How Money and Politics Can Destroy The Human Brain — Malaysian “Cyber Court” Charges Editors with “Intent to Annoy” in Chinese-Style Kangaroo Court After Reporting on 1MDB (We Think 1MDB Is a Really Good Thing — Chinese Courts Also)

Amnesty International says hauling of Malaysiakini journalists before specially convened ‘cyber court’ is the latest move to stifle non-government media

Najib says “he was the first to order an investigation” into the corruption of 1MDB

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was the first to order an investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

PETALING JAYA – In an interview with a Japanese weekly, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was the first to order an investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In an interview published in the Nikkei Asian Review yesterday, he said the Malaysian authorities have led investigations into 1MDB

“It was I who first instructed multiple authorities in Malaysia to conduct investigations,” he stated.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Auditor-General, the police and the bipartisan Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee have conducted probes.

“I have always made clear that full co-operation should be extended to any investigation, provided it is in accordance with the laws of our country,” said Mr Najib.

“Furthermore, as I have consistently stated, if any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception,” he added.

He noted that the 1MDB issue has been highly politicised by “certain elements within Malaysia” attempting to exploit the issue for their personal “political benefit”.

He also accused certain people of feeding the foreign authorities with “false or incomplete information”.

Read also: Najib’s stepdaughter speaks out against family for 1MDB crisis

“Those outside Malaysia cannot always appreciate these complexities, but it is something they should bear in mind to avoid becoming entangled in what has become a domestic political matter,” he said.

Mr Najib was responding to questions from Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review ahead of his three-day visit to Tokyo yesterday.

The Malaysian investigation into 1MDB concluded that weaknesses existed in the management but none of its executives have been charged on allegations of embezzlement.

However, the authorities in Singapore, Switzerland and the United States are probing entities and people related to 1MDB for possible money laundering and other offences.

In the interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Mr Najib also spoke about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, Malaysia’s ties with China and Malaysia’s bilateral relationship with Japan.

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– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/najib-says-he-initiated-1mdb-probe#sthash.XBJ1Te8e.dpuf

“Malaysian Leader 1” (Left) Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung and China’s “Core Leader” Xi Jinping.

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The co-founders of an independent news website that has reported extensively on a corruption scandal involving Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, have been charged with offences including “intent to annoy”.

Facing up to one year in jail, the editors appeared before a recently set up “special cyber court” in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. Human Rights Watch said the use of the court was part of a strategy aimed at “shutting down the vibrant and diverse online news environment”.

The charges relate to a video posted on the Malaysiakini website of sacked ruling party member Khairuddin Abu Hassan criticising the attorney general at a press conference for being close with cabinet ministers, which he argued would undermine his independence to investigate government corruption.

 
MalaysiaKini.com editor Steven Gan, in 2001. Photo by Reuters

The Najib scandal emerged in July 2015 when media reports said investigators had found that hundreds of millions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund was transferred into the prime minister’s bank accounts .

But attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali closed all domestic investigations in January, clearing Najib and saying US$681 million transferred into his personal bank account was a gift from the royal family in Saudi Arabia.

Malaysiakini’s editor-in-chief, Steven Gan, and co-founder, Premesh Chandran, have faced repeated harassment from Najib’s supporters, including when hundreds of protesters tried to forcibly shut down their offices earlier in November.

Gan told his staff this week that he would challenge the charges and “prove in court that by covering the press conference, we did not commit any crime but were merely doing our job as journalists”.

He added: “We have been investigated many times over the past years but this is the first time we are being charged.”

The charges relate to a 1998 law , written before Malaysiakini was founded, that sought to address complaints relating to “offensive content in the internet”.

 Malaysian pro-democracy activists have vowed to go ahead with a massive rally on Saturday, November 19 to demand Najib’s resignation over the 1MDB scandal. Photo: AP

It bans “content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person”.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the charges against Malaysiakini were “a serious violation of the freedom of press and show the increasingly dictatorial side of [Najib] and his government”.

“By using rights-abusing laws, ludicrous arguments and special cyber courts, Malaysia appears to be aiming at shutting down the vibrant and diverse online news environment that has grown up because of the government’s control and censorship of the mainline print and TV media,” he said.

On November 6, officers from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission raided the portal’s office and seized two computers.

Malaysia’s biggest civil society group, Bersih, has organised a rally in Kuala Lumpur that will again call for Najib to step down. Pro-Najib groups also have plans to demonstrate that day, leading to concerns about potential clashes.

The co-founders of an independent news website that has reported extensively on a corruption scandal involving Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, have been charged with offences including “intent to annoy”.

Facing up to one year in jail, the editors appeared before a recently set up “special cyber court” in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. Human Rights Watch said the use of the court was part of a strategy aimed at “shutting down the vibrant and diverse online news environment.”

The charges relate to a video posted on the Malaysiakini website of sacked ruling party member Khairuddin Abu Hassan criticising the attorney general at a press conference for being close with cabinet ministers, which he argued would undermine his independence to investigate government corruption.

The Najib scandal emerged in July 2015 when media reports said investigators had found that hundreds of millions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund was transferred into the prime minister’s bank accounts.

But attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali closed all domestic investigations in January, clearing Najib and saying $681m transferred into his personal bank account was a gift from the royal family in Saudi Arabia.

Read the rest:

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2047287/malaysian-website-editors-charged-intent-annoy-over-1mdb

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/18/malaysian-editors-charged-with-intent-to-annoy-after-reporting-on-1mdb

Photo credit at the top: Fazry Ismail/EPA

People that believe in democracy, freedom and human right are under fire in several places including China, Vietnam, Turkey, and Hong Kong. When news media in these nations finds government corruption, the media is often relentlessly attacked.

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