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Saturday, June 30, 2018

The 1MDB elephant in the room of Umno's election no one's seeing


MP SPEAKS | One of the highlights of the “live” Umno presidential candidates’ debate last night was the admission by former Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin that one of his regrets in life was to accept the explanation of the 1MDB scandal.
Although he felt there were holes in the explanation provided on 1MDB, Khairy said he accepted the explanations as the investigations that were conducted by the public accounts committee (PAC) did not implicate the prime minister at that time.
This is in fact the greatest disservice of the PAC in six decades where, instead of revealing cover-ups, it helped to cover up the greatest financial scandal in the land.
It is to the eternal shame and disgrace of the PAC that it allowed its 1MDB report to be distorted as exonerating the then prime minister and finance minister Najib Razak, from any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
Except for the protests by then-opposition MPs in the PAC at the time, led by the then DAP MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua, the PAC report on 1MDB was cynically and wrongfully used by Najib and his administration as best proof that Najib was not guilty of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
In fact, I had many a time in the 25 months between the tabling of the PAC report in Parliament in April 2016 and the 14th general election (GE14) on May 9, 2018 sought to expose and rebut the bare-faced lies of Najib and other Umno/BN ministers, leaders and propagandists seeking to suppress the 1MDB issue on the basis that the PAC had purportedly exonerated Najib of any wrongdoing after lengthy and detailed investigations into the 1MDB scandal.
For instance, at the end of March 2018, I extended my challenge to all cabinet ministers and BN leaders to show where in the PAC report on 1MDB was Najib absolved of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal, described by US' attorney-general as “kleptocracy at its worst”?
I had a day earlier emailed the prime minister to ask him to fix an appointment for him to show me and DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua, where in the PAC report was he absolved of any wrongdoing.
I stressed Najib’s claim that he had been cleared was false and baseless, and was the most recent and worst example of the “fake news” concocted and peddled by the prime minister and his cabinet ministers in the country.
I had said that it was a sad and shameful day for Malaysia that Malaysians had to depend on foreign countries to provide “justice” to the 30 million Malaysians, who are the real victims of the 1MDB scandal, when the Malaysian government should be at the forefront to do so.
The historic and watershed 14th general election provided Malaysians an opportunity to redeem themselves and restore national pride by getting to the root of the 1MDB scandal.
Elephant in Umno's room
I have at the last parliamentary meeting in April proposed a motion to reject the PAC report on 1MDB as unsatisfactory and not comprehensive enough, in view of the mountain of new evidence about the 1MDB corruption and kleptocracy that have surfaced in the last two years, but I was suspended for the second time for six months, and was regarded as a parliamentary “ghost” whom the speaker and deputy speakers could not see, although I was in Parliament every day and sitting near them.
It is most reprehensible that up to now, not a single Umno leader is prepared to admit to the grave crime and national betrayal in allowing Malaysia to be turned into a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB scandal, with the scandal now the elephant in the room of the Umno party elections.
Every day, the 1MDB elephant has continued to grow in size since Umno/BN was evicted from Putrajaya in GE14, and the party is doing itself and the nation the greatest disservice by continuing the charade to ignore the 1MDB elephant.
This charade cannot go on, especially after the shocking revelation by one of the big four auditors in Malaysia, KPMG, that the accounts of 1MDB cannot be relied on from the time of its inception in 2009.
KPMG's action should be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back to make the 1MDB scandal the single biggest issue at the Umno elections today, but this does not appear to be the case.
In fact, the preparedness to face up to the terrible consequences of the 1MDB scandal, which had already made Malaysia a global kleptocracy in the past few years, should be the acid test as to whether a candidate qualifies to be a contender for the various Umno posts in the next three years.
KPMG's damning conclusion
KPMG, which signed off on three unqualified audit reports for 1MDB for the financial years ending March 2010 to 2012, informed the 1MDB board of directors on June 8 that the financial statements audited did not reflect a true and fair view of the company.
KPMG reach­ed the above decision after going through the recently declassified auditor-general’s report on 1MDB and other relevant documents that were withheld from them by the previous management of the company.
If the documents had been disclosed to the auditors, KPMG believes the information “would have materially impacted the financial statements and the relevant audit reports”.
The question is why the PAC could not be alerted to the wrongdoings in the 1MDB scandal after access to the auditor-general’s report, as done by the KPMG auditors?
Apart from Pua and other opposition MPs on the PAC at the time, who had spoken up forthrightly against the 1MDB scandal, the PAC report on the 1MDB scandal will for ever be an indictment of the failure of the PAC in the 13th parliament to perform its patriotic duty to protect the interests of the nation.

LIM KIT SIANG is Iskandar Puteri MP. - Mkini

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