serving a five-year jail term at the Sungai Buloh prison after the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015 upheld his conviction and sentence for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Outside the court, Latheefa told reporters that it was the end of the road for Utusan Melayu and Abdul Aziz over the matter following the Federal Court’s decision to deny them leave to appeal. — Bernama
Today marks day 610 of Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration.
Following last month’s surprise meeting and hand shake between Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir, Anwar cast aside any calls to dismiss the olive branch offered by Dr Mahathir by stating that the fixation of the public shouldn’t be on him but on more important issues at hand that effects public interests. Noting that his family and supporters have suffered immensely, what is more important is the present and to fight the transgressions by the current ruling party.
On the 19th of September, Anwar and Dr Mahathir issued a joint statement condemning the National Security Council (NSC) act.
“We notice that almost all institutions in the country, such as the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Attorney-General and Bank Negara are fully under Prime Minister Najib Razak’s control.”
“Thus, we are united with the people to fight the NSC, and to bring change and reform to protect the rights and freedoms of Malaysians and to bring progress to Malaysia once more.” The statement signed by both of them read.
Legal Team New Addition
A new addition to Anwar’s legal team was announced on 9th of September. International human rights lawyer, Kimberley Motley who gain stature through her litigation and human rights battle in Afghanistan, arrived in Kuala Lumpur to meet up with the legal team to discuss the upcoming review of the case at the Federal Court on October 12th. She also requested to meet her client Anwar but was declined initially prompting her to a press conference calling for the right to legal access for Anwar.
Motley described Anwar’s case as one of the most “horrendous travesties of justice of the 21st century”.
“I travelled thousands of miles to see my client and I am being denied access. What happened to him is a political issue more than a legal issue.
“I intend to talk globally about the way Anwar has been treated within the legal system.”
The following day Home Minister Zahid Hamidi allowed Kimberly a brief visit to meet Anwar after wide coverage from the press on the incident.
Election and electoral watch group Bersih 2.0 announced that Bersih 5 peaceful street rally is going to be held on 19th of November. Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah announced that this time a nationwide convoy will be held featuring “Bersih torches”, which will be passed throughout 246 stops around the country. The intention is to create a national debate on the issues of election and electorate fairness, rule of law, reform and for Prime Minister Najib to step down.
Bersih 2.0 held four hugely succesful rallies previously, amassing hundreds of thousands of people from all background.
Institute Darul Ehsan (IDE) Survey
In a survey conducted by IDE, a think tank and pollster, on Selangor voters Anwar remains the most popular personality ahead of Dr Mahathir, Hadi Awang and other leaders. It is a testament that although behind bars, Anwar still remains relevant and important to the movement for a better Malaysia.
October 12 Final Court Review
Anwar will hear his final review of his case at the Federal Court on October 12. It will be his last chance under the Malaysia court system to prove that there was a miscarriage of justice, and the decision against him should be set aside.
It must be said that it will be an uphill task as the previous decision against him at the Federal Court decision was unanimous. After the review the only outlet left for Anwar is for a Royal Pardon by the King of Malaysia. For the record Anwar has applied for it once but it was turned down on technicality as the Prime Minister and Attorney General is on the board of advisory that advises the King of Malaysia.
I am reminded at difficult times like this on the optimism and perseverance of Anwar. He is resolute in his fight to clear his name and bring significant change to the country.
Please spread the word on the Anwar’s latest development. We need to create more pressure on the Malaysian government internationally. The latest website for Anwar is linked and we seek more signatories to join the pledge made by world leaders, NGO’s, academicians, human rights activists to release Anwar.
Thanks for the support and prayers.
RAM ANAND (Malaymail Online)
SHAH ALAM, Sept 27 — Imprisoned PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim remains the most popular Opposition personality among Selangor voters, a survey by Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) has found.
Anwar’s approval rating among five Opposition personalities was 30 per cent, while former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad received a 24 per cent approval rating. Anwar is serving a five-year prison sentence following his 2015 conviction for sodomy.
IDE polled the popularity of five Opposition figures, with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang coming in last with only a 14 per cent of the votes.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) pro-tem president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin scored 17 per cent while DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang scored 15 per cent.
“This survey shows that Anwar is still very much relevant and his support remains in the Malaysian political landscape even though he is in prison,” Redzuan said.
He also said that many of respondents polled had reacted positively to a possibility of Anwar and Dr Mahathir teaming up. Dr Mahathir and Anwar recently met at a courthouse for the first time in 18 years since the former sacked the latter from his government in 1998. Several leaders from the Opposition parties including PKR, PPBM, Amanah, DAP and PAS are said to be seeking to form a grand coalition to take on BN in the next elections due by 2018.
– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/anwar-ahead-of-dr-m-as-most-popular-opposition-figure-in-selangor#sthash.Dowj71jr.dpuf
Today marks day 588 of Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration.
Considering their political differences and history between the two, it was humility and grace in its highest form for Anwar.
National Security Council Act (NSC) 2016
While the ruling government claims that the NSC act is crucial in their effort to combat terrorism and radicalization, critics are claiming that the act gives the prime minister and security forces unfettered power. The act allows the prime minister to declare security zone for up to 6 months where arrests and seizures can be made without warrants and total control of all departments including the military and police. The opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan has expressed their opposition to it with a statement calling it “bringing Malaysia to the brink of dictatorship”
“Subject to his whims and fancies, Najib can now declare any area a “security area” for six months at a time, a period of which he is authorized to renew indefinitely. The NSC Act empowers security force with arbitrary powers of violence and deadly force, warrantless arrest, search and seizure, and imposition of curfews. Despite disenfranchising Malaysians to such new lows, the NSC Act also decrees a ban that disallows any action, suit or proceedings to be brought against the NSC Council.” It’s presidential council said.[i]
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict raised his concern stating, “With this new law, the government now has spurned checks and assumed potentially abusive powers”.
“There is good reason to fear that the Act will be yet another tool in the hands of the government to crack down on peaceful protests under the guise of national security,” Josef Benedict further added[ii]
Anwar is currently challenging the constitutional legality of the act by filing a suit from prison claiming that the act came into force without royal assent as the regent council had earlier requested the law to be further refined[iii]. It’s clear that the fighting spirit is still alive in Anwar as he is still leading the charge in challenging the ruling government even behind bars.
Birthday Celebration Of Anwar Ibrahim
On 10th Aug 2016, some 500 supporters of Anwar congregated outside the Sg Buloh Prison to celebrate his 69th birthday. A large birthday cake was brought on to the makeshift stage where Anwar’s family members, friends and supporters were already gathered as early as 8pm.
Many political and activist leaders spoke on stage demanding the release of Anwar. They also rallied all Malaysians to remain united to bring down the curtains for Barisan Nasional, the ruling party.
Subsequent to the gathering, two elected opposition representatives were called in for questioning by the police force for their involvement in the gathering outside Sungai Buloh prison. Peoples Justice Party’s Vice-President and Member or Parliament, Rafizi Ramli and assemblyman Lee Chean Chung was brought in for questioning for supposingly speaking and singing during the gathering[iv][v].
Tangkap MO1 Rally
After the US justice department coined the term Malaysian Official Number 1(MO1), a rally was called by student activists to put further pressure on the person known to be MO1, Prime Minister Najib.
Leading up to the rally slated to be on the 27th of August, three student activists were detained for promoting the rally under the Peaceful Assembly Act[vi]. This prompted Amnesty International to again come out with a statement urging to stop penalizing peaceful assembly and dissent[vii]. The rally went on and a few thousands turned up for it. What made it significant was the rally was organized and attended primarily by student activists clearly frustrated by the current political climate plaguing the country[viii].
Sedition Blitz Continues
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Youth vice-chief Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar was sentenced to 8 months in jail for the crime of sedition. The “crime” was allegedly made during the #KitaLawan rally February last year which was held to call for the release of Anwar after the start of his sentencing.
The Sessions Court judge when passing his judgment said “..the remark brought about hatred, excite dissatisfaction against the government and the administration of justice in the judiciary..and serves as a deterrent to others.[ix]
Again we see the blatant use of a draconian act to impede the most basic of human rights, freedom of speech. It continues to be used by the government as a tool to intimidate and stifle dissent against opposition activists.
Next month I will share the latest setback faced by the opposition coalition where the Election Commission (EC) recently announce a new redelineation of electoral boundaries that will increase gerrymendering and mallaportionment and benefit greatly the current ruling government.
From my recent family visit with Anwar, he sends his regards to all his friends. He is resolute in his fight but certainly hopes that the imprisonment will end soon. Please continue with your prayers and thoughts, pass the message of his struggle so that his pain and suffering will not remain unknown.
Thank you and till next month.
On behalf the family of Anwar Ibrahim
Channel News Asia (19 September 2016)
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has teamed up with an unlikely ally – former deputy Anwar Ibrahim – to condemn the country’s new National Security Council Act.
In a statement issued on Monday (Sep 19), Dr Mahathir and the jailed opposition figure said the Act implemented by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government “threatens the democratic system of the country”.
They said: “We observe that nearly every major institution in the country, including the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney-General and central bank have already been fully controlled by him.”
“This Act has sidelined the powers and roles of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Malay Rulers in important matters regarding the security and liberties of the people,” they added.
“It is because of this national crisis that we, together with the people, object to this Act, thereby bringing transformation and reformation that will save the rights and freedom of the people and rebuild our beloved country.”
The statement comes a week after the former rivals met for the first time in 18 years, while the Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader was filing an injunction in court to stop the Act from being enforced.
Mr Anwar was sacked in 1998 by Dr Mahathir over political differences, an episode that continues to reverberate. Charged with sodomy and corruption, he had spent six years in jail.
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