Rafidah, focus on your AP scandal, not Jho Low

“Then perhaps it’s true what they say. Perhaps, you’re used to getting things done the ‘irregular’ way like you did back in your days as International Trade and Industry Minister. Come to think of it, a debate seems to be a helluva good idea, as it would give you the opportunity to explain the luxury-car permits you were accused of approving to four of your cronies. According to reports, the four “AP Kings” earned a billion a year from the sales of the APs alone and twice or thrice that amount when they used the Aps to import cars”

THE THIRD FORCE

Yesterday, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz stormed into the media spotlight to reveal that she’s a walking-talking human yacht detector.  The former Minister of International Trade and Industry, known for her fiery speeches and ability to spin tales like tops, was quoted by the DAP-funded Malaysiakini as saying that she personally took pictures of Equanimity, a yacht the Malaysian opposition insists is owned by Penang born billionaire Low Taek Jho (Jho Low).

“While on a diving trip exactly a year ago, in Thailand, we were easily able to pinpoint the Equanimity’s exact location using our boat’s AIS (automatic identification system).

“I myself piloted my instructor’s boat, to exactly where the Equanimity was at sea,” she recounted in a Facebook post last Sunday.

“And I personally took photos and videos of the Equanimity at a really very close range, including its ultra-luxurious tender at the marina in Phuket later that night.

“We, mere divers, were able to do that. And our authorities could not?” she wrote.

Yes, the former minister seemed puzzled that our maritime authorities could not spot something as big as Equanimity which she herself discovered mid sea. By giving her ‘two-cents’ worth, she added some miles to the yarn people like Gobind Singh Deo and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin are already spinning like crazy in public spheres. Yesterday, she gave us the impression that the Malaysian authorities were lax in matters of enforcement following reports that their Indonesian counterparts seized the yacht off the coast of Benoa Bay in Bali, Indonesia.

“If Indonesia could seize the vessel, what were the Malaysian authorities doing? Are the Malaysians going to say that they had difficulty spotting a vessel even I could spot with simple tech,” read the message between her lines of reasoning.

To that, I have this to say:

“No, Rafidah, the Malaysian authorities didn’t have any difficulty spotting anything. They can, however, spot the con you’re pulling on the people of Malaysia from miles and miles away.

“It is that innate tendency of yours to spin yarns and tell fairy tales that forced me to come up with this piece.

“Today, I’m going to re-examine the associated laws and initiatives under which the yacht that has been all the news in recent days was seized by the Indonesian authorities.”

Now, the first thing we need to understand here is that the seizure was made possible due to a partnership that exists between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank Group. Known as the Stolen Assets Recovery (StAR) initiative, the partnership is a gateway that transcends cross-border differences in jurisdictions to support, among others, efforts by global partners to prevent and recover corruption proceeds.

Unbeknown to many, it is through this partnership that the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were able to alias – and thereafter, conduct joint operations – with Indonesian authorities leading to the yacht’s seizure.

And that brings me to my point – why the hell do you think the DoJ did not get in touch with Malaysian authorities? The last I checked, our country was a member of the United Nations (UN) and could easily have complied with the FBI’s request for cooperation assuming the bureau presented us with cut-and-dry proof to justify a seizure. But did the FBI or the DoJ or even the World Bank do anything of that sort?

No.

Now do you understand why they seized the yacht in Indonesia, Rafidah? Perhaps it escaped you that the Americans are the ones seeking to recover Jho Low’s assets, not us. Perhaps you failed to consider that the legal process by which the yacht was seized is valid only in the United States (US), not Malaysia. The Americans, who knew they could never convince our authorities to comply with their requests, waited for some time after the vessel drifted into Indonesian waters before springing into action. Their timing had everything to do with the fact that the 14th general election (GE14) is finally drawing near.

How am I doing so far, AP lady?

Tell me, is it not true that the 20th of July 2016 and the 15th of June 2017 announcements by the DoJ were nothing but put-up jobs? Do you not agree that the whole exercise was smothered in ambiguity from the get-go, particularly since the FBI had yet to commence investigations back when the first announcement was made? Seriously, what makes you think the yacht seizure is of any concern to the Government of Malaysia (GoM)?

Why, is someone paying you to say that?

If yes, then here’s a tip – unless you can prove Jho Low committed a crime, you may as well take a hike, or, as Tan Sri Apandi Ali likes to put it, “go fly a kite.” Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that the Civil Forfeiture filings that led to Equanimity’s seizure were hinged solely on conjectural complaints filed by persons on Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s payroll. These individuals presented the FBI with a document or two ‘suggesting’ that the US financial system was being used by 1MDB officials as a conduit for corruption.

Unless you’ve been living on a different planet, you probably already know that the FBI is in cahoots with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to effect regime changes in nations they intend to establish puppet governments. The Civil Forfeiture process is nothing but a huge loophole in American jurisprudence that allows them to do just that. All the DoJ needs is a fake dossier to file forfeiture proceedings against a regime they want changed or a government they intend to ‘discipline’.

Is that not so, Rafidah?

Tell me, do you still think the Malaysian authorities were lax in enforcement? If you do, then why not debate me on national TV this coming weekend? That might just cut you the slack you’re looking for to explain why you feel the yacht seizure is any of our business. Seriously, does it not strike you as irregular that neither the DoJ nor the FBI got in touch with Malaysian authorities from day one despite their ‘investigations’ being all about funds ‘stolen’ from 1MDB?

No?

Then perhaps it’s true what they say. Perhaps, you’re used to getting things done the ‘irregular’ way like you did back when you served as International Trade and Industry Minister. Come to think of it, a debate seems to be a helluva good idea, as it would give you the opportunity to explain the luxury-car permits you were accused of approving to four of your cronies. According to reports, the four “AP Kings” earned a billion a year from the sales of the APs alone and twice or thrice that amount when they used the APs to import cars.

How, are you game for the challenge?

To be continued…

PAST ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES

PART 1: Once and for all, was money ever stolen from 1MDB?

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