Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rahman Dahlan, Your Loyalty is Truly Admirable...But the Truth Will Always Surface

Why is Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan trying to protect those who are guilty to embezzlement, misappropriation and fraud by citing non-existent rules which prevent the Auditor-General Interim Report on 1MDB from being made public?

On Thursday, I had called upon the Finance and Prime Minister to direct the Auditor-General to make public its findings in the Interim Report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). 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.

However, Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan prefers to keep the truth in the dark by citing non-existent clauses in the Parliamentary Standing Order which alleged prevents the Prime Minister from making public the report.

Malaysiakini reported on Friday that Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan argued that “the prime minister doesn't have the power to make the AG's interim report on 1MDB public since it's bound by a parliamentary standing order. In fact, information submitted or discussed in the PAC cannot be made public by members of the PAC until they are submitted to Dewan Rakyat.”

The Minister’s claim is complete and utter nonsense. While the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) cannot indeed be made public until the PAC’s report is tabled in Parliament, that’s the PAC’s report and not any Auditor-General’s report. PAC has absolutely no power to prevent any document submitted to the committee to be separately made available to the public or any other party.

I’ve taken the trouble to relook at the Parliamentary Standing Orders, the Audit Act 1957 and the Federal Constitution with regards to the role and responsibility of the Auditor-General (AG). I found that there is absolutely no clause which forbids the making public of any investigations, audit or findings by the AG.

All that is necessary for it to happen is a directive from the Finance Minister whom the AG reports to. The question is therefore, what is the real reason why Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is stubbornly resistant to making public the Interim Report which contains more than sufficient information and documents to confirm or dispel the various confusing allegations and counter-allegations around 1MDB?

For instance, Malaysians will be able to confirm, once and for all, if The Sarawak Report has indeed fabricated or tampered documents relating to the 1MDB-Petrosaudi investment transactions. Or whether The Edge which have had their publication licenses suspended, did indeed print damaging reports against 1MDB based on “unverified information”?

Perhaps more importantly, the Interim Report can testify to whether there was an evil conspiracy to bring down a democratically-elected government as alleged by Barisan Nasional leaders or, was it a coming together of patriotic, right-thinking individuals who want to ensure government leaders and individuals behind billions of ringgit of corruption and misappropriation are punished for their evil crimes?

Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan should stop giving flimsy and untenable excuses to prevent the Interim Report from being made public. The more he does so, the more the people will believe that the Najib administration is hell-bent on hiding the truth and the truth is billions of 1MDB funds have been lost through embezzlement and criminal breach of trust. It will reinforce the perception that the Minister is doing his utmost to protect the criminals guilty of the above fraudulent multi-billion ringgit transactions.

The Minister must realise that the truth will always find it’s way to the surface, and it will never be successfully suppressed. Hence the faster the Interim Report is made public, perhaps the less damaging it will be for the Prime Minister’s and Barisan Nasional’s credibility.

Tony Pua

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