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Gloriously off-topic

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So Tony Pua and the whole DAP gaggle held a forum with the title "Malaysia: Is there hope yet?"


The title shows you the extent of their sheer, stunning, astounding stupidity. Malaysia is doing extremely well. Just look around you.


The forum should have the title, "The Opposition in Malaysia: Is there hope yet?" It is they who are desperate for relevance. Most Malaysians are doing very well.


It's very simple. If BN promises RM1, you must promise RM1.50. You must outpromise the next guy and appear credible while doing so.


Instead, they are going onnnnnnnn..... and onnnnnnnnnnnnn.... about 1MDB and Rosmah and etc. when election after election after election show that people don't care about scandals and etcetera. People care about one thing and one thing only: Under which goverment will I make more money?

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It's finally happening!



U.S. Targets $1 Billion in Assets in Malaysian Embezzlement Case


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JULY 20, 2016

The United States government moved Wednesday to seize more than $1 billion in assets purchased with money that it believes was stolen from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund by people close to the country’s embattled prime minister.


Hidden in the United States in real estate, art and other luxury goods, the money was embezzled from the fund and moved around the world using secretive shell companies that masked its trail, the Justice Department said.


The $1 billion that prosecutors say was laundered in the United States is but a portion of the billions that international investigators suspect was siphoned off by high-level officials at the fund and their associates. The fund — called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB — is overseen by the prime minister, Najib Razak, and has become a focus of rising popular discontent with Mr. Najib’s government amid several investigations at home and abroad.


The forfeiture complaints, issued by a unit known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, represent the largest such case brought by the Justice Department. The United States is among several governments, including Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland, that have investigated the fund.



“1MDB was ostensibly created to pursue investment and development projects for the economic benefit of Malaysia and its people, primarily relying on the issuance of various debt securities to fund these projects,” the department said in one of its court filings. “However, over the course of an approximately four-year period, between approximately 2009 and at least 2013, multiple individuals, including public officials and their associates, conspired to fraudulently divert billions of dollars from 1MDB through various means.”


The international inquiries into the sovereign wealth fund began last year after an investigative report in The New York Times. As part of a broader examination of the use of shell companies in high-end real estate in the United States, The Times traced the purchases of about $150 million in residential properties in New York and in the Los Angeles area, as well as several works of art, to relatives or associates of Mr. Najib.


The Justice Department named three of those people in its filings. One, Riza Aziz, is the stepson of Mr. Najib and a Hollywood producer of films including “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Another, a financier named Jho Low, is a longtime friend of Mr. Aziz and his family. The third is Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny, a former official at a government fund in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, that participated in deals with Malaysia’s fund.


Prosecutors also cited Khadem al-Qubaisi, who was an official at a related fund in the United Arab Emirates, as well as another individual who was an associate of Mr. Low’s.


The people named in the complaint have not been charged with crimes. The defendants in an asset forfeiture case are the properties that the government wants to seize. But an asset complaint does not preclude criminal charges.



One of the targeted properties is the Montalban House in Los Angeles.

The complaints were filed Wednesday morning in federal court in Los Angeles. Mr. Aziz, Mr. Husseiny, Mr. Low and Mr. Qubaisi could not be reached for comment. In the past, representatives for Mr. Aziz and Mr. Low have acknowledged that their clients own United States properties but have said that they did nothing improper.


The complaint does not name Mr. Najib, but it does cite “Malaysian Official 1,” described as a high-ranking government official who oversaw the fund and is a close relative of Mr. Aziz.


Public concern has increased over international corruption and the use of shell companies to hide assets. In the spring, the leak of the so-called Panama Papers cast light on secret offshore accounts held by politicians and other wealthy people from around the world.


The Treasury Department announced recently that it would begin requiring banks to identify customers who use shell companies. And the department began a test program this spring requiring people who buy expensive properties in New York and Miami using cash and shell companies to report their actual identities.


Despite being a leader in enforcement cases involving international bribery, the United States has relatively lenient rules for establishing limited liability companies, known as L.L.C.s, and other types of shell companies. In the case of the Malaysian money, shell companies in Delaware were among those used.



From left: Khadem al-Qubaisi, an official at a government fund in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Jho Low, a Malaysian financier; and Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister.


The forfeiture process is lengthy. First, a court must make sure that no other interested party has a valid claim to the properties. Once true ownership is determined, the court must decide whether the money used to buy those assets was, in fact, earned illicitly. Only then can the government permanently seize the assets.


In the nearer term, the government’s action may increase the political pressure on Mr. Najib, who has been under fire since early 2015, as the Malaysian public has become concerned about the corruption allegations and his rivals have sought to oust him.


Mr. Najib has held on to power by halting investigations into the investment fund and by removing officials in his governing party who criticized him. Some outspoken artists and activists who questioned his conduct on social media face criminal charges, and the government has shut down critical online news outlets. Mr. Najib’s strategy has been effective: Candidates from his party won in recent by-elections.


The 1MDB fund was created in 2009 as a “strategic development company” to invest the Malaysian public’s money, primarily its oil wealth, in projects that would benefit the country. Mr. Low helped set up an earlier version of the fund.


The Times reported last year that Mr. Low was secretly involved in major transactions with a small oil company called PetroSaudi International and Malaysia’s public fund, which was led by Mr. Najib in his position as prime minister. Mr. Low then helped the prime minister’s stepson buy property in the United States using shell companies and finance his movie production company, Red Granite Pictures.



The Times investigation described lavish spending by Mr. Low and Mr. Aziz. It also documented property transfers between the two men, including one transfer in Beverly Hills that was done entirely behind the veil of a shell company, with no property transfer filed in public records, as well as the role that Mr. Low played in helping to finance Mr. Aziz’s movie business.


The Justice Department’s complaint described several crucial transactions involving 1MDB, including the one with PetroSaudi. In that transaction, the complaint said, 1MDB officials and their associates stole about $1 billion that was supposed to be used for oil exploration. In addition, more than $2.5 billion was stolen through bond offerings for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013 that were managed by Goldman Sachs, the complaint said.


The complaint described lavish spending by the people said to be involved in the theft of funds. From October 2009 to June 2010, it said, more than $85 million was spent on gambling in Las Vegas, jet rentals, luxury yachts and payments to other individuals.


It said that the $150 million used for luxury properties in New York and California came from the PetroSaudi deal, as did $44.8 million to buy a hotel in Beverly Hills and $35.4 million for a jet. Money from the Goldman Sachs bond deals was illicitly used, along with $130 million in artwork purchased at United States auction houses and an interest in the music rights of EMI, to finance the production of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” prosecutors said.


PetroSaudi and Goldman were not accused of wrongdoing.


The Justice Department has brought other kleptocracy cases against the children of heads of state, including one involving the daughter of the president of Uzbekistan and another involving the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea.


Follow Louise Story on Twitter @louisestory and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/louise.story.


Richard C. Paddock contributed reporting from Bangkok.



Towers of Secrecy: Jho Low, Well Connected in Malaysia, Has an Appetite for New York FEB 8, 2015

Closing of Malaysian Fund Could Shift Billions in Debt to Government, Critics Fear MAY 6, 2016

Malaysia Panel Calls for Investigation of Former Head of 1MDB Fund APR 7, 2016

Investigations Stymied in Malaysia, Critics of Najib Razak Take Their Case Global SEP 12, 2015

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Looks like someone's living room. I told myself I will never drape a measuring tape over my neck. But I may include more mannequins in the background.

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I actually had to intentionally move the plant to include some leaves in the foreground. The theory being to give a better depth perception to the picture. There is foreground, subject, and background. I opened the lens up to f1.8 to blur foreground and background for greater 3D-ness.


I was controlling the camera with my phone, which is why I was holding it.


I find it interesting that nobody said anything about my sitting in a "lowly" rattan chair of vernacular make and design in a "promo" shot.


(Rattan chairs of vernacular make are commonly made in three quality grades. The lowest grade uses pretty thin rattan which would then be paired with another thin rattan to make up for lack of bulk/substance. The species of rattan used is also less dense. You can tell this type of rattan apart from th superior manau by its colour: manau is a blonde colour while the other rattan is a medium brown. The medium grade uses the dense manau rattan, but is still thin and has to be doubled/paired to achieve sufficient thickness. The one I'm sitting on is the highest grade generally available and is made of thick manau with a very durable wicker seat. It is quite a heavy chair.)

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This is the latest dog bought by the golf course management to guard the club hut at night. It's a German Shepherd mix. In temperament, it is vastly different from Max, a Labrador/Golden Retriever. Unlike Max who lives to play, this puppy lives to scan its environment. It is constantly monitoring the horizon. It is reserved with strangers but affectionate once acquainted.


The previous dog to fill the post became too friendly with the strays and joined the pack of strays.

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One of the strays in the golf course area. This one is very friendly with Max and everyone else but keeps itself out of the reach of humans. But today, after much coaxing, I got to touch it.




With the German Shepherd mix

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Rottweiler which belongs to the security guard of the condo. It's mostly in the cage next to the guardhouse except when the guard patrols the grounds.


This is a pretty aged dog as you can see from the white eyelashes.

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Being something of an off day, I went in search of a jungle trail. The dog likes a jungle trail almost more than a chunk of meaty bone. I did not find a trail, but did find the Batang Kali River.




Being a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of nowhere, there was nobody else in sight. Once upon a time in a different life, I had to fill out a leave application form 5 working days in advance of my taking a leave of no longer than 2 days, and two weeks in advance of any leave longer than 2 days. I found that ridiculous. I am glad I no longer deal with any manager or any HR department. I am the boss.




In reality, the MD doesn't himself fill out any leave application forms. He does as he pleases. It's only those below him who are subject to slave-like conditions.


Later, we went to the horse stables near Gohtong Jaya.



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I am here in a vegetarian restaurant having lunch. Next table are three people discussing the blood test results of one of them, a middle-aged fat woman. Since I started eating, she has been exclaiming "Normal! Normal!" She was obsessive about this word. The past 20 minutes, the entire discussion circled around the same thing, with her remarking Normal! every other sentence.


Sometimes, even I forget how much smarter most of us on this forum are compared to some.


I am mostly surprised at how dumb the whole table is. I would have expected that the older you get, the wiser you become. That the quality of your conversations would increase. That you demeanour reflects your insight into the nature of things. Instead, these are almost dumber than children. There is no normal. In another decade or two, you fat middle-aged woman, you are dead.

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Ming Thein's apartment. This is the architecture which I wanted to avoid, both in my home and workplace. Long, narrow unit which receives light from one narrow end. It gives a cave-like ambience. Dark, high contrast, heavy. As opposed to light and airy, which is what you get when you have windows on two sides. Always, always have windows on two sides of the room.

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Anton, who previously wrote a book titled “The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style,” posted on Styleforum.net under the username “Manton,” and his user profile listed his usual shoe width as D medium. He was exceptionally prolific: Since joining the site in 2002, he has posted more than 40,000 comments.



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While in the car workshop, I had a chat with someone in uniform who works for the Bentong Jail. I learn this is a 3000-inmate facility. Most of the inmates are there for drug consumption. For about every 100 inmates for drug consumption offense, there is one drug trafficker. The latter is mostly from Iran or Nigeria.


I asked him how's life in prison. He said it is "susah sikit". Mostly because of the food: tea without milk or sugar and white bread for breakfast, rice and one small fish and vegetables for lunch and a repeat of the same for dinner. Chicken once a week only. For beverage, apart from the tea at breakfast, only plain water. The portions for food are fixed--no top ups or second servings.


The inmates must work. They operate a laundry. They sew clothes. They clean the facility.


The other big complaint from the inmates is mosquitos at night. They are given nothing to ward them off.


Politically, he votes for the opposition.

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