Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shafee Abdullah Wants Me Out of the PAC. Oh the Irony !

Tan Sri Mohamed Shafee Abdullah should be asking Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to take his leave as the Finance and Prime Minister to avoid the conflict of interest over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) investigation, and not for me to recuse myself.

If not for the fact that it is highly likely there will be a concerted sinister attempt to oust me from the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, I would have found Tan Sri Mohamed Shafee Abdullah’s attempt to have me recused from the PAC highly laughable.

Tan Sri Mohamed Shafee claimed that I have “issued a lot of statements which can affect investigations into the company”. As such, he proposed that I withdraw myself from the PAC “to return the public's confidence that the inquiry can be conducted fairly and transparently.”

The above is nonsensical on so many levels. Firstly, how does issuing statements and carrying out my daily responsibility as an elected representative of Malaysians in any way jeopardizing the investigations into 1MDB?

If I had made completely unfounded statements and 1MDB is able to debunk my allegations during the PAC hearing, the Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament will not let go of the opportunity to deride me in the committee meetings. Worse, the entire proceeding is recorded verbatim and will be published in the report tabled in Parliament and made available to the public. So, if 1MDB was able to make a complete fool of me, my foolishness will be recorded permanently in history.

If however, I am correct in my statements and extensive research on 1MDB, then wouldn’t that make me perfectly qualified to sit in the PAC to grill those involved in this heinous scandal?

In fact, is that the very reason why there may now be a concerted campaign to get me disqualified or removed from the PAC so that the top management of 1MDB will not be facing the much feared or anticipated intense grilling?

BN Backbenchers Club chairperson Datuk Seri Shahrir Abdul Samad even immediately called on Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohammad to consider Shafee's remarks and to drop me from the investigation team. He argued that since I know a lot about 1MDB, I should be a witness instead of being part of the team investigating 1MDB.

Datuk Seri Shahrir Samad sullied what credibility he has left with such a fallacious argument. If his claim that I know “a lot about 1MDB” is indeed true, all the more I should be part of the investigation team. Why should I be a witness since I’m not in anyway related to the various questionable transactions carried out by 1MDB? What’s more, I can share whatever knowledge I have with fellow committee members during the proceedings without having to “testify” as a witness.

As rightly highlighted by both my PAC Chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohammad and former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed – the PAC comprises of 8 BN MPs and 5 Opposition MPs. Surely, if I step out of line, the 8 BN MPs will pounce on me and give no quarter.

Tan Sri Mohamed Shafee further argued, "PAC members including Pua should be like judges in this case, and not by making accusations and making public statements. It is better they be witnesses if they want to issue such statements".

In this aspect, he is wrong on two counts. The PAC or its members are not judges and juries. We have no power to mete out any form of punishment. We are representatives of the people and the relevant political party tasked to draft a report by consensus on any issue put before the Committee.

Instead, if the honourable lawyer and infamous prosecutor is so concerned about conflict of interest, he should be asking Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to take leave as the Finance and Prime Minister as he is directly implicated in the RM42 billion scandal by the simple virtue of the fact that every single major transaction undertaken by 1MDB carries his explicit “written approval”.

How can Dato’ Seri Najib Razak be allowed to direct the manner, timing and mechanism of investigations over such a monstrous scandal where he is also a prime suspect? Shouldn’t the lawyer in Tan Sri Mohamed Shafee who claims to uphold natural justice balk at such a massive conflict of interest?

However, we can’t expect such high hopes on the same person who acted as the Public Prosecutor on behalf of the Government against Opposition Leader, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who then proceeded to take part in a nationwide public roadshow to demonize the defendant. And he has the cheek now to ask me to shut up over the investigation of 1MDB. What irony.

Tony Pua

No comments: