Yesterday, 1MDB was the top issue at Bank Negara’s third-quarter economic briefing where Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz was asked whether the central bank had made any mistake in the investigation on 1MDB’s investment abroad.
When Zeti replied with an emphatic “No”, it must have deepened the question on everybody’s mind why in his first wide-ranging press interview, where the new Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali talked on a wide variety of subjects including why the sedition charge against Tinju Ali was dropped and the unfettered exercise of his discretionary powers as Public Prosecutor, he failed to explain the reasons why he rejected Bank Negara’s recommendations for prosecution against 1MDB for violation of financial laws.
This morning, there was an overwhelming crowd at the briefing for UMNO divisional leaders at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) where 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy proved to be a greater crowd-puller on the subject of 1MDB than UMNO heavyweights scheduled to speak for the day, like Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamad on the Transpacific Partnership Agreement and the Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanazlah on the 2016 Budget.
In fact, the crowd-puller today should have been Husni as at the Cabinet meeting in the last week of May, Husni was appointed the Cabinet spokesman for 1MDB, but he disappeared from the public scene as Cabinet spokeman on the 1MDB after two months.
As far as I know, the Cabinet never rescinded its decision on May 29 to appoint Husni as Cabinet spokesman for 1MDB. Why then did Husni disappear from the radar on 1MDB after being Cabinet spokesman for 1MDB only two months?
I have no doubt that Husni must have been very relieved that he does not have to answer any more question about the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal, pushing them to Arul, for in his two months as Cabinet spokesman on 1MDB, he had never issued more misleading statements, half lies and downright falsehoods about the 1MDB and it is no exaggeration to say that in his two months as Cabinet spokesman for 1MDB, Husni virtually destroyed his reputation for credibility and integrity which he has painstakingly built up for over two decades.
Now Arul is the public face and virtually sole spokesman for 1MDB, with plenipotentiary powers akin to a Cabinet Minister, which is why his is a greater crowd-puller than UMNO Cabinet Ministers this morning.
But can Arul explain why he had time for UMNO and MCA but no time for Parliament, and whether he would have acted in such an overbearing manner if he did not have the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak as his sole backer and patron?
Arul is guilty of utter contempt for Parliament when he has the time to brief UMNO and MCA chieftains on the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal but no time for Parliament until Dec. 1 when he will appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
At the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang and Mana RM2.6 billion?” ceramah at Bandar Sungai Long in Selangor last Sunday, I said there were five thing I would do if I am Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, namely, summoning to appear before the PAC the present and former Attorney-Generals, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali and Tan Sri Gani Patail; get to the bottom of two questions which are on the minds of most Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or politics, namely where the RM2.6 billion “donation” deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts came from and where they went to; and fifthly, to ensure that PAC tables its report on investigations into the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals latest by November 30, so that MPs from both sides of the House could debate the PAC report latest by the last day of the current meeting of Parliament on Dec. 3.
But there is a sixth item I would do if I am Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, which is in fact more important than the five items I had mentioned.
This is to call up Prime Minister Najib to appear before the PAC to give testimony about the twin mega scandals.
I remember vividly that one of the first things Husni did when he was appointed the Cabinet spokesman on 1MDB, which proved to be a short stint of only two months, was to have a television interview on TV1 on “1MDB: Di mana wangnya”, where he fully admitted that Najib, as the Prime Minister, was the final approving authority for 1MDB deals, investment and transactions and that Najib’s written approval was needed for any financial deal undertaken by the 1Malaysian Development Bhd (1MDB).
This was not entirely correct, as 1MDP appeared to be the first case where the Prime Minister’s “written authority” was needed for any financial deal undertaken by a government company as Clause 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association specifically required the Prime Minister’s “written consent” before any deal or restructuring by 1MDB is concluded.
There is only one person in the country who knows the ins-and-outs of the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals in the past six years, as Arul is only the latest “operative” to join the “revolving-door” teams of operatives who had been employed to take orders to run the 1MDB in the past six years.
As a result, any investigations into the twin mega-scandals without calling Najib to testify would be an utter waste of time.
If the PAC is serious about wanting to get to the bottom of the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals, the most important witness is Najib himself and not the “revolving-door” teams of chief operatives, board of directors or even the auditors.
For this reason, if I am PAC Chairman, my first priority would be to summon Najib to testify before the PAC.
Would the new PAC Chairman, Datuk Hasan Arifin dare to even think of summoning Najib to appear before the PAC?