In the past two days, the UMNO/BN owned or controlled media and their legion of cybertroopers have been carrying glowing reports about what a superb performance the 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy gave at the briefing for UMNO divisional leaders at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Saturday about the 1MDB scandal, and that the participants, which included representatives from NGOs and government agencies, were satisfied with Arul’s explanations which gave “a better picture of the real situation”.
The immediate question that comes to mind is whether the Cabinet of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is so intellectually-challenged that none of the Ministers could explain the intricacies and complexities of the 1MDB scandal to Parliament for the past month, when Arul could so easily explain away the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal at the UMNO briefing to its divisional leaders and pliable NGOs at PWTC last Saturday – as if Arul is such a superb performer that he is capable of getting birds to eat food from his hands?
Nobody disputes that Najib’s Ministers are intellectually-challenged – otherwise why did a former Prime Minister and a former Finance Minister agreed in unison that the present batch of Ministers are “half-past six” or “deadwood”, but surely they are not so intellectually challenged that they could not do what Arul did so easily!
Arul did put up a virtuoso performance last Saturday, but not as a solid management expert explaining how a government company had landed up with over RM50 billion debts (a figure quoted by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister which Arul, Najib and all Ministers have studiously avoided reference in the past four months), but as a conjurer trying to put up the most convincing illusion tricks like “rabbit disappearing” or “bird flying out of empty hat” in a magician’s repertoire.
For instance, one newspaper headline “1MDB started with minimal debt, Arul says” meant, on closer examination, to merely mean that “On the first day of operations, 1MDB took on a RM5 bil debt, a minimal amount compared to the RM42 bil it incurred on March 31, 2014”. (Again, no reference to Muhyiddin’s figure of over RM50 billion debt incurred by 1MDB by July 2015 in a “1MDB tell-all” briefing!).
Another newspaper headline “’No elements of criminality’ – There were administrative problems that Bank Negara has asked us to rectify says Arul” was another case of the 1MDB CEO guilty of the sin of being economical with the truth, or even more serious, of a terminological inexactitude!
Arul’s claim that Bank Negara’s probe into 1MDB indicated administrative problems rather than elements of criminality flies in the face of the public statement by Bank Negara last month that it had recommended to the Attorney-General to initiate criminal prosecution against 1MDB for breaches under the Exchange Control Act 1953 (ECA), as under the Federal Constitution, the decision to initiate prosecution lies soley with the Attorney-General.
Arul had very little respect for the crowd who squeezed into PWTC for his briefing when he spun the “tall tale” that 1MDB overpaid for the three power plants from Genting, Tanjong and Jimah power producers to reduce tariffs.
As DAP MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching scoffed at Arul’s spin as “laughable” and asked, why wasn’t such an explanation given in 2012 when the three power plants were bought.
Was Arul just performing his KPI for what must be his astronomical emoluments as 1MDB CEO to conjure new explanations for the numerous 1MDB transactions in the past six years for which no rational explanation could be given?
But what takes the cake in Arul’s conjurer performance on Saturday was his claim that he was still open to meeting DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua and PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli to provide an explanation about 1MDB after placing all sorts of obstacles, including roping in the assistance of the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and the Public Accounts Committee Chairman Datuk Husin Arifin, to obstruct such “No-Holds Barred 1MDB meetings”?
Arul should explain why he had time for UMNO and MCA to give one-sided and misleading briefings about the 1MDB scandal 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 Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanazlah 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” wasneeded 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?
(Speech at the DAP Subang “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang and Mana RM2.6 billion” dinner held at Subang new village, Selangor on Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 9 pm)