Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “Nothing2Hide” forum scheduled this morning has infamously boomeranged into a Public Relations disaster and its time the Prime Minister have a “tell all” session in Parliament to demonstrate that he has really nothing to hide in the RM42 billion scandal.
Never before in the nation’s history has the Prime Minister become the butt of national jokes, to the extent that Najib’s failure to show up at the 1MDB “Nothing2Hide” forum this morning has become an instant and foremost national news, overshadowing all other developments in the country, including the worst earthquake which hit Ranau and Mount Kinabalu areas this morning and the PAS Muktamar in Kuala Selangor.
In one fell swoop, the painstakingly-orchestrated and highly-funded campaign to present Najib as the most popular Prime Minister in the nation’s history, and in the process, to claim that he has popular endorsement for his controversial handling of the RM42 billion 1MBD scandal, has been destroyed by the farce of Najib’s “no show” on the grounds of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s tweet directive to cancel the forum – after it was known to all that former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir would be at the forum.
It does not speak well for Najib’s “Bugis warrior spirit” or the Royal Malaysian Police’s prowess and professionalism that it could not ensure order and security in an indoor dialogue involving some 1,500 people.
Nobody believes that the last-minute cancellation of the 1MDB “Nothing2Hide” forum has anything to do with order and security – but everything to do with Najib’s political security.
Najib had hidden from the Cabinet and Parliament for six years that he is the final approving authority for 1MDB deals, enabling him to avoid accountability and responsibility since 2009 by pretending that he was not involved in the 1MDB deals, transactions and investments.
Now that the second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadszlah has finally admitted over TV on Wednesday night – a secret kept from Cabinet and Parliament for past six years – that Najib is not only the Chairman of the 1MDB Advisory Board but under the 1MDB Memorandum & Articles of Association agreement, the final approving authority for any 1MDB deal since 2009, Najib must “tell all” in Parliament about his personal responsibility for 1MDB ballooning to become the country’s biggest financial scandal.
Najib cannot delegate his responsibility to account to Parliament and the nation why 1MDB has ballooned to become a RM42 billion scandal in six years to Husni as it is Najib and not Husni who is the final approving authority for 1MDB.
However, Husni has also many things to answer for as he has made numerous astounding statements in his TV interview, since his appointment as Cabinet spokesman on 1MDB.
For instance, Husni said in his TV interview that 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy skipped the Public Accounts Committee hearing on 1MDB on May 25 because he had a prior appointment in Abu Dhabi to secure funds for 1MDB to meet its debt obligations.
What then was the reason for Arul’s predecessor, Datuk Shahrol Ibrahim Halmi to “ponteng” from the PAC meeting? Did Shahrol accompany Arul to Abu Dhabi to secure US$1 billion from Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) to repay early the US$975 million loan that was due in August to avoid the cross default of the entirety of its RM42 billion in debt that would have occurred should the consortium of banks declare 1MDB to be delinquent?
Husni’s TV interview is a bundle of contradictions and a great play of words, especially in his claim that the 1MDB Roadmap approved by the Cabinet on May 29 was only a rationalisation and restructuring exercise for 1MDB assets, and were not efforts to “save” the controversy and debt-laden company or government.
Arul has denied that IPIC’s US$1 billion in the 1MDB Roadmap was “a loan, debt or bailout”.
Do the Cabinet Ministers know what is this US$1 billion “animal” which is not “a loan, debt or bailout” – and can Husni explain why the three-hour briefing for Cabinet Ministers on 1MDB was held four days after the Cabinet had approved the 1MDB Roadmap on May 29, and not before?
Are Najib and Husni prepared to be grilled by MPs when Parliament resumes on Monday on the 1MDB scandal by way of special debate on the 1MDB?
This will be the greatest test whether Najib really has Nothing2Hide on the 1MDB scandal.
(Speech at the Stulang DAP Dinner in Johor Baru on Friday, 5th June 2015 at 9pm)