Friday, July 03, 2015

Propaganda


Why is the Home Minister intimidating the The Edge when it is 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) which has been giving flip-flop answers to the media?

The Edge Publications have confirmed that they have received a show cause letter from the Home Ministry which accused them of “publishing articles on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that have created confusion and doubts about the government and our financial institutions.” They were also accused of relying on an Internet portal for our articles.

Malaysians want to know why the Home Ministry is intimidating the media with regards to its dutiful reporting on the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal? The degree of intimidation is so brazen and crass that the show cause letter did not even specify the allegedly offending articles.

The show cause letter is also a culmination to the entire week of demonising the former employee of Petrosaudi International Limited (PSI), Xavier Justo who was arrested in Thailand for allegedly attempting to blackmail his former company. The Barisan Nasional (BN) controlled media, Ministers and BN leaders went into an overdrive to twist the arrest with the tampering of leaked documents and correspondences between PSI and 1MDB.

The above was a clear-cut, premeditated, calculated and concerted attempt to discredit the leaked information and consequently all negative criticisms of 1MDB. After all, in a quote attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

What is important to note however, ever since the first explosive joint venture agreement between 1MDB and PSI was leaked in mid-February, neither 1MDB, PSI nor the Malaysian government has ever once specifically denied any contents of the relevant and cited exposed documents and email correspondences.

The above included highly incriminating conversations between Jho Low and his associates with PSI officials which points to how the former masterminded the entire transaction. They also included highly damaging documents pointing towards the illicit misappropriation of billions of ringgit of funds from 1MDB approved by the latter’s top management. The emails, documents and money trail also demonstrated how 1MDB’s funds were abused and disguised as foreign direct investment from the Middle East to acquire politically connected companies in Malaysia.

Despite the severity of the allegations, PSI, 1MDB or even Jho Low has not even bothered to provide a single iota of evidence to prove how the leaked data and documents were allegedly forged or tampered with over the past 5 months. Hence we would like to ask the Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi – on what basis are you issuing the show cause letter against The Edge Publications, or any other parties publishing these stories for that matter?

In fact, it would have made more sense if the Home Minister had issued a show cause letter to The Edge (or other local publications) for publishing some of the statements issued by the top management of 1MDB, which have since been proven to be outright lies.

For example, the President of 1MDB, Arul Kanda Kandasamy told the Singapore Business Times that the balance of US$1.103 billion of investment in the Cayman Islands have been “redeemed” and the “cash” was parked in a Singapore bank.

"The cash is in our accounts and in US dollars. I can assure you (about that) . . . I have seen the statements," said Mr Arul in an apparent attempt to calm rising anxiety over the status of these funds parked offshore which were managed by little-known fund managers.

The story was first published on 9 February 2015 and republished in nearly all local media. It was subsequently discovered that there is no US$1.103 billion of cash in the Singapore bank based on a parliamentary reply I received on 19 May 2015. The above is proof that Arul lied through his teeth because he even attempted to justify why the “cash” was kept offshore.

“There's a very sensible and simple reason for that… We are keeping the money in US dollars as we have US$6.5 billion in bonds out there, in which interest payments come up to nearly US$400 million a year," he said.

Unfortunately the ugly truth is, Malaysians remain clueless as to what exactly is parked in the Singapore bank remains a complete mystery even today.

Should not the Home Minister therefore go after the parties who have lied and misled Malaysians over the missing billions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money? Instead what we get is the disgraceful behaviour of the Ministry doing its utmost to gag and punish those who are public-spirited and acted with integrity to expose the wrong-doings, embezzlement, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust by public officials entrusted with tens of billions of ringgit.


Tony Pua

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