Thailand denies PM aided Malaysia 1MDB graft scandal


Future Forward Party spokesperson Pannika Wanich speaks to the press at the Thai political party’s headquarters in Bangkok February 21, 2020. — AFP pic
Future Forward Party spokesperson Pannika Wanich speaks to the press at the Thai political party’s headquarters in Bangkok February 21, 2020. — AFP pic

BANGKOK, Feb 24 — Thailand’s government threatened legal action today against a banned opposition party which claimed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha aided in the cover-up of Malaysia’s 1MDB graft scandal by harbouring a fugitive financier.

The stridently anti-military Future Forward Party, the third largest in parliament, was dissolved Friday by a court and its key members banned from politics for a decade.

Yesterday Future Forward’s spokeswoman Pannika Wanich held a public conference and accused Prayut of allowing fugitive financier Low Taek Jho — commonly known as Jho Low — and his associates to pass through Thailand.

Low is wanted by several governments for his alleged mastermind role in plundering billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

A Thai government spokeswoman hit back today at Pannika, saying her accusations were “not true.”

“This accusation … confuses the public,” Narumon Pinyosinwat said on Twitter. “Concerned ministries are considering legal action and … will hold a formal presser.”

Walking to government house this morning, ex-general-turned-premier Prayut appeared jovial when asked about Pannika’s accusations.

“The ministries are investigating and if it’s not true, they can sue,” he told reporters.

Since 2016, a “red notice” was issued by Interpol at Singapore’s request to flag Low’s travels.

Countries receiving flagged individuals would typically inform requesting governments about the fugitive’s whereabouts, executing an extradition process.

But Pannika claimed that Thailand’s immigration records showed Low passing through the country five times from 2016 to 2018.

She also said two of his associates — Tang Keng Chee and Jasmine Loo — had irregularities in their records, and she accused Prayut’s government of “obstructing international justice.”

The gruff former army chief masterminded a coup against the government in 2014, and was head of a junta regime until 2019.

He was voted in during last year’s election as a civilian premier under a new military-scripted constitution which critics say tilted victory to his party.

Future Forward has been a thorn on the conservative establishment’s side since it scooped up 6.3 million votes.

The party’s radical anti-military agenda appealed to mostly to millennials or those weary of the conservative royalist army’s central role in Thai society.

But the party was undone by a US$6 million (RM25.1 million) loan from its billionaire founder, which breached the limit on party donations from an individual.

Dissolution of the Future Forward Party came ahead of a censure debate beginning in parliament today against Prayut. — AFP

PKR sacks Azmin, Zuraida

PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali and vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin have been sacked from their party, its national leadership committee decided today.

Secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced this to reporters waiting outside PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya today, where the meeting took place.

Court quashes Najib's lawyers' bid to interview MACC officer

THE Kuala Lumpur High Court has dismissed an application by Najib Razak’s lawyers to interview a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer before the latter appears as a defence witness at the SRC International trial.

MACC assistant commissioner Mohd Nasharudin Amir, who was an investigating officer in the SRC International case, was previously named as the seventh defence witness.

Dr Mahathir resigned? PMO says to wait for statement


Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad leaves the PBBM headquarters in Petaling Jaya February 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad leaves the PBBM headquarters in Petaling Jaya February 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s office is scheduled to issue a statement soon on talk that he has resigned.

“We will issue a statement later today,” one of his press officers told journalists in a WhatsApp group with media members.

Earlier, news portal The Malaysian Insight reported that Dr Mahathir has handed in his resignation to Istana Negara.

MORE TO COME

 

Braithwaite vows to not wash Barca shirt after Messi embrace

28-year-old Martin Braithwaite describes his first Barcelona appearance as a ‘dream come true’. (AP pic)

BARCELONA: New Barcelona signing Martin Braithwaite had an ideal start to his career with the club by providing two assists in a 5-0 drubbing of Eibar on Saturday and has already decided how he wants to remember the occasion – by never washing his shirt.

Lionel Messi was already on three goals when Braithwaite came off the bench two days after completing a surprise move from La Liga strugglers Leganes and the Denmark international soon helped the Barca captain get his fourth goal.

The 28-year-old beat a defender before sending a diagonal pass towards Messi, who teased his way past Eibar’s goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic to make it 4-0 before congratulating his new teammate.

“I won’t wash my clothes after I hugged Messi,” Braithwaite told reporters.

“He congratulated me, he’s a great guy and tried to make me feel comfortable on the pitch by passing to me often. I’m very happy to have given my first assist to Leo.”

Braithwaite was not far from marking his first appearance for Barca with a goal in the final few minutes of the game, firing a shot at Dmitrovic which the goalkeeper parried into the feet of Arthur Melo who tapped into the empty net.

“I feel bad for not having scored but Dmitrovic did very well,” added Braithwaite.

“It was an extraordinary debut, a dream come true. When the coach called me to warm up I was a bit nervous but looking forward to getting on. I feel very good here, I’m surrounded by fantastic players.”

Korea Selatan catat 123 lagi kes Covid-19, 2 kematian

Jumlah kes Covid-19 meningkat kepada 556 orang di Korea Selatan. (Gambar AP)

SEOUL: Korea Selatan melaporkan 123 lagi kes Covid-19 pada Ahad, menjadikan jumlah keseluruhan 556 di negara itu, serta 2 kematian tambahan yang menjadikan jumlah yang terkorban ialah 4.

Kematian ke-4 adalah seorang lelaki di hospital Cheongdo, bandar selatan yang dikaitkan dengan upacara agama, di mana kira-kira 100 kes dilaporkan.

Antara kes terbaru, 75 kes dikaitkan dengan acara di Gereja Shincheonji of Jesus di selatan bandar Daegu, kata Pusat Kawalan dan Pencegahan Penyakit Korea dalam satu kenyataan.

Beratus-ratus ahli Gereja Shincheonji of Jesus kini dijangkiti, bermula dengan seorang wanita berusia 61 tahun yang mengalami demam pada 10 Feb namun menghadiri sekurang-kurangnya 4 perkhidmatan gereja di Daegu sebelum didiagnosis.

Daegu – bandar terbesar ke-4 di Korea Selatan dengan populasi 2.5 juta orang dan Cheongdo – tempat kelahiran pengasas Shincheonji Lee Man-hee – dinamakan sebagai “zon penjagaan khas” pada Jumaat.

Focus on economy, not power

THE Klang Valley is gripped with speculation of changes in political alignment, two days after Pakatan Harapan (PH) agreed that Dr Mahathir Mohamad can remain as prime minister until he deems fit to leave after the Kuala Lumpur Apec Summit.

Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu leadership is meeting at its Petaling Jaya headquarters while PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali’s faction is holed up at the nearby Sheraton Hotel.

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