Saturday, July 25, 2015

1MDB Interim Report Transparency Will Clear the Storm of Unsubstantiated Allegations

The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) farcical circus which is making Malaysia the butt of international derision, can be ended today if the Finance or Prime Minister instructs the Auditor-General to make public its findings in the Interim Report on 1MDB.

The sheer volume of information and misinformation, allegations and counter-allegations thrown in the media and public space is staggering and mindboggling. Not only the consumers of news – regardless of whether it is in the mainstream print media or the internet news portals – are baffled, even well-intentioned reporters are often left confused.

Take for example, the oft-repeated allegation that the Thai police have stated that a Malaysian opposition leader had met with former Petrosaudi executive, Xavier Justo who was arrested for alleged blackmail in Bangkok.

The only official quote given by news sources from Lieutanant-General Prawuth Thavornsiri was “He (Justo) met a very important person from a certain country, in Singapore. He then negotiated the selling price of the documents and later sold them to the buyer.”

Separately, in an interview with The Straits Times Singapore, he said Justo met with “many people, about 10, from the media and from political circles, even from the same party as the PM (Datuk Seri Najib)”.

It was however The New Straight Times (NST) which claimed that the Thai police confirmed Justo admitted to meeting a very important person from a Malaysian opposition party without an attributable quote. This slight of hand has since been taken as the gospel truth allowing the Barisan Nasional leaders to go on a witch-hunt against the leading critics of 1MDB.

Before this, BN leaders and many mainstream media alleged that the Thai police had confirmed that Xavier Justo tampered the information sold to third parties. For example, On 24th June in Malacca, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that based on information obtained from the Thai authorities investigating the case, several Malaysians were alleged to have directed Justo to manipulate and tamper with information stolen from his former employers, PSI.

However, nobody could find any quotes attributable to the Thai police then which confirmed any such findings above. The allegation which was blown up by BN leaders valiantly defending 1MDB was also finally proven false when Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri confirmed last week that Justo “didn’t make any changes to the documents and sent the original documents (to the buyer) as digital copies.”

The entire farcical 1MDB circus has reached the heights of international scorn and derision for Malaysia. Our country’s reputation has been torn to shreds with the sheer volume of information and misinformation which has made a complete mockery of our governance system, transparency and accountability.

The Finance and Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has a very simple way to end the entire fiasco, by ending the exceedingly unhealthy speculation over whose allegations are the truth, and whose are fabricated. All he has to do is allow the Auditor-General to make public the Interim Report with the relevant attachments which was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee.

Based on the information which is provided in the report, all questions of whether the 1MDB-Petrosaudi data which was exposed by The Sarawak Report and other media outlets such as The Edge was tampered, fabricated, doctored or otherwise will be immediately put to rest.

There will be no more need to for Lester Melanyi paid video confessions. There will be no more need for countless unsubstantiated allegations and insinuations by BN Ministers against opposition leaders’ involvement in tampering data. After all, the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had issued a statement last week that “the Auditor-General investigating 1MDB’s activities has found no evidence of wrong doing” in the Interim Report.

Therefore, I call upon the Finance and Prime Minister to stop dragging Malaysia’s good name through the mud and immediately direct the Auditor-General to make public the 1MDB Interim Report to put to finally prove if the allegations from the 1MDB critics like us were based on hard facts and documents, or prove the BN leaders’ claims that we have cooked up our allegations with fabricated information.

Tony Pua

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