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Monday, March 20, 2017

Sparks fly over 'is Najib a suspect in 1MDB probes' poser



PARLIAMENT A query on whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was a suspect in the probes related to 1MDB led to an heated argument between a minister and lawmaker.
It started when Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) posed the question to Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani.
At first, Johari said he did not have an answer to that question, but when pressed, told Gobind to meet him outside.
This angered the DAP legal bureau chief, who said that he wanted an answer in the House.
"You want to tell me the answer outside the House, that means you have an answer," Gobind said.
Johari won't budge
Johari's response to this was that he could not change statements made by the likes of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, police, and the Attorney-General's Chambers regarding the probes.
He stuck to this answer when Gobind bombarded him repeatedly with the same question on whether Najib was a suspect.
"Investigating is the job of investigating agencies. This is a stupid question," Johari replied, prompting Gobind to call Johari a "stupid minister".
The exchange went on for several minutes, with Housing, Local Government and Urban Wellbeing Minister Noh Omar joining the fray to call Gobind "stupid" as well.
Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee intervened twice to remind those in the Dewan Rakyat not to use such language.
'Let authorities finish probe'
The quarrel ended when Jimmy Wong (DAP-Kota Kinabalu) interjected to ask about a different matter.
Gobind did not specify which investigation he was referring to.
However, he made reference to Johari's open letter published in Malaysiakini today, in which the latter expressed awe over the intense scrutiny 1MDB was under from both Malaysian and foreign agencies.
Johari also called for these agencies to be left alone to complete their investigations without fear or favour.
The MACC's probe on 1MDB concluded last year, with attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali saying there was no need for further action.
The MACC probed SRC International as well as the RM2.6 billion donation made to Najib in 2013.
The MO1 factor
Apandi said there was no wrongdoing by the prime minister in either case.
Meanwhile, the police are still probing the matter, taking into account the Public Accounts Committee report on 1MDB.

Outside of Malaysia, the US Department of Justice has filed civil forfeiture suits involving 1MDB, which alleged that more than US$3.5 billion of the state investment firm's monies had been misappropriated.
This includes US$731 million deposited into the accounts of Malaysian Official 1 - an individual which has been identified as Najib.
MO1 however is not the subject of the DOJ civil suits.
Najib has also denied abusing public funds for personal gain, and blamed such allegations on those conspiring to oust him illegally.- Mkini

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