Tag Archives: Malaysia

Mahathir Says He Underestimated Challenge of Governing Malaysia

Mahathir Says He Underestimated Challenge of Governing Malaysia(Bloomberg) — Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he underestimated the challenges of governing the country before his shock election victory last year.“I underestimated because we were on the outside and we didn’t get any information on what was happening on the inside,” Mahathir said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Bangkok at the 5th Bloomberg Asean Business Summit. “We are having a very tough time dealing with damages in the finances as well as the crimes that were committed.”Here are some key comments from the interview:1MDBGoldman Sachs offered “a little compensation” versus the “huge killing” it made, Mahathir said, noting he was unsure where the money lost from the 1MDB scandal has gone.The scandal surrounding 1MDB sprawls from the U.S. to Switzerland, reaching the highest levels of Malaysian politics while ensnaring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in its first criminal case. Mahathir has raised the amount he wants to recoup from 1MDB to $ 7 billion after previously saying he sought $ 4.5 billion that U.S. prosecutors estimated went missing from the state fund. So far, the Southeast Asian country has brought back less than $ 500 million.Mahathir said in May he was awaiting a response from Goldman Sachs before deciding whether to take legal action against the bank over “too high” fees on 1MDB bond sales. Malaysia had already announced criminal charges against Goldman in December, accusing the lender of misleading investors when it knew that funds raised from the $ 6.5 billion bond offer it arranged would be misappropriated. The bank said it will defend against the allegations.ChinaMahathir disagreed he was sending a message to the U.S. by taking China’s side on certain issues. It’s “free speech,” he said. “I don’t like the old idea of cooking something up in the West and then asking us to accept them. China is a bit more sensitive to our feelings.”On the resumed multi-billion dollar rail project, he said: “We were able to renegotiate the terms of the contract. It is quite obvious that the contract was overpriced.,” he said. The government considered dropping the project altogether “but did not want to pay huge compensation on it.”The project will now cost 44 billion ringgit ($ 10.7 billion) instead of the original 65.5 billion ringgit, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office in April.SuccessionLast May, Mahathir led Malaysia to its first change in government since its independence from Britain in 1957. The country is set for another political shift as he is expected to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim, who said Mahathir had made it “very clear” that Anwar would get the top seat by May next year.Mahathir said he will hand over to Anwar in “a year or so.” He doesn’t want to leave Malaysia in shambles, he said, pointing to the state of the country when his predecessor Najib Razak was ousted.“I made a promise, I keep my promise,” Mahathir said. When asked why he was reluctant to set a date for the handover, Mahathir said it was because “there may be something I need to do before I step down,” noting he wanted to fix Malaysia’s debt.When asked whether he had changed, Mahathir replied: “I don’t know, I’m still myself. Well I want to work for the country. I don’t have much of a future so the last thing I want to do is to go away leaving the country in shambles, like the previous one.”EconomyMahathir has trimmed state spending to narrow the budget deficit to 3.4% of gross domestic product this year, from a five-year high of 3.7% last year. Fiscal recovery remains fragile as the government spends billions rescuing troubled institutions from the Hajj fund to an agency overseeing farmers. His administration replaced a sweeping goods-and-services tax with a more targeted consumption tax last year, and is now counting on state oil company dividends to support revenue.The government would be careful in choosing buyers for beleaguered national carrier Malaysian Airlines Bhd, he said Friday, noting: “If there is a good offer, we will consider.”(Updates with Mahathir comment in 14th paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected a quote in 3rd and 11th paragraphs from story that moved on Friday.)To contact the reporters on this story: Yudith Ho in Kuala Lumpur at yho35@bloomberg.net;Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at ashukry2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Malaysia: 'No proof' of Russian involvement in MH17 downing

Malaysia: 'No proof' of Russian involvement in MH17 downingMalaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday rejected the implication that Russia may have been involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, after international prosecutors charged with murder four men — three of them Russians with military or intelligence backgrounds — in the 2014 missile attack that killed all 298 people aboard. Mahathir said he doesn’t think the findings of the international investigative team “is true at all” as it was based on hearsay. “We are very unhappy because from the very beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing,” he told reporters.



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Vietnamese suspect in airport murder escapes death penalty after Malaysia reduces charge

Vietnamese suspect in airport murder escapes death penalty after Malaysia reduces chargeDoan Thi Huong, 30, was offered an alternative charge of causing harm, which she pleaded guilty to. Huong and an Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, were charged with killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX poison, a lethal chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur’s main airport in February 2017. Siti Aisyah walked free last month after prosecutors dropped the charge against her.



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Vietnamese suspect in airport murder escapes death penalty after Malaysia reduces charge

Vietnamese suspect in airport murder escapes death penalty after Malaysia reduces chargeDoan Thi Huong, 30, was offered an alternative charge of causing harm, which she pleaded guilty to. Huong and an Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, were charged with killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX poison, a lethal chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur’s main airport in February 2017. Siti Aisyah walked free last month after prosecutors dropped the charge against her.



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Goldman Asked to Defend Role in 1MDB Deals by Malaysia Regulator

Goldman Asked to Defend Role in 1MDB Deals by Malaysia RegulatorThe Securities Commission sent a show-cause letter to the bank in December, asking Goldman to explain why such action shouldn’t be taken against the bank, the regulator said in a Friday statement. The commission has the power to impose administrative sanctions and undertake civil enforcement proceedings as well as criminal prosecutions, the statement added. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment.



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Flight to Malaysia forced to turn around after mother leaves baby at airport

Flight to Malaysia forced to turn around after mother leaves baby at airportA young mother on a flight from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia reportedly had the shock of her life when she realised she had accidentally left her baby behind in the airport terminal.  The Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur returned to its gate in King Abdulaziz airport, Jeddah after the panicked woman alerted cabin crew that she had forgotten to bring her child.  A video of the pilot requesting Air Traffic Control in Arabic and English for permission to return has gone viral on social media.  “May God be with us. Can we come back or what?” he is heard asking. One of the surprised controllers can then be heard telling a colleague: “This flight is requesting to come back…a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing.” He then adds: “OK, head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!” The Gulf News reported that the bizarre incident took place over the weekend, implying that the plane was already in the air. However, some reports have suggested that the flight had not yet taken off, and the sequence of events is unclear from the video.  The story ended happily, with the mother and baby reunited.  The circumstances that led to her forgetting the baby are not known, but it would not be the first high-profile story of a parent unwittingly leaving a child behind.  Former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha had a heart-stopping moment in 2012 when they realised they had left a Buckinghamshire pub without their daughter Nancy, 8. After meeting friends at the pub, they left in separate cars, only to realise at their destination that Nancy was not in either of them.  When the prime minister’s wife rushed back distraught to the venue, she found her daughter safe and well and helping the staff.    Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter. Have you accidentally left your child somewhere?  Or did your parents ever do it to you? Tell us in the comments section below. To join the conversation log in to your Telegraph account or register for free, here.



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Indonesian woman accused of killing Kim Jong-un's half-brother arrives home after being freed in Malaysia

Indonesian woman accused of killing Kim Jong-un's half-brother arrives home after being freed in MalaysiaAn Indonesian woman accused of assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother arrived back in Jakarta on Monday after a Malaysian court suddenly dropped the murder charges and released her.   A smiling Siti Aisyah, 26, who had been facing the possibility of a death penalty sentence in Malaysia in the morning, by the evening was welcomed by Indonesian officials and rushed through Jakarta’s main airport to her emotional parents, who wept and hugged their youngest daughter on sight.  Ms Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, 30, from Vietnam, had been charged with killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged relative of the North Korean leader, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. The pair were accused of smearing lethal VX nerve agent on his face, but both claimed that they were duped into believing they were taking part in a reality TV prank show and knew nothing of the audacious plot to kill him.  Four North Koreans, believed to be the masterminds of the conspiracy, fled Malaysia after the murder and remain at large.  Both women had been in custody for more than two years before Monday’s shock twist when judge Azmin Ariffin told the Shah Alam High Court that Ms Aisyah would be granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. No reason was given.  The young woman, who had first arrived in Kuala Lumpur as an impoverished migrant worker, told reporters that she was “overwhelmed” at the news.  "I am surprised and very happy,” she said. “I didn’t expect that today will be the day of my freedom.” She later thanked Joko Widodo, the Indonesian president, his government and her lawyers for securing her release.  It has since emerged that Indonesia lobbied the Malaysian authorities intensively on her behalf at the highest levels. The foreign ministry said in a statement that Siti Aisyah was “deceived and did not realise at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence.” Their efforts finally paid off. Tommy Thomas, the Malaysian attorney general, announced his decision to free Ms Aisyah in a letter to Indonesia’s minister of law and human rights, revealing that the judgement was made “taking into account the good relations” between the two countries.  Siti Aisyah hugs her relieved father, Asria, and mother, Binah Credit: Achmad Ibrahim/AP In her home district of Serang, Ms Aisyah’s relatives, who had been praying for her freedom, were thrilled.  Her aunt, Darsinah, the sister of her mother, Binah, told the Telegraph that the local community was preparing a religious festival to give thanks for her homecoming.  Binah had “cried every day and night” for her daughter, until the good news was broken to the family on Sunday, she revealed.  Ms Aisyah was a “simple” and “naïve” girl who had only tried to improve her family’s income by moving to Malaysia, she said. She spoke to her family but never allowed her mother to see her during the trial, fearing that she would collapse.  “I don’t really understand why the court didn’t believe that Aisyah was only a simple villager who doesn’t understand the game that is played by, whoever they were,” she said.  “My sister and I are only villagers from a remote place who don’t understand law. But we are honest and we know who Aisyah is. So those people have to believe us: Aisyah would not kill anyone, not even a cat.” Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of Kim Jong-un, in pictures Ms Aisyah’s release raises difficult questions about the fate of the remaining defendant, Doan Thi Huong, also from a modest background in rural Vietnam.  Ms Doan was due to testify on Monday after months of delay but the trial was adjourned after her lawyer said she had been “traumatised” to learn that she now faced the charges alone.  The two women hugged in the dock as Ms Aisyah left, but a distraught Ms Doan later told reporters that “I am in shock. My mind is blank.”  Mr Hisyam added: “Doan was obviously disappointed as there was no equal treatment given to her, no fairness displayed to her, and she is in no position to testify.” He said her legal team had been “upset about the decision” to release one woman and not the other, adding that they would apply to the Attorney General for a “full acquittal.”  “We hope that the AG will seriously consider our representation and come up with the right decision and that is the same decision as Siti Aisyah – withdraw the charge against her,” he said.  The trial will resume on Thursday. Mr Hisyam told the Telegraph last week that he was “very confident” his client would win as she had “no knowledge” of the elaborate conspiracy.  Kim lived in exile in Macau and it is widely believed he was targetted as a perceived threat to the isolated regime. South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies.  Additional reporting by Selva Mariappen. Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.



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Malaysia frees Indonesian woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoning

Malaysia frees Indonesian woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoningAs the court announced its decision, Siti Aisyah, 26, turned to her Vietnamese co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, 30, in the dock and the two women, who had been facing the death penalty together, embraced in tears. Following the dramatic decision to release Siti Aisyah, a defense lawyer asked for an adjournment in the case against Huong in order to submit a request that charges be dropped against her too. Defense lawyers have maintained that the women were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents.



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Malaysia court frees woman in North Korea murder case

Malaysia court frees woman in North Korea murder caseAn Indonesian woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader’s half-brother was freed Monday after Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against her, in a shock decision that delighted her friends and family. Siti Aisyah smiled as she was ushered into a car outside the court, where she had been on trial for a year and a half alongside a Vietnamese woman for the 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport. Indonesian officials mounted a major diplomatic effort to free Aisyah, which included pressure from the president.



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Malaysia court frees woman in North Korea murder case

Malaysia court frees woman in North Korea murder caseAn Indonesian woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader’s half-brother was freed Monday after Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against her, in a shock decision that delighted her friends and family. Siti Aisyah smiled as she was ushered into a car outside the court, where she had been on trial for a year and a half alongside a Vietnamese woman for the 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport. Indonesian officials mounted a major diplomatic effort to free Aisyah, which included pressure from the president.



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