Saturday, May 28, 2016

The "cari makan" chairman of PAC must resign for lying to the committee, suppressing evidence and obstructing investigations into 1MDB!

The Public Accounts Committee members were baffled as to why Datuk Hasan Arifin had unilaterally deleted sentences from the finalised PAC Report on 1MDB which quoted Bank Negara who disclosed that the “ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited is an individual not related to Petrosaudi International Limited”.

We were further stumped by Datuk Hasan Arifin’s failure to disclose to PAC members another letter from Bank Negara dated 6 April 2016, a day before the final PAC report was tabled in Parliament. When we discovered the existence of the letter via a ministerial reply in Parliament on 17 May 2016, we had confronted the PAC Chairman at our meeting the very next day.

All PAC opposition members were left speechless when Datuk Hasan refused to share the contents of the Bank Negara letter with us. We could not understand Datuk Hasan’s claims of confidentiality when PAC members were even authorised to review the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB which was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).  What could possibly be more confidential than OSA documents?

Datuk Hasan’s highly suspicious behaviour led us to believe that the Bank Negara letter responding to queries from the PAC must have contained some damning information on 1MDB. I had speculated two days ago that Bank Negara must have outed Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low as the sole beneficiary of Good Star Limited and demanded that the PAC Chairman confirm or deny my allegation.

Datuk Hasan Arifin refused to respond to the press despite repeated queries.

Malaysians are ashamed because we have to depend on the foreign media, The Wall Street Journal in this case, to expose the truth contained in the said letter.  The letter dated 6 April 2016 from Bank Negara to the PAC clearly stated that Good Star Limited is “beneficially owned by Low Taek Jho” and that there was never any change of ownership in the company.

This crucial piece of information opens up a whole Pandora’s Box and confirmed what critics like The Sarawak Report, The Edge publications and opposition Members of Parliament have accused 1MDB all along, that out of the US$1.83 billion investment 1MDB carried out with Petrosaudi International Limited, at least US$1.03 billion have been directly misappropriated to Good Star Limited, owned by Jho Low.

This incontrovertible evidence tears to shreds the pretense by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB’s top officials that Good Star Limited belongs to the Petrosaudi group, a claim which was not backed by any legally-admissible documentary evidence.

This vital evidence, if taken into consideration by the Auditor-General and the PAC, would have made the already damning PAC report even more devastating. Fraud, while previously suspected, would have been confirmed.

In fact, had Datuk Hasan Arifin shared the Bank Negara letter with the PAC members, a whole new front of investigations would have been opened, including summoning Jho Low to testify before the PAC. Instead, he lied to the PAC members claiming that the Bank Negara letter was intended for his eyes only. This was despite the letter clearly making reference to the information being provided to the PAC for deliberations.

Hence it cannot be clearer that Datuk Hasan Arifin has been nominated by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional to hamper and cover up the investigations into 1MDB.  The PAC Chairman has denigrated his parliamentary position to become a tool to help the crooks who stole billions of dollars of Malaysian tax-payers’ money.

He has lied to and acted against the decisions of the PAC. He has suppressed crucial evidence to cover up shenanigans multi-billion ringgit fraud by the powers that be. He obstructed the parliamentary investigation into the single largest scandal in the history of Malaysia.

Datuk Hasan Arifin’s position as the PAC Chairman is no longer tenable because Malaysians can no longer trust him to carry out his role honestly, professionally and with integrity.  We now call upon Datuk Hasan Arifin to resign as the Chairman of the PAC because he has brought disrepute to the committee and disgraced the Parliament.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Will BNM follow the footsteps of Swiss and Singaporean authorities in investigating the suspected money-laundering related to 1MDB and Dato' Seri Najib Razak?

Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has commenced criminal proceedings against BSI SA Bank for facilitating the offences of money laundering and bribery of foreign public officials in relation to 1MDB.

Simultaneously, the Monetary Authority of Singapore shut down BSI Bank operations in the island-state. The grounds provided include "serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank's operations and gross misconduct by some of the bank's staff".

In contrast, what has Bank Negara done to protect the integrity of our financial system? Despite the fact that Malaysia is being ridiculed globally and cited as an example of a rogue state run by kleptocrats, Bank Negara has barely bared its purportedly powerful fangs to indict those who have been responsible.

Despite being arguably the most “aggressive” regulatory agency to investigate 1MDB in Malaysia, Bank Negara barely scratched the surface of the entire scandal.

The central bank had made hue and cry over how 1MDB illegally transferred US$1.83 billion overseas, and the demands that 1MDB return the funds immediately.  But it all ended with a whimper when Bank Negara agreed to close the chapter by slapping 1MDB on the wrist with a compound. 1MDB proudly issued a statement that it has paid the fine yesterday.

To rub salt on Malaysians’ wounds, the quantum of the fine was undisclosed, so it could be a pitiful RM4,000 for all we know.

Hence instead of becoming the agency which acts without fear or favour that Malaysians are proud of, Bank Negara has blemished it’s much-vaulted reputation and brought shame to the country.

Instead today, Bank Negara allowed itself to be used by the alleged money-laundering suspects to acquit themselves.

Department of Special Affairs (Jasa) director-general and an UMNO warlord, Mohd Puad Zarkashi when explaining Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s “donation” scandal, told students in Australia that the Prime Minister had discussed the matter with then Bank Negara governor Zeti Akthar Aziz and even received the central bank's approval to bring in the money.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has been accused of receiving more than US$1 billion (RM4.1 billion) in his personal account with AmBank Bhd, a sum which he had not denied.

Hence the question for Bank Negara is, did Dato’ Seri Najib Razak indeed obtained approval from Bank Negara and has the information on the source of funds been diligently verified since it has brought disrepute to the country?

Segambut Member of Parliament, Lim Lip Eng had already submitted a letter on 5 August 2015 asking the central bank to clarify if the transaction complied with the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2013 (“AMLA”).

Under Section 4 of the Act, any person is deemed to have committed an offence if he or she:

a)  engages, directly or indirectly, in a transaction that involves proceeds of an unlawful activity or     instrumentalities of an offence;
b)  acquires, receives, possesses, disguises, transfers, converts, exchanges, carries, disposes of or uses proceeds of an unlawful activity or instrumentalities of an offence;
c)   removes from or brings into Malaysia, proceeds of an unlawful activity or instrumentalities of an offence; or
d)  conceals, disguises or impedes the establishment of the true nature, origin, location, movement, disposition, title of, rights with respect to, or ownership of, proceeds of an unlawful activity or instrumentalities of an offence,

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and his UMNO cheerleaders have insisted that the incredibly large sums the Prime Minister received were “donations” from an unnamed Middle-Eastern individual.  However, that excuse, even if it were unbelievably true, does not absolve the Prime Minster from the purview of AMLA.  That is because even a “donation” could have originated from illegal and illicit sources via complex money-laundering mechanisms.

Bank Negara Malaysia, as the “competent authority” under the AMLA, must confirm if the Prime Minister has been investigated under the law and if he has been cleared.  Silence from Bank Negara is not an option.

The failure to investigate or confirm the above would only mean that the central bank has abdicated its powers and severely neglected its responsibility to protect the integrity of our financial system, especially when compared to the actions of foreign central banks to date.

Does Deputy Minister of Finance Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani really want to become the butt of jokes like his predecessor Datuk Ahmad Maslan?

I am stunned to hear the normally intelligent (at least while he was a backbencher) Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani respond to questions in Parliament with regards to the monster scandal 1MDB.

Yesterday, he told the Parliament that “the government has never claimed that 1MDB was a good investment”.  He added that it was the wrong business model, weak management and poor governance were the three reasons that (contributed to) 1MDB's lack of competitiveness.

For years, ever since I submitted my first question on 1MDB in Parliament on March 2010, the standard “copy and paste” replies by the Prime Minister’s Department and the Ministry of Finance was to say that 1MDB will be the “strategic enabler for new ideas and sources of growth” which will “drive sustainable economic development by forging strategic global partnerships and promoting foreign direct investment”.

In October 2014, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself told the Member of Parliament for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng that “1MDB had never missed its obligations to fulfill its financing schedules. 1MDB’s financial position remains strong, supported by strategic assets with proven track records as well strong growth opportunities.”

This was repeated in Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s replies in Parliament to me on 6 November 2014 which claimed that “1MDB’s financial position remains strong, supported by strategic assets with proven performance records, on top of solid growth opportunities.”

The former Deputy Finance Minister was so gung-ho as to declare that 1MDB will return to profitability for its financial year ending March 2015.  The rest is history.  Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s tenure was short-lived as he was a walking disaster defending 1MDB and the other key issue of Goods and Services Tax.

Datuk Ahmad Maslan was so bad, he had to apologise in Parliament after the Member of Parliament for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli submitted a motion to refer him to the House Committee of Rights and Privileges for misleading the house when responding to questions on 1MDB.

It appears the Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani is keen to follow Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s footsteps.  After years of gloating about 1MDB, the new Deputy Finance Minister has the cheek to come to Parliament to tell Malaysians that “the Government never claimed that 1MDB was a good investment”.

If the Government never believed that 1MDB “was a good investment”, why didn’t the Government shut it down much earlier before it incurred up to RM55 billion of debt and became the single biggest financial scandal in the history of Malaysia?  If Datuk Johari’s assertion is really true, then the BN Government must be the stupidest Government in the whole world for sticking with the 1MDB investment despite knowing that it is not a good investment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

BSI Bank directed to shut down in Singapore due to offences linked to 1MDB, but what will happen to the purported US$940 million worth of "units" parked there?

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s brainchild, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) continued its giant-slaying run after it directly caused the collapse of BSI Bank.

Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has commenced criminal proceedings against BSI SA Bank for allegedly failing to prevent offences linked to 1MDB.

"The criminal proceedings opened on May 23 against BSI SA are based on information revealed by the criminal proceedings related to 1MDB and on issues raised in the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) of May 23.  The information suggests that the offences of money laundering and bribery of foreign public officials currently under investigation in the context of the 1MDB case could have been prevented had BSI SA been adequately organised," it said.

Simultaneously, the Monetary Authority of Singapore shut down BSI Bank operations in the island-state. The grounds provided include "serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank's operations and gross misconduct by some of the bank's staff".

This is perhaps 1MDB’s most notable achievement to date because such action has not been taken by the Singapore authorities in the last 32 years.

It is unfortunate that while foreign regulatory authorities are taking stern and punitive actions against individuals, organisations and financial institutions to protect the integrity and reputation of their financial systems and the rule of law, the corresponding Malaysian institutions are trying their best skirt around the massive crime against the state.

While Bank Negara Malaysia was deemed the most “aggressive” institution to investigate and penalise 1MDB and the banks under its purview, at the end of the day 1MDB was barely slapped on the wrist with a compound of an undisclosed sum.  The crooks behind the multi-billion dollar scandal were perhaps properly tickled.

The closure of BSI Bank, Singapore however, piled additional pressure on 1MDB to prove its holdings in the Bank. 1MDB President Arul Kanda has testified to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in January this year that US$940 million (RM3.8 billion) worth of mysterious “units” remained safely parked in BSI Bank, Singapore.

With the closure of the Bank, will these assets evaporate together with the Bank?

Otherwise, 1MDB must now “move” this purported “units” to another financial institution.  We call upon 1MDB and the Minister of Finance, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to explain the steps which will be taken to withdraw the US$940 million worth of assets from BSI Bank and which Bank will they move these assets to.

Better still, 1MDB should liquidate and repatriate the entire sum back to Malaysia to fund its local projects in Bandar Malaysia and Tun Razak Exchange which are in desperate need for financial support.

It should be noted that despite repeated requests by both the Auditor-General and the PAC, 1MDB has adamantly refused to provide bank statements and supporting documents in relation to the above US$940 million of “units” to justify its existence and worth.  The US$940 million forms part of the US$7 billion worth of cash, assets and transactions which could not be verified by the Auditor-General.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and Arul Kanda both fail to explain what will happen to the RM940 million “units” from BSI Bank. If not, they have been caught with their pants down lying outright to the Parliament and to the Malaysian public once again.  Malaysians can hence safely conclude that the RM940 million of “units” never existed and the monies have been lost or stolen by the powers that be.

Did the PAC Chairman hide BNM letter from its members because the letter exposed Jho Low as Good Star Limited's ultimate beneficiary?

Together with my opposition colleagues in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), we have repeatedly requested that representatives from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) be summoned to testify with regards to the 1MDB scandal.

This is especially since BNM has openly indicted 1MDB for breaching the Financial Services and Exchange Controls Act. BNM has further demanded that 1MDB repatriate US$1.83 billion, the sum which was deemed to have been improperly transferred overseas.

It could not have been clearer that BNM was in possession of critical information which was integral to PAC’s investigation into 1MDB. However, the PAC Chairman repeatedly refused to summon BNM, claiming that the Attorney-General has already acquitted 1MDB and any information from BNM will be irrelevant.

However, the Chairman finally decided to write to BNM to seek written clarification in lieu of an official testimony.

The PAC has received the first letter from BNM dated 23 March 2016 which was presented to the members by the Chairman on 4 April 2016.

This letter had explained in detail the breaches by 1MDB and at the same time disclosed that the ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited, a company which received a whopping US$1.03 billion from 1MDB was “an individual unrelated to Petrosaudi International Limited”.

The members of the PAC then requested that the Chairman write to BNM again to seek further clarification with regards to this mysterious owner of Good Star Limited.

This crucial disclosure was also included in the final approved PAC Report on 1MDB in the meeting on the 4th, but was surreptitiously deleted by Datuk Hasan Arifin from the version tabled to the Parliament on the 7th.

When PAC members demanded to know why the Chairman unilaterally deleted the above information from the report without consulting the members of the committee at our next meeting on 18th May, we were shocked to discover that the Chairman has already received a response from BNM on 6th April.

Datuk Hasan Arifin claimed that the previously undisclosed second letter noted that the information provided by BNM was privileged, and hence he took the unilateral step to delete the relevant sentences from the finalised Report.

However, we were further shocked when the Chairman insisted that we take his word to be the Gospel truth when he refused to share the response of Bank Negara with the committee members.  If the letter did, and merely substantiated his claims that the information was privileged, then why the unprecedented refusal to disclose the full contents of the letter to the PAC?

The incident became an absolute farce when the Chairman refused to even disclose the number of pages of the BNM letter, backed by PAC members from Barisan Nasional.

This has led the opposition members in the PAC to believe that the Chairman is blatantly hiding and obstructing the investigations into the shenanigans which took place in 1MDB.  In fact, I will go further to suggest that Datuk Hasan Arifin is intentionally covering up for 1MDB and the Prime Minister because Bank Negara confirmed what the whole world already suspected, that Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low is the ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited.

We call upon Datuk Hasan Arifin to confirm or deny if Jho Low is indeed the sole shareholder ofI Good Star Limited. If Bank Negara did indeed name and confirm Jho Low, then the PAC Chairman must immediately resign from his position for failing to uphold the integrity of the Parliament and for clear cut obstruction of justice to thwart an independent and transparent investigation into the single largest scandal in the of Malaysia.

DAP Selangor menyokong calon Pakatan Harapan dalam PRK Sungai Besar meskipun ia menjadi pertarungan 3-penjuru dengan BN dan PAS

DAP Selangor akan memberikan sokongan penuh kepada calon Pakatan Harapan dalam pilihanraya kecil Sungai Besar bulan depan.

Kami juga berpandangan bahawa Pakatan Harapan mesti meletak calon dalam pertarungan ini meskipun ia menjadi satu pemilihan 3-penjuru dengan Barisan Nasional (BN) dan PAS.

Saya telah mengunjungi kawasan parlimen Sungai Besar dan bersesi dialog dengan akar-umbi cawangan-cawangan DAP di pekan Sungai Besar dan Sekinchan pada hari Ahad yang lalu.

Suara akar-umbi yang mencerminkan kehendak penyokong parti terutamanya di kawasan perbandaran adalah jelas. Mereka tidak akan, dan tidak mahu menyokong parti PAS sebagai wakil pembangkang melawan BN. Malah, ada yang menyebut bahawa kalau terpaksa undi antara BN dan PAS, ada kemungkinan mereka akan memilih BN atas kekecewaan terhadap PAS. Mereka menganggap bahawa PAS telah mengkhianati undi mereka pada pilihanraya yang lalu kerana mereka telah mengkuburkan Pakatan Rakyat.

Apatah lagi, Malaysia kini dilandai satu krisis gergasi yang tidak pernah berlaku dalam sejarah negara. Skandal RM55 bilion 1MDB dan “donation” Dato’ Seri Najib Razak berjumlah RM4.2 bilion yang telah menjadikan Malaysia sebagai bahan jenaka yang cukup memalukan di seluruh dunia.

Isu-isu ini sepatutnya menjadi fokus kepada pilihanraya-pilihanraya kecil di Sungai Besar dan Kuala Kangsar supaya ianya menjadi satu undi keyakinan terhadap pimpinan Dato’ Seri Najib Razak. Akan tetapi, rakyat tiada keyakinan bahawa parti PAS akan menyuarakan bantahan yang cukup nyaring dan pendirian yang cukup teguh terhadap skandal-skandal ini.

Malah, Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang telah berkali-kali menegaskan bahawa beliau tidak berniat untuk menumbangkan Dato’ Seri Najib Razak. Sebaliknya, beliau berkata bahawa Dato’ Seri Najib Razak perlu terus diberikan peluang untuk memimpin negara sebagai Perdana Menteri dan PAS hanya ingin menjadi “penasihat” kepada UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

Oleh sebab itu, adalah wajib supaya Pakatan Harapan diwakili dalam pilihanraya kecil ini supaya penyokong Pakatan Harapan yang begitu ramai dapat memilih parti yang benar-benar menentang kerajaan BN yang rakus dan rasuah.

Akibat keengganan Presiden PAS untuk berunding dengan Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali, cadangan PKR untuk meletakkan calon PKR di Sungai Besar bagi memastikan pertarungan satu-lawan-satu tidak akan terjadi.

Dengan itu, DAP Selangor akan memberikan sokongan seratus-peratus kepada calon Parti Amanah Negara yang mewakili Pakatan Harapan dalam pemilihan tiga-penjuru di Sungai Besar.

Walaupun ada pihak yang bimbang bahawa pemilihan tiga-penjuru berkemungkinan melemahkan undi pembangkang, kami percaya bahawa pengundi yang pintar akan tetap memberikan undi kepada Pakatan Harapan. Ini adalah kerana hanya gabungan politik Pakatan Harapan antara PKR, DAP dan Amanah mampu dan berpeluang untuk menewaskan BN dalam pilihanraya. Manakala PAS, secara tersendiri, tiada kemungkinan langsung untuk menubuhkan kerajaan. Oleh itu, pengundi Sungai Besar tidak akan membazirkan undi kepada parti yang tiada berkemampuan untuk membentuk kerajaan untuk mengganti BN.

Kami yakin bahawa dengan satu kempen yang berfokus dan cergas, Pakatan Harapan akan dapat memikat hati pengundi dan mencapai satu kemenangan pilihanraya kecil bersejarah yang akan menggempar bumi politik Malaysia.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

1MDB CEO is giving up a golden opportunity to clear the firm's name when he rejects the debate challenge

I would like to express my disappointment that 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda has chosen to withdraw his acceptance of the 1MDB debate challenge after gamely declaring that I should “bring it on”.

I could gloat about his withdrawal, but I won’t.  However, what is most disappointing for the Malaysians at large is another missed opportunity by Arul Kanda to once-and-for-all debunk all 1MDB’s key doubters and critics face-to-face.  After all, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and 1MDB repeatedly insisted that all our allegations are “without basis”, “politically-motivated” and is part of a “malicious global conspiracy”.

Arul Kanda claimed that he is now “fully focused on assisting the police, and resolving the IPIC dispute”. As such, he “cannot engage in a debate which may prejudice 1MDB’s legal position in relation to the investigation and the dispute.”

The excuse given cannot hold water because Arul Kanda first accepted my debate the first time round in October last year, with the full support given by Cabinet Members despite all forms of investigations by the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which were also on-going.

In addition, I have personally filed a police report on 1MDB since March 2015 and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has repeatedly claimed that police investigations were on-going since last year.

If it was OK to “debate” then, surely the excuse cannot apply today?

What is perhaps the real reason for the last minute withdrawal to accepting the debate since the tabling of the PAC Report last month is that all the pretence that 1MDB has undergone a successful “rationalisation exercise” has collapsed, probably irrecoverably.

More specifically, it has now been proven that 1MDB has paid US$3.51 billion, a figure provided by 1MDB themselves to the Auditor-General, to a fraudulent “Aabar Investment PJS Limited”, a company set up in the British Virgin Islands, which is completely unrelated to Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investment PJS, the subsidiary to International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC).

Even Arul Kanda admitted that “a massive fraud” might have taken place with collaborators from within 1MDB.  The Auditor-General has also stated that he is unable to confirm the whereabouts and veracity of 1MDB’s US$7 billion of cash, assets and transactions overseas.

Despite the seriousness of the misappropriation, whether intentional or otherwise, which has taken place, both the Government and 1MDB has failed to shed light on what has actually taken place.

Hence, the cancellation of the debate will not stop our mission to uncover the truth behind the heinous 1MDB scandal. Instead, the cancellation of the debate shows that we, the critics, are on the right track and gives us greater impetus dig harder to expose the real crooks who have embezzled billions of dollars of tax-payers funds.

A question for the IGP - Why the delay in 1MDB probe despite sufficient evidence?

In  an  interview  with  Singapore  broadcaster  Channel  News Asia, the Auditor-General (AG) Tan Sri  Ambrin  Buang said  his  report on 1Malaysia  Development  Berhad  (1MDB)  provided sufficient basis for an investigation on the state investment firm.

“I  think  our  report  is  sufficient  as  a  basis  for  further  investigation, we have done our job. The next step as recommended by PAC, they want investigation on certain personality in the company, let the  police  do  their  work, we will assist anyone who wants (to) investigate," Ambrin was quoted saying, referring to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

However, despite the PAC having tabled its report on the 7 April, more than six weeks ago, the Royal Malaysian Police has not even called up the key 1MDB protagonist identified in the entire scandal!

Home and Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi informed the Parliament yesterday that the Police have yet to question former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Halmi as part of their probe into the sovereign wealth fund.

"All witnesses involved will be called by police if necessary to record their statements and for further investigations.  Shahrol has not been called to record his statement as of yet," Zahid said when replying to the Member of Parliament for Raub, Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri.

Why is the Police dragging their feet over the entire investigation?

In fact, I have personally first lodged a police report against 1MDB in March 2015, seeking investigations over the role of Datuk Shahrol Halmi, Jho Low and other individuals over their involvement in the 1MDB Petrosaudi investments.

For example, Datuk Shahrol Halmi has instructed payments of US$1.03 billion to Good Star Limited, which the Bank Negara Malaysia has informed the PAC as being “a company owned by an individual unrelated to Petrosaudi International Limited”.

I am not sure if I should be shocked that the Police has failed to even interview the 1MDB key-man after  more  than  a  year. Now  that  even  the  PAC  and  the  Auditor-General  have both indicted Datuk Shahrol Halmi over the gross mismanagement of 1MDB, what else is the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar waiting for?

The IGP is after all famous for being a Twitter-happy top cop, demanding instant arrests and questioning  of  witnesses  and  suspects  over  the  most  trivial  of  alleged  offences  like “insulting” a  leader. Why  is  Tan  Sri  Khalid  Abu  Bakar  taking  his  own  sweet  time  over  what has been internationally recognised “the heist of the century”?

We  call  upon  the  Royal  Malaysian  Police  to  act  with  the  necessary  haste  and  urgency  to ensure  that  the  culprits  behind  the  RM50  billion  monster  scandal  are  quickly  brought  to justice. The  failure  by  the  Police  to  act,  and  the  irony  of  the  speed  of  investigations
overseas will only lead Malaysians to conclude that they are doing their utmost best to cover up the heinous crime involving the most powerful political figures in the country.

Kenyataan Media Ahli-Ahli Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Wang Negara yang Mewakili Pihak Pembangkang Parlimen Mengenai Laporan PAC Terhadap 1MDB

1. Laporan Ketua Audit Negara di bawah Akta Rahsia Rasmi

Dalam mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kira-kira Wang Negara (PAC) semalam, isu sebab Laporan Ketua Audit Negara berkenan 1MDB tidak dibentangkan kepada Parlimen telah dibincang.

Ahli-ahli Parlimen PAC pembangkang yang hadir telah menegaskan bahawa Ketua Audit Negara hanya meminta Laporan Ketua Audit Negara dirahsiakan secara rasmi sehingga Laporan PAC dibentangkan.  Pendirian ini juga telah diakui oleh Pengerusi PAC, Datuk Hasan Arifin dalam kenyataan media beliau pada 7 Mac 2016.

Akan tetapi, Pengerusi PAC telah menyatakan pendirian yang berbeza semalam bahawa hak untuk deklasifikasi Laporan Ketua Audit Negara adalah dengan pihak eksekutif kerajaan dan tidak dengan PAC.

Beliau hanya akan menulis surat kepada pihak eksekutif untuk bertanya sama ada mereka akan deklasifikasi Laporan tersebut.

Kami berpendapat bahawa kuasa untuk membentangkan Laporan Ketua Audit Negara terletak dengan PAC, kerana Laporan PAC kami sendiri telah memetik maklumat-maklumat secara langsung daripada Laporan Ketua Audit Negara.

Apatah lagi, kami berpendapat bahawa tiada sebarang maklumat yang terkandung di dalam Laporan Ketua Audit Negara mempunyai unsur-unsur yang akan menjejaskan keselamatan negara yang perlu dirahsiakan.

Kami amat menyesali pendirian Pengerusi PAC yang telah melepaskan kuasa jawatankuasa Parlimen yang bertanggungjawab untuk menjadi institusi semak dan imbang kepada kerajaan, kepada pihak eksekutif kerajaan.

2. Surat Bank Negara Malaysia kepada PAC bertarikh 6 April 2016

Kami amat terkejut apabila Menteri dalam Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Azalina Othman menjawab dalam parlimen bahawa Pengerusi PAC telah menerima sepucuk surat daripada Timbalan Gabenor Bank Negara yang tarikh 6hb April 2016.  Kami tidak pernah dimaklum oleh Pengerusi PAC sebelum ini mengenai surat tersebut.

Menurut Menteri, surat ini menjadi alasan kepada Datuk Hasan Arifin untuk membuat keputusan meminda Laporan PAC yang telah diluluskan oleh mesyuarat PAC pada 4hb April 2016.  Oleh sebab itu, ayat-ayat yang menyebut bahawa Bank Negara telah mengesahkan bahawa syarikat Good Star Limited adalah dimiliki oleh seorang individu yang tiada kaitan dengan Petrosaudi International Limited telah dipotong daripada Laporan PAC tanpa sebarang rundingan dengan ahli-ahli PAC.

Kami telah meminta supaya Pengerusi PAC menunjukkan surat tersebut kepada semua ahli-ahli PAC semalam.

Sekali lagi, kami terkejut apabila Datuk Hasan enggan menunjukkan surat tersebut kepada ahli-ahli jawatankuasa walaupun surat tersebut telah ditulis kepada Pengerusi PAC bagi pihak seluruh jawatankuasa.

Surat yang bertarikh 6hb April tersebut adalah balasan kepada soalan-soalan yang telah dibangkitkan oleh pihak PAC pada 4hb April dan diputuskan supaya Pengerusi menulis kepada Bank Negara untuk mendapat penjelasan selanjutnya.

Keengganan Datuk Hasan untuk mengedarkan surat rasmi tersebut kepada ahli-ahli PAC merupakan kali pertama dalam sejarah PAC di mana maklumat yang telah diterima oleh Pengerusi PAC tidak dikongsikan dengan ahli-ahli jawatankuasa.  Tindakan beliau merupakan satu penghinaan kepada ahli-ahli PAC yang dilantik oleh Parlimen sendiri.

Ini telah membangkitan perasaan kecurigaan terhadap Datuk Hasan, sama ada beliau sengaja menyembunyikan surat tersebut supaya maklumat-maklumat penting yang akan membuktikan penyelewengan antara 1MDB dan Good Star Limited tidak didedahkan.

Kami meminta supaya kalau benar-benar tiada “cover up” berlaku, surat tersebut yang merupakan satu dokumen yang perlu dinilai oleh PAC mesti ditunjuk kepada ahli-ahli jawatankuasa dengan serta-merta.

Dikeluarkan oleh:

Tan Seng Giaw, Timbalan Pengerusi PAC
Datuk Kamarul Baharin
William Leong
Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan
Tony Pua

Why can’t the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB be tabled in Parliament and made public similar to other A-G Reports?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman said that “there is no need for the government to present the auditor-general's final report on 1MDB to Parliament”.  She said this was because the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) report on 1MDB had been tabled to Dewan Rakyat.

"The auditor-general's report was discussed in PAC before it concluded its report," she responded to the Parliamentary question from the Member of Parliament for Kuala Kedah, Azman Ismail yesterday.

In another reply to the Member of Parliament for Raub, Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri, she said that "the auditor-general's report on 1MDB was classified under the OSA to ensure there was no leakage of information throughout the PAC proceedings.  The auditor-general report was specifically meant for PAC.”

The responses by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department demonstrate the entrenched culture of secrecy and opacity to cover up the shenanigans which are linked to the top political leadership of UMNO and Barisan Nasional.

Just because the PAC tables its own findings and conclusions on 1MDB, it does not mean that the Auditor-General’s Report cannot be tabled as an appendix as well.  On the contrary, the PAC Report makes numerous references to the Auditor-General’s Report which will necessitate the tabling of the latter as an appendix to provide the Malaysian public with all the relevant information and evidence with the complete picture.

While we concede that the OSA was used to “ensure there was no leakage of information throughout the PAC proceedings”, the fact that the proceedings have ended means that the AG Report should be immediately declassified.  It is no longer necessary for the Cabinet to maintain its OSA status.

In fact, the Auditor-General has also tabled its regular reports on its audit of selected Government departments yesterday to both the Parliament and the PAC.  The latest edition of the report exposed continued multi-billion ringgit of abuses and wastages by various Government ministries and departments.

For example, there was mismanagement of RM312 million disaster relief fund for flood victims, the RM2.23 billion “River of Life” project and the RM1.42 billion Solid Waste Disposal sites.

If these “departmental” abuses can be tabled in Parliament prior to the PAC even conducting further investigations on the respective problematic projects, why is there a special need for secrecy for 1MDB, which is merely another Ministry of Finance subsidiary? Or is it?

Is it because the Auditor-General’s Report will incriminate the Finance and Prime Minister himself, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and hence the desperate attempts by the Executive to ensure that the Auditor-General’s Report cannot even be tabled to Parliament and will never see the light of day?

However, if Dato’ Seri Najib Razak feels such allegations are unfair and are designed to malign his reputation, and that he has absolutely nothing to hide, then he should immediately order the Auditor-General’s Report to be declassified immediately.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Is RTM not interested in hosting the debate between Arul Kanda and myself now because 1MDB has been proven to be lying to Malaysians all along?

Yesterday, I had called upon the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak to once again offer RTM to broadcast the debate between Arul Kanda and myself “live”. Last October, the Minister was very quick and eager to offer the platform for the debate last October.

However, I’m extremely disappointed that the Minister has rejected the opportunity to telecast the debate live to all Malaysians throughout the country.

Dato’ Seri Salleh Keruak said that “we are not interested as investigations conducted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Auditor-General have been concluded. If anyone is interested to debate on it, they can do so in the Parliament… What's going on now is more of a business dispute between 1MDB and the International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).”

The excuse provided by the Minister does not make any sense. Now that the PAC Report on 1MDB has been tabled to Parliament, it is all the more important for the findings to be debated.

This is especially since all Cabinet members claimed that the PAC Report has apparently cleared all wrongdoings by the Prime Minister and 1MDB. On the other hand, critics like myself who is part of the PAC clearly sees the report as damning, particularly with the respect that 1MDB has refused to cooperate fully with the Auditor-General.

Dato’ Seri Salleh’s claim that the massive US$3.5 billion bond defaults by 1MDB is “more of a business dispute between 1MDB and IPIC” is even more unbelievable. 1MDB has recorded the highest borrowin defaults by any government company in the history of the country, and this is a crisis of epic proportions which must be addressed by both 1MDB and the Government.

The live debate between Arul Kanda and myself will enable Malaysians to decide for themselves who is telling the truth and who is hiding from the truth. The refusal by the Communications and Multimedia Minister from hosting the show this time round is clearly a refusal to expose the truth to ordinary Malaysians.

Malaysians are unable to confirm fraud in 1MDB precisely because Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is hampering investigations

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak claimed in his parliamentary reply as the Finance Minister to the Member of Parliament for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng, that it's still too early to conclude if fraud had occurred in the US$3.5 billion transaction between 1MDB and International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

This was despite the fact that by 1MDB’s own admission to the Auditor-General, it has paid as much as US$3.51 billion to an “Aabar Investment PJS Limited” incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) between May 2012 to January 2015.  IPIC has disclosed last month that the BVI-incorporated entity is completely unrelated to itself or its similarly named subsidiary, Aabar Investment PJS, incorporated in Abu Dhabi.

It is now public knowledge that the BVI-Aabar has been wound up in mid-2015 and no one knows where the US$3.51 billion paid by 1MDB has gone to.  IPIC has publicly denied that it received any of the funds and has called a default on the debt-asset swap agreement with 1MDB signed in May 2015.

Even 1MDB President, Arul Kanda conceded that “what we cannot discount is there could actually be fraud...a massive fraud...and maybe there was collaboration from our side”.

The shocking loss of US$3.51 billion of funds would have justified the mobilisation of all investigation resources to uncover the truth behind the missing funds.  However, all we got was a nonchalant response from the Finance Minister himself that “it’s still too early to conclude if fraud has occurred”.

The problem is 1MDB hasn’t even filed a police report for an investigation to take place to uncover Arul Kanda’s concern that there “could actually be fraud… a massive fraud” and even “collaboration” from 1MDB’s officers.

And worse, even where some form of investigation was taking place by the Auditor-General (AG) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), 1MDB has failed to provide full cooperation.

For example, 1MDB refused, despite repeated request by the AG and the PAC over the period of nearly a year, to hand over its bank statements of its overseas accounts, and that of its overseas subsidiaries.

When I posed the question to the Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak only responded lamely in his Parliamentary reply that “all documents in 1MDB’s possession and/or those which were accessible and/or those which it was able to obtain has already been handed over to the National Audit Department”.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak failed to address the question as to why 1MDB could not have the bank statements re-issued by the respective banks, if the original statements were no longer in the company’s possession.

Surely, the Finance Minister would know that missing bank statement could easily be re-printed within a few days at the most?

Hence not only did Dato’ Seri Najib Razak fail in his responsibility to ensure that the wholly-owned Ministry of Finance subsidiary comply fully with all the request by the AG and the PAC, the fact that he is now defending 1MDB with the lamest of excuses only goes to prove that the Prime Minister himself is covering up the single-largest fraud in Malaysia’s history.

By withholding crucial evidence to the investigating authorities, fraud then cannot be proven and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak can then continue to hold his head high, maintain a straight face and claim that “it is too early to conclude if fraud had occurred” in the US$3.51 billion payment to the bogus BVI-Aabar.

Malaysians cannot be blamed for asking why Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is trying to protect the criminals behind this heinous heist of the century.

Datuk Azalina Othman lied in Parliament that the PAC Chairman informed or showed its members Bank Negara letter stating that information provided to the PAC was confidential

Datuk Azalina Othman, in her response to a question posed by the Member of Parliament for Bagan, Lim  Guan  Eng,  claimed  that  the  PAC  Chairman  Datuk  Hasan  Arifin  has  received information from Bank Negara (BNM) which claimed that the information provided by BNM was “confidential” and not meant to be used for the court of law or for public consumption.
"Pengerusi  PAC  (Datuk  Hasan  Arifin)  menerima  maklumat  daripada  Bank  Negara Malaysia  yang  menyatakan  bahawa  segala  maklumat  yang  diberi adalah  berstatus 'sulit bagi tujuan risikan sahaja dan bukan untuk kegunaan mahkamah atau laporan awam." 
She  further  claimed  that  PAC  members  have  been  informed  of  the  above  letter  from  the Deputy BNM Governor.
“Untuk  makluman,  semua  anggota  PAC  telah  dimaklumkan  mengenai  perkara  ini melalui  surat  Pengerusi  PAC  kepada  Timbalan  Gabenor  Bank  Negara  bertarikh  6 April.”
Let me state in unequivocal terms that Datuk Azalina Othman’s reply is at best misleading, at worst an outright lie with regards to the above matter.

The PAC had its final meeting which approved the final PAC Report on 1MDB for publication on 4 April 2016.  The report was tabled in Parliament 3 days later on the 7 April.

Datuk Hasan Arifin never at any point of time communicated with the PAC members on any developments  subsequent  to  the  meeting  on  the  4  April.    Hence  PAC  members  were shocked to discover upon perusing the tabled report that two crucial lines in the report was deleted unilaterally by the PAC Chairman.

The deleted lines quoted an earlier Bank Negara clarification letter to the PAC, which stated that Good Star Limited, a  recipient of US$1.03 billion of 1MDB funds meant for the latter’s investment  with  Petrosaudi  International  Limited,  was “a  company  owned  by  an  individual unrelated to Petrosaudi International”.

The  deleted  lines  clearly  indicate  a  brazen  case  of  misappropriation  by  1MDB  which  also proves  the  allegations  made  by  the  1MDB  critics  such  as  The  Sarawak  Report,  The  Edge, The Wall Street Journal and opposition critics.

The  question  then  is,  what  exactly  are  the  damaging  contents  of  this  letter  dated  6  April which is so “confidential” and cannot be shared with the public?

What  is  even  more  interesting  however,  is  how  come  the  Minister  in  the  Prime  Minister’s Department is privy to a letter from the Deputy Bank Negara Governor to the PAC Chairman dated 6 April when the members of the PAC are completely clueless above the matter?

Is there now a collusion between the PAC Chairman and the Prime Minister’s Department to cover  up  the  entire scandal  by scheming  a  coordinated  response  to  the  clear  cut  abuse  of power by Datuk Hasan Arifin?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why doesn’t the Government just stop all Malaysians from travelling overseas since it does not have to give any reason under the Immigration Act?

I  am  disappointed  that  former Public  Accounts  Committee  Chairman,  Datuk  Nur  Jazlan  has decided  that  there  is  absolutely  no  need  for  the  Government  to  be  transparent  and accountable for its decisions.

The Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the government need not have to give reasons for barring Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah from leaving Malaysia.He told reporters  that “it's  a  power  given  under  the  Immigration  Act,  we  don't  need  to  explain why... We are not compelled to give a reason.”

Even  if  it  is  true  that  the  law  gives  the  Government  such dictatorial  rights,  a  Government who  prides  itself  on  transparency  and  accountability  will nevertheless  attempt to justify  its actions.

The  lack  of  such  transparency  and  accountability  only  points  to  a  Government  which  is intent on abusing its powers to repress its critics and dissidents.  Maria Chin was on the way to  South  Korea  to  receive  the  prestigious Gwangju  Prize  Human  Rights  Award,  an  award previously bestowed upon Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Xanana Gusmao.

At  the  same  time,  even if  a law  grants  the  authorities the relevant  discretion  to  exercise its powers, such discretion under any democratic regime governed by the rule of law must be exercised  reasonably. Such  discretion  were  never  meant  to  be  abused  according  to  the authorities’ whims and fancies.

I have been barred from leaving the country since 24 July 2015.  The Government and the Director of Immigration  had  similarly  refused  to  provide  me  with  any  reason  as  to  why  I have been barred from leaving the country.

It  was  only  when  the  decision  was  challenged  in  court  that  the  Director  of  Immigration provided  an  affidavit  which  disclosed  that  I  have  had  my  travel rights  restricted  because  I was allegedly  under  police  investigations  for “activities  detrimental  to  parliamentary democracy" which carries up to a 20-year prison sentence.

Even  so,  I  have  only  been  called  in  for  questioning  by  the  Police  as  a  witness  for  their investigations and have never been informed by any parties that I was ever a suspect.

Hence the Government’s crude attempts to restrict our travel rights are outrageous abuse of power, which only serves to prove the critics allegations of Malaysia transforming itself to be police state run by a tin-pot dictatorship.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Singapore investigations shifts focus back to the clandestine operations of former 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International

Investigations by Singapore authorities have revealed that Ministry of Finance subsidiary, SRC International managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil approved the transfer of US$11.95 million (RM48 million) of the company's funds to Jho Low's associate Tan Kim Loong.

Tan, according to The Wall Street Journal, is the original beneficiary of British Virgin Islands-based Tanore Finance, which had sent US$681 million to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's personal bank accounts.

Singapore’s Business Times reported that the latest charge against former BSI banker Yeo Jia Wei was for facilitating, through fraudulent means, the transfer of US$11.95 million from SRC International to Affinity Equity International Partners Ltd, a company owned by Tan.

As international investigations begin to provide a clearer and more detailed picture of the scale of embezzlement via duplicitous transactions by 1MDB and SRC International, investigations in Malaysia on the other hand, have effectively ground to a halt.

While the focus of the international press and local critics have been aimed at the debt-ridden 1MDB, its former subsidiary SRC International has been kept relatively under the radar. However, if 1MDB was found by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to have suffered from gross mismanagement, then stranger and more suspicious transactions have taken place in SRC International.

First of all, given all the shenanigans which took place in SRC International including the latest disclosure in Singapore, and the known fact that Nik Faisal has disappeared off the face of Malaysia for nearly a year, why is Nik Faisal still a Director and the Managing Director of the company?

Secondly, his fellow director, Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin has also similarly disappeared from the country. Why have they not been replaced by Ministry of Finance officials? With a Federal Government guaranteed RM4 billion loan from the Malaysian Pension Fund (KWAP), who exactly is running the company today? Or is the company being run via remote control by fugitives?

Thirdly, the Attorney-General has confirmed that RM27 million originating from SRC International found its way into Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal account in July 2014. The Wall Street Journal has further alleged that another RM42 million from SRC International was transferred via intermediaries into the Prime Minister’s account between December 2014 and March 2015.

The Attorney-General said no charges will be filed against the Prime Minister for criminal breach of trust on the amazing excuse that the Prime Minister did not know that the tens of millions deposited into his account came from SRC International. However, in that case, why haven’t those involved in SRC International been investigated and charged for siphoning funds to the Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal account?

Fourthly, the Sarawak Report has earlier exposed that Nik Faisal was given a power of attorney to manage Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal account – a damning allegation which has not been denied by the Prime Minister. Would this be a reason why Nik Faisal is given special protection by the powers that be?

Finally, while it is no longer denied that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak received at least RM69 million from SRC International, even if it was unwittingly received, why hasn’t the funds been returned to SRC International?

If the Prime Minister really did not realise then that the RM69 million deposited into his personal bank account came from SRC International, shouldn't he return the money immediately? If Dato’ Seri Najib Razak could be so honest as to return some US$620 million of unutilised donation to his mysterious alleged Arab donor, why could he return the paltry RM69 million?

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, who is also the Finance Minister, must answer these crucial questions pertaining to SRC International during two-week Parliamentary sitting commencing tomorrow.