In this particular instance, I verily believe him as he made the extra effort to inform all PAC Members of this misreporting by Bernama. The article has since been corrected late yesterday evening.
However, the above incident has only made it clear that there are powerful forces behind the scenes attempting to take control of the narrative via official news government and UMNO-controlled news sources like Bernama, the News Straits Times (NST) and Utusan Malaysia. It appears that someone has put words into the mouth of the PAC Chairman specifically to conduct a character assassination exercise.
In fact, the newspaper headlines of the NST and Utusan Malaysia makes for surreal reading for those who have actually read the PAC Report. Instead of reporting that the critics of 1MDB were vindicated by the PAC Report, the NST screamed on its front page that the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak was “vindicated”. Utusan Malaysia followed up with the call for all critics to apologise to the Prime Minister.
Then you have 1MDB claiming that I’m now “backtracking” from the findings of the PAC Report which was arrived at with the full consensus of all members of the committee. Are these people living in an alternate reality or are they mere doing their utmost to paint what is incontrovertibly “black” as “white”?
Let me put it on record that the PAC Report was arrived on consensus and I have stated that on day one. However, it appears that the 1MDB, NST, Utusan Malaysia, the Prime Minister and his band of BN leaders have a different copy of the PAC Report from the one which was tabled in Parliament.
The consensus version of the PAC Report which was published in Parliament last Thursday
- Confirmed that the Auditor-General (AG) could not verify at least US$7 billion of 1MDB’s cash and assets overseas comprising of:
- US$1.03 billion meant for 1MDB Petrosaudi Limited but was instead transferred to Good Star Limited
- US$3.51 billion transferred to Aabar Investment PJS Limited for “refundable deposit”, “option termination” and “top-up security”.
- US$940 million in purported “units” held in BSI Bank, Singapore
- US$1.56 billion of 1MDB Global Investment Limited investments in various funds overseas
- Confirmed that the Auditor-General could not verify the ownership of Good Star Limited and Aabar Investment PJS Limited
- Confirmed that 1MDB has obstructed investigations by refusing to cooperate by handing over its overseas bank statements and that of its overseas subsidiaries, as well as other relevant documents, despite multiple deadlines by the AG and the PAC.
- Confirmed that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s written approval was necessary for all key appointments in and major transactions by 1MDB, including the US$1.83 billion Petrosaudi investments and its disposal, the US$6.5 billion bond issuances, the RM12.1 billion power plant acquisitions as well as the sacking of 1MDB’s external auditors, KPMG and Ernst & Young.
Dato’ Seri Najib’s involvement was also the reason why the PAC has agreed by consensus, that Article 117 of 1MDB’s M&A which grants the Prime Minister such powers, be abolished, together with the Board of Adviors, which he chairs.
Anyone who had read the 106-page PAC Report as well as the accompanying transcripts of PAC proceedings would not be able to find any other deliberation on the role and culpability of the Prime Minister. Without the necessary bank statements and authentication documents from 1MDB, the PAC could not possibly “clear” the Prime Minister, even if we had wanted to.
Therefore, at no point in time have I “backtracked” from the PAC Report as 1MDB desperately accused. I have stated that I’m 80% satisfied with the report because the PAC could have done more to uncover the discrepancies cited in the Report which remains a mystery, including the summoning of additional key witnesses.
However, despite the lack of completeness in the report, based on information made available, the PAC Report was already able to arrive at the sufficiently damning findings and conclusions. That is the bipartisan consensus in the PAC.