6 Unsettling Truths About Corruption In Malaysia Uncovered By Sarawak Report In One Week

Whistleblower site Sarawak Report continues to be on a roll with their exclusive reports since publishing an expose on PM Najib's link to 1MDB funds last week.

Cover image via AP Photo / Khin Maung Win

Amidst the furore surrounding PM Najib Razak's alleged siphoning of funds from the debt-ridden 1MDB, Sarawak Report has been quite relentless in publishing 'exclusive' reports claiming widespread corruption among the people of power in Malaysia - especially over the past week.

Image via Sarawak Report

Dubbed the "Wikileaks of Sarawak", the investigative online news portal published several exposés detailing corruption in East Malaysia, such as that of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Abdul Taib Mahmud's involvement in land grabs and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman's involvement in a dubious timber deal.

The site gained widespread prominence when it published a series of exposés on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), including one alleging that financier Jho Low had siphoned US$700 million from a deal between 1MDB and PetroSaudi, which he'd initiated. Sarawak Report also ran several reports on Najib's stepson Riza Aziz detailing how he managed to get millions in funding for his film production company Red Granite Pictures.

1. It all started on 2 July, when both Sarawak Report and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published separate reports claiming that a total of RM42 million linked to 1MDB has been channelled into Najib's personal accounts in December 2014 and February 2015. Sarawak Report also alleges that RM2.6 billion was transferred into his private account ahead of the General Elections in 2013.

According to Sarawak Report: "Amongst a series of key transactions it has been identified that a total of RM42 million recently flowed from a controversial company linked to 1MDB, SRC International Sdn Bhd, into the PM’s own private accounts.

These personal accounts were held clearly under the name of “Dato’Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Abd Razak” at AmPrivate Banking in Kuala Lumpur.

Read the full report here.

2. Four days later (6 July), Sarawak Report published a photo of Najib and his family enjoying a summer holiday in the South of France with PetroSaudi owner Prince Turki, director Tarek Obaid, and Jho Low. It was said that this meeting - alleged to be a sham in order to impress Najib - hatched the first 1MDB-PetroSaudi deal.

From left to right: Jho Low; Prince Turki, the owner of PetroSaudi; Prime Minister Najib Razak; Rosmah Mansor; Nor Ashman, the couple’s son; Tarek Obaid, the Director of PetroSaudi, and Rosmah’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa.

Image via Sarawak Report

Sarawak Report wrote, "The Malaysian couple had been led to believe that the vast yacht Tatoosh, which had been rented for the occasion to impress, was actually owned by Prince Turki, who was the owner of PetroSaudi.

In fact PetroSaudi had few funds and Prince Turki, while a 7th son of the then King was no multi-billionaire in his own right.

Jho Low and his business colleagues wanted the Prime Minister to think that he was investing in a major enterprise owned by a player in Saudi, linked to the Royal family, so the deal could be presented as backed by the State of Saudi Arabia."

Read the full report here.

3. The next day (7 July), the site revealed that Singaporean investigators had traced US$530 million into an account belonging to Jho Low in Singapore. The money is believed to have travelled from Good Star Limited's account in Zurich where a bulk of the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture money was received.

Image via Sarawak Report

"The 1MDB PetroSaudi joint venture bank transfers involved dollars, which has engaged the United States banking system and regulators in the matter of suspicious transfers.

Also, the money was transferred from Malaysia (using 1MDB’s international bank Deutsche Bank) and into Swiss Bank accounts, which likewise brings in the Swiss authorities.

Now there is increasing accumulated evidence that much of this money was then transferred to Singapore, the international banking centre on Malaysia’s own doorstep," wrote Sarawak Report.

Read the full report here.

4. On the very same day, an exclusive interview with Pascal Najadi - the son of slain AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi - was published. Pascal is convinced that his father was gunned down in 2013 for allegedly reporting corruption at the bank he had once managed.

Pascal Najadi is now based and working in Moscow.

Image via Sarawak Report

He told Sarawak Report that on the occasion he last saw his father it was four days before he died and that Hussain had talked then about the issue which was troubling him:

“My Dad then spoke about massive corruption. He also said that they [people in power] had lost the plot in the sense that they recklessly and behind their own population’s backs raked in billions of ringgit from construction, oil & gas to defence & transportation. He made a point that it's insane that they do not for one second think about the future generations, simply not."

Read the entire interview piece here.

5. On 9 July, citing insider information, Sarawak Report revealed that a baffling RM2 million has been deposited into a bank account - reported to have belonged to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor a.k.a. Najib's wife and the First Lady of Malaysia - in 8 different occasions between February and April 2015

Image via Sarawak Report

"According to documentation related to the 1MDB related enquiries, between 10th February and 23rd April 2015 a gentleman called Roslan Bin Sohari entered the central branch of the bank in Kuala Lumpur on eight occasions.

On these visits he deposited a round total of RM2,000,000.00 into the account number 1000 2000 0058, which investigators have reported as belonging to “Rosmah Binti Mansor (Datin Sri)”

According to the record (above) the deposits into the account were made by the account owner’s ‘personal assistant’," Sarawak Report wrote.

Read the full story here.

6. Roslan bin Sohari denied working for the PM and his wife. He'd also pulled down his Facebook account soon after the story was published, but Sarawak Report retained some screenshots from before the account was wiped and released evidence of his involvement with the couple, including travel photos that place his at the same place and time as the PM and/or his wife.

Image via Sarawak Report

"When journalists (from Malaysiakini) called on the handphone number recorded by the bank he denied he knew anything about the matter. He also denied he worked for the Prime Minister and his wife.

Yet, our research shows that Roslan Sohari’s own data on social media tells a very different story and it links him inextricably to the Prime Minister himself.

All his snapshots [on Facebook] from different parts of the world on different dates perfectly match the official travel arrangements for the man who was cited as his boss on the Facebook site before it was removed," wrote Sarawak Report.

Read the full report here.

Meanwhile, Lester Melanyi, who claims to be a former journalist of Sarawak Report, has released the second part of his video exposé over the whistleblower site's articles on 1MDB. Read the key takeaways from Melanyi's video exposés so far:

Furthermore, The Edge is standing firm on its BIG exposé in which it details how 1MDB and PetroSaudi International were nothing but a scheme to cheat RM6.9 billion from Malaysia:

You may be interested in: