Are things coming to a head between Azmin Ali and Anwar Ibrahim? Rumours are gathering steam as even more meetings are called among purported supporters of the PKR numeros dos.
Meanwhile, former PM Najib Razak has been fingered as the one who demanded changes be made to the 1MDB audit report (allegedly, allegedly); while his former deputy demanded a board of trustee of a foundation sign blank cheques for him (allegedly, again).

Battle of the A's?

Gentlemen, let's have a good clean fight

Yesterday we wrote about PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad being blamed for the Tg Piai by-election debacle and how, with calls rising for him to step down, a possible move to keep him in power began with a late-night meeting between MPs from PKR, Umno and PAS, and PKR Number 2 Azmin Ali at the latter’s home.

It looks like Azmin is girding his loins in preparation of a final push to overthrow his party boss, Anwar Ibrahim and position himself as Maddey’s heir (allegedly, allegedly, of course). 

Anwar smells trouble, and has demanded to know the reason for the meeting. Azmin, meanwhile, is insisting it was a regular run-of-the-mill meeting and as a minister, his door is open to any MP, whether from Pakatan or otherwise. 

Umno carrothead Lokman Noor Adam claims the meeting was a prelude to Umno MPs pulling a frog and hopping to Bersatu while Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi insists the powwow was to discuss channelling government projects to Umno constituencies.  

So what is the truth? Who knows. But it’s interesting that the MPs reportedly in the meeting were all Malay/Bumi reps, which make Lobakman’s claims about a defection to Bersatu sound plausible.

Wait, it gets better! PKR’s Youth leadership is scheduled to meet on Sunday, in a meeting chaired by Youth chief Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir. But Azmin’s political secretary, Hilman Idham, has arranged to meet PKR divisional youth chiefs today! On his side is Youth vice-chief Mohd Nazree Mohd Yunus, who has called for this meeting with elected divisional chiefs on “political issues”.

Who’s been conspicuously left out? Well, all the state chiefs appointed by Akmal. The official reason? That the meeting is only for elected chiefs, not appointed ones. If you believe that, you probably also believe Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are real.

And in a final bit of sass, Azmin all but flipped the bird when issued with a summons to attend a PKR politburo meeting tomorrow to discuss the gathering in his house. So, yeah. Things aren’t exactly dandy in House PKR.

Jibby made us do it

It seems former PM Jibby Razak is all alone in the world these days, as his name is being dragged through the mud by his old buddies.

The latest to “turn” against Jibby is ex-Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa, testifying in the former’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) trial. In his testimony, Ali claims Najib ordered the audit report on 1MDB doctored before being presented to the PAC in Parliament. Ali says certain “offending” parts were to be taken out, along with any mention of party animal, international man of mystery and Malaysia’s favourite fugitive, Jho Low.

Anyway, Ali also testified that former Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail was let go after the Jibster lost trust in him. Ali personally handed over the letter of termination to Gani. If you remember (and if you don’t, that’s ok, we are BTL are here to remind you), the official reason given for Gani’s ouster back in 2015 was “health” reasons, a fact that took even Gani by surprise.

What’s even more telling is that Ali testified that Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had lost his position as DPM because he had kicked up a fuss about 1MDB and had been asking lots of questions during Cabinet meetings.

All of this, he claims, was Najib’s doing.

Pretty explosive testimony, we must say. But it’s early days yet. This is, after all, only the opening sequence. There will be more to come from Ali, and then there is the cross-examination from the defence.

But a number of people have already been mentioned by Ali, and these are also expected to be called up later by the prosecution, alongside old Jibby “friends” like former Auditor General Ambrin Buang and former PAC chairmans Nur Jazlan Mohamed and Hasan Arifin.

But let’s not forget the star prosecution witness, the bald wonder 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who, incidentally, is also an accused in the same trial. Go figure.

Blank cheques (literally)

Speaking of Umno bigwigs in court, current big man on (the BN) campus Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also made an appearance yesterday.

Zahid is charged with 47 counts of CBT, money laundering and corruption involving millions of ringgit which were said to have gone through a foundation, Yayasan Akalbudi, which he set up. And yesterday, we learned the charity foundation hadn’t filed even a single financial report since its inception in 1997.

In 2017, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) set in motion the process to strike off the foundation for “failing to comply” with CCM stipulations. Registered companies can be struck off if they don’t keep to CCM terms and conditions, such as, you know, not filing financial statements and annual reports three years in a row. 

So how did Yayasan Akalbudi go 20 YEARS before being hauled up??!?

And that wasn’t the only WTF moment from yesterday’s trial. A former member of the foundation’s board of trustees testified Zahid had asked him to sign several blank cheques in the foundation’s name … and he complied.

Worst, Mohd Samsuri Tun claims he wasn’t even told the purposes for the cheques, let alone the amounts. But he complied anyway. After all, Zahid was his friend and former schoolmate! Said friend and former schoolmate later made Samsuri sign his own resignation letter from the board. Nice.

This trial may not be as explosive as Najib Razak’s. It may not be as far-reaching in consequences, either. It’s still rather entertaining.

Odds and ends

Here are a few other things which happened yesterday which we thought you should know about, at least in brief: 

  • Best news of the day! We beat Indonesia 2-0 in a key World Cup Qualifier match. Safawi Rasid was the hero, scoring two stunning goals. Harimau Malaya are on a roll, with this victory coming after we beat Thailand 2-1 last week.
  • PM Mahathir defaulted to his trademark sarcasm when grilled about Pakatan’s Tg Piai trouncing, saying that maybe it’s all his fault. Except that, yes – it WAS all his fault. 
  • Maddey has hit out at the United States for reversing a decades-long stand on Israel’s West Bank settlements.
  • Sisters in Islam has called DPM Wan Azizah Wan Ismail irresponsible for putting the blame on state governments over child sex marriage laws and for saying there were no criminal elements involved in such “unions”.
  • Teenage boys will be taught that sex with underage girls is a crime. About time, and girls should really be taught the same about underage boys, too.
  • Enforcement authorities will not issue summonses to those who fail to use child car safety seats for the first six months after the new ruling comes into play in January. Just like the ciggie ban which also came with a six-month grace period, this seems like a half measure.

“Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed”

- Mao Zedong -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • PM Boris Johnson went toe-to-toe with Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn in an election debate, leading to some laughter and “no tears”. Here are five takeaways from the hour-long event.
  • Images have emerged from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where protestors barricaded themselves in their standoff against authorities. The pictures are shocking
  • Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine official, told impeachment investigators that President Donald Trump’s request that the Eastern European country investigate a political rival was “improper”
  • Two of Jeffrey Epstein’s jail guards have been charged with a cover-up in his suicide.
  • English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur have sacked manager Mauricio Pochettino after five years in charge and mere months after he led the team to the Champions League finals.

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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