DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua is over-generous to give 80 marks to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on 1MDB as I would give it at most 60 marks.
1MDB was so vexed by Tony’s remark that he was 80 per cent satisfied with the PAC Report that it lost it sense of rationality and propriety and hit out with a media statement entitled: ‘You can’t be 80% pregnant, Pua”.
Among the most incisive of the mountain of adverse comments to 1MDB’s “80% pregnant” statement was the one which said that the “rhetoric coming from a very ‘professional’ company shows its childishness and makes you wonder how such people can be entrusted to run multi-billion company”!
There are many reasons why I would give the PAC Report on 1MDB at most 60 marks.
Firstly, for giving the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and UMNO/BN leaders and propagandists the opportunity to distort its findings by claiming that the PAC Report on 1MDB had exonerated the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak of wrongdoings and abuses of power in the first global scandal in the nation’s history.
The latest person to distort the finding of the PAC Report on 1MDB is none other than the UMNO Secretary-General and Federal Territories Minister, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who said yesterday that the PAC Report proved that Najib had been the victim of various slanders for the past two years.
He even said that the PAC Vice Chairman, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, who is also DAP MP for Kepong, had “admitted” that the Prime Minister was not involved at all in what had transpired in the 1MDB.
Tengku Adnan is trying to put words into Seng Giaw’s mouth, for Seng Giaw told me that he never said that Najib was not involved in any wrongdoing in 1MDB.
As Seng Giaw repeated in Malaysiakini yesterday, he did not defend Najib or cleared him of any wrongdoing, as what he said was that the PAC report did not directly involved Najib as responsible for the 1MDB scandal.
Secondly, for failing to summon important witnesses to the PAC for its inquiry into 1MDB, in particular business tycoon Low Taek Jho although the PAC under former Chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad had decided on July 24 last year that Low Taek Jho should appear before it on Sept. 8 to testify on the 1MDB scandal.
Furthermore, Hasan’s PAC has also no interest in summoning the Prime Minister to testify before the PAC, although Nur Jazlan had said on record that he would summon the Prime Minister as witness before the PAC “if necessary”.
Other important key witnesses who were not summoned to appear before the PAC, rendering the PAC Report on 1MDB faulty and most flawed include the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the Chief Commissioner for MACC, Tan Sri Abu Kassim, the MACC director (special operations) Bahri Mohamed Zin, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and the former Special Branch deputy director Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador.
Thirdly, the PAC Report on 1MDB evaded the “elephant” in the room and focused on secondary and even tertiary issues and questions.
For instance, the PAC Report states that the management structure of 1MDB is divided into three tiers, the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and Top Management.
This is both incorrect and misleading.
As the Treasury secretary-general Irawan Serigar Mohamad told the PAC on 19th May 2015, the 1MDB’s Board of Advisers had never held a single meeting although the 1MDB Advisory Board, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, contains “big names” like the Chief Secretary to Government, Treasury Secretary-General, Vice Chairman of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Petronas Chairman.
In fact, the role of the Ministry of Finance over the affairs of its subsidiary 1MDB was so pathetic that Irwan admitted to the PAC on 19th May 2015 that it was sidelined and did not know about 1MDB operations at all, and only “read (about) it all in the newspapers”.
However, by virtue of Article 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M & A), which requires all major decisions of the company involving financial commitment (including investment) and restructuring to have the written authorization from the Prime Minister, it is the Prime Minister who is the most important player in 1MDB, exceeding the role of the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management all added together.
There are in fact four tiers of management authority in 1MDB, namely the Prime Minister by virtue of Article 117 of 1MDB M&A, , the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the Top Management, with the Prime Minister in overall direct control of 1MDB – and not just three tiers as stated by the PAC.
Arising from Article 117, the person who must bear the greatest responsibility for 1MDB must be the Prime Minister, who exercises direct control over 1MDB as all important investment and restructuring decisions of 1MDB requires his written authorization.
The PAC has recommended that the 1MDB former chief executive officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and others in the management should be held responsible for the weaknesses in the administration of the state-owned fund.
Shahrol and others in the 1MDB management are not without responsibility for the 1MDB becoming a global scandal for Malaysia, but it is totally against all sense of fair play and justice to make Shahrol and others in the 1MDB management solely responsible for the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal when it is evident from Article 117 that Shahrol and others in the management could only be scapegoats when greater forces were at work causing the global scandal.
If Shahrol is so guilty of everything that had gone wrong in 1MDB, why was he not only CEO of 1MDB in the company’s early years, but remain a member of the 1MDB Board of Directors from its inception in 2009 until now?
Why is the PAC Report just urging the enforcement agency to probe Shahrol and other management and not to go further back in authority, especially in the light of Article 117 of the 1MDB M & A?
I have invited the PAC Chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin to a public forum next Wednesday on “Has the PAC Report on 1MDP exonerated Prime Minister Najib from wrongdoings in RM50 billion 1MDB scandal?” if he insists that the PAC Report on 1MDB exonerates Najib from any wrongdoing or abuse of power in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.
There are two issues here.
The first question is whether Hasan still insists that the PAC Report on 1MDB exonerates Najib from any wrongdoing or abuse of power in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal, when the PAC Report has done nothing of this nature.
The second question is whether he dares to accept the invitation to a public forum, which will be held in Shah Alam, if he insists that the PAC Report had exonerated Najib from any wrongdoing or abuse of power in the 1MDB scandal.
The ball is in Hasan’s court.
(Speech at the DAP “Pantang Undur – Berani Kerana Benar” kopitiam ceramah in his visit to 101st parliamentary constituency in Kepala Batas on Sunday 10th April 2018 at 9 am)