High Court lifts suspension on The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Financial Weekly
The High Court has quashed the Home Ministry's three-months suspension order against The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Financial Weekly.
The decision was handed by Justice Asmabi Mohamad, who also ordered for an assessment of damages suffered by the two publications and costs of RM15,000.
According to the lawyer for The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd, Raja Eileen Soraya Raja Aman, who together appeared with lead counsel Darryl Goon, the daily can resume publishing tomorrow.
28 JULY: The Edge Media: We're not involved in any conspiracy to topple PM Najib
The Edge Media Group and its staff were not involved in any political conspiracy to allegedly topple prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the company said in a statement today.
The media company's chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong and publisher and CEO Ho Kay Tat said they did not have any political agenda when its publications The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, published articles on state owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“We wish to reiterate that The Edge Media Group and ourselves were and are not involved in any political conspiracy, nor did we have any political agenda when we published articles on the problems at 1MDB.
“We have been publishing numerous articles on 1MDB since 2013 when it became apparent it was facing financial difficulties. As a business media, our interest in 1MDB was purely to uncover what happened at 1MDB and the various financial and business dealings it undertook since its inception in 2009,” Tong said in a statement also signed by Ho.
They said as a business media, their interest in 1MDB was purely to uncover what happened at 1MDB and the various financial and business dealings it undertook since its inception in 2009.
“Anyone who has read our various exposes would know that we have never linked the prime minister or even the government in general to the problems at 1MDB. We had never given 1MDB a political spin in any of our articles.
“We pursued only corporate governance issues, and held the management, the board of directors and the various third parties which have had dealings with 1MDB accountable for what had happened, which should be the case with any corporate entity,” they said in the statement.
The Edge's response follows a report in the New Straits Times today titled “Rewcastle-Brown: I will celebrate when ‘Najib is Done’," on an alleged conspiracy to oust Najib that supposedly involved several politicians and Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the editor of UK based website Sarawak Report.
Both Tong and Ho were named in the English daily's front page blurb as being "implicated in this elaborate conspiracy to topple a democratically-elected prime minister”.
Refuting the allegations from NST and by any other media or persons that they were part of a political conspiracy and that they had tampered with evidence related to 1MDB, both Tong and Ho warned that they would take legal action against those who continued to make unfounded allegations against them and the media group.
Malaysians sign online petition to help save The Edge and Sarawak Report
A petition demanding Putrajaya lift The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily's suspension, as well as the block on Sarawak Report is gaining momentum online, even as the government insists that their coverage 1MDB may threaten public order.
Malaysian non-governmental organisation Aliran created the petition “Lift suspension of The Edge and stop blocking Sarawak Report” on change.org yesterday, and at the time of writing, it has so far attracted 14,216 supporters and still needs 763 to reach 15,000.
Several media groups also announced the #AtTheEdge campaign to show public support for The Edge and Sarawak Report. Among other things, they urged the public to subscribe to The Edge's online edition and to participate in the social media campaign.straitstimes.com
PAC to Finance Ministry: "Where is Jho Low?"
The Finance Ministry should be given time to locate businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low as the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) request to find him was only sent to the ministry last week.
"We don’t know where he is, and have to find him first. We've just sent a letter to the Finance Ministry last Friday to locate Jho Low, so give them time. It has just been three days," said PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
In any event, Nur Jazlan claimed that Low should be aware by now that he is needed to testify before the bipartisan committee on matters relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He should appear before the committee on his own volition rather than wait to be summoned officially, Nur Jazlan added.
Netizens have expressed surprise that the Finance Ministry headed by the Prime Minister Najib Razak himself is unable to contact him. Najib and his family, in particular stepson Riza Aziz, are known to be close to Low, with several photographs emerging showing them together.
The Edge files an application for a judicial review of the ban
The Edge Media Group has filed an application to seek a judicial review of the Home Ministry's decision to suspend two of its publications. In a brief media statement, the Edge Media Group said the application was filed with the Kuala Lumpur High Court today through its lawyer Raja, Darryl & Loh.malaysiakini.com
The Edge Media Group corporate communications said in a statement that they have requested that the application be heard on an urgent basis.
"We are unable to provide a copy of the affidavit of our application until the case is heard. Given the urgency and public interest, we hope the court will grant us a date very soon," the statement said.
“We also request for this motion to be heard immediately,” said the company in a media statement. It also hopes that the court would set a date immediately as the issue involves public interest.astroawani.com
Last Friday, the Home Ministry imposed a three-month suspension, which took effect today, on the publishing permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily.
The ministry claimed that the publications' reporting of 1MDB were "prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest".
27 JUL: Suspension of The Edge papers made in interest of Malaysia and its people, says Shabery
Any action taken by the government is in the best interest of the nation and people in general, and such action will surely have its supporters and opponents.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said this yesterday in reference to the three-month suspension from tomorrow of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily by the Home Ministry over its reports on the 1MDB issue.
"If there are doubts about the authenticity of something and seen as liable to threaten public order and cause uneasiness to the people, then something must to done to manage it so that it will not be detrimental to society and so on," he said at a Hari Raya open house hosted by Gabungan Persatuan Wanita (GPW) Felda Kerteh Enam, here.
Ahmad Shabery said the Home Ministry's action (of suspending the publishing permits of the two publications) was taken after due consideration. "Likewise, in the Low Yat (Plaza) incident recently, the police could not wait for the court's decision before taking action."
He said immediate action needed to be taken over a matter which could cause widespread tension and uneasiness, besides protecting public interest and maintaining order. Ahmad Shabery said the condiserations taken by the agency concerned or Home Ministry should be respected.
"To me, the reasons given are rational, as the investigation on 1MDB is still on, so we should not prematurely make our own judgement on the issue," he said.
24 JUL: The Edge's publishing permits suspended by Home Ministry for 3 months
The Home Ministry has suspended the publishing permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27. The Edge said the letter from the Home Ministry stated that the two publications' reporting of 1MDB were "prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest".
The letter also said that the failure to stop publication for three months would result in the withdrawal of The Edge's publishing permits.
"We don’t see how exposing the scam to cheat the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit can be construed as being detrimental to public and national interest. This is nothing more than a move to shut us down in order to shut us up," said The Edge's chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat.
"To our readers and fellow Malaysians, you can continue to read our work through our digital platforms like theedgemarkets.com, theedgeproperty.com, themalaysianinsider.com and edgy.com. To our advertisers, we hope you will continue to support us through our digital platforms now that the print will not be available for three months," said Ho.
Jho Low summoned by PAC to appear before panel on 8 September
Businessman Jho Low has been summoned by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to appear before the bi-partisan parliamentary committee on Sept 8 over the controversy surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). Its chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the letter has been sent to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) as it was the main shareholder of the 1MDB.
“They should know his whereabouts or be able to trace him. It can get the police to locate him,” Nur Jazlan reportedly said.
Nur Jazlan said the issue at hand was good governance and the responsibilities of those who were managing 1MDB. All of 1MDB’s auditors testified before the committee in June.thestar.com.my
As of this morning, 9 people have been barred from leaving the country
Another opposition leader and four activists have been barred from leaving the country, after reports yesterday that three citizens have been blacklisted by the Immigration Department. The Batu MP Tian Chua, activists Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Maria Chin Abdullah, Hishamuddin Rais and Adam Adli Abdul Halim have found that they would have to refer to the nearest Immigration office if they wanted to go abroad.
They found this out when they checked their travelling status on the immigration website using their MyKad number. The message, "Please refer to the nearest Immigration office", is displayed when the number is entered.
Also barred from leaving the country was The Edge Media Group owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong. Sources at The Edge said that Tong had been barred but could not confirm the reasons for the travel ban. A check on the Immigration Department's website showed that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, managing director of SRC International Sdn Bhd and former chief investment officer of 1MDB, was also included.straitstimes.com
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli claims he too has been barred from leaving the country. The Pandan MP shared a screengrab of his barred status allegedly taken from the Immigration Department’s website in a post on his Facebook page Wednesday.freemalaysiatoday.com
DAP lawmaker Tony Pua also made it to the list when he was stopped by the immigration at low-cost carrier terminal KLIA2 yesterday at 3.15pm.
On 20 July, Malaysia woke up to an exposé by The Edge which claimed that the evidence it had put together showing various transactions between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International were nothing but a scheme to cheat RM6.9 billion from Malaysia
The Edge, currently being investigated by Malaysian authorities for its previous articles on 1MDB, named Jho Low, Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony, abetted by a few 1MDB top executives, as the people behind the scam which started in 2009 with an initial USD1 billion investment by 1MDB that grew to USD1.83 billion by 2011
The daily said that in the first deal, PetroSaudi was supposed to put in non-cash assets of US$1.5 billion to make it a US$2.5 billion joint venture. However, the newspaper said PetroSaudi never owned the main asset it was to put in farming rights to oil fields in Turkmenistan. The joint venture was eventually called off but 1MDB never got back its cash, instead ending up with murabaha and promissory notes.
The newspaper said while 1MDB was given virtually worthless papers, the US$1.83 billion cash it had put in went to the various accounts of those involved at several global banks in New York, Switzerland, London and Singapore.
The banks reportedly included JP Morgan, RBS Coutts, Credit Suisse, HSBC and BSI Bank. The newspaper also produced a large flowchart of the money flow put together from bank statements of senders and receiverstodayonline.com
In analysing "who got what", The Edge claims as follows:
· Good Star received in total about US$970 million, and that US$529 million out of this was paid into the bank account of ADKMIC in Singapore.
· Another company linked to Jho Low, Javace Sdn Bhd, was believed to have received US$260 million purportedly via Tarek Obaid.
· Tarek himself allegedly received another US$240 million from 1MDB which the Edge claims he used to pay Prince Turki (US$77 million), Patrick Mahoney (US$33 million) and Nawaf Obaid (US$1 million).
· Various PetroSaudi companies were said to have received around US$330 million.
In a note to readers, The Edge's publisher said the media outlet had a public duty to report the alleged scam. He said this was likely to be its last report on the matter and it would be handing over whatever it had to the agencies investigating 1MDB. "How can what we have done be deemed as a political conspiracy?" he asked.
The newspaper produced a large flow chart of the money flow put together from bank statements of senders and receivers. It went on to explain how 1MDB was now trying to cover the hole caused by the venture with PetroSaudi by paying termination fees of around US$2.22 billion to Aabar Investments to retire options issued to the latter.
It said two 1MDB directors, including Bakke Mohd Salleh, had resigned over a payment of US$700 million to Good Star Limited without board consent and in breach of Bank Negara's approval.
In response to the exposé by The Edge, 1MDB was surprised by recycled, unproven allegations:
“We are surprised that these old and unproven allegations are being recycled yet again, when in fact there are multiple ongoing investigations being conducted by the lawful authorities on the issues raised previously,” the state investment fund said in a statement following the business daily’s front-page report on 1MDB yesterday.
In the statement, 1MDB added that any party which could assist investigators should do so under the purview of the law “without resorting to such irresponsible and unnecessary sensationalism. 1MDB reiterates our trust in due process as evidenced by the professional and thorough ongoing investigations being conducted by the lawful authorities,” it said.
On 21 July, The Edge said, writing in an editorial, it is prepared to go to court to defend its articles related to 1MDB and Jho Low. It also offered to provide documents to government investigators.
"We are prepared to go to court to defend what we have published, but till today no one has taken us to court. We stand by what we have published. We would like to repeat what we have said before and that is we stand by all articles we have published on Jho Low and 1MDB," the financial daily says in an editorial note today.malaysiakini.com
Ho Kay Tat, Publisher and Group CEO of The Edge, says there is nothing wrong:
"As a media group, we believe we have a public duty to do, no matter how difficult and dangerous it may be for us. Meeting contacts to gather information is what media professionals do all the time in pursuit of a story. There is nothing wrong or sinister," the Group CEO said in a Facebook post following their front-page report on 1MDB.
Ho Kay Tat further said:
Furthermore, Nurul Izzah, Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament, has voiced support of the whistleblower sites, including The Edge
In an opinion piece published on the Malay Mail, she writes that "investigative journalism forms the basis of a strong fourth estate," adding "I am a strong advocate of this function. An independent media functions as a check on government's excesses."
The severity of the 1MDB saga is made more compelling because the Sarawak Report expose echoes documents sighted on the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), The Edge and perhaps disclosure through the Attorney-General’s interim report on 1MDB investigations, which to date has not been made public.
The trinity of evidence unearthed begs a clear explanation by the PM. But short of his clarification seeking from the WSJ — Malaysians are faced with total silence by the number one man in the country.
Why hasn’t the Prime Minister sued the WSJ, if the facts reported by the media outlet is false?
Take note that the Prime Minister so far has not denied that the money was transferred into his account. Why hasn’t the Prime Minister explained how such a huge sum could find its way into his personal account?