The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Datuk Hasan Arifin should convene an emergency PAC meeting to ask the 1MDB President and CEO, Arul Kanda Kandasamy to explain why he should not be referred to the Committee of Privileges next month for lying and claiming to the PAC that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI) was related to Aabar Investment PJS.
Within four days of the tabling of the PAC Report on 1MDB last Thursday, Arul Kanda’s lie to the PAC in his testimony on 18th December 2015 was exposed when the Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) told the London Stock Exchange in a statement on Monday that neither itself nor its unit Aabar Investments PJS have any links to British Virgin Islands-incorporated firm Aabar Investments PJS Limited which was paid RM4.24 billion (about US$1.367 billion) by 1MDB as security deposit in 2012.
This is the fastest result for any PAC Report in the nation’s 59-year parliamentary history, and the five Opposition PAC members have been fully vindicated for signing the PAC Report on 1MDB although it did not go as far as it should in its findings and conclusions.
One other important thing which the PAC Report on 1MDB had achieved as a result of the signing of the five Opposition PAC members – Deputy PAC Chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Dato’ Kamarul Baharin Abas (Telok Kemang), William Leong (Selayang), Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bahru) and Tony Pua (PJ Utara) – was the admission by the Najib administration of the hosts of 1MDB scams, mismanagements, dubious loans and transactions in the past seven year which until last Thursday had been dismissed as speculative and unverified allegations by irresponsible, biased or even Jewish/Zionist-inspired journalists in hostile foreign newspapers like Wall Street Journal (WSJ), New York Times, Financial Times or unreliable websites like Sarawak Report.
One example of such blanket dismissal of various foreign press reports or Sarawak Report revelations about 1MDB was Arul’s answer to Tony’s question at the PAC meeting on Dec. 18, 2015 on the revelation by WSJ that Aabar Investment PJS Ltd set up in British Virgin Island is unrelated to Aabar Investment PJS in Abu Dhabi.
Arul indulged in a long-winded self-righteous preface which now sounds most dishonest and hypocritical. He said:
“Yang Berhormat, I think I would preface the answer by saying that Wall Street Journal has waged a very clear campaign against 1MDB and the government, started on the 2nd of July if you recall with the revelation of confidential banking transactions of the Prime Minister. On the 3rd of July there was a raid on SRC. On the 4th of July a Special Task Force was set up which until today we don’t know who set it up, what were the terms of reference and what were the objectives of this task force.
“Frankly, I don’t know how things happen that fast in Malaysia. To me it was quite a surprise. On the 8th day of July, 1MDB was raided. So there was a very clear series of actions which in my personal view appear co-ordinated and planned for certain objectives.
“Since then, the Wall Street Journal has published numerous articles. They have not shown proof although they have said in their articles that they’ve had access and copies of the Auditor-General’s Interim Report as well as the Lampiran or the Appendixes to that report, so they have said it. Financial Times have said it, Sarawak Report have said it, that all of them have had access…
“So, to me it raises a lot of concern on behalf of 1MDB because obviously information that we are submitting as part of an investigative process by lawful authority like Auditor-General or lawful authority like PAC seemingly obvious to have ended up in third party hands who are not lawful authorities and who have come up with their own conclusions on these items. So, I am in a difficult position because I’m negotiating with IPIC to settle our debt for asset swap. IPIC is very concerned with all these leaks of confidential documents which have compromised our negotiations and discussions.”
He dismissed WSJ report that Aabar Investments PJS Limited as unrelated to Aabar Investments PJS as “speculative newspaper article”.
The PAC meeting should summon Arul to explain why he had lied in denying that the British Virgin Islands-Aabar Investment PJS Limited was unrelated to Aabar Investments PJS in Abu Dhabi – which had been established in the London Stock Exchange statement on Monday – as well as to explain the rather revealing and incriminating statements in his long-winded and self-righteous preface, in particular when he said: “On the 4th of July a Special Task Force was set up which until today we don’t know who set it up, what were the terms of reference and what were the objectives of this task force.”
The PAC should ask Arul why he made such a statement, and establish whether there was a Special Task Force into the 1MDB, and even calling on the four Tan Sris who were supposed to sit on the Special Task Force to testify at the PAC – the then Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamad and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
Arul seems to suggest a massive conspiracy against 1MDB and the Prime Minister and the PAC should question him on these related issues, like the sacking of the then Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail and even the sacking of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The greatest importance of the PAC Report on 1MDB is that henceforth no one, whether in 1MDB or the Najib government, could dismiss the hosts of 1MDB scams, mismanagement, dubious loans and transactions in the past seven years and refuse to give accountability with the blanket excuse that they were “unverified” or “speculative” allegations as they have now all been admitted officially by the PAC Report on 1MDB which is dominated by a majority of BN MPs!
The BN Strategic Media Communications Director and Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan was self-righteous in asking why the Opposition PAC members had not submitted a “minority report” on the PAC findings on the 1MDB.
I think the five Opposition PAC Members were wise and right in not demanding to submit a “minority report” as such efforts would not only be aborted (why there has been no ‘minority report’ in Malaysian parliamentary history), even the PAC Report on 1MDB submitted on Thursday would not see the light of day on one ground or another, including the ridiculous “sub judice” argument.
It is now the UMNO/BN leadership who regret and rue the tabling of the PAC Report on 1MDB although it is not fully satisfactory.
I had said that PAC member Tony Pua was over-generous to give 80 marks to the PAC Report on 1MDB as I would give it at most 60 marks.
I believe that at least 40% of the first global scandal in the nation’s history has still to be disclosed, and the challenge of every patriotic Malaysian is to uncover the whole sordid tale of the RM50 billion 1MDB global scandal.
The PAC Report on the 1MDB is the first step, not the last lap, in unveiling the intricacies and complexities of the first Malaysian global scandal with global dimensions – as illustrated by IPIC statement to the London Stock Exchange.
As clearly stated by the joint statement on Tuesday by the five Opposition members on the PAC, PAC Chairman Datuk Hassan Arifin was wrong when he said the PAC found no evidence of wrongdoing and that no money went missing from 1MDB.
This is another reason why Hasan Arifin should convene an emergency meeting of the PAC – to establish whether it is Hasan or the five Opposition MPs on PAC who are guilty of misrepresenting what the PAC had decided in its report on the 1MDB.
In their joint statement, the five Opposition PAC MPs stressed that the PAC Report showed that billions of ringgit have flowed out from 1MDB and were unaccounted for.
They said: “As such, we urged the PAC chairperson to retract his statements because they are baseless, misrepresent PAC’s views and are lies.
“We hope the PAC chairperson is not abusing his position as the head of a parliamentary committee for the BN and PM Najib Abdul Razak’s political interests.”
Hasan cannot keep his silence on the joint statement by the five Opposition PAC members, who must be congratulated for signing the PAC Report so that Malaysian can see the “tip of the iceberg” of the 1MDB global scandal – as up to now, the powers-that-be had refused to admit that 1MDB represented any scandal at all, let alone a global scandal.