If Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is granted the proverbial “three wishes”, one of them will be to wish that the RM55 billion 1MDB global scandal which includes his RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal would be buried long and deep and would not continue to hound and haunt him almost on a daily basis.
There is hardly a day where there is no news on one aspect or other on the 1MDB scandal.
Yesterday for instance, there were at least three news items on the 1MDB scandal, starting early in the morning with the Bloomberg report that “1MDB scandal taking toll on Malaysian stock market as foreigners sell”, followed up by the Finance Ministry announcement of the replacement of the 1MDB Board of Directors to pave the way for the dissolution of the national sovereign fund and thirdly, the opening of the Official Secrets Act trial of the PKR MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli.
The triple items served as yesterday’s daily reminder to Malaysians that despite all Najib’s greatest efforts to sweep the issue under the carpet, the 1MDB scandal, which has catapulted Malaysia to the top of the world as one of the leading nations notorious for global corruption, will not go away – whether inside the country or in the world as illustrated by the recent world-wide crackdowns against IMDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption in Singapore and Switzerland.
The three news items raised many questions about the 1MDB global financial scandal, for instance:
• The adverse effects on the Malaysian economy and competitiveness as reflected by Malaysia falling to the worst ranking in the seven-year Najib premiership in the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2016, when Malaysia is ranked No 19 when in 2010 Malaysia was ranked in tenth position;
• The failure of the authorities to fully implement the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendations on 1MDB, especially calling for investigations into the founding managing director and CEO of 1MDB Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi for responsibility for the RM55 billion scandal.
• The undermining of doctrine of separation of powers and continued subordination of Parliament to Executive control as the Auditor-General final report on 1MDB had not been tabled in Parliament or made public despite clear-cut promises by the PAC Chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin and the Najib government that the Auditor-General’s Report would be made public in Parliament.
• The abuse and misuse of Offficial Secrets Act to cover up serious breaches of criminal trust and malpractices in government.
Recently, Bank Negara Malaysia has a new governor, Datuk Mohammad Ibrahim who first action raised the question whether Malaysia has a central bank governor who like, the Prime Minister, has lost the moral compass of able to distinguish right from wrong, and to discern the proper priorities of his duties and responsibilities.
I still cannot get over the very disturbing image of the new Bank Negara Governor’s first important act was to lodge a police report against Wall Street Journal (WSJ) under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for revealing a letter from Bank Negara to the PAC Chairman Hasan Arifin stating that the beneficial owner of Good Star Limited, the “genesis” of the 1MDB global scandal, was Penang billionaire Jho Low.
As if the new Bank Negara governor regarded lodging a police report against WSJ as his most important first job, when it should be how to bring a proper closure to the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal with the global crackdown by other monetary authorities against 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption offences!
I am still waiting for Mohammad’s answer the questions:
(1) Why has Bank Negara closed its case against 1MDB, at a time when global monetary watch-dogs as in Singapore and Switzerland have just started to take action against money-laundering and other corruption offences related to 1MDB?
(2) Where is Bank Negara’s much touted transparency and accountability when it refuses to reveal what was the compound fine which had been paid in full by 1MDB for failing to comply with Bank Negara directives issued under the Financial Services Act 2013 which, among others, include a requirement for 1MDB to repatriate US$1.8 billion (about RM7.76 billion) of its funds remitted abroad following the revocation of the three permissions granted by Bank Negara to 1MDB in 2009, 2010 and 2011?
(3) Why is Bank Negara keeping its compound fines on 1MDB secret, when everybody knows that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had imposed a fine of S$13.3 million on the Singapore branch of BSI for 41 breaches of its requirements while the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) had ordered the “disgorgement” of “illegally generated profits” of US$95.6 million from BSI, apart from the separate orders of the Singapore and Swiss financial authorities for the closure of the Singapore branch of BSI and the 143-year-old mother bank in Switzerland?
(4) Has Bank Negara given a new deadline for 1MDB to repatriate RM7.76 billion of its funds remitted abroad or does the payment of the compound fine by 1MDB means that 1MDB need not bring back RM7.76 billion of its funds remitted illegally abroad?
It is no exaggeration to say that never before in the nation’s 59-year history since Merdeka in 1957 has the country been so continuously and relentlessly bombarded by the variegated developments and angles of the 1MDB scandal, on a daily basis, and there are no signs that such bombardment will end any time soon.
It is also no exaggeration to say that no single financial scandal in the nation’s history had been so complex and complicated for the layman to fully understand as the 1MDB global financial scandal.
A Colloquium on the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal should be held separately in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, where by-elections will be held, for Malaysians to understand all the complexity of the 1MDB scandal and how Malaysia had been catapulted to be among the world’s top nations notorious for global corruption.
Let all Malaysians who are concerned and have views on the 1MDB global financial scandal gather together at these two 1MDB Colloquiums to collectively explore as to what ordinary Malaysians should do about the nation’s first global financial scandal, which has refused to be swept under the carpet by Najib.