"Aku anak Johor. Selalu ke Forest City. Harga rumah memang mahal. 1 juta ke atas. Selalu bawa member. Pemandangan memang la cantik. Tapi sayang nak bergambar langsung tak dibenarkan. Terasa hinanya diri bila warga asing yang melarang.." - Anak Johor.
Dan apabila kami scroll di ruangan komen, kami jumpa ini.
"Walaupun kebenaran memang pahit, ya 100% benar kenyataan itu" - Naqim.
"Memang ramai warga China yang beli. Setiap minggu ada je yang datang tengok by bas" - Terumbu Karang, Hafiz Awang.
"Aku setuju sebab aku pun pernah kena, tapi aku tak berdiam diri, aku balas balik kata-kata pak guard warga asing tu" - Al Grasso Zeed.
Dalam pada itu, kami juga ternampak sebaran Lina Ina.
Menurut individu yang berkongsikan gambar tersebut di laman sosial, di Forest City, pembeli boleh melakukan urusniaga jual-beli dengan menggunakan matawang Yuan (China). Mungkin kerana terdapat ramai pelancong dan pekerja dari China di sana agaknya yang membuatkan matawang tersebut diterima secara meluas di kawasan Forest City. Namun ada juga pihak yang menafikan sebaran gambar tersebut. Menurut pihak yang menafikan, Forest City masih lagi dalam frasa pembangunan. Belum disiapkan lagi sepenuhnya mana mungkin wujudnya kedai yang telah beroperasi. Oleh itu, haruslah netizens menghentikan sebaran gambar-gambar yang mendorong ke arah fitnah.
Mana satu yang betul agaknya?
Kita tunggu jawapan dari orang-orang Johor sendiri. -amenoworld
The war of words that erupted this week between Malaysia’s former strongman leader Mahathir Mohamad and an influential sultan over a surge in Chinese investment into the country is a precursor to the issue taking centre stage in what is likely to be a general election year, analysts say.
In a rare episode of public defiance against Malaysia’s revered constitutional monarchs, Mahathir on Tuesday said he was willing to stand trial for lese-majeste for criticising the influx of Chinese projects in the country’s Johor state backed by its ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ismail.
The former prime minister was responding to an interview published a day earlier in which Ibrahim said Mahathir’s constant griping about Chinese projects in Southeast Asia’s third largest economy was “creating fear, using race, just to fulfil his political motives”.
Mahathir, 91, ruled Malaysia with an iron fist for 21 years until 2003.
But he has emerged as the top critic of current premier Najib Razak, who faces allegations that he is linked to a corruption scandal at the state investment arm 1MDB.
WATCH: Thousands gather to demand Malaysian Prime Minister’s resignation
Mahathir last year quit the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) – the linchpin of the country’s ruling coalition since independence in 1957 – and formed the Parti Bribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), a Malay nationalist party made up of anti-Najib allies including his son Mukhriz.
“Dr Mahathir thinks it is easy to play up race because these investors happen to be from China…this is utterly disgusting,” Ibrahim said in the interview with the Star newspaper.
Ibrahim, 58, is an investor in Johor’s US$38 billion Forest City property project involving Guangdong-based developer Country Garden. The project is one of several foreigner-funded projects in a special economic zone in the state that the government hopes will become the next Shenzhen.
Mahathir, who has been on the receiving end of criticism from Ibrahim in recent months, said he was merely raising questions about the Chinese projects out of concern that the economy was being overrun by foreigners.
“Malaysia is my home and the object of my loyalty. If I have to be accused of lese-majeste for what I say, so be it,” he wrote in his blog.
Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mahathir Mohammed, waves as he arrives to attend a mass rally organised by Bersih 5.0 calling for the resignation of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: AFP
Analysts told This Week in Asia the public spat was an indication the issue would dominate the general election expected to be called this year.
“Mahathir and other Malay politicians from the anti-Najib camp will use the sheer [scale of] Chinese investments into Malaysia to criticise Najib as selling Malaysia’s internal sovereignty to China, or in other words, Malaysia [jumping on the China bandwagon] to the extent of drifting into the China orbit and becoming its satellite state,” said Mustafa Izzuddin, a Southeast Asia politics researcher at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.
And James Chin, director of the Asia Institute at Australia’s University of Tasmania, said: “Mahathir is trying to show off his Malay nationalist credentials by portraying Najib as having gone to bed with the Chinese with these deals”.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, second from left, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing in November. Photo: AFP
Najib returned from a visit to Beijing in November with US$34 billion in deals, including an agreement to purchase four Chinese naval vessels – the first major defence deal between the two Asian countries.
Observers say Najib is tilting Malaysia towards China’s orbit as a result of Beijing’s “chequebook diplomacy” strategy in Southeast Asia as well as the increasing hostility he is facing from the West over the 1MDB scandal.
Bridget Welsh, a veteran Malaysian politics expert, said “the attack on Chinese business could be seen to be a criticism of those involved in engaging and profiting from Chinese business as selling out the Malays”.
“The criticism about the role of Chinese business in Malaysia goes to the heart of Malay identity and its position in Malaysia,” she said.
UMNO has traditionally championed Malay supremacy and portrayed the country’s ethnic Chinese minority – as well as Chinese-majority Singapore – as a bogeyman in order to galvanise support from its rural Malay base. This practice was intensified during Mahathir’s tenure as prime minister.
Political observers say Malaysia’s nine hereditary monarchs, who are obliged under the constitution to stay above the political fray, are uneasy with the prospect of Bersatu and Mahathir gaining ground against UMNO. The nine sultans take turns at five-year stints as king of Malaysia, a figurehead role after Mahathir drastically curtailed the position’s powers during his time as prime minister.
Members of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) at the opening ceremony of the party’s annual congress in Kuala Lumpur in December. Photo: AFP
“The fact that this quarrel is between Mahathir and the Sultan of Johor is also significant as Johor is the home base of the Bersatu party, [which] is hoping to make electoral inroads into a state that is the birthplace of UMNO and bastion of UMNO-driven Malay nationalism,” said Mustafa.
Welsh said Bersatu “has traction in Johor and there are concerns that this movement could affect the political balance in the state”.
Other experts say Ibrahim’s rebuke of the statesman stemmed from fears his position could disrupt the flow of foreign investments into his state, rather than worries about party politics. In the newspaper interview, the monarch said he hoped Chinese-backed developments would create jobs in Johor and propel its capital Johor Baru into a major city.
The public feud follows a terse statement by the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur last week criticising “people who, when they were in power, pushed for friendly ties with China and welcomed Chinese investments to Malaysia”.
“But when they are no longer in power, they strenuously fan anti-China sentiments and deliberately dismiss Chinese investments as China ‘robbing locals of their rice bowls’,” the statement said.
Oh Ei Sun, a Malaysian politics expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said “the sultan’s main concern is the continued inflow of investment of all sorts to Johor”.
“As such he is obviously not pleased with any criticism of such inflows.”
The following satellite images show how the Sultan of Johor’s Forest City development, that is to be built on re-claimed land, may not be viable for it appears the proposed site will be in a particularly “weak” or “soggy” area.
Using the example of Singapore ,the first two images show that Singapore, which itself comprises much reclaimed land,sits atop a subsurface not very different from that which is found beneath Peninsular Malaysia. In other words, Singapore sits atop the yellow areas, much like Peninsular Malaysia.
Readers can easily see that the Strait of Malacca, or rather the earth under the Strait, is green or green-yellow, indicating a weaker subsurface, or weaker region.
The second image shows that where the subsurface is green ,ie not as hard as the yellow areas,Singapore’s planners have been careful not to build, and where they have ensured that building is limited to ports and the airport.
The proposed Forest City development on the other hand is an area that is dark green, almost blue suggesting a particularly weak area where reclamation may not be possible, or if possible not commercially viable.
Trust is supposed to be an instrument by which money is placed with a third party, who manages it on behalf of the beneficiary, who is thereby removed from direct control over it.
An example of a legitimate purpose for such a trust might be Donald Trump, who is being pressured to put his money in one, so that he cannot be tempted by his vested interests over policy making.
However, rich men like to have control over their money and the vast majority of trusts are actually tax-evading shams, as anyone in the financial world knows full well.
Take an off-shore company and combine it with a trust; pay a couple of different firms of lawyers and accountants to manage your affairs (who are always deliberately a little confused about the exact role of the other) and bingo! you have the core ingredients for hiding your money or your property from taxmen and regulators across the world.
The Lows (Jho left and Szen rgt) are still trying to hang onto assets confiscated in the States
From this structure certain patterns have emerged. In particular, one of the most popular places to set up these trusts just happens to be New Zealand. Time and again, investigators like Sarawak Report find themselves tracing large businesses linked to, for example, Malaysian politicians like Taib Mahmud, only to find the money disappearing behind New Zealand trusts.
This was thrown into glaring perspective by the Panama Papers, which revealed how shadowy businessmen the world over were all choosing distant New Zealand to park their money. One of these was Jho Low’s Dad, of course, Larry Low and one assumes such people are neither attracted by the weather nor the convenience of New Zealand’s location.
The revelations prompted political pressure on the New Zealand government, which instituted an enquiry that many have decried as a whitewash, led by a gentleman named John Shewan, who was himself a key representative of the New Zealand tax avoidance industry.
Shewan announced that he could find no actual evidence that there had been widespread abuse of New Zealand’s tax regime. However to give him his due, his report did admit to major flaws that could be reasonably open to such abuse:
In his report… Shewan said the current rules were inadequate and “not fit for purpose” to preserve New Zealand’s reputation as a country that co-operates with others to counter “money laundering and aggressive tax practices”.
In theory the current rules should be sufficient to deter tax abuse and existing anti-money laundering rules should ensure funds held are from legitimate sources.
“However, under current law and enforcement practices the risk of detection by authorities is low… Strengthened disclosure requirements should act as a deterrent to offshore parties looking to use New Zealand foreign trusts for illicit purposes.”[Stuff NZ]
Shewan’s proposals for various reforms are now going through parliament. However, critics are saying they are far too limited to deal with the problem and that he has suppressed glaring evidence about the wholescale abuse of New Zealand trusts.
How Larry Low wants back in charge of his trust now the law has caught up with him!
Larry Low – Jho’s Dad, who manages the trusts that received 1MDB funded assets
One example of the blatant manner in which trusts are used as a disguise rather than a genuine device comes up in court on Friday in New Zealand, where Malaysia’s now notorious Low family are doing their best to prevent a sequestration of their stolen assets from 1MDB by the United States authorities.
They had hidden their various jets, mansions, businesses and hotels in the now established traditional manner, using Cayman Island companies and New Zealand trusts managed by Swiss bankers (Rothschild).
However, when the US authorities struck they were appalled when these professional trustees immediately bottled and failed to defend the case.
So, the Lows want to change the trustees to someone who will fight a case in the US courts to try and claim the assets (bought with money that the FBI has demonstrated was stolen from 1MDB) are rightfully theirs. Why not? The Lows have nothing to lose and they will only be wasting what is left of 1MDB’s money by fighting the case.
But, it does of course completely undermine the facade that by putting money in a trust these businessmen are genuinely expecting to surrender up control over how it is managed!
The purpose is corruption – Vasco Trust
Now jailed in Abu Dhabi – KAQ stole half a billion from 1MDB
Since finance expert Mr John Shewan couldn’t find a single example of a corrupt use of a New Zealand trust fund, Sarawak Report would like to humbly offer him the details of how one such trust was deliberately set up by financial professionals in Europe to facilitate both the hiding of stolen money (again from 1MDB) and the avoidance of tax in the United States by the Emirati businessman Khadem Al Qubaisi, who is now in jail.
Perhaps this might help spell out for him and New Zealand legislators the extent of the global problem, which is caused by the deliberately lax laws that have become such a nice little money-spinner for a section of their finance industry?
Khadem, as readers of SR will be aware, had stolen a cool half billion US dollars from 1MDB, in return for helping Jho Low and his boss the Prime Minister squirrel out a further $7 billion from the Malaysian ‘development fund’.
Marc Ambroisien – ex-Edmund de Rothschild boss
He had managed to place this in his Edmond de Rothschild Luxembourg bank account in the name of Vasco Trust, thanks to the willing blind eye of its then CEO (now sacked), a former French tax inspector named Marc Ambroisien.
Ambroisien also set himself up as Director of a number of private companies in France and off-shore, which managed the various investments and properties into which KAQ as Al Qubaisi is known, ploughed that stolen money.
Vasco Trust was, of course, incorporated in New Zealand and in turn it owned an off shore Cayman Island company called Vasco Strategic Fund SPC (exempted Segregated Portfolio Company).
Companies in that portfolio included Tasameem Investment SA (behind numerous investments in the US and Middle East); Mondrion Investment (key shareholder in the Torro Rosso F1 racing team) and numerous companies holding property and aviation assets (i.e. private jets).
Rothschild Bank, in a document sent to KAQ 9th October 2013 confirmed:
“These whole legal entities have been incorporated and put at entire disposal of Mf Khadem Al Qubaisi for dedicated investments or holding private assets, according to our global Family Office mandate. In that way Mr Khadem Al Qubaisi is the sole ultimate beneficial owner of the global structure.”
So, what was the point of it all being hidden in a trust, since KAQ was plainly managing his own investments?
Trust was constructed by a helpful French tax lawyer.. who recommended New Zealand as just the place of a trust to hold an apartment in …. New York!
The answer can be seen in the detailed arrangements that Mr Ambroisien and his colleagues at Rothschild Bank put into place for Khadem to help him purchase one of the most expensive penthouse properties in New York.
KAQ had used his side-kick in the US, nightclub manager Neil Moffitt, to pretend to be the owner of the flat, however he also wanted to avoid the tax authorities in the United States.
Edmond de Rothschild managed the situation by introducing KAQ to French tax experts at the law firm Degroux-Brugere. Their specialist, one Philippe Delattre, provided a written presentation on how he thought the property could be hidden using a combination of a United States and a New Zealand trust and a shadowy Delaware corporation in the United States (Delaware has brought the off-shore industry effectively on-shore in the US).
Diagram of the structure recommended for the purchase of the $50m Walker Tower Penthouse
First there would be the US Trust, Delattre explained:
“This is a discretionary trust for the benefit of the client and his family. The trustee must be a US tax person (citizen or resident) and if there are also an Investment Adviser and a protector, they must also be a US persons (sic).
It is to be noted that because of the loan, the value of the US trust remains relatively limited.
In the event of a sale of the investment and because of the mechanism of the loan, the main part of the invested capital and a substantial part of the gain could be remitted abroad (the non-discretionary NZ trust)…..
Just 1/5 of the money would go into a US Trust and then the company would borrow the rest from an NZ trust
Then there would be a non-US trust, explains Delattre to hold the bulk of the money. He recommended a New Zealand trust:
“The introduction of a NZ trust allows for a higher degree of confidentialiy ….
The Loan between the NZ Trust and the LLC It may be quite aggressive in terms of remuneration, with an interest rate of 7 or 8% for instance. …
The reason being:
“… to remove automatically from the USA at the time of the sale of the property or the investment, almost all of the proceeds, or even more due to the interest of the loan, which are capitalised at that point. The loan is not exposed to withholding since LLC Delaware is a transparent corporation.”
Purposes of the Trust are secrecy and tax avoidance on money that was stolen
The purpose of these mechanisms – a secrative Delaware company, a US Trust and then an NZ Trust is clear from the above. It was to hide the ownership of the cash and pretend that the buyer in New York was borrowing the money, instead of paying himself…. all in order also to avoid tax.
The structure was a planned deception, provided by tax lawyers whose business is to assist the generally criminal classes of super-rich to conceal their wealth and to avoid paying the tiresome taxes that less well-off people have to pay.
By pretending that there is seriously any other substantial reason the tens and tens of thousands of wealthy people across the world set up New Zealand trusts the country’s finance industry is participating in the fraud.
Rosmah’s lawyer Noorhajran does not deny that Rosmah Mansor is a signatory for the Eric Tan/Jho Low BSI accounts
From Malaysia Outlook:The legal firm of Messrs Noorhajran Mohd Noor has been authorised by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (hereinafter referred to as the ‘client’) to issue this media statement
This is a general statement issued on behalf of the client to the public pertaining to accusations and falsifications of facts against Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Attention is drawn to a story carried by bloggers and social media postings recently.
The allegations are those to the innuendoes made that “Rosmah was the one who signed the cheques as Eric Tan”.
This media statement is issued, in relation to above, cross-referenced with the statement of facts made by the Attorney-General of Singapore dated Jan 10, 2017 pertaining to the case of Public Prosecutor v Jens Fred Sturzenegger.
Through the statement of facts issued by the AG’s Chamber of Singapore, there was nothing mentioned in the said statement indicative of the allegations made in the social media of the purported role played by Rosmah Mansor.
These allegations are serious, intended to make representations, publishes imputations intending to harm or knowing or having reasons to believe that such imputations will harm the reputation and done with malicious intent to destroy and reduce credibility of Rosmah Mansor as the wife the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.
However , that is not what is alleged by the Sarawak Report story on Eric Tan and Rosmah Mansor, which has been quoted and referred to by others.The relevant parts of the Sarawak Report story state:
Who was the actual signatory on the accounts?
That Tan was actually Low confirms the point made by Sarawak Report that someone who has stolen billions of dollars would be highly unlikely to trust the money in the hands of another. It was for this reason that it was obvious Low would not have put a genuine associate in control of these vast accounts.
However, Low was not the only player behind this sorry saga and there were others who likewise were anxious for their own assurances.
Sarawak Report has heard through very well-placed sources that there was therefore a check on the use of these accounts, which was that the actual signatory was not Jho nor Eric, but someone else. That signature was needed to authorise payments.
Sarawak Report has been told that this signatory was a woman with whom Jho Low was closely associated in the matter of 1MDB. So, when insiders informed us over a year ago that Rosmah Mansor had complained over Jho Low’s spending, exclaiming “It’s my money as well”, perhaps this is what they were referring to?
Put simply, Sarawak Report alleges that Rosmah Mansor’s signature was required for any disbursements from the account.
Rosmah’s lawyer Noorhajran Mohd Noor has not denied that and instead denied forgery. A simple ,somewhat child like attempt to deny something that is not, in an attempt to be seen to be denying the allegation.