Is there a Cabinet Minister who is courageous, public-spirited and patriotic enough to suggest at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow that Datuk Seri Najib Razak should take leave as Prime Minister until the growing number of scandals involving 1MDB, Felda Global Venture (FGV), Tabung Haji and now MARA are resolved?
The unusual spectacle of the Prime Minister taking to tweets to protest that certain media had twisted the remarks by the MARA Chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa that he had approved the MARA purchase of the five-storey Dudley International House apartment block in Melbourne in 2013 has raised even more questions about the Najib premiership – including whether Najib was personally sending out the tweets or whether it was being handled by his grossly-overpaid but misguided “Public Relations” consultants.
I have closely listened to the video recording of Annuar’s press conference statement and I do not think it is fair on the Prime Minister’s part to blame any media for highlighting that Najib had personally approved the MARA acquisition of the Dudley House apartment block in Melbourne.
May be the Prime Minister and his grossly-overpaid Public Relations consultants would like to consider hosting a meeting of all journalists in the country, whether print or online and embracing all languages, and asking them to vote by secret ballot whether Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider had twisted Annuar’s statement when they chose the headline “Najib luluskan” (Najib approved) on the MARA purchase of the Melbourne property.
In tweets posted yesterday via his handle @NajibRazak, the Prime Minister said the Economic Council had decided by consensus to buy Dudley House in Melbourne.
Is Najib trying to disclaim personal responsibility for the approval given to the acquisition of the Dudley House apartment block in Melbourne, saying that the blame, if any, should be borne by the Economic Council and not by him, even though he is Finance Minister as well as Prime Minister?
In any event, who were on the Economic Council which decided “by consensus” to approve the MARA purchase of the Melbourne property, as everyone of them should now come forward and explain why they had agreed to the MARA purchase of the Melbourne property which has turned out to be an embarrassing scam as well as an international corruption scandal for MARA and Malaysia?
Why is Najib suddenly so sensitive about the Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider headlines that he had approved the MARA deal for the Dudley House apartment block in Melbourne?
May be the apparitions of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal are at play.
It was only three weeks ago that the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah, suddenly pushed to the forefront as the Cabinet spokesman on the 1MDB scandal, ended the six-year pretence and admitted in his TV1 interview on “1MDB: Di mana wangnya” on 3rd June 2015 that Najib is the final approving authority for all 1MDB decisions in law and in fact – not only because 1MDB is a government company and as the Prime Minister as well as Finance Minister he must accept full and final responsibility for all of 1MDB actions but also responsible in fact, because under Clause 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association Agreement (M&A), the Prime Minister must give his written approval for any of 1MDB deals, including the firm’s investments or any bid for restructuring.
Is Najib trying subtly to redefine the meaning of being the “final approving authority “who must give “written approval” for any 1MDB deals, so as to mean that the “final approving authority” is after all, not the final person responsible? What gobbledygook!
President Truman of the United States is famous for having on his desk in his White House office a walnut-based painted glass sign “The Buck Stops Here.” is Najib going to be infamous by having a sign on his Prime Ministerial desk in Sri Perdana declaring “Pass The Buck!”?
I had expected Tan Sri Datuk Seri Annuar Musa to resign as MARA Chairman to take responsibility for MARA’s property scam in Melbourne which has disgraced MARA and the country with an international scandal so as to pioneer a culture of responsibility for government leaders and captains of statutory boards and corporations in Malaysia.
After all, Annuar is famous for his oratorical flourish: “It is not that I love Tun Mahathir less, but I love UMNO more”!
It is time for Annuar to prove that he is capable of an even greater oratorical flourish, declaring that he is first and last a Malaysian patriot with the immortal words: “It is not that I love UMNO less, but I love Malaysia more”!
Annuar should know that even if the MARA scam had been approved by Najib, whether Economic Council or Finance Ministry, he cannot shirk from his responsibility for the Melbourne scam as MARA Chairman.
Annuar’s claim that MARA was not aware of the kickbacks and inflated price for Dudley House as reported by The Age, although committed by a subsidiary firm, Mara Inc Sdn Bhd, can be no defence or exculpatory factor for Annuar as MARA Chairman from taking responsibility for the MARA corruption scandal.
The Australian paper had reported that Mara officials had used government funds to bid up the price for the Melbourne apartment block from A$17.8 million (RM51.5 million) to A$22.5 million (RM65 million).
The extra A$4.75 million (RM13.7 million) was allegedly sent back to Malaysia as kickbacks.
It does not speak well of MARA or Annuar’s professionalism or competence that they have to wait for the expose of The Age before bestirring themselves on the issue.
Annuar’s claim that “To the best of our knowledge at that point of time the value was much higher, the value by international valuers was much higher and we bought at a lower value” has compounded public disappointment with the MARA Council Chairman and Members, establishing that they are not fit and qualified to be vested with the national trust of directing and managing MARA’s mission and funds.
Why have all those named and involved in the MARA Inc. corruption in connection with Dudley House scam, bringing shame to MARA and Malaysia, not been suspended from their posts immediately?