Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1MDB Whimper

Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 12 May 2015:

After all the fire and brimstone by top UMNO leaders about the 1MDB bailout over the last few days, the UMNO Supreme Council Meeting ended with a whimper, pledging complete support to the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak

This is the proverbial story of the wolf or in this case, wolves who huffed and puffed with great pomp and vigour, but just couldn’t blow the house of Najib down.

Top UMNO leaders lined up to speak up against the 1MDB imbroglio which touched a raw nerve when it sold a piece of land to Lembaga Tabung Haji at RM2,773 per square feet (psf) which 1MDB bought from the Government for less than RM64psf 4 years ago.


Just a day ago, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin sternly warned “Umno’s image cannot be smeared just because of 1MDB. It affects the trust i.e. the core belief that the people have in the party.”

UMNO Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin even demanded that the Ministry of Finance cancels the land transaction between 1MDB and Tabung Haji to “avoid negative perception”.

UMNO Vice-President, Datuk Shafie Apbal warned that if the 1MDB crisis isn’t handled well, the credibility of the Government will continue to be questioned.

Even fellow UMNO Vice-President and cousin to the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein broke his silence to demand that an international auditor be appointed to audit 1MDB.

But in the UMNO Supreme Council meeting held last evening, everything ended up business as usual. The much-anticipated fireworks ended with a pathetic whimper.

UMNO President, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak disclosed that “the Supreme Council expressed renewed support for the president and the deputy president. The Supreme Council wants the president, deputy president, the council and all Umno leaders to unite as a team to face all the challenges and take positive action to strengthen Umno and Barisan Nasional’s position among the people”.

The support from the all-powerful UMNO Supreme Council comes after the Prime Minister publicly proclaimed that he will not bow to pressure to resign two days ago.

Hence it cannot be clearer that UMNO is like a leopard which can never change its spots. No matter how serious the degree of abuse of power, incompetence, gross mismanagement and corruption involved in the party, they will continue to support their supreme leader who wields near absolute powers.

Despite the massive public uproar over the bailout of 1MDB via the sale of land purchased at bargain basement prices from the Government to other government-linked financial institutions at astronomical prices, it remains business as usual for UMNO. Over the past week, both Tabung Haji and the Pension Fund (KWAP) have been exposed as having purchased land from 1MDB at very high prices, providing the latter with the necessary life-support to service its interest payments.

Tonnes of evidence have surfaced which pointed to Jho Low embezzling billions of ringgit of 1MDB’s borrow monies into his own company’s accounts. Despite that, Dato’ Seri Najib continued to insist that Jho Low wasn’t involved and the UMNO Supreme Council happily falls in line.

The above only goes to show that UMNO leaders are nothing more than a bunch of power-hungry hypocrites. At the end of the day, despite all the foaming at the mouth to express their disgust and anger against the billions lost by the taxpayers, it is more important to toe the line of the all-powerful party President.

The Rakyat should not have any expectation that UMNO is able to change its DNA. The only expectation they should have is, as long as UMNO is in power, grand corruption, abuse of power and sheer incompetence will not only be tolerated, they will only become more blatant and brazen, as they did since the days of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed.


Tony Pua
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