Friday, March 06, 2015

Dato' Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Should Stop Criticising Critics Of 1MDB

Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi epitomises UMNO’s penchance for shooting the messenger, in this case those who exposed the wrongdoings of 1Malaysia Development Bhd

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed today the barrage of criticisms against 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is part of a systematic effort by groups out to destroy the nation’s image.

According to The Star Online, the home minister told reporters in Kota Baru that he has reasons to believe as such, following 1MDB and accounting firm Deloitte’s briefing yesterday to the federal Cabinet.

“All the attacks, speculations and unsubstantiated claims launched by certain quarters had far-reaching consequences on the country’s image in the eyes of foreign investors. Any attacks against 1MDB will indirectly affect the country and it is deemed to be a concerted attack on Malaysia. Those behind it must take responsibility for any false accusations,” he was quoted as saying in the English daily’s online report.

The Home Minister has pointed his gun at the wrong parties.  Instead of shooting the messenger, Dato’ Seri Zahid should lay the blame squarely on those who has robbed the Malaysian government and its taxpayers, as well as those who have allowed all these to happen under their noses.

The Malaysian opposition, media and financial analysts have been raising questions and doubts about 1MDB for the past 5 years.  However, the Government and its Ministers have failed to take heed of these warnings.  Instead they indulged themselves in their denial syndromes and convinced themselves that the future for 1MDB is brighter than bright and allowed the company to accumulate a massive RM42 billion in debt.

Therefore, when 1MDB failed to repay a relatively small RM2 billion debt, missing at least 3 deadlines and needed a desperate last minute loan from local tycoon Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan to settle its dues, the media and the public cannot be blamed for raising their acute concerns over the concerns over the solvency of 1MDB.

When UK’s The Sunday Times, in collaboration with whistleblower site Sarawak Report, ran an exposé last Sunday on Malaysian business magnate Low Taek Jho and his alleged links to 1MDB’s venture with oil exploration and production firm, PetroSaudi International, the whole world came crashing down on 1MDB.

In the exposé, Sarawak Report accused the Malaysian tycoon, popularly known as Jho Low, of siphoning off US$700 million (RM2.5 billion) from 1MDB and using PetroSaudi as a “front” in a 2009 joint venture.

However, it was not The Sunday Times, or the Sarawak Report or the opposition politicians like myself who caused damage to Malaysia’s reputation.  It was 1MDB’s utter failure and complete incompetence, as well as a blissfully ignorant and corrupt Government which resulted in the global negative publicity we face today.

Instead of rebuking “all the attacks, speculations and unsubstantiated claims by certain quarters”, why didn’t the Home Minister instruct the twitter-happy Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate these claims?  As far as I have been concerned, all the key claims which have been made, in particular the transfer of US$700 million into an account controlled by Jho Low and his associates have been highly substantiated with factual documents.

In fact, if the Home Minister, the IGP or the entire Cabinet have problems understanding all the allegations of impropriety in the 1MDB transactions, I will be more than happy to offer to give them a presentation on “1MDB: The Ultimate Low Down”.  Following that, I will happily entertain a no-holds-barred questions-and-answers session so that they may clear any iota of doubts or cynicism over any of the criticisms made.

Are the Cabinet however, ready to hear the truth?  Or do they prefer to continue behaving like the proverbial three monkeys role of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” and continue happily shooting pointlessly the messenger?

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