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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MAHATHIR SAYS OUT LOUD WHAT WORLD INVESTORS ARE THINKING OF NAJIB: ‘LET NEUTRAL PARTY INVESTIGATE 1MDB IF YOU ARE NOT GUILTY’

DR Mahathir Mohamad today challenged Prime Minister Najib Razak to allow independent investigations into the scandal-riddled state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
At an investor conference earlier today, Najib said he will order investigations into 1MDB after admitting to “lapses” in corporate governance.
“It must be a neutral party that will investigate,” Dr Mahathir told reporters in Putrajaya.
“That’s the most important thing.
 “If it’s one of the government departments… he has full control over all government departments and they would clear his name.”
Najib, who is also finance minister, admitted to an audience of 1,000 business leaders from 150 firms about “issues” with 1MDB.
“Some of you may be thinking that I have not mentioned national companies where there have been issues.
“At 1MDB, it is now clear that there were lapses in governance.
“However rather than bury our heads in the sand, we ordered investigations into the company at a scale unprecedented in our nation’s history.”
Dr Mahathir, however, pointed to an earlier investigation by former auditor-general Ambrin Buang, which began in March 2015.
“The last time, he said the auditor-general would investigate, but when the auditor-general came up with his report, the report was declared as an official secret.”
The Prime Minister’s Department had classified the Auditor-General’s Report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) after it was published in February last year.
Ambrin had said the OSA classification was only to allow the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to complete its own report without unnecessary leaks.
“That’s not the way,” said Dr Mahathir.
“If you want to do an honest study on 1MDB, there are foreigners who can give lots of information.
“You should ask these people from the (United States) Department of Justice (DoJ), where did they get the information?”
Investigations linked to 1MDB have been opened in at least six countries, including the US, which is seeking to recover assets worth more than a billion dollars.
Last month, DoJ filed its third suit, seeking to seize US$1.7 billion (RM7.3 billion) in assets believed to be bought with money stolen from 1MDB.
The suit brings the total value of misappropriated funds to US$4.5 billion.
Najib today said he called for investigations “rather than funnel money to cover up any issues 1MDB might have faced, the model embraced by a former leader”.
“There has, in fact, been a concerted campaign to send such misinformation overseas to damage Malaysia’s economy for their own selfish political objectives.”
He also agreed in principle to establish an “Integrity and Governance Unit” in all government-linked companies and government-owned business entities.
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/

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