Last night, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak broke his silence on the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal which had been dogging him and his government for the past five months in an exclusive interview with UMNO media, conducted by Media Prima Bhd group managing editor of news and current affairs Mohd Ashraf Abdullah, the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd group managing editor Abdul Jalil Hamid and Utusan Group editor-in-chief Abdul Aziz Ishak.
Najib said that the donation of RM2.6 billion deposited into his account is neither from a public fund nor the government’s strategic investment company, 1MDB, that it was the donor’s wish that the funds were deposited into his account and that the donation was made in a personal capacity.
Najib’s explanation on the twin mega scandals leaves open a thousand-and-one other questions, but the most important issue is why Najib dared to explain about the RM2.6 billion “donation” and 1MDB twin mega scandals in a tame and orchestrated interview with UMNO media and at closed-door UMNO meetings but not in Parliament in the presence of Pakatan Harapan MPs and critics?
Why did Najib run away from Parliament on the last day of the budget Parliamentary meeting last Thursday, after fobbing off some 90 questions from Pakatan Harapan MPs in the 25-day parliamentary session with the promise right from the very first day of Parliament on Oct. 19 that all the questions about the twin mega scandals would be answered in “one go” on the last day of the Parliamentary meeting?
The “say nothing” three-minute Ministerial statement last Thursday by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi which threw no light whatsoever on the RM2.6 billion ‘donation” scandal is an eternal “black mark” on government accountability and transparency in Malaysian parliamentary history.
Why did Najib have no courage to stand up in Parliament to give a full and satisfactory accounting for the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal as well as the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal, but only the courage to talk about these two scandals at tame and controlled environments like the exclusive interview with UMNO media or at closed-door UMNO meetings?
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, subsequently told parliamentary reporters last Thursday that the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali had advised the Prime Minister against discussing the RM2.6 billion ‘donation’ scandal in Parliament, and if so, why did Najib disregard the Attorney-General’s advice in his interview with UMNO media and at closed-door UMNO meetings?
It is most regrettable that Apandi Ali has yet to confirm whether it is true that he had advised Najib against discussing the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal in Parliament on the ground that it would be “sub judice”, for if so, then Apandi Ali is not fit to be the chief legal officer of the land for his poor grasp of the law.
This is because the question of “sub judice” does not arise at all, as there is no court proceeding of RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal to bring about a “sub judice” situation, but only ongoing investigations into the issue, which cannot and does not invoke the “sub judice” rule.
Malaysians await an answer from both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, the former as to why he dared not explain the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal in Parliament but dared to do say in a tame and orchestrated interview with UMNO interview despite the Attorney-General’s advice, and the Attorney-General whether he had advised the Prime Minister against discussing the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal in Parliament on the ground of “sub judice” and what is his position on Najib’s interview on the twin mega scandals with UMNO media?
[Speech at the DAP Bukit Bendera “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” ceramah at Dewan Serbaguna Pasar Padang Tembak (Rifle Range), Penang on Tuesday, 8th December 2015 at 10 pm]