Rafizi Ramli, strategist extraordinaire for PKR and engineer of the Kajang Move, is sulking away from politics, apparently cos he wasn't feeling the love from fellow Pakatan members. But we doubt this will be the last we see of him. In other news, Dr Mahathir Mohamad is earning in one month more than most Malaysians make in a year; Loving husband Najib Razak bought wifey Rosmah Mansor a RM500K watch as a make up gift; and, the PKR rift shows no signs of abating.

Buh-bye Rafizi?

So long and thanks for all the fish

So, it’s final then. Rafizi Ramli is quitting politics for good.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the PKR man announced he would not be returning to the political arena in order to concentrate on his new business in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). However, he did not mention whether he would be quitting PKR.

Rafizi, a staunch Anwar Ibrahim supporter, was said to have been the man who engineered the so-called “Kajang Move”, believed to be aimed at toppling then Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim. The Kajang assemblyman was asked to step down, forcing a by-election which would install Anwar as assemblyman and so take over the MB’s post.

However, Anwar was soon convicted in his Sodomy II trial. This forced the PKR leadership’s hand and Anwar’s beloved wifey and then PKR prez Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had to step in to contest in his place.

Ironically, Khalid was later replaced by one Azmin Ali. Yes indeedy folks, Rafizi’s Kajang Move kinda backfired and started the ball rolling by giving Azmin the boost he needed. Azmin eventually beat Rafizi in the race for the No. 2 post in the party.

Anyhoo, Rafizi’s good friend Wong Chen thinks the former Pandan MP has quit politics because of the lack of support he received from fellow Pakatan leaders ever since his trial under financial laws began. In Wong’s words, Rafizi wanted to “rid himself of the company of ungrateful opportunists”.

The Subang MP says less than 10 MPs in the Pakatan Whatsapp group congratulated Rafizi when he was acquitted of charges under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) last month. Not turning up for the trial as a show of support was forgivable, said Wong, but not being willing to type a simple message of congratulations was a new low.

Well boo-hoo. Yes, we understand not receiving support from your peers really sucks. But is that really a reason to quit politics and sulk in one corner, wax philosophical about it in tweets and even quote Teddy Roosevelt? Not to mention abandoning your great leader Anwar in this, his approaching (or is it?) time of triumph.

Suck it up, man. Or did Anwar also fail to congratulate you on winning your appeal?

Rafizi had been charged under BAFIA for revealing details of bank accounts when exposing the RM250 million scandal surrounding the National Feedlot Corporation. After several years, he was convicted of the charges against him, but later filed an appeal and won.

But is this really the last we’ve seen of Rafizi? We doubt it. After all, one never quits politics, does one? Just look at one Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who left it all behind only to criticise both his successors, then return to lead his one time enemies to victory in GE14.

Power and the money, money and the power

So we have yet another wishy-washy indication of when Maddey is gonna be handing over the throne to BFF Anwar Ibrahim. Quizzed yesterday on the topic (for what seems like the millionth time), the nonagenarian PM said it will be after November next year. Definitely maybe.

You see, good ol’ Mads doesn’t want to interrupt preparations for hosting APEC, that all-important gathering of big heads of government. So yeah, he says, I will definitely hand over to Anwar after November.

So, December then? We’ll see, says our wily leader. Clearly, trying to pin him down is still as hard as trying to hold an eel by its tail. 

But you can understand why the guy isn’t all that keen to dodder off into the sunset. After all, he’s just enjoyed a very good year, salary-wise, and is earning more than RM100,000 a month, which is at least a 31% jump on last year’s income.

Mahathir had declared a monthly income of RM75,861.57 in October last year for both him and wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. But last month’s declaration, which was for himself only, listed his income at RM100,004.32.

Maddey’s massive jump in salary comes at a time when the rest of us are being told our real salary increases are going to drop from 4% to about 2.9% this year. His RM100k a year package is also way ahead of our median HOUSEHOLD income, which is just under RM63,000 a year

Our fearless leader seems to have been splashing the cash a fair bit as well; his assets dropped RM140,000 to RM32.21 million. 

These income and asset declarations are part of an effort to create greater transparency, integrity and honesty among our politicians, and the declarations can be found on the MACC website.

But while it’s a good start, there are still several issues. For example:

  • There’s no explanation as to where our politicians get their income from. Take Maddey. His PM and MP salaries are respectively RM22,826.65 and RM16,000 a month. That RM39,000 is a long way from RM100,000. Where’s the rest coming from? Allowances? If so, what and how much. Private income? If so, from where and how much? Not having these details make the whole exercise seem just like tokenism.
     
  • Politicians need to be able to justify – and that justification needs to be transparent – how they’ve amassed their assets. Where did Maddey’s RM32mil, Muhyiddin Yassin’s RM14mil or Entrepreneur Development MInister Redzuan Yusof’s RM23mil in assets come from? It’s not just the MACC that needs to know; the rakyat does tooLike justice, accountability must not just be done, but seen to be done.
     
  • Lastly, Opposition MPs are still steadfastly refusing to declare their assets, and giving a bunch of, frankly, bullshit reasons for not wanting to do so. This exercise is quite futile if it isn’t all-encompassing, especially since many of the clowns in opposition now were in government before and knowing the value of the assets they’ve amassed is as important as knowing the assets of the clowns in government now. 

So yeah, it’s fun to gawk at the asset list and come up with tinfoil hat theories, but it really doesn’t do much of anything for anybody the way it is now. Let’s see if it ever actually changes though.

When a man loves a woman ...

Najib Razak is a generous man. And it’s only right that the biggest recipient of his largesse is his dearest wife, Rosmah Mansor.

During his SRC International trial yesterday, our former leader explained he bought a RM500,000 watch for Rosie as he needed to placate her for ditching the family while on vacation in Hawaii. You see, the family had been living it up in the 50th US state, where Jibby also played golf for the good of the nation with President Barack Obama.

But Kelantan and Terengganu were hit by massive floods and Najib, being so very concerned by what was happening back home, decided to cut short his trip and fly back to Malaysia to attend to matters in the two east coast states. What a guy.

Najib says the family was sad he had to leave, so he used his credit card to make the extravagant purchase, as it was also close to Rosmah’s birthday, which, btw, falls on Dec 10.

The prosecution had said Najib bought the watch using money from SRC but the Jibster said the money was actually part of a personal donation from the Saudi royal family and was given to him to use at his discretion.

OK, so we understand having to placate the spouse (oh boy, we do). But really Jibby? A watch costing half a million? You couldn’t get one for, say, a thousand or 10, maybe? Or buy her a fancier brand of quinoa? Perhaps go the extra mile on malam Jumaat

Najib’s statement, we guess, must have been aimed at showing just what a caring and loving husband he is, but even taken at face value, it really does cause one to question his judgement. Did he really think blowing half a mil of money donated to him was a good use of said money? Whether or not the Saudis said it could be used at his discretion? This was the guy not just leading the country, but specifically responsible for our finance ministry, mind you. 

Also, it also sure paints Rosmah in a bad light for needing such an extravagant gift to be placated. But then again, a RM500K we suppose is like the colour pink; it soothes the savage beast.

Anyway, enough about that. In his testimony, Najib also justified his sacking of Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal in 2015, saying it was done because they’d been making statements on 1MDB outside of Cabinet.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who’s prosecuting the SRC case, had asked Jibby whether as PM he had to power to “fire”, to which the latter said he did, but with reason. 

TT also suggested that Jibs had made himself finance minister so he could secure government guarantees for 1MDB and its subsidiaries (SRC was a 1MDB subsidiary at the time), but Najib disagreed.

Jibby said he appointed himself finance minister as he felt he would be able to manage the country’s economy better, then claimed he had delivered as the moneybags minister. Again, we’d like to remind you that this is the same guy that spent RM500k on a watch, and had no idea what was going on in his own bank account. 

It's a mad, mad, mad (PKR) world

Will there be no end to this PKR madness?

Party information chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin wants Azmin Ali head cheerleader Zuraida Kamaruddin punished after she disclosed details of a conversation with Anwar Ibrahim. This after Zuraida revealed (allegedly, allegedly) that Anwar had tried to convince her that Azmin was indeed the man in a sex video with another PKR man.

Shamsul says these were private conversations and Zuraida, a party veep, had no business revealing the details. In fact, he claims it was indiscipline on Zuraida’s part and that he would lodge a formal complaint against her.

Shamsul also says Zuraida had breached party disciplinary rules by deriding party leaders at the so-called “Shared Prosperity Vision” dinner on Sunday. Attended by Azmin supporters, the dinner was initially meant to be a meeting meant to rival the PKR national congress in Melaka.

Frankly, most of what Shamsul said is ludicrous. Whatever Zuraida did or said at the SPV dinner is not very different from the bashing Azmin and co took at the PKR congress in Melaka. Is it one rule for the goose and one for the gander in PKR now? And did Zuraida really breach party disciplinary rules by revealing what Anwar tried to do? It’s an ethical issue, no doubt, but disciplinary?

We really don’t know what the rules and regulations say. But if speaking about a conversation which took place outside of an official party meeting is considered a breach of discipline, whether or not it was with the president, then perhaps there is no justice in the “People’s Justice Party”.

In other PKR/Anwar news, the man who, in a statutory declaration and subsequent police report, had accused our PM-forever-in-waiting of making unwanted sexual advances on him was yesterday grilled for four hours by cops in Bukit Aman. This followed the eight-hour session Muhammad Yusoff Rawther had spent at federal police headquarters the day before.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Oaths R. Mohanna, before whom Yusoff had signed the SD, said he was shocked when he read the allegations contained within the document. Mohanna said he had asked Yusoff if the allegations were true, and the latter had said they were. Because what else would he say? That he filed an SD for shits and giggles?

Mohanna also denied claims his licence had expired, which would have made the SD invalid.

Keep watching this space, folks. There’s surely more to come on all fronts.

“My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.”

- Rodney Dangerfield -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • US House of Representatives Democrats have rolled out two articles of impeachment against POTUS Donald Trump over his actions in Ukraine, which they said had “betrayed the nation”. 
  • From the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Court of Justice. The face of a “democratic” Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, was told to “stop the genocide” as she led her country’s defence at the ICJ over charges of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
  • Pollsters YouGov says surveys show that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to win by a modest majority in Thursday’s British general election.
  • Singer and one half of Swedish duo Roxette, Marie Fredriksson, has died aged 61 after a 17-year battle with cancer.

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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