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CNBC: Cut the Wastage, Cut the Corruption

Here is Wong Chen’s interview with CNBC, filmed last Thursday and just aired yesterday.

In this three-minute segment, he covers:
– Improving long-term investor confidence, a zero-GST plan, and higher wages to solve Malaysia’s fiscal problem;
– Targeting Malaysia’s rural voters: how Mahathir’s involvement with help gain rural votes; and
– Malaysia’s coalition politics.

2017 Second Parliamentary Session: Week 1

24th July 2017, 9.59 p.m.: Kidney Stones Begone!

Good morning from Parliament. My kidney stone pains have subsided and am ready for this round of battle. This is day one of the 2nd sitting for 2017. We will be in session for 3 weeks. Today we will start of with the domestic violence bill. This is expected to take a day or two. Next up will be the so called Grab/Uber bills. I am slated to debate on that. Stay tuned for reports.

 

24th July 2017, 1.00 p.m.: 1MDB Questions Begone?

Pakatan Harapan MPs gathered to give our first press conference today. Some 20 MPs received around 30 love letters from the Speaker rejecting all questions on and related to 1MDB. My question asking if Bank Negara has ever interviewed Jasmine Loo (key person of interest and formerly officer of 1MDB) was also rejected. The reasoning for rejecting my question is the matter is currently under court proceedings. This excuse is a blatant lie as there are no existing court proceedings against her.

The Malaysian Parliament today proved (time and time again) to the world that Malaysia is not a really a democracy but a state run by a kleptocrat.

 

25th July 2017, 10.20 a.m.: 1MDB and the Evasive Answer

Good morning from Parliament, day 2 of this 2nd session 2017. Attendance this morning is a bit light and MPs will continue to debate on the domestic violence bill at around 12 noon. I am preparing and waiting to debate on the Grab and Uber laws which should start this evening. My interns and staff are here early at 8.50 am and we had a breakfast meeting and then took some photos together.

I got my first Parliamentary written reply this morning. I asked the Finance Minister aka Najib aka MO1 to detail out all actions taken, compounds issued by and compounds paid to Bank Negara relating to 1MDB.

The answer I received from MO1 was extremely substandard and evasive. The answer is reflective of his standard of “good” governance. The reply only noted one action by Bank Negara against 1MDB and that the compound was paid. No details of the what the action entailed and no details of the amount paid.

What is more frustrating is MO1 completely ignored to mention of any other actions against banks, bodies or individuals taken by Bank Negara over 1MDB.

Recall Ambank, the bank where MO1’s RM2.6 billion was banked in, was fined RM53.7 million in 2015 in what the market talk is 1MDB related. The cover up on this issue continues in Parliament, now in written form.

 

26th July 2017, 10.59 a.m.: The Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill 2017

Good morning from Parliament. This session is going very slowly as the first two days were consumed to pass the domestic violence legislation. It was an important non contentious bill supported by both sides of the house. However it has taken a very slow and long process, so for most MPs, we waited hours upon hours patiently, for our turn to speak.

Today we will begin debate on the land transport bill, where the e-hailing business model of Grab and Uber will be considered. This is a complex subject matter and many MPs interested in public transport are gearing up to speak. I intend to also take part in this debate. At lunch, I have also been asked by CNBC to give an interview.

 

26th July 2017, 3.57 p.m.: Rushing Rushing

The Uber and Grab legislation have started. YB Rafizi Ramli just delivered a key speech, warning legislators that the terms and conditions of e-hailing license need to be exposed and fully debated in Parliament. The powers to set terms and conditions for e-hailing license cannot be given blank cheque to SPAD to decide. These legislations are opaque and may end up oppresing taxi drivers and e-hailing drivers too.

At lunch today, I rushed to Shangri-La KL and was interviewed by CNBC reporter Sri Jegarajah. The interview lasted 20 minutes and covered politics and economics. CNBC is here to cover the Invest KL event. I understand that the interview will be aired Friday on CNBC. After the interview, I went back to Parliament to resume the Uber and Grab debate. Looks like I may get a debate slot sometime tomorrow.

 

27th July 2017, 9.43 a.m..: Calm before the Storm

Good morning from Parliament. It is 9.40 am and all is still quiet here. Just YB Sim Tong Him of Kota Melaka, YB Laksamana Imran of Lumut and myself are here. We are basically the “breakfast club” that meet early for breakfast in Parliament. I like to come early, usually around 8.45 am so that I have time to prepare my notes for the day of debate. Parliament starts at 10 am. There are documents to sign, order paper to check and notes to prepare. Today, we are continuing the Uber and Grab legislations. As I have said in the last few days, the session is going at a very slow pace. There are no contentious laws as yet to quarrel about. In a sense, this sitting could be the last, the so called calm before the storm that is GE14.

27th July 2017, 3.04p.m.: Calm before the Storm

Another day in Parliament and another stupid reply from the PM Department.

I asked a very simple question on how much the PM spent on the recent Hari Raya open house. Recall in 2013, Najib spent an incredible RM2.88 million on his open house.

In times of economic hardship and austerity, I wanted to find out if he has reduced his spending on protocol.

The official answer I got was utter rubbish. No number was given just an inane explanation that Najib as PM was entitled to spend on his open house and the sum was approved by the Minister of Finance, who is also Najib!

Read the official reply and weep for Malaysia.

CNBC Interview on Najib Cabinet Reshuffle

Here is a link to the CNBC Asia interview I gave earlier today on the cabinet reshuffle.

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000401505

cnbc

CNBC Hong Kong Interview

Following Sarawak Report, the 1MDB money to Najib’s accounts story is covered by the Asian Wall Street Journal today. The paper alleges that the story is based on investigative papers from Malaysian authorities. This is going to get very interesting.

Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leader’s Accounts – WSJ

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10130211234592774869404581083700187014570?ref=%2Fnews-asia-business

http://www.sarawakreport.org/2015/07/sensational-findings-prime-minister-najib-razaks-personal-accounts-linked-to-1mdb-money-trail-malaysia-exclusive/

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I caught up with some reporters and more Malaysians. My friend Florence and her husband Philippe was exceedingly kind to take us on their sail boat and we sailed to Po Tai island for lunch.

This morning I was at the CNBC studio office in Wan Chai for a short live interview with Susan Li on the Najib 1MDB story.

You can watch my interview on CNBC here: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000394096

 

I am now at the prestigious and historic Foreign Correspondents’ Club having coffee. I am due to speak on Malaysia at noon and they tell me that the lunch is full house 80 pax.

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