Questions galore in people’s mind in the past 24 hours since news spread that 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)’s president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy and former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Halmi are playing truant from the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) hearing scheduled today.
Chief among these questions are:
1. Have Arul and Shahrol good reasons for playing truant from the scheduled PAC hearing on the 1MDB scandal today, when the duo had been given more than two weeks’ notice of the hearing?
2. If the PAC hearing scheduled today clashes with their important overseas appointments, why wasn’t the PAC informed immediately after they received the PAC requisition on May 6? PAC was only informed via a letter from the Finance Ministry on May 22 that the duo could not attend.
3. Where are Arul and Shahrol now overseas, and what are these important appointments they are attending, couldn’t these overseas appointments be rescheduled to give priority to their appearance before the PAC?
4. Did Najib as Prime Minister or Finance Minister have knowledge that the duo would play truant from the PAC hearing scheduled today, and did he, if not who, gave the ‘green-light” for the duo to play truant from the PAC hearing today?
5. Did Najib or the relevant Finance Ministry authority (give identity) ask the duo to reschedule their overseas appointment as their appearance before the PAC is more important so as to put to rest all doubts and queries about the 1MDB scandal as the biggest financial scandal in the country, and if not, why?
6. Did Najib, if not who, approve their “ponteng” today?
One would have thought that Najib, and in particular, the 1MDB Board, would have welcomed the PAC scheduled hearing today to put to rest all doubts and queries about integrity, transparency and good corporate governance which had been haunting the government’s “strategic development company” for the past five years, since the DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua fired the first of now almost-daily salvoes about the biggest financial scandal in the country since 2009.
This should especially the case as the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has stood his ground that the 1MDB scandal is the “last straw to break the camel’s back” and would cause the downfall of the UMNO/BN attack and the enlistment of the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir in the campaign to demand for answers as to 1MDB’s “missing RM27 billion” and Mahathir’s latest accusation that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had lied in his parliamentary answer and call for police criminal investigation about 1MDB’s US$1 billion deposit from Cayman Islands in a Singapore bank.
With such a background, 1MDB should be chasing the PAC for an early hearing to prove that it is the very model of corporate good governance instead of playing truant from a scheduled PAC hearing which it had notice of more than a fortnight.
All eyes will be on the Cabinet meeting this Friday, whether Ministers are prepared to accept collective responsibility for the 1MDB scandal and to demand answers for questions like the six above – and whether the 1MDB Board would be sacked and the police called in.
Regardless of whether the Cabinet is prepared to accept collective responsibility for the 1MDB scandal, the Malaysian taxpayers are entitled to an instant answer to these questions.
As the Finance Ministry has written to the PAC giving blessings to the two 1MDB executives playing truant from the PAC scheduled hearing today, the Finance Minister who is the Prime Minister or the second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Muhd Hanadzlah has to answer the above-mentioned questions.