Galleria of liars Rafizi Ramli, Clare Rewcastle and Shamsubahrin Ismail

Often, one lies to make one look clever, street smart, important, popular, kind or generous. Even victimized as in the Low Yat fracas and melee. Other times it may be a lie to save one’s skin. But some lie for the dramatic effect it adds to the plot. Compulsive liars such as Rafizi Ramli, Clare Rewcastle and Shamsubahrin Ismail know this all too well. They are seasoned experts at their craft. Blogger Fabiani Azmi investigates and highlights the dramatis personae ..


In March 2012, Rafizi Ramli lied on the Kuala Lumpur Eco City property acquisition by NFCorp chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail. He announced eight office lots had been bought through massive loans from Public Bank. Rafizi flaunts confidential bank documents to support his wild allegations. He adds that Salleh defaulted in loans, was ill qualified for them and was likely to put to peril a government deposit of RM71 million placed at the bank. But the truth is, there never had been any loans taken from Public Bank for the office lots. Rafizi promulgated a set of lies big time. MalaysiaKini captures a bold and brazen Rafizi tell a roomful of journalists here. And you can read NFCorp’s clarification here.


Clare Rewcastle on the other hand lied when she said she had no dealings with a Canadian fraudster Cullen Johnson in the Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib–Shahnaz Abdul Majid divorce claims. Johnson was hired to provide purportedly hacked documents of over a hundred offshore bank accounts of Mahmud, with hundreds and hundreds of millions of Ringgit stashed in secret accounts. Shortly after the US authorities arrested Johnson and seized his computers, the correspondence between him and Clare Rewcastle-Brown was leaked on the web. Clare has screamed about it, and as usual blames dark forces in Malaysia. But in doing so, she has demonstrated that the material she had is from Johnson. The documents, testified Mahmud, were however fakes forging as hacks. You can read the depth and breath of the ‘Stunning Indictment of Sarawak Report’ here.


Shamsubahrin Ismail is yet another classic that would put to shame Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Catch Me If You Can.’ Going by court transcripts of his trial for cheating and money laundering offences under Section 420 of the Penal Code and Section 4 (1) of the Anti Money Laundering Act 2001, one is just amazed by how he had been able to convince the NFCorp chairman to engage him.

He says he is a consultant with expertise in finance, government relations, legal and media relations. He lied when he told Salleh that he had been sent as an emissary to help resolve matters at the height of the NFCorp crisis. Salleh unconvinced, had to be quickly impressed. So Shamsubahrin tossed Tun Dr Mahathir’s name for good measure, we learn from court transcripts of his trial. He also adds that they are distant relatives as Salleh’s wife and Shamsubahrin had a common grand mother in the famed Malay film star Datuk Maria Menado.

The plot thickens. It begins to stink from here. In the days that followed, Shamsubahrin admitted in court testimony, having lied that several levels of the police force had asked for bribes. Several highly placed names were implicated in a series of crafty hand phone text messages but they were never the truth. He said he had to indulge in “creations” to convince Salleh to part with money. Creations in this sense meant the lies concocted as this extract from court transcripts of Shamsubahrin’s trial show –

S:         Lepas itu Dato hantar message 36907 dimukasurat 39.”They came back with 300K each, 5 DPP and big boss 800K”. Saya nak tanya kat sini dulu pertama sekali “big boss 800K” ini Dato maksudkan siapa dalam SMS ini?

J:         Dato Damanhuri lah.

S:         “300 each for 5 DPP”?

J:         This is all the creation I created to raise money, yang arif, for Dato Damanhuri when they need money.

S:         Saya tanya soalan, sebelum Dato menghantar SMS ini, bahkan sebelum Dato hantar SMS ini “they are having discussion now” 36896, adakah berlaku sebenarnya pihak polis sedang bermesyuarat untuk memaklumkan Dato berapa banyak duit yang diaorang nak?

J:         Tak ada. Ini semua adalah satu creation saya sepertimana saya cakap daripada awal yang mana untuk saya mengadakan dana sekiranya diminta oleh pihak polis dan Dato Damanhuri.

S:         Jadi pada masa itu tidak ada lah pihak polis bermesyuarat untuk get back Dato in 1 hour time?

J:         Tak ada.

S:         Adakah pihak polis ada meminta dengan Dato untuk menyediakan pembayaran untuk dibayar kepada 5 orang ini? Ada tak permintaan dari pihak polis?

J:         Tiada.

S:         Ada tak mana mana DPP sendiri, tadi saya tanya polis, ada tak mana mana DPP minta pembayaran daripada Dato?

J:         Tak ada.

Taking advantage from the overwhelming political badgering by PKR and the relentless media hype, the police was the ultimate and only solution, Salleh was told.

“Datuk Seri. I have gd news n bad news which one you want to hear bad the bad news you never like it but you got no choice.”

“We can make all your case settle n close. Secondly we need all your police report to make immediate action. Thirdly is what you never like they want RM250k cash by tmr before 10.30 am plus you must ask someone to send the cash n police report docu at bukit perdana to see me cause my appointmwnt is at 11 am that the bad news.”

But Salleh would never be a part of that scheme of things. Salleh’s hard earned savings, the court was told, were used to finance the education of his three children who went to school and university without a scholarship. There was never any money in the thousands floating. And Salleh would not borrow to finance the easy solution proposed by the con consultant.

Shamsubahrin the compulsive liar that he is continued to be expeditiously persistent, insisting that Salleh had no choice. Matters however took a turn when a diligent member of the force overheard the fraudulent misrepresentation of Shamsubahrin to an employee of NFCorp, claiming that the police had demanded payment and that he had paid them off.

S:         Setelah awak create kata polis nak duit, DPP nak duit, nak bagi duit kat DPP, awak report pula kata awak kena tipu oleh Dato Seri Salleh. P187.

J:         Ya. Betul.

S:         P187 report yang awak buat di hospital itu, awak buat setelah awak dituduh di mahkamah. Betul?

J:         Ya, betul.


Hah! Shamsubahrin was exposed by the very handphone he had used to craft his lies. He was immediately arrested by the police and charged.

S:         Jadi maknanya awak telah mendesak Dato Seri Salleh membuat bayaran dengan beberapa cerita lah.

J:         Creation untuk cari dana, yes.


After a lengthy trial and notwithstanding a conviction handed down on Shamsubahrin for five counts of cheating NFCorp’s chairman and 17 counts of money laundering, and being sentenced to eight years imprisonment and four strokes of the whip, the former consultant ranted that he had been made a ‘scapegoat’ by Salleh and the political masters.

In one of several FaceBook postings on his personal site, Shamsubahrin by way of innuendo invariably scandalized the judiciary and government as well as the MACC, the PDRM, the attorney general and the prime minister of Malaysia when he claimed that Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and the government administration had convicted him over the NFCorp matter. You can read more here.

Shamsubahrin is relentless in his ways and has not stopped at his vexatious and malicious rants on NFCorp, its chairman as well as the government. As a result, two interim injunctions were sought and granted.

For Shamsubahrin, it would appear that he is an ultimate compulsive liar and cheat. One cannot tell if this comes from the intoxication of chemotherapy. He has third stage cancer the court was told by his legal counsel Zarina Ismail. She should know. She is after all his sister.