Speaker should intervene and rule whether PM had abused the Standing Orders to avoid answering pertinent questions about the 1MDB scandal – which is the first step towards parliamentary reform in Malaysia


The Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia should intervene and rule whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had abused the Parliamentary Standing Orders to avoid answering pertinent questions about the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal – which is the first step towards parliamentary reform in Malaysia.

Najib yesterday dodged the question by the DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua whether the 1MDB management had only met with PetroSaudi International Limited for the first time on September 23, 2009, five days before both parties inked a deal in London; and whether the agreement was approved by the 1MDB Board of directors at the time.

Najib cited Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders 23(1)(i) to avoid answering the question.

Parliamentary Standing Orders 23(1)(i) states that “a question shall not be asked as to whether statements in the press or of private individuals or financial bodies are accurate”.

Najib said that the issue raised by Pua “is based on news report by a news portal that cannot verify the authenticity of the source of the report”.

This is a blatant abuse of the parliamentary process designed to ensure government accountability and good governance.

Although the whistleblower site Sarawak Report had reported that the entire 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture deal was initiated by businessman Low Taek Jho and his team on September 8, 2009, less than a month before the deal was signed, Pua’s question had not quoted or relied on Sarawak Report, but had specifically asked whether “the 1MDB management had only met with PetroSaudi International Limited for the first time on September 23, 2009, five days before both parties inked a deal in London; and whether the agreement was approved by the 1MDB Board of directors at the time”.

Why is the Prime Minister so shy or reluctant to answer this question – or is it because the facts asked were true, which the Prime Minister could not deny but he did not want to admit the truth so as to continue to stonewall the principles of accountability and transparency in the increasing ;public demand for accountability and corporate good governance in the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal?

Such an attitude reflects an administration which is not committed to the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance as proclaimed in Najib’s National Transformation Programme, but the very opposite.

What Najib failed to realise is that his dodging of Pua’s question is even more eloquent and damaging than the answer itself.

This is I had tweeted: “Cannot say no, won’t say yes – evade, hide! What a PM!”

Is Najib’s refusal to be frank, forthright and truthful about the 1MDB scandal an ominous indication that 1MDB executives would also be stone-walling and dodging queries when they appear before the Public Accounts Committee on its hearings on the 1MDB scandal, including queries which Pua had put to the Prime Minister yesterday?

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