MALAYSIA NOW – April 2016

NEWS
 
Bersih 2.0 Awarded the 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights
The May 18 Memorial Foundation has awarded Bersih 2.0 the 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights for Bersih’s efforts to bring electoral reform to Malaysia.
 
It also noted Global Bersih’s efforts in uniting Malaysians all over the world and that in June 2016, Global Bersih will make an oral presentation on the state of democracy in Malaysia to United Nations (UN) mandate holders during the UN Universal Periodic Review in Geneva.
The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a Korean non-profit human rights organisation that arose from the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.
 
Ban Against West Malaysians from Entering Sarawak
Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem stated that the state government will not lift its immigration ban on opposition leaders and activists in order to “protect the interest of Sarawak from unsavoury elements.” He went on to state that they will only be allowed into Sarawak after the state election has been held.
 
The 11th Sarawak state election will be held on 7 May 2016.
 
Around 40 opposition and non-government organisation leaders and activists have been banned from entering Sarawak, ahead of the Sarawak state election.
 
They comprise opposition state and federal legislators; Bersih 2.0, KOMAS, and HINDRAF leaders; prominent human rights and indigenous rights activists; and a lecturer.
 
Bersih 2.0 said that the ban violates Section 66 and 67 of the Immigration Act. These sections of the act allow Malaysian citizens to enter East Malaysia to exercise their legitimate political rights.
 
Global Bersih in its press statement strongly condemned the use of immigration autonomy as a tool to ensure Sarawakians are mainly exposed to the ruling coalition parties of Barisan Nasional (BN).
Both Bersih 2.0 and Global Bersih strongly urge Adenan Satem to reverse the immigration ban.
 
Bersih 2.0 Claims Election Rules Violated in Upcoming Sarawak State Election
Bersih 2.0 claimed that fertilisers were distributed at the James Brooke longhouse in Jepak violating election rules. The fertilisers were in bags bearing the BN logo.
 
Bersih observers in Sarawak had also spotted posters urging people to vote for the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) candidate in Kampung Masjid and banners with the words ‘Vote BN’ in Marudi. Both sets of banners appeared before nomination day, a violation of election rules.
 
BN candidate Tiong Thai King was also found to be distributing RM200 to RM270 to families under the Poor Student’s Trust Fund initiative in Dudong.
 
A Sarawak United People’s Party representative had reported to the Education Department that two teachers in Simanggang were allegedly involved in the opposition’s election campaign. Although the teachers have denied the accusations, Bersih 2.0 said that the report went against an individual’s right of freedom to campaign.
 
In Kapit, Bersih observers spotted a letter being circulated to the residents there. The letter was allegedly from Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi. In the letter, the people were instructed to receive “special assistance” at a specific time and venue.
Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah urged the Election Commission (EC) to take action against these candidates who violated election rules. She also urged the EC to ensure that such violations do not happen again.
 
Maria said, “With an allocation of RM136 million, EC should not be finding excuses to not practice fair and clean elections.”
 
Malaysia Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap) researcher Lee Wee Tak revealed that in the third quarter of 2011, a suspiciously high number of people – 8,707 – had their voting status changed from “ordinary voter” to “joined army/police”.
 
Out of that figure, 134 were recorded as advanced voters in Sarawak as of the fourth quarter of 2015, Lee said. Not only that, a significant number of the 134 were of a dubious age to be joining the military, which has a recruitment age limit of 25, he said.

Fertiliser bag with BN logo distributed in Jepak. Picture taken from Malaysiakini.
Bank Negara Fines 1MDB
Malaysian central bank Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has issued a letter of administrative compound to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for failing to fully comply with directions issued under the Financial Services Act 2013.
 
“This includes requirement for 1MDB to repatriate monies remitted abroad following the revocations of the three permissions granted by Bank Negara to 1MDB in 2009, 2010 and 2011. 1MDB has also failed to submit evidence and documentation specified by Bank Negara to justify its inability to fully comply with the repatriation order,” reads the statement released by BNM on 28 April 2016.
 
1MDB has been given until 30 May 2016 to pay the compound. Once the compound payment is settled by 1MDB, Bank Negara would conclude the investigations into financial improprieties by 1MDB.
 
Swiss A-G Links ‘Wrong Aabar’ Payment to Movie Company
The Swiss Attorney-General’s Office (OAG) suspects the payments supposedly made by 1MDB to an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund benefited instead two public officials and a firm in the motion picture industry.
 
The Swiss OAG stated that in order to investigate this further, it is expanding its probe to include two Emirati officials linked to the Abu Dhabi funds, and seeking cooperation from Luxembourg and Singapore.
 
1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy said that the Swiss OAG indicated that 1MDB might be a “victim of fraud”.

1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy. Picture taken from the News Strait Times.
PAC Head Accused of Omitting Crucial Info from 1MDB Report
Opposition members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament (MP) Tony Pua, PAC deputy chairman Tan Seng Giaw, Teluk Kemang MP Kamarul Baharin, and Selayang MP William Leong accused their chairman Hasan Arifin of omitting two crucial sentences from the final report on 1MDB.
 
According to Tony Pua, the first sentence pertained to a discussion held between the Auditor-General’s Department and PAC members, and the second was in regard to discussions between PAC members and government officials involved in preparing the committee’s report. Both BN and Opposition members of the committee had agreed that both sentences be included in the report.
Pua said another sentence on Page 25 of the report was removed.
 
The sentence read: “Bank Negara Malaysia had been informed voluntarily by the authorities of that country that Good Star Limited is a company owned by an individual that has no links to PetroSaudi Group.”
 
The published report instead only stated that former 1MDB chief executive officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had furnished documents that Good Star was a subsidiary of PetroSaudi.
 
New Bank Negara Governor
The Prime Minister’s Office announced that deputy governor of BNM Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim has been appointed as the new governor for five years, effective from 1 May 2016. He will replace Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz who retires on 30 April.
 
Muhammad holds a master’s degree from Harvard University, an accounting degree from the University of Malaya, and a postgraduate diploma in Islamic banking and finance from the International Islamic University Malaysia.
 
Muhammad joined BNM in 1984. He served in the areas of bank regulation and supervision, strategic planning, payment systems, insurance, offshore banking and treasury and financial markets. He has been the deputy governor since 2010.

Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim takes over from Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz as Bank Negara governor on 1 May 2016.
 
Death in Custody – N Dharmendran
The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) has debunked explanations by police personnel that the ears of N Dharmendran were stapled after his death. Dharmendran was detained on 11 May 2013 and died 10 days later while in police custody at the Kuala Lumpur contingent police headquarters (IPKKK).
 
EAIC chairperson Yaacob Md Sam said that evidence from the pathologist had confirmed that there was blood after the staples were removed. This shows that his ears were stapled when he was alive.
Yaacob went on to say that Dharmendran suffered 52 bruises caused by blunt force trauma resulting in acute massive loss of blood into the tissues. This caused hypovolemic shock.
 
The EAIC found that the last six entries in the IPKKK lock-up diary to be false. Some of the entries were written two or three days after the death of the deceased. The commission also found that 4 entries were jointly made up by senior officers of the police.
 
The commission wants the Attorney-General’s Chambers to consider filing criminal charges against the police personnel.
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENT
 
Pemantau Hotline for Sarawak State Election
If you encounter any situation that violates election rules and etiquette upon travelling back to Sarawak to cast your vote during the Sarawak state election, do not hesitate to file your report to the Pemantau (election observation) team.
Phone numbers: +603 7931 444
+6011 3133 9820
E-mail: pemantau@bersih.org

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