MP SPEAKS The time has come for the Najib Abdul Razak government to act with dignity, decorum and honour and end all pretences and charade over the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit to forfeit US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from over US$3 billion of multi-billion dollar international kleptocratic conspiracy of embezzlement and money-laundering of 1MDB funds.
In its latest propaganda campaign to go into the offensive to counter the long-standing blaze of adverse international publicity over the 1MDB scandal, the government propaganda arm, the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) of the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, has launched an initiative to reach out to university students both at home and internationally.
This surreptitious Jasa campaign went to Australia last week to influence Malaysian students in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, but this was discovered by the Australian media, although Australian reporters were barred from the ‘private’ 1MDB briefings organised by Jasa which featured 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy.
The Australian Business Review, in its report ‘Malaysia’s 1MDB in university hard sell’ on Nov 15, 2016, said Arul, when confronted by the media at the University of NSW, refused to answer questions about “the alleged corruption, including the funnelling of hundreds of millions of dollars into the personal bank account of Mr Najib Razak” and “was quickly ushered into a waiting car”.
The Australian Business Review, which said that a glossy 20-page booklet entitled ‘DOJ’s summons is questionable’ was distributed at the Jasa briefings, reported:
“The unsigned pamphlet also attempts to cast doubt that Mr Najib is the person referred to in DOJ court filings as ‘Malaysian Official 1’ and in the Malaysian media as ‘MO1’, and who is identified as the beneficiary of much of the brazen theft from 1MDB via an account at AmBank.
“’DOJ did not name MO1 because the complaint that was made did not contain information and evidence to link MO1 with any assets and criminal wrongdoing such as was mentioned in the report,” it claims.
“But Malaysia’s Housing Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan in an interview with the BBC in September admitted Mr Najib was ‘MO1’.”
I urge Communications and Multimedia Minister Mohd Salleh Mohd Keruak to make public the Jasa booklet entitled ‘DOJ’s summons is questionable’ or is it a tendentious, scurrilous and disreputable publication which cannot stand public scrutiny and can only bring further shame and humiliation to the Najib government?
One of the greatest mysteries of the long-running 1MDB scandal is the admission by the Barisan Nasional strategic communications director and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Rahman Dahlan during a BBC interview on Sept 1, 2016 that the ‘Malaysian Official 1' (MO1) mentioned 36 times in the US DOJ’s largest kleptocratic lawsuit to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland was none other than Najib himself!
Was Abdul Rahman authorised by Najib to make such an admission or was it an egregious faux pas or extraordinary slip-of-tongue, caused either by Abdul Rahman’s sheer naivety or terrible ego in wanting to show that he is privy to a lot of state secrets?
I would think it is the latter rather than the former, for otherwise, there is no reason why Najib should not follow up logically by owning up publicly that ‘MO1' is meant to refer only to him!
I have been pondering as what could be the rationale behind the unprecedented and atrocious ruling by the speaker, Pandikar Amin Mulia, banning all question, debate and discussion in Parliament about the US DOJ lawsuit on the forfeiture of US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets on the ridiculous and perverted ground of ‘sub judice’ - a ruling which Pandikar will live to regret, as it is likely to be the single greatest cause to undermine his memory and good name as Parliament speaker.
The only event I could only think of is Abdul Rahman’s egregrious faux pax in admitting to the BBC that ‘MO1' is none other than Najib.
A most delicate and difficult problem
I do not think Najib is so frail, fragile or brittle that he needs protection from a perverted sub judice ruling in Parliament, but undoubtedly, Abdul Rahman had created a most delicate and difficult problem for Najib with his unauthorised admission in a BBC interview that the ‘MO1. was none other than Najib himself!
Was Najib or any other minister to endorse Abdul Rahman’s admission and admit in Parliament that the ‘MO1' in the largest US DOJ kleptocratic suit is none other than Najib, or is Parliament to be told that Abdul Rahman, the ‘powerful’ minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, was wrong, misguided and had committed an unpardonable faux pax - and who would have been charged under the Official Secrets Act if he is not a loyal hulubalang to the prime minister?
It has not escaped notice that no other minister had endorsed Abdul Rahman’s ‘bravado’ admission that ‘MO1' is none other than Najib, all including Najib who are prepared to face the taunt of being an ‘idiot’ - as Abdul Rahman had said that only an idiot did not know that ‘MO1' is Najib!
The speaker’s perverted sub judice ruling banning all question, debate and discussion on the kleptocratic DOJ suit with its reference to MO1 was apparently the only way to save the situation caused by Abdul Rahman’s bravado admission with the BBC interview - banning the embarrassing issue from being raised in Parliament by banning all reference to the DOJ suit altogether.
But this manoeuvre at the expense of parliamentary freedom of speech is a very costly price to pay for Abdul Rahman’s folly in the BBC interview.
This is probably why Abdul Rahman has made the ridiculous statement that MPs could discuss matters related to the US DOJ lawsuit on 1MDB anywhere outside Parliament, although they are banned by the speaker from touching on the matter inside Parliament.
With the Jasa propaganda campaign among Malaysian university students, especially those abroad, denying ‘MO1' is Prime Minister Najib, the time has come for the end of all the pretences and charade and for the Najib government to declare loud and clear as to whether ‘MO1' is Najib or not.
LIM KIT SIANG is the DAP parliamentary leader and Gelang Patah MP.- Mkini