Although it is more than a week since the publication in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) previous Friday on July 3 that Malaysian government investigators have found almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts at AmBank in March 2013, Najib has failed to answer four simple questions, viz:
*Whether he has three personal accounts in AmBank;
*Whether some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of funds were deposited into his personal accounts in 2013 just before the dissolution of Parliament on April 3, 2013 in the run-up to the 13th General Election;
*If so, where the RM2.6 billion came from; and
*Where these RM2.6 billion have gone to.
I call on Najib to publicly answer these questions before Hari Raya, latest in his Hari Raya message, so that the 1MDB will not become the dominant subject during the Hari Raya holidays and in the weeks leading up to the 58th Merdeka anniversary on August 31 and 53rd Malaysia Day anniversary on Sept. 16, 2015.
Najib had never denied that he had personal bank accounts or that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into them, but he had repeatedly denied that he had taken funds for personal gain.
What does this mean?
Is Najib suggesting that the RM2.6 billion deposited into this personal bank accounts in AmBank had been used in the 13th General Election not for his own purpose, but for the campaigning of UMNO/BN candidates, including the Cabinet Ministers?
I call on Najib and all the Cabinet Ministers to declare that they had not profited from the funds deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013 for their general election campaigning, or they would be guilty of gross conflict of interest if they participate in any decision-making relating to the WSJ report and allegation.
Human rights activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan suggested at the meeting of progressive MPs and NGO representatives at the Parliament Public Square on Tuesday the formation of a caretaker government pending investigations into the serious WSJ allegation of Prime Ministerial misconduct.
However, if all the elected Cabinet Ministers had benefitted from the RM2.6 billion fund deposits in Najib’s personal bank accounts in the 13th General Election, then all the Cabinet Ministers except for the Senators should also be disqualified from continuing as Ministers pending the outcome of investigations.
This would mean the appointment of a caretaker Prime Minister together with the formation of a caretaker Cabinet as Najib and all the elected Ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, are disqualified from continuing in their present Cabinet positions because of conflict of interest until the outcome of investigations.
This would mean sourcing for a caretaker Prime Minister and caretaker Ministers pending investigations into the WSJ allegation about RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam would be a good candidate to be caretaker Prime Minister, but he has to be elected into Parliament first as the Malaysian Constitution stipulates that a Prime Minister must be a member of Dewan Rakyat.
I think Musa would be ideal candidate for caretaker Prime Minister if agreement could be reached for him to be elected to Parliament in an early by-election.
Otherwise, the search should look at other candidates like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, MP for Gua Musang and senior UMNO veteran or someone else from Sabah or Sarawak.
Malaysia is definitely in uncharted political waters and to deal with the unprecedented political crisis facing the country, Malaysians must be prepared to think the unthinkable and grapple with issue which they would dismiss as impossible or improbable only a week or a month ago.
(Speech at the Majlis Buka Puasa at Kampung Pendas Laut, Gelang Patah on Saturday, 11th July 2015 at 7 pm)