Has the end-game, however protracted, of the nation’s first global financial scandal – the RM50-55 billion 1MDB scandal – begun with the two-pronged crackdown by the
Swiss and Singapore authorities yesterday?
The two-pronged crackdown involved the closure of the Singapore branch of BSI, the commencement of criminal proceedings against the bank by the Swiss authorities over “money laundering and corruption” offences relating to suspected embezzlement of US$4 billion from 1MDB and the liquidation of the 143-year-old Swiss bank.
In Malaysia, however, all that the government investment arm 1MDB could say in a statement is that “it had not been contacted by any foreign lawful authority on matters relating to the company”.
Nothing could be more surreal than this response from 1MDB – suggesting that while over half a dozen countries are not only investigating, but beginning to commence criminal proceedings, against institutions and individuals for money laundering and embezzlement of 1MDB funds of at least US$4 billion, 1MDB as the company directly involved, is claiming that there had been no such embezzlement at all!
1MDB is creating world history as a company which is the subject of investigation by half a dozen foreign countries involving multi-billion ringgit money-laundering and global corruption but which is strenuously denied by both the company and its government.
Has there been any such a case, where a company is being investigated for multi-billion ringgit money laundering and global corruption by half a dozen foreign countries, but which is strenuously denied by the company affected and its government?
On this score, we must be the first in the world.
Fortuitously, there is a news report today that the Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah had sent a message to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, that complacency had led Malaysia to trail other Asian countries.
Mohd Irwan said:
“We could have contributed to become the leader in Asia, number one, beating the Koreans (but) because we were complacent and we don’t have the hunger (we fell behind).”
He told a forum titled ‘The Talk: Inspiring Today’s Talent’ in Cyberjaya that he had advised the prime minister on the need to focus on youths in order to achieve a high-income nation status.
Mohd Irwan warned that the country would continue to stagnate if it does not move forward.
“Indonesia and Vietnam are going to overtake us, like what Korea did in the 70’s.”
He said another way for Malaysia to “go back to the limelight of being number one in Asia” is for everyone to work together.
What Mohd Irwan said is very true and right, in fact the very message that Pakatan Harapan leaders, in particular Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, have been stressing to all Malaysians – that instead of becoming world-class, we are being overtaken by other countries which had been more backward and more undeveloped than us in the past.
Malaysia is now in the global limelight of being number one – but for all the wrong reasons.
An example is the 1MDB global scandal, which has catapulted Malaysia into the forefront of the world as one of the top ten countries infamous for global corruption.
Let Mohd Irwan advise the Prime Minister who is also the Finance Minister that Malaysia must not be in the world limelight for the wrong reasons, and the first thing to do is to bring the 1MDB global scandal to a close, not by trying to sweep things under carpet, which is impossible in a global society in the information age, but by immediately setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to delve into both Najib’s RM50-55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” mega scandals.
Only then can Malaysia start the journey to be great again!