WRITING ON THE WALL FOR NAJIB: STUDENTS TELL 1MDB’S ARUL POINT-BLANK – ‘NO SPIN, WE WANT ANSWERS’
Several students at a Universiti Malaya (UM) town hall event with 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy last night stood up to call for answers on the 1MDB scandal.
As the event was wrapping up about 11.15pm, four students stood up in unison and held up their placards. Shouts of ‘Tangkap MO1’ can also be heard.
The placards read ‘Students want answers’, ‘1MDB don’t’ spin’, ‘1MDB – Return the people’s money’, and ‘1MDB – We want answers’.
However, the students were quickly set upon by several men who tore the placards away from them, and they received an immediate rebuke from the event’s host, Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz.
“I want to state, for the record, that this is uncivilised behaviour, and I hope this does not happen in future roadshows,” Tun Faisal said.
The closed-door event was organised by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s Special Affairs Department (Jasa), as part of Jasa’s ‘Jelajal Kampus’ series of roadshows.
Tun Faisal is a member of Jasa’s thinker’s panel.
At the very beginning of the townhall meeting, Arul Kanda denied that he was there to brainwash the students or convince them of any narrative.
Instead, he said, he was merely there to present a different point of view, and it is up to the students whether or not to accept it or to scrutinise it further.
During the event’s question-and-answer session, several students questioned the one-sided nature of the 1MDB affair.
‘Why wasn’t Tony Pua invited?’
One student raised issue with the fact that there is no one to ‘fact check’ what Arul Kanda was telling the students, while another asked why 1MDB critic and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua was not invited to debate with Arul Kanda.
Another student, in demanding for a balanced event, remarked, “If you print money only on one side but not the other, it is not valid”.
In response, Arul Kanda (photo) said he could not debate with Pua for the time being because of the ongoing dispute between the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and its subsidiary Aabar, against 1MDB and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.
The dispute is being arbitrated by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
He said Pua wanted to question 1MDB’s dealings with Aabar. However, 1MDB is bound by confidentiality obligations and publicity guidelines imposed by the LCIA. “So I was unable to accept his (Pua’s) challenge. God willing once the issue with IPIC is resolved, I will be able to have a public debate with whoever, on all those issues,” Arul Kanda said.
He said there was no need for a fact-checker as the students could check his statements by themselves on the Internet, and that there was no need for him to lie.
“There is no need to lie. There is only a need for people to manage perceptions and you will see what I am saying today are all facts,” he added.
Meanwhile, Tun Faisal said the platform was meant to give students themselves to direct questions at Arul Kanda.