I have not been able to attend the month-long meeting of Parliament from March 7 to April 7 because I was suspended from Parliament for six months from October 22 last year insisting that the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about Malaysia’s two global scandals – Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM50 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals – should be told in Parliament.
I strongly objected not only to Najib’s twin mega scandals, but the undermining of the independence, credibility and professionalism of national institutions and the doctrine of the separation of powers which are important basis for Malaysian democracy in order to enable Najib to avoid full responsibility and accountability for the twin mega scandals.
The sudden sacking of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, the dissolution of the Special Task Force on the 1MDB scandal comprising the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General of Police, Bank Negara Governor and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner, the four-month sabotage of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigations into 1MDB until the appointment of “cari makan” PAC Chairman Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin were the backdrop to my six-month suspension from Parliament on Oct. 22.
Bagan is the 99th parliamentary constituency I am visiting during my six-month suspension from Parliament, for my visits to close to 100 parliamentary constituencies in Kelantan, Kedah, Perlis, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore in the past five months have reinforced my conviction that what the Najib government is doing is akin to trying to “wrap fire with paper” in trying to sweep the two global scandals in the nation’s history under the carpet.
Najib’s RM50 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion scandals are Malaysia’s first global scandals in the nation’s history and there is no way that the Najib government can “wrap fire with paper” by trying to ban discussion on these scandals, even by invoking the “sub judice rule” to impose a blanket ban in Parliament on Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal.
This is best illustrated by the tabling on Thursday of the PAC Report on 1MDB, which UMNO/BN leaders, strategists and propaandists hail as an exoneration for Najib’s wrongdoing in the twin mega scandals and should be an end to all allegations against Najib.
Yet on the same day, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma), which is responsible for Switzerland’s financial regulation, has described the Malaysia’s 1MDB and Brazil Petrobras scandals as “clear cases of corruption”.
Referring to money from the two entities which passed through the Swiss financial system, Finma chief executive officer Mark Branson called 1MDB and Petrobras prime examples of money laundering risks that Switzerland is facing.
Speaking at the Finma Annual Conference 2016 in Berne, Switzerland on the same day, Branson outlined what he said were troubling aspects to both cases.
He said: “These are not events from years ago – the money was still being accepted until quite recently. We are not talking about legacy issues.
“From what it looks like, we are not dealing here with shades of grey. The evidence points to clear cases of corruption.
“The extent of the cases and the sums involved are vast. We are talking about cash flows amounting to several billion US dollars, with individual transactions running into hundreds of millions.
“Those are significant sums of money for developing nations like Malaysia and Brazil, in which the average monthly income is less than US$1,000.”
The 48-hour history of the long-awaited Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the 1MDB also tells an interesting and strange story.
I went to Parliament House on Thursday to join the march of Members of Parliament from Parliament to Bukit Aman to protest against the arrest of PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli in the vicinity of Parliament on Tuesday evening.
I reached Parliament House about 8.30 am, and one of the DAP MPs with me went into the Parliament Chambers to collect the papers for the day, placed on the table of each MP.
But the MP was not allowed to take out the PAC Report on the 1MDB, although it was put on the table, on the ground it was embargoed until 10 am.
This is the first time in Malaysian parliamentary history that documents tabled on MPs table were physically barred from being taken out of the Chambers, although subject to an embargo.
Previously, MPs were never prevented from taking out government papers and reports including budget papers and Treasury Reports put on their tables but which were embargoed until a particular date and time.
This shows the nervousness of the powers-that-be about the PAC report on the 1MDB, who had hoped that the PAC Report on the 1MDB scandal would be the final and definitive word on the 1MDB scandal as the Najib had been exonerated of all wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
They cannot be more wrong, and if UMNO/BN strategists and propagandists think they could influence national and international opinion in this direction, they cannot be more naïve and wrong.
The PAC Report on the 1MDB scandal is only the “tip of the iceberg” and all efforts at democratic, accountable and good governance must directed at exposing and unveiling the “iceberg” that remains tantalisingly hidden from view by the PAC report.
UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders, media and cybertroopers have gone to town after the tabling of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report exonerated Najib of any criminal wrongdoing in the RM50 million 1MDB scandal.
I believe that I am one of the few MPs who have ploughed through the PAC Report, and it does nothing of the sort.
PAC Deputy Chairman and DAP MP for Kepong, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw is right when he said that there is nothing in the PAC report which directly implicated Najib for being responsible for the 1MDB scandal, but I can refer to many paragraphs and parts in the PAC report which clearly calls for further investigation as they point in the direction that Najib must bear responsibility for the 1MDB scandal.
In any event, how can the PAC exonerate Najib of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal when it had not even summoned Najib to appear as a witness?
In fact, everything point in the direction of Najib of having to assume full responsibility for the 1MDB scandal.
This is clear when the PAC made the recommendation for the removal of Clause 117 of the 1MDB memorandum and articles of association (M&A), which provides that the “written approval” of the Prime Minister, who chairs 1MDB advisory board, is a requirement for any changes to the M&A, any appointments or terminations of directors and top management, as well as any “financial commitments (including investments), restructuring or matters involving government guarantees”, it is in fact pointing to Najib’s responsibility in the 1MDB scandal.
It is very clear that under Clause 117 of the 1MDB M&A, Prime Minister Najib is solely responsible for the 1MDB scandal, even more responsible than the former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and others in the 1MDB management that the PAC Report is scapegoating.
There seems to be a certain panic among Najib’s strategists and propangadists as it seems to have dawned on them that the PAC Report on the 1MDB is not the final and definitive end of the issue in Malaysia, but merely opens up the subject to greater and more intense public scrutiny.
The statements yesterday by the BN Strategic Communications Director and Housing Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the UMNO Information Chief, Datuk Annuar Musa and other leaders trying to close the 1MDB subject have no credibility and traction whatsoever, so much so that the PAC Chairman has to end his “political sickness” which is supposed to last over a month until next parliamentary meeting, to come out with a media interview exclusive with Bernama!
But all these talk of PAC Report exonerating Najib and be the final and definitive word would not wash, and the subject is as open-ended as ever.
Progressive Parliaments in other countries would have full and wide-ranging debate on the long-awaited PAC Report on 1MDB scandal especially it has become a global scandal responsible for the country’s reputation as one of world’s top ten countries infamous for global corruption , but the Malaysian Parliament just adjourned on Thursday without any debate on the PAC Report whatsoever.
This is a gross irresponsibility on the part of Parliament.
For this reason, I call for a four-day emergency Parliament on the PAC report on 1MDB at the end of April or early May to debate Malaysia’s first global scandal in history – before the next scheduled meeting of Parliament from May 16.
(Speech at the DAP “Pantang Undur – Berani Kerana Benar” kopitiam ceramah at Pusat Penjaja Apollo, Raja Uda, Bagan on Saturday, 9th April 2018 at 9 am)