The Cabinet at its meeting today must take cognisance and act on the government’s failure to resolve Najib’s twin world-class mega scandals by the end of last year and the national and international firestorm over Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali’s decision to exonerate Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any wrongdoing or crime and that no charges would be brought against him in both the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals.
Far from Najib’s upbeat forecast in his 2016 New Year Message that his twin world-class mega scandals had been resolved and no more issues in the country, the very opposite occurred as his RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals have in the month of January 2016 mushroomed to unprecedented levels.
As a result, both Najib and Malaysia’s credibility and image have never suffered such serious dent, both nationally and internationally.
Four months ago, in a historic statement on Oct. 6, the Malay Rulers directed Putrajaya to ensure that 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal was thoroughly investigated and for those found guilty of wrongdoing to be punished.
The Malay Rulers also said that investigations must be made public in order to show that nothing was being hidden in the probe on the state-owned investment firm.
The Malay Rulers joint statement said: “The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth.”
But none of the Malay Rulers’ concerns has been addressed, and not a single person had been punished for the world-class twin mega scandals which have given Malaysia the ignominious third ranking in the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” and caused Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perception Index to plunge four places to No. 54 from No. 50 last year.
And nothing has been revealed to Malaysians about the investigations into the twin mega scandals “so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth”!
The promise by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who responded to the Malay Rulers’ Statement with the pledge that Putrajaya was taking proactive measures to address concerns raised by the Malay Rulers over 1MDB, have come to nought.
Hence the national and international firestorm over Attorney-General Apandi’s decision.
Since New Year’s Day of 2016, the saying “It never rains but it pours” seems to best describe Najib’s world-class twin mega scandals and the serious multi-faceted Malaysian crisis today.
Yesterday alone, there were three major developments in the ever-mushrooming crisis over Najib’s twin mega scandals.
Firstly, there was the report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) by former UMNO Batu Kawan vice chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan against Attorney-General Apandi for his move to exonerate Najib over the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM42 million SRC International scandals.
Khairuddin had earlier lodged a police report against Apandi on Jan 27 urging cops to probe the attorney-general for what he claimed was “possible abuse of power, criminal negligence, twisting of facts and preventing public officers from performing their duty”.
Secondly, former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim sought a judicial review of Attorney-General Apandi’s decision not to prosecute the Prime Minister, asking for a mandamus order to compel a prosecution against Najib under the existing MACC Act and Penal Code.
In his affidavit, Zaid said it is highly improbable that Prime Minister Najib could be in the dark over the RM42 million from SRC International deposited into his private bank accounts.
Zaid is filing the application as a taxpayer who has a legitimate interest in the administration of justice.
Thirdly, the Bar Council President Steven Thiru has taken the position that Attorney-General Apandi’s move to clear Prime Minister Najib of any wrongdoing in both RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM42 million SRC International cases was “unsustainable in law”.
Thiru said: “The decision seems premature, lacking in facts, bereft of particulars, and founded on questionable or inadequate reasons.”
Thiru raised eight questions on Apandi’s revelation that Najib had returned US$620 million of the donation to the donor, viz:
1) Who specifically donated the US$681 million to Najib between March 22 and April 10, 2013?
2) What was the purpose of the “donation”?
3) If purpose is not identified, is it proper to conclude no criminal offence was committed?
4) Was Bank Negara or MACC notified of the repatriation of US$620 million?
5) What happened to the balance US$61 million?
6) If the manner in which the US$61 million was utilised by Najib has not been ascertained, how can corruption be ruled out?
7) What is the exact sum transferred from SRC International to Najib’s accounts as there were reports of RM41 million followed by another RM27 million.
8) Who gave the approval for the SRC International transfers into Najib’s bank accounts, what was the purpose and how was the account numbers obtained?
Thiru said the Malaysian Bar disagrees that the attorney-general has absolute authority under the constitution in refusing to prosecute any individuals.
He said: “The notion of absolute discretionary powers is contrary to the rule of law. All legal powers – even a constitutional power – have legal limits.
“Thus, the modern and prevailing view is that the attorney-general’s decision not to prosecute is open to challenge in a judicial review action, if the exercise of the prosecutorial discretion is tainted by bad faith, dishonesty or extraneous purposes.
“The attorney-general’s prosecutorial powers are therefore not unfettered.”
The Cabinet at its meeting today must take cognisance and act on these multiple developments over Najib’s twin mega scandals, including the removal of Apandi as Attorney-General or asking him to withdraw from all decision-making involving Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals.
As Najib is the party directly involved in both these twin mega scandals, Najib should withdraw from Cabinet discussion and decision-making relating to both scandals.