Let us give the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who is former university lecturer, the benefit of the doubt that he had neither the time nor opportunity to read the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 136-page civil suits filed four days ago under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 to confiscate over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States as to make such a “irresponsible”, “outrageous”, “desperate” and “embarrassing” statement (terms rightly used by PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya) that the DOJ legal suits were a “normal matter”.
Let Shabery read and digest what are in the DOJ’s 136-page legal suits for civil forfeiture against assets allegedly bought with money looted from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.
The DOJ said that more than US$3.5 billion (RM14.2 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB but the forfeiture action targeted about US1 billion in assets located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland which include mansions and penthouses, a US$35 million executive jet and artwork.
The DOJ said the assets are “traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB.”
Let Shabery read the DOJ’s legal suits and then declare whether he would stand by what he had said, that US DOJ’s civil forfeiture actions seeking to impound assets acquired from funds allegedly embezzled from government investment arm 1MDB is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the Malaysian government.
Shabery had said: “What happened is a normal matter in the country’s administration. In fact, we have been faced with a situation which is bigger, like the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal.”
The various Cabinet Ministers who have publicly commented on the US DOJ civil suits in the past three days have no impressed Malaysians of their patriotism, love of the country or intellectual depth.
We should give all Ministers the benefit of the doubt that they had not fully read, digested or understood the “tales of infamy and hosts of horrors” about massive and monstrous global theft, embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption of the 1MDB funds of the Malaysian people contained in the DOJ’s 136-page legal action when some of them made half-cocked or other embarrassing comments.
All the Ministers should read the DOJ’s 136-page legal action and put it as the top item of Cabinet agenda on Wednesday, 27th July 2016, and take a decision as to what the Cabinet should do on the United States DOJ legal suits – putting national interests above all other interests whether personal, party and coalition.