Monday, March 02, 2015

Dato Seri Najib Razak Cannot Just Shake Off All Responsibilities On 1MDB

Datuk Seri Najib Razak cannot disassociate himself from the “heist of the century”. He must answer if not for his complicity in the RM42 billion scandal, then for his negligence and incompetence in managing and monitoring his cornerstone investment vehicle, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The Sarawak Report has once again exposed new documents, including countless email communications between all parties related to the 1MDB Petrosaudi US$1 billion (RM3.5 billion) investment transaction.  These documents point clearly towards an elaborate scam to siphon money from 1MDB into a Swiss bank account owned by Jho Low's private company.  The 1MDB money was raised from debt guaranteed by the Federal Government.

The story was also published in The Sunday Times in the UK which sought a response from the Prime Minister’s Office.  Instead of confirming or denying the veracity of the documents and emails published, and the information contained in them, it appears that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is more concerned about distancing his ties to the now scandalous company.

"The Malaysian government said the prime minister was not involved in the day-to-day operations of 1MDB, which is run by a professional and experienced team. Its accounts were audited by Deloitte," The Sunday Times reported in the March 1 article.

The response even attempted to negatively taint the whistleblowers’ report, that “views expressed by certain quarters concerning 1MDB should be examined in light of political motivation”.

The Prime Minister, who also happens to be the Finance Minister must realise that whether there was “political motivation” or otherwise is irrelevant to the matter at hand.  I, for example, would seek to expose all corrupt activities of the ruling government to remove them during the next general elections.  What is more important, is whether the documents and email communications are genuine.

If these documents and email communications are indeed genuine, then the Government must answer for the brazen abuse of power in siphoning money from the wholly-owned Ministry of Finance subsidiary.

Under such circumstances, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, who is also the Chairman of the 1MDB Board of Advisors must be held ultimately responsible because “1MDB” was his baby project from the very start.  The Prime Minister certainly cannot disclaim responsibility by claiming that he “was not involved in the day-to-day operations of 1MDB”.

After all, Najib wrote on his Facebook yesterday, “I would like to emphasise here that 1MDB is a strategic investment firm owned by the government of Malaysia, and I would never allow anyone to use or divert public funds for their personal gain.”

The 1MDB issue isn’t a new one.  I had submitted my first question on 1MDB in Parliament on Februaray 2010.  I’ve since then submitted dozens of questions and spoke on many occasions in Parliament demanding answers from the Ministers.  I’ve written countless press statements and held many media conferences to point out the many problems affecting 1MDB.

Even if the Prime Minister is indeed not complicit in the serious hanky-panky in the Company, he is guilty of gross negligence and incompetence in managing 1MDB under his Ministry.  He is guilty because the opposition and the media have played our role in digging up all the scandals in 1MDB and yet each time, Najib or his Ministers and Deputies would resolutely defend 1MDB.  They would shamelessly boast that 1MDB is in “sound financial health”, “backed by quality assets” and managed by “a professional and experienced team”.

All that flies in the face of the facts we have today – that 1MDB could not repay a RM2 billion without begging for a loan from local billionaire, Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan, that 1MDB had to request for a RM3 billion emergency bailout fund from the Cabinet and that 1MDB has been unable to show proof that it had cash of US$1.1 billion (RM3.9 billion) parked anonymously overseas after disposing of its Cayman investments.

How can the Finance and Prime Minister allow the 1MDB shenanigans to sink to the current level of RM42 billion in debt while becoming practically insolvent?

Therefore we would like to fully support DAP Parliamentary Leader, Lim Kit Siang’s call for Najib to set up the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM42 billion “mother of the mother of the mother of all scandals” so that Malaysians can not only discover the complete truth, but the crooks behind and abetting the scams will be punished and put behind bars.

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