In his 2016 New Year Message, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his RM2.6 billion donation and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals had been resolved and were no more issues in the country.
How wrong the Prime Minister had been.
Every day since the New Year’s Day for the past week, Najib’s twin mega scandals had hogged the news headlines, and there was not a single day when there were no multiple news items on the issue, especially on the Internet.
In fact, no other news story in the country could compete with Najib’s twin mega scandals in terms of their daily coverage, durability and newsworthiness.
It is not for nothing that Najib’s twin mega scandals were the reasons why Malaysia was ranked third for the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” by ForeignPolicy website of Washington Post.
Najib’s twin mega scandals have repeatedly made history, though not of the sublime or honourable kind.
Apart from going international in catapulting Malaysia into third place as the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015”, they were featured prominently in today’s launch of the Legal Year 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, highlighted not only by the Bar Council President Steven Thiru but also by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali.
Steven Thiru, representing the views of the Malaysian Bar that included representatives from the Sabah Law Association and the Advocates Association of Sarawak, demanded a stop to attacks on key institutions investigating the 1MDB scandal and called for them to continue their probe without interference while Mohd Apandi gave the lame answer that there was no interference in the investigations into 1MDB.
A most apt response by Malaysians would be to ask Mohd Apandi to “tell it to the marines”!
Apandi’s continued pretence that there had been no interference in the investigations into the 1MDB flies in the face of reality and does not sit well with his appointment as Attorney-General, which came about as a result of the sudden and shocking sacking of his predecessor, Tan Sri Gani Patail on “Day of Long Knives” on July 28 last year, when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched his “purge” of the government involving the sacking of Gani Patail as Attorney-General, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Minister for Rural and Regional Minister and the subsequent purges and punitive actions against recalcitrant key officers in various government investigating/enforcement agencies.
How can Apandi glibly claim that there had been no interference in the investigations into 1MDB when he could not explain the following events:
*the sudden and shocking sacking of Gani as Attorney-General when he was some three months before his compulsory retirement while the “health” reason given for Gani’s “sacking” was a most spurious one which no one believed;
*the dissolution of the multi-agency Special Task Force into the 1MDB headed by Gani as Attorney-General and comprising the Bank Negara Governor, the Inspector-General of Police and the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission;
*the sabotage for over three months of the investigation by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into the 1MDB by the removal of the Chairman and three other members of the PAC by the expedient of appointing them as Minister and Deputy Ministers;
*the sudden transfer or arrest of key officers in Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Police, Bank Negara and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission involved in 1MDB investigations which, as Thiru described correctly , were “a subversion of the administration of justice”.
This is why Malaysians are entitled to ask: Who are Tan Sri Mohd Apandi bluffing when he had not been able to give any cogent or satisfactory response to Thiru’s serious charge that 2015 had seen challenges faced by a number of institutions investigating the 1MDB scandal.
Nobody expects Mohd Apandi to answer for the derailment of the PAC investigations into the 1MDB for over three months until the appointment of a “cari makan” PAC Chairman or my six-month suspension from Parliament for basically pursuing and demanding an answer fron Najib to the question, “Mana RM2.6 billion?” but he must answer for the other clear instances of interferences with the investigations into the 1MDB scandal, which came within the purview and jurisdiction of the AG Chambers.
Apandi’s excuse of the difficulty faced by his chambers in balancing confidentiality and public policy cannot apply to his failure to give a satisfactory accounting for the government’s serious lapses in good governance in the investigation into 1MDB – why Gani was sacked as Attorney-General; why he was appointed and agreed to be a party to the serious misgovernance in the sacking of Gani; why he did not follow up immediately on the actions proposed to be taken by the multi-agency Special Task Force headed by Gani on 1MDB; whether there was any truth that the Attorney-General’s Chambers were preparing charges of corruption against the Prime Minister when Najib launched his government “purge” with the sacking of Gani as Attorney-General and Muhyiddin as Deputy Prime Minister; why the dissolution of the Special Task Force on 1MDB; the reasons for the arrests and punitive actions against key officers in the various government investigation/enforcement agencies; and most important of all, why no action had been taken despite the gargantuan 1MDB “debt hole” of RM42 billion according to audited accounts at end of March 2014 but believed to have mushroomed to some RM55 billion before the 1MDB “rationalisaiton” in November last year with the sale of its various assets.
Apandi was proud that he had passed the test of his first 100 days as Attorney-General.
This is Apandi’s own assessment, which is of course not the most accurate or reliable as a person cannot be his own judge.
I doubt Apandi would pass a public opinion poll whether he had acquitted himself well in his first 100 days.
Would Apandi dare to have Parliament debate a motion on his first 100 days as Attorney-General?
Apandi had failed his first 100 days not only in the handling of Najib’s twin mega scandals, in particular over the sacking of Gani and his own appointment, he should also give a full accounting for his major lapses and misjudgements, including:
*the slew of arrests and prosecutions of Members of Parliament, Opposition leaders and social activists under a variety of draconian laws, including invoking SOSMA when Parliament had been given an assurance that such draconian measures were aimed only against terrorists; and
*the most pernicious and iniquitous legislation in the form of the National Security Council Bill which usurped the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet, the Sarawak and Sabah State Governments as promised in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the 11 State Governments in Peninsular Malaysia, paving the way for a Prime Ministerial dictatorship!
As the Prime Minister’s chief legal officer, Apandi should advise Najib not to procrastinate and prevaricate any further, further advise the Prime Minister that his New Year Message that the twin mega scandals are no more issues among Malaysians was just an empty pipe-dream as they remain as real and even bigger than ever, and that he should make a clean breast by giving a full and satisfactory accounting of the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals before the Special Parliament on TPPA on January 26 or 27, or the Prime Minister’s credibility will not be able to be redeemed at all.
(Speech at the DAP Kuching Dinner on Friday, 8th January 2016 at 9 pm)