July 14, 2015
COMMENT: The highly regarded The New York Times, the reputed Wall Street Journal, the Sarawak Report and local web-papers have been at this revelation game for a long time. Investigations by the bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee of the Malaysian Parliament headed by UMNO’s MP Nur Jazlan, the Auditor-General who has just released his yet to be made public preliminary report and the ongoing work of the 4-man Task Force have yet to come up with the facts (or truths if you like) concerning 1MDB.
The effect of the WSJ smoking gun evidence that the Prime Minister used 1MDB funds (of some Rm2 billion +) to fund the 2013 GE campaign is rapidly wearing thin. As each day passes, facts and fiction have combined to confuse the Malaysian public.
It is clear to me that the Prime Minister will escape censure. In fact, he will be declared as clean and pure as Caesar’s wife. A few scapegoats may be found and charged to appease us. We know that all these so-called investigations are being directed and monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office. After spending time and loads of taxpayers ‘money, nothing substantive will come out of all these efforts.
All at home and abroad should now know that Malaysia is a fine exponent of shadow play (wayang kulit) politics. Our man in power must be protected at all cost because if he falls, those associated with him will crumble like a stack of cards. Off course, I could be wrong in coming to this conclusion.–Din Merican
1MDB Story–Seeking the Truth
by Thomas Fuller
BANGKOK — The Malaysian Police said on Monday that they were opening an investigation into whether government officials, including central bank personnel, were the source of leaked documents purporting to show the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars into the bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife.
Mr. Najib, who was already unpopular for imposing a nationwide sales tax in April to pay for large budget shortfalls, has been embroiled in a scandal over billions of dollars that his critics say are missing from a sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, also known as 1MDB.
The leaked documents were part of an investigation into the fund and were published by The Wall Street Journal and a website, Sarawak Report, this month. They purport to show transfers of around $700 million into what are described as Mr. Najib’s personal bank accounts. Sarawak Report also reported cash deposits of two million ringgit, or around $525,000, into the account of Rosmah Mansor, Mr. Najib’s wife, this year.
The Police said on Monday that they would investigate whether leaking the documents constituted “economic sabotage against Malaysia.”
“These criminal acts are very serious and raise national security implications,” Khalid Abu Bakar, the country’s Inspector-General of Police, said in a statement, referring to the leaks. “The Royal Malaysia Police have not eliminated the possibility of a conspiracy to subvert Malaysia’s democratic process and topple the Prime Minister.”
The central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, on Sunday rejected suggestions that its officials might have given the documents to the news outlets. “Such allegations are without basis,” the bank said in a statement. The bank transfers have raised questions about how much Bank Negara knew about the transfers and whether they violated money laundering laws.The bank said it was committed to “uncovering the truth in a fair and just manner.”
Mr. Najib’s party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), has governed Malaysia since it gained independence from Britain 58 years ago, and numerous financial scandals have failed to dislodge it from power. But the investigation into the sovereign wealth fund has the backing of powerful politicians within the party, including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The investigation has split the governing elites and even appears to have divided Mr. Najib’s family. The Prime Minister’s brother, Nazir Razak, a banker, praised the central bank on Monday for its commitment to uncover the truth. “Great statement — timely, firm and unambiguous,” he wrote on his Instagram account.
Ibrahim Suffian, Director of the Merdeka Center, an independent polling company, said the scandal over the tangled finances of the sovereign wealth fund had been difficult for the public to follow. But Mr. Mahathir’s recent attacks on the prime minister, and the allegations of the transfers directly into Mr. Najib’s accounts, have brought more clarity and urgency to the issue and made it more dangerous for Mr. Najib than past scandals have been, he said.
“I strongly suspect that this time around it’s going to be different,” Mr. Ibrahim said. “People feel personally linked to the issue.” The imposition of the sales tax in April made Malaysians feel that they are “invested in the problem,” he said.
A law firm representing Ms. Rosmah, Mr. Najib’s wife, said in a statement that she had “not committed any criminal offense or any misappropriation of funds.” The law firm said the funds in her account had no links to the sovereign wealth fund, but it did not specify the origin of the cash.