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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The statements we would like to hear on 1MDB scandal



During WW II, a man was arrested in London for calling Winston Churchill a fool. The next day in the House of Commons, the opposition members were ready to roast the government for this. “Are we living in a police state”, they shouted, “where we cannot call the PM a fool”?
Churchill's reply was truly disarming: “The man was not arrested for calling the Prime Minister a fool”, he said, “but for letting out a state secret at a time of war.”
Anonymous
Over the past two years, Prime Minister Najib Razak had his name smeared, muddied and tarnished. He was called all sorts of names and even unpleasant prefixes were added - some undeserving and downright uncouth. As the imbroglio over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) canters into its third year, there must have been times when some of the key players would have told the PM and themselves: “We should not have said that”; “We should have taken a different approach” or “We should have put our cards on the table”...
The whole issue would have taken a different dimension if only the game had been played by the rules and greater efforts were made to be transparent at all times. People involved were in denial mode from Day One and this led to speculation, assumption and conjecture. This is turn gave a carte blanche to detractors and critics, who in all fairness, created some interesting yet unbelievable tales.  And so, misinformation, half-truths and bare denials made the headlines.
What would make us citizens sit up and pay attention instead of dismissing whatever said by government officials and the mainstream media as propaganda? What would it take to restore public confidence in our system? This is no time for sentiments or phrases like “If only we could turn the clock backwards…” or some smart aleck saying: “I told you so.” Below are some “statements” which all right-thinking Malaysians would like to hear or read:
  • The prime minister yesterday declared that he would invite the Arab prince who made the donation to make a public announcement on why he deposited RM2.6 billion into the former’s bank account. “Members of the media can ask the prince all the questions that linger in their minds and clear any doubts or misconception on the donation,” a spokesman said.
     
  • The prime minister’s stepson Riza Aziz has agreed to travel to Washington and challenge the application by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to seize his assets. “I will prove that the money I invested in Red Granite came from genuine well-wishers and friends who bequeathed the wealth to me.”
     
  • Interpol on the request of the Malaysian police have issued a Red Notice for the immediate arrest of Jho Low. He is wanted to assist the authorities into investigations into billions of ringgit which were allegedly siphoned from 1MDB.
     
  • In a well-coordinated swoop, the US Navy intercepted the Equanimity in international waters off Japan. The superyacht was towed to a US base in South Korea. Jho Low was not on board and the crew were released after questioning.
     
  • 1MDB head honcho Arul Kanda yesterday vowed to break his silence and face the media. In a terse one-paragraph statement, he said: “I have a reputation as an international banker with impeccable credentials. I don’t want to be tainted because of my tenure with the company. I will tell all. I have nothing to hide and I will not protect anyone.”
     
  • PM Najib and senior lawyer cum prosecutor, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in a joint statement said they would both face the media to explain the reasons for the transfer of RM9.5 million. “It has nothing to do with legal fees or the Anwar Ibrahim case. We ask you to stop the speculation. You will get all the answers soon.”
     
  • In a shock announcement, the government said former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed has been recalled from his secondment to the International Anti-Corruption Academy in Vienna. Also recalled is his former deputy, Mohd Shukri Abdul. “Both were involved in the MACC investigations into SRC International and there are few ends to tie up. Their knowledge and experience will help put an end to this long saga.”
     
  • In a related development, sources said that two directors of SRC International, who have been on the run, have indicated that they would surrender to the Indonesian authorities and return to Malaysia. Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Suboh Md Yasin are said to be “fed up and frustrated” in a foreign land and want to tell the truth.
     
  • The Australian media yesterday reported that glamour model Miranda Kerr is scheduled to visit Kuala Lumpur to clear her name and that she was not aware of the alleged thievery of her then suitor Jho Low. “I have returned the diamonds to the US authorities and want to emphasise that at no time did I suspect the money for the diamonds was stolen from the people of Malaysia,” a newspaper quoted her as saying.
     
  • However, some newspapers doubted if Kerr would be allowed to enter Malaysia. Quoting past experiences in Malaysia where members of the ABC crew were arrested and deported, some questioned if she would get past the immigration checkpoint. Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who was previously deported on arrival, hoped Kerr would not be viewed as a ‘‘security threat’’ and not on a “watch list”.
     
  • In Putrajaya, Rizal Mansor, the spokesman for PM’s wife Rosmah Mansor, said that she will make comments on the DOJ filings “at an appropriate time.” Despite being vocal in providing answers on her behalf, Rizal said: “They booked the best and most expensive available accommodation in Bali. They are entitled to some privacy and time to themselves. On her return, I am sure she will do as the others have done.”
Let it be reiterated that this is the wish list of the writer and is not related any event in the past or present. It could happen in the future, after which the disease called Truth Deficiency Syndrome will be wiped out.

R NADESWARAN is an award-winning veteran journalist who writes on bread and butter issues with one agenda - a better quality of life for all Malaysians irrespective of colour, creed or religion. He can be reached at citizen.nades22@gmail.com.- Mkini

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