Empire Strikes Back (Part IV) – is the script for 1MDB executives Arul and Shahrol to walk out of PAC hearings, probably escorted by Shafee as their counsel, and boycott of PAC proceedings on 1MDB on the ground that Tony Pua has not stepped down as PAC member?

The highly-paid Public Relations Consultants of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB (as Najib is both in law and fact the final approving authority of 1MDB) have gone into an overdrive of offensives since the arrest of former PetroSaudi International (PSI) IT executive, Xavier Andre Justo in Thailand six days ago for attempting to blackmail his former employer on leaked information.

One can already discern four chapters in “The Empire Strikes Back” offensives overdrive:

Chapter 1 – the arrest of the 49-year-old Justo, a Swiss national and former PSI IT executive at around 3 pm on Monday (June 22) at a house in Koh Samui, Thailand with computers, hard drives and other data storage devices.

Chapter 2 – Campaign of demonisation and character-assassination of Justo led by UMNO media like the New Straits Times portraying Justo as a “hedonistic” and “greedy” blackmailer with a photograph of him covered in tattoos on its front-page.

Chapter 3 – Vague and unsubstantiated allegations by Malaysian Cabinet Ministers of tampered leaked information about the 1MDB scandal and threats by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi against the media under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) for reporting “tampered” and inaccurate facts about the 1MDB scandal, again without any substantiation of these allegations.

Are we now in Chapter 4 of “The Empire Strikes Back”, featuring Najib’s choice prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who accomplished the mission to ensure that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison as a result of Anwar’s Sodomy II trial.

Is the script of Part IV of “The “Empire Strikes Back” for the 1MDB president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy and former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Halmi to walk out of Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings on 1MDB, probably escorted by Shafee as their counsel, and boycotting all PAC proceedings on 1MDB on the ground that DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua is “biased” and has not steppe down as PAC member?

If the 1MDB current and former executives walked out and boycotted PAC’s 1MDB hearings because the PAC is “biased” in having “biased” members like Tony Pua, it would provide an excellent precedent for Najib, though in law and fact the final approving authority for 1MDB, not to appear before the PAC to answer the thousand-and-one queries about the Prime Minister presiding over the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history.

The scenario of Arul and Shahrol walking out of PAC hearings on 1MDB, with Shafee in tow, setting the precedent for Najib’s boycott of PAC, flitted through my mind yesterday when I read about Shafee insisting that PAC members who continue to issue statements on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) be removed from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Why is 1MDB and Shafee (and of course their principal Najib) so afraid of Tony Pua’s membership of PAC to inquire into the 1MDB scandal, if 1MDB is a sterling example of Najib’s administration “Nothing2Hide” philosophy?

In fact, Najib, 1MDB and Shafee should welcome even more MPs like Tony Pua who have strong views but not a closed mind on 1MDB scandal, like PKR MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli, to come onboard the PAC hearing as “guest PAC members” to demonstrate that 1MDB has absolutely “Nothing2Hide” and is capable of winning over all MPs who are “doubting Thomases” with facts and figures.

What is the use of having a PAC stuffed with “Yes Men” on the 1MDB scandal whose finding would have no credibility whatsoever?

I am surprised that the BN Backbenchers Club Chairman Datuk Seri Shahrir Abdul Samad, a veteran Parliamentarian and former PAC Chairman, could be enlisted by Shafee to support the demand that Tony Pua should step down from PAC in the 1MDB hearing.

The PAC is appointed by Parliament to examine public accounts and to submit its report to Parliament.

Is Shahrir seriously suggesting that if the PAC report on the 1MDB scandal is debated in Parliament, Tony Pua and other MPs (from both sides of the House) who have critical views of the 1MDB scandal, should withdraw and not participate in the debate?

If not, what is the basis for the demand for Tony Pua to be removed from the PAC’s 1MDB hearing, when the PAC is neither judge, jury nor prosecutor, but a committee of Parliament to investigate and report on the 1MDB scandal?

Shahrir should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for joining in the Shafee, 1MDB and Najib chorus to demand that Tony be dropped from the PAC’s 1MDB hearing.

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