Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Did the PAC Chairman hide BNM letter from its members because the letter exposed Jho Low as Good Star Limited's ultimate beneficiary?

Together with my opposition colleagues in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), we have repeatedly requested that representatives from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) be summoned to testify with regards to the 1MDB scandal.

This is especially since BNM has openly indicted 1MDB for breaching the Financial Services and Exchange Controls Act. BNM has further demanded that 1MDB repatriate US$1.83 billion, the sum which was deemed to have been improperly transferred overseas.

It could not have been clearer that BNM was in possession of critical information which was integral to PAC’s investigation into 1MDB. However, the PAC Chairman repeatedly refused to summon BNM, claiming that the Attorney-General has already acquitted 1MDB and any information from BNM will be irrelevant.

However, the Chairman finally decided to write to BNM to seek written clarification in lieu of an official testimony.

The PAC has received the first letter from BNM dated 23 March 2016 which was presented to the members by the Chairman on 4 April 2016.

This letter had explained in detail the breaches by 1MDB and at the same time disclosed that the ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited, a company which received a whopping US$1.03 billion from 1MDB was “an individual unrelated to Petrosaudi International Limited”.

The members of the PAC then requested that the Chairman write to BNM again to seek further clarification with regards to this mysterious owner of Good Star Limited.

This crucial disclosure was also included in the final approved PAC Report on 1MDB in the meeting on the 4th, but was surreptitiously deleted by Datuk Hasan Arifin from the version tabled to the Parliament on the 7th.

When PAC members demanded to know why the Chairman unilaterally deleted the above information from the report without consulting the members of the committee at our next meeting on 18th May, we were shocked to discover that the Chairman has already received a response from BNM on 6th April.

Datuk Hasan Arifin claimed that the previously undisclosed second letter noted that the information provided by BNM was privileged, and hence he took the unilateral step to delete the relevant sentences from the finalised Report.

However, we were further shocked when the Chairman insisted that we take his word to be the Gospel truth when he refused to share the response of Bank Negara with the committee members.  If the letter did, and merely substantiated his claims that the information was privileged, then why the unprecedented refusal to disclose the full contents of the letter to the PAC?

The incident became an absolute farce when the Chairman refused to even disclose the number of pages of the BNM letter, backed by PAC members from Barisan Nasional.

This has led the opposition members in the PAC to believe that the Chairman is blatantly hiding and obstructing the investigations into the shenanigans which took place in 1MDB.  In fact, I will go further to suggest that Datuk Hasan Arifin is intentionally covering up for 1MDB and the Prime Minister because Bank Negara confirmed what the whole world already suspected, that Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low is the ultimate beneficiary of Good Star Limited.

We call upon Datuk Hasan Arifin to confirm or deny if Jho Low is indeed the sole shareholder ofI Good Star Limited. If Bank Negara did indeed name and confirm Jho Low, then the PAC Chairman must immediately resign from his position for failing to uphold the integrity of the Parliament and for clear cut obstruction of justice to thwart an independent and transparent investigation into the single largest scandal in the of Malaysia.

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