On the way to the launch of the Perak State Pakatan Harapan in Ipoh from a DAP dinner at Chuichak new village, I read that after its meeting today, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin issued a statement saying that he is satisfied with 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy’s explanation after a three-hour grilling.
I find Hasan’s statement most shocking as it contradicted the earlier statement by Tony Pua, the PAC member who is most knowledgeable about 1MDB, who had said that Arul Kanda’s answers were “not perfect” and “incomplete” and that the 1MDB president had evaded certain questions.
When Hasan said he was “satisfied” with Arul Kanda’s explanations at the continued PAC investigations into the 1MDB, was this a reflection of his “cari makan” mode of operation or did he take a vote from the PAC after Arul Kanda’s testimony to determine whether the PAC was “satisfied” with the 1MDB CEO’s testimony?
If Hasan had not taken a vote of PAC after Arul Kanda’s testimony, and merely given his own views, he was guilty of misleading Members of Parliament and the Malaysian public who have been following the PAC proceedings with great interest and anticipation.
The Malaysian public does not want the views of a “cari makan” PAC Chairman but the views of the PAC as determined by a vote as to whether PAC is satisfied with Arul Kanda’s testimony.
Up to now, both the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB had been far from sincere, truthful and proactive in revealing the relevant facts about the 1MDB.
For instance, Najib and 1MDB had studiously avoided mentioning and admitting what are the latest figures about the total debts of 1MDB.
Najib and 1MDB have claimed that with the sale of Edra to China General Nuclear Power Corp Ltd. (CGN) at the end of November, 1MDB debts have been reduce by RM17 billion.
But what are the total debts of 1MDB before the sale of Edra to CGN late last month? Was it RM42 billion minus RM17 billion or RM55 billion minus 17 billion, as the latter will still leave 1MDB with RM38 billion debts, or only RM4 billion less than the RM42 billion figure oft mentioned as 1MDB’s total debts.
But the RM42 billion figure is not the latest figure, as it represents 1MDB’s total debts as at the end of March 2014 – 1MDB’s last audited accounts.
According to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister on July 26, the total 1MDB debts were more than RM50 billion. By late last month, before the sale of Edra to CGN, the total 1MDB debts could have reached RM55 billion.
Why is Najib and 1MDB so shy in revealing 1MDB’s latest total debts before sale of Edra to CGN at the end of November?
Three events have exacerbated the skepticism of Malaysians that the PAC could play a major role to end the procrastination and prevarication by the Prime Minister and 1MDB in the past few years to avoid coming clean to give a full and satisfactory explanation about the 1MDB scandal.
One was the delay in the submission of the Auditor-General’s Final Report on its investigations into 1MDB which was supposed to be handed over to the PAC on Thursday, but now deferred to early next year.
The second was the shabby treatment of the media breaking from all past practices which had allowed media representatives into Parliament House during PAC meetings.
Why is the “cari makan” PAC Chairman treating the press representatives as if they are rogues, knaves or crooks – a practice never happened in nearly six decades of parliamentary practice in Malaysia – instead of fully co-operating with them in the common objective to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance in the handling of all public monies?
The third is the latest revelation by Wall Street Journal on Thursday that 1MDB had sent US$850 million (RM3.7 billion) last year to an offshore entity formed to appear as if it was owned by an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund.
Added to Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal, there is now a RM3.7 billion mysterious offshore entity with the country roiling in billions of ringgit scandals!
Was Arul Kanda asked about the latest WSJ expose at the PAC investigation today and was the PAC “satisfied” with Arul Kanda’s explanation?
Instead of remaining as one of the last hopes of the country which could throw light on the 1MDB scandal, a darkness have descended on PAC under its new “cari makan” Chairman and Malaysians and MPs are asking whether PAC would be another victim in a crackdown to suppress all information about the 1MDB scandal.
(Speech at the launching of Perak State Pakatan Harapan in Ipoh on Friday, 18th December 2015 at 10.30 pm)