When DAP PJ Utara Member of Parliament and Public Accounts Committee, Tony Pua, spoke just now about the failures of the various national institutions in the 1MDB scandal, whether Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara, the Police, Attorney-General’s Chambers or even the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), I thought about the three-day interrogation spanning some 23 hours of the Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng by MACC officers in connection with the corruption allegations about his RM2.8 million bungalow.
If Najib is given the same MACC treatment as Guan Eng in connection with the corruption allegation for his RM2.8 million bungalow, the Prime Minister would be questioned 12.3 years for his RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal.
This is because Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal is 1,500 times bigger than Guan Eng’s RM2.8 million bungalow allegation, and if Najib is given the same MACC treatment as Guan Eng where the Penang Chief Minister was questioned for three days, Najib will have to be questioned 1,500 x 3 days, yielding 4,500 days. This works out to 12.3 years – imagine Najib going in and out of MACC office to be questioned for 12 years and four months, from wake up in the morning to retirement for sleep at night, and doing nothing else!
Another panelist, journalist P. Gunasegaram spoke about the 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption offences being instituted in foreign countries, and how it is most surreal that in Malaysia, we continue the pretense that these almost daily 1MDB developments all over the world do not exist.
This seems to be the success of the global cover-up of the 1MDB global financial scandal, but it is something which is not sustainable and cannot last.
I am reminded of the month of July last year, which started with the Wall Street Journal expose on July 2 on the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts, and the ensuing three- weeks of stirring developments as if the the rule of law will prevail in the country, with the Special Task Force on the 1MDB launching raids on the 1MDB offices, coupled with feverish rumours on the grapevine that Najib’s days were numbered, and that the Prime Minister was going to be charged in court and would have to step down from the highest office of the land.
I was very skeptical at the time about these rumours on the grapevine in the Federal capital, as I asked myself how come the Prime Minister did not know his days were numbered when everyone was talking about it, and if he knew about it why was he so inert and not taking pre-emptive measures?
The mystery was resolved on July 27, when the “Empire struck back” – and the Deputy Prime Minister, a Senior Cabinet Minister and the Attorney-General were summarily sacked from office, the PAC investigations into 1MDB halted in its tracks when the PAC Chairman and four PAC members promoted to the Executive, leading to nine days of chaos in the various enforcement and investigative agencies when top officers were arrested, transferred with immediate effect or generally intimidated and silenced. The appointment of a new Attorney-General ensured that the Prime Minister need not worry about being stabbed from the back by his own government.
Apparently, Najib knew of the “hostile” moves against him and was biding his time until he launched “the Empire strikes back” operation on July 27.
I asked Clare Brown of Sarawak Report who appeared on Skype just now from Spain whether she would be prepared to accept an invitation from the Public Accounts Committee to come to Malaysia to give testimony on the 1MDB if the PAC can assure her of immunity during her stay in Malaysia.
Clare gave a guarded answer, doubting whether she could be assured of full immunity during her return to Malaysia to testify before the PAC, but generally, she seemed prepared to do so if the government of Malaysia can give her concrete guarantees about her immunity.
As I said at the Skype conversation just now, lets leave it to the PAC Chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin to pursue this matter further.
With actions and investigations by some seven countries into the 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption offences, there should a Royal Commission of Inquiry to get to the bottom of Najib’s twin mega scandals.
But Najib’s henchmen had been quite successful in sweeping the 1MDB scandal under the carpet, involving all three branches of government – executive, legislative and judiciary.
In these circumstances, serious thought must be given whether it is possible to have a Civil Society Tribunal on the 1MDB scandal, involving international stakeholders as money-laundering and corruption as global crimes are receiving greater international attention and joint action.
Can the Colloquium on 1MDB scandal in Sungai Besar today and in Kuala Kangsar tomorrow lead to the establishment of an International Tribunal on the 1MDB scandal?
(Speech when closing the 1MDB Colloquium in Sekinchan on Saturday, 11th June 2016 at 1 pm)