It is an indication of the public weariness, skepticism and even disgust with the endless “smoke and mirrors” spectacles in the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal in the past four years that the assurance given by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in Japan that the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)’s president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy and former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Halmi will testify before the Public Accounts Committee has failed to mollify the public outrage at the 1MDB duo’s impertinence and contempt of Parliament in playing truant from today’s scheduled PAC hearing on the 1MDB scandal.
Najib’s statement that “1MDB officials will appear before PAC, will not run away” is utterly meaningless and weightless, when the 1MDB duo could dodge the scheduled PAC hearing on the 1MDB today with a cock-and-bull story about important assignments overseas – when none of them nor the Finance Ministry could reveal which country Arul and Shahrol are today and what are these prior commitments which are more important than the PAC hearing!
Did the Finance Ministry lie to the PAC that Arul and Shahrol had more important overseas assignments which made it impossible for them to attend the PAC hearing today in the same way the Najib had lied in his parliamentary answer about the US$1 billion deposit from Cayman Islands in a Singapore bank?
This appears to be the case, as the reason given by Najib in Japan for the absence of the 1MDB duo from the PAC hearing is not overseas assignments, but that the “1MDB officials have something to sort out first”.
“Have something to sort out first” is clearly very different from the duo having overseas assignments making it physically impossible for them to appear before the PAC.
Furthermore, Arul’s ability to respond immediately through press statements in the past two days to issues raised about their dodging from the PAC hearing raises the question whether Arul is really overseas.
The Prime Minister should ensure that an instant apology should be tendered to the PAC if a lie had been told about the duo’s absence from the PAC hearing today.
Malaysians are entitled to know why 1MDB is in a position of having “something to sort out first” before the PAC hearing on 1MDB scandal if all its transactions and operations have been above-board, considering that 1MDB had been the subject of intense public scrutiny in the past few years?
Can Najib also explain why both Arul and Shahrol had requested a 30-day postponement of their appearance before the PAC, and what is this “something to sort out first” in 1MDB?
Although Najib is in Japan, he is clearly following 1MDB developments at close quarter.
This being the case, Najib must be prepared to reveal and censure the Finance Ministry official for allowing Arul and Shahrol to play truant from today’s scheduled PAC hearing on 1MDB scandal – although the question is whether the person authorising such contempt of Parliament by the 1MDB duo reaches as high as the second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Muhd Hanadzlah or even he himself!