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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pua: Johari cannot have his cake and eat it, too

MP SPEAKS | I am disappointed, although not surprised by Johari Abdul Ghani’s immediate decline of my invite to speak at my fund-raising dinner. It would have been the perfect opportunity for the second finance minister to convince and implore the voters of Petaling Jaya Utara to not only give 1MDB “a rest”, but even give me “a rest”.
After all, he could have demonstrated his conviction that “the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected you as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB”.
He justified his decision to turn down the invite by claiming that “I have to do my job as a minister and I would do the best for the country”.
“Even if I had lunch or dinner (with Pua), it would not solve the problem the way he wants, because I am not the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), police and investigation agencies. So, let these agencies do their work. Nowhere in my letter did I mention I want these agencies to stop their investigation,” he told Malaysiakini.
Johari cannot have his cake and eat it, too.
He wants to escape the challenge by taking the moral high ground. He says he wants “to do his job as a minister” and he “would do the best for the country”.
If that is so, now that he is the second finance minister, with all the necessary access to all the documents and transactions within the Finance Ministry subsidiaries - has he figured out why and how 1MDB and its sister company, SRC International lost tens of billions of ringgit?
Has Johari even bothered asking the Finance Minister, who also happens to be the Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, whether he did indeed receive US$731 million in his personal bank account which originated from 1MDB?
Or did Johari question Najib if he received the RM69 million in his personal bank account which originated from SRC Interntional, as inadvertently exposed by none other than the attorney-general, Apandi Ali himself? At the very least, did the second finance minister, in dutifully carrying out his responsibility ask if Najib intends to return the RM69 million back to SRC International?
Why should a second finance minister try to shift his responsibility to the “Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara Malaysia, police and investigation agencies”, when it is also his sworn duty to administer his own ministry’s subsidiaries?
Isn’t uncovering multi-billion ringgit hanky-panky within his ministry part of his minister’s scope of work? Is it because Johari not dare to ask because he already knows the answer, but doesn’t want to rock the boat?
Or is Johari taking the position that what has happened in the past, even if it involved billions of ringgit of stolen funds, should be left alone, and his blinkered role is just focus on how to cover up the massive hole which has been created?

Whether the minister attends my dinner to espouse his position is immaterial. However, Johari’s deeds and actions only goes to show the hypocrisy of his moral high ground and his claims of “doing the best for this country”. In fact, in his attempt to cover up the stolen funds and keeping the kleptocrats in power without answering for their crimes, he is betraying the country and sacrificing the interest of our future generations.

TONY PUA is the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara and DAP national publicity secretary.- Mkini

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