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  1. Respect. someone really dare to check their PM's personal bank account! http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10130211234592774869404581083700187014570 Prime Minister Najib’s bank accounts are scrutinized in probe of investment fund 1MDB. By Tom Wright And Simon Clark July 2, 2015 4:42 p.m. ET KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysian investigators scrutinizing a controversial government investment fund have traced nearly $700 million of deposits into what investigators believe are the personal bank accounts of Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, according to documents from a government probe. The investigation documents mark the first time Mr. Najib has been directly connected to the probes into state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. Mr. Najib, who founded 1MDB and heads its board of advisors, has been under growing political pressure over the fund, which amassed $11 billion in debt it is struggling to repay. The government probe documents what investigators believe to be the movement of cash among government agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB before it ended up in Mr. Najib’s personal accounts. Documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal include bank transfer forms and flow charts put together by government investigators that reflect their understanding of the path of the cash. The original source of the money is unclear and the government investigation doesn’t detail what happened to the money that went into Mr. Najib’s personal accounts. Advertisement “The prime minister has not taken any funds for personal use,” said a Malaysian government spokesman. “The prime minister’s political opponents, unwilling to accept his record or the facts, continue to try to undermine him with baseless smears and rumours for pure political gain.” Mr. Najib has previously denied wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB and has urged critics to wait for the conclusion of four official investigations that are ongoing into 1MDB’s activities. Investigators have identified five separate deposits into Mr. Najib’s accounts that came from two sources, according to the documents viewed by the Journal. By far the largest transactions were two deposits of $620 million and $61 million in March 2013, during a heated election campaign in Malaysia, the documents show. The cash came from a company registered in the British Virgin Islands via a Swiss bank owned by an Abu Dhabi state fund. The fund, International Petroleum Investment Co., or IPIC, has guaranteed billions of dollars of 1MDB’s bonds and in May injected $1 billion in capital into the fund to help meet looming debt repayments. A spokeswoman for IPIC couldn’t be reached for comment. The British Virgin Islands company, Tanore Finance Corp., couldn’t be reached. ENLARGE Another set of transfers, totaling 42 million ringgit ($11.1 million), originated within the Malaysian government, according to the investigation. Investigators believe the money came from an entity known as SRC International Sdn. Bhd., an energy company that originally was controlled by 1MDB but was transferred to the Finance Ministry in 2012. Mr. Najib is also the finance minister. The money moved through another company owned by SRC International and then to a company that works exclusively for 1MDB, and finally to Mr. Najib’s personal accounts in three separate deposits, the government documents show. Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, a director of SRC International, declined to comment. Mr. Kamil had power of attorney over Mr. Najib’s accounts, according to documents that were part of the government investigation. A 1MDB spokesman said, referring to the transfers into Mr. Najib’s account: “1MDB is not aware of any such transactions, nor has it seen any documents to this effect.” The spokesman cautioned that doctored documents have been used in the past to discredit 1MDB and the government. For months, concerns about 1MDB’s debt and lack of transparency have dominated political discussion in Malaysia, a close ally of the U.S. and a counterweight to China in Southeast Asia. When he founded 1MDB in 2009, Mr. Najib promised it would kick-start new industries and turn Kuala Lumpur into a global financial center. Instead, the fund bought power plants overseas and invested in energy joint ventures that failed to get off the ground. The fund this year has rescheduled debt payments. The Journal last month detailed how 1MDB had been used to indirectly help Mr. Najib’s election campaign in 2013. The fund appeared to overpay for a power plant from a Malaysian company. The company then donated money to a Najib-linked charity that made donations, including to local schools, which Mr. Najib was able to tout as he campaigned. “We only acquire assets when we are convinced that they represent long-term value, and to suggest that any of our acquisitions were driven by political considerations is simply false,” 1MDB said last month. The four probes into 1MDB are being conducted by the nation’s central bank, a parliamentary committee, the auditor general and police. A spokeswoman for Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, declined to comment. Malaysia’s police chief and a member of the parliamentary committee also had no comment. The auditor general said this week it had completed an interim report on 1MDB’s accounts and would hand it to the parliament on July 9. The prime minister is facing increasing pressure over 1MDB. The country’s longest-serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who left office in 2003, publicly has urged Mr. Najib to resign. This week, Malaysia’s home minister threatened to withdraw publishing licenses from a local media group, citing what he said were inaccurate reports on 1MDB. The $11.1 million of transfers to Mr. Najib’s bank account occurred at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, according to the government investigation. Among the companies that investigators say it passed through was Ihsan Perdana Sdn. Bhd., which provides corporate social responsibility programs for 1MDB’s charitable foundation, according to company registration documents. Attempts to reach the managing director of Ihsan Perdana weren’t successful. Documents tied to the transfer said its purpose was for “CSR,” or corporate social responsibility, programs. The Wall Street Journal examination of the use of funds tied to 1MDB for Mr. Najib’s election campaign showed that the money was slated to be used for corporate social responsibility programs as well. The government probe documents detail how investigators believe SRC International transferred 40 million ringgit on Dec. 24 last year to a wholly owned subsidiary. This company on the same day wired the money to Ihsan Perdana, according to the documents. Two days after receiving the money, Ihsan Perdana wired 27 million ringgit and five million ringgit in two separate transfers to two different bank accounts owned by Mr. Najib, the government documents show. In February, 10 million ringgit entered the prime minister’s account, also from SRC International via Ihsan Perdana, the documents show. The remittance documents don’t name Mr. Najib as the beneficiary but detail account numbers at a branch of AmIslamic Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. Two flow charts from the government investigation name the owner of these accounts as “Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak,” the prime minister’s official name. A spokesman for AmIslamic Bank declined to comment. In another transaction, Tanore Finance, the British Virgin Islands-based company, transferred $681 million in two tranches to a different account at another Kuala Lumpur branch of AmIslamic Bank. The government probe said the account was owned by Mr. Najib, according to the documents. The transfers came from an account held by Tanore Finance at a Singapore branch of Falcon Private Bank, a Swiss bank which is owned by IPIC, the Abu Dhabi fund, according to the documents. A spokesman for Falcon Private Bank declined to comment. The $681 million was transferred to Mr. Najib’s accounts on March 21 and March 25, 2013, the government documents show. Write to Tom Wright at tom.wright@wsj.com and Simon Clark at simon.clark@wsj.com
  2. wow.. A public statement by Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang: We have no confidence in PM Lee Hsien Loong and are worried about Singapore's future. https://www.facebook.com/weiling.lee.980?hc_ref=NEWSFEED https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByodqaSLlpPIWHdRdFE2QlZYbzg/view
  3. Mr Heng Swee Keat will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister. He will remain as Minister for Finance, and continue chairing the Future Economy Council and National Research Foundation. He will be appointed Acting Prime Minister in the Prime Minister’s absence. Mr Teo Chee Hean and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam will relinquish their appointments as Deputy Prime Ministers. They will be appointed Senior Ministers and remain in Cabinet. Mr Teo will continue as Coordinating Minister for National Security. Mr Tharman will be re-designated as Coordinating Minister for Social Policies. He will continue to advise the Prime Minister on economic policies. https://www.pmo.gov.sg/Newsroom/Changes-to-Cabinet-and-Other-Appointments-Apr-2019
  4. I have posted this on one of the other threads but I think this deserve a wider audience. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a 12-month pay freeze for the country's politicians, saying they are already paid well enough. Key points: NZ's independent Remuneration Authority had recommended a 3 per cent pay rise for MPs Pay increases had been linked to average wage increases across the country Over the next 12 months, a new formula will be developed for working out pay increases MPs were due to receive a 3 per cent pay rise during September, backdated to July 1, in line with recommendations from the independent Remuneration Authority, but Ms Ardern said she would be introducing legislation to block this going through. It would have seen Ms Ardern pocket an extra $NZ14,131.47 ($AU12,810) per year on top of her current salary of $427,072. The pay increase would also have seen Ms Ardern's cabinet colleagues earn $8,046 more, as well as a $4,456 bump for the average backbencher. "We do not believe, given that we are on the upper end of the salary scale, that we should be receiving that kind of salary increase," she said. "Because we, of course, already are on a high income … one of the things we've been trying to bridge as a government is the fact that we see these increases at the top end of the scale, without the same increase at the end of the scale where most New Zealanders sit." Ms Ardern said the formula currently used by the Remuneration Authority — which the independent body had no control over — was "not acceptable". "Now, this move doesn't save a lot of money in the scheme of things, but it does send, we believe, a strong signal about what our government values, what we stand for, and our determination of course to make sure that the economy is working for everyone," she said. Ms Ardern the OECD's fifth highest paid leader Data released by international consultancy group IG in May showed Ms Ardern was the fifth highest paid leader in a comparison of 32 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a study of the pay gap between world leaders and average citizens, Ms Ardern was ranked third, earning 8.63 times the average New Zealand wage — which was ranked 18th out of 32 in the study. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tops the earning list by world leaders, earning $538,000 which is 10.14 times the average Australian worker. According to New Zealand media, Ms Ardern is not the first prime minister to introduce legislation to reduce politicians pay. In 2015, former prime minister Sir John Key passed a law to cut a pay rise from 3.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent after linking pay rises to average wage increases, according to Fairfax Media. Ms Ardern said she had contacted NZ's opposition leader Simon Bridges about the freeze, and he had been "supportive". The NZ leader said they would introduce a different way to determine pay rises for the country's politicians. "We'll then use that 12-month period to develop a fairer formula for the Remuneration Authority to use when determining future pay rises," she said. Australia's federal politicians were given 2 per cent pay rises in July, with backbenchers earning about $207,000 a year, compared to $148,712 across the ditch. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-20/new-zealand-pm-jacinda-ardern-costs-herself-13000-pay-rise/10143712 https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017 And to top it up......... CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2017 New Zealand #1 Singapore #6
  5. SINGAPORE - The first volume of a two-part biography of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will hit bookshelves in two months. Called Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story, it will cover Mr Goh's early life up to 1990, when he took office as prime minister. Mr Goh revealed the news in a Facebook post on Thursday night (Sept 6), when he uploaded pictures of himself meeting former Hong Kong chief executives Tung Chee Hwa and Leung Chun Ying on a recent visit to the city, as well as an older photo of himself and Mr Tung. "Both are old friends," Mr Goh, 77, wrote. "I first met Chee Hwa in the early 1970s when we were both in shipping." He added that the older photo of both men "partying in Vienna drinking young wine after an international shipping conference" will feature in his biography, which will be released in November. Mr Goh was Singapore's second prime minister, and held the post for nearly 14 years before stepping down in 2004. According to a description on the website of the publisher World Scientific, the book will reveal "the private deliberations and negotiations" between Mr Goh and Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew before the leadership transfer in 1990. t will also tell the extraordinary story of Mr Goh's life and career over half a century, "revealing how Singapore's second Prime Minister rose through a combination of strength, wit and a political nous which many, including himself, did not know he had". "In this first of two volumes, Goh navigated years of a challenging apprenticeship to Lee, scoring numerous policy successes but also suffering political blows and humiliation," it added. The biography is being written by former Straits Times journalist Peh Shing Huei, who is now a partner at content agency The Nutgraf. Mr Peh said the book was based on a series of face-to-face interviews with Mr Goh, done by the Nutgraf team as well as ST Editor-at-Large Han Fook Kwang. It will include content that has not been made public previously. "It has been 14 years since ESM Goh stepped down as Prime Minister and I understand there have been many people who have tried to persuade him to tell his story during this time. I'm glad he has finally agreed," Mr Peh, 42, said. "He gave me and my team generous time and plenty of good stories."
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