July 22, 2016
1MDB–A Symbol of Shame for Malaysia
by Zakiah Koya
The 1MDB trio of Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Arul Kanda Kandasamy and Superstar Najib Razak.
No one in Malaysia can open their social media accounts without having the one number and three lettered acronym staring back at them for the past few days.
As a matter of fact, that one number and three lettered acronym has been haunting us for months, but only in the past two days, someone has finally put a white shroud on it and we are now finally seeing its shape come into view.
1.M.D.B. has finally been caught by the United States of America (US) crime busters after its spree in Malaysia, US, Singapore, UAE and a few more countries.
The live telecast of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) showed Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and a high powered team breaking it point by point on what they are doing on 1MDB took the internet by storm as it was announced as the “ largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
It was definitely interesting the way Malaysia was shamed on world stage as millions watched it live and the news was telecast, for it was truly 1Malaysia Di Bantai (1Malaysia Being Damned). And in US, where everything is BIG, this must the biggest kleptocracy in the world too, we can safely presume. Malaysia Boleh, we all say.
During the press conference, the US government announced that it is seeking to recover more than $1 billion in assets tied to international public corruption and a global money laundering conspiracy.
Lynch announced civil forfeiture complaints to recover assets associated with a fund owned by the Malaysian government that raised nearly $8 billion to benefit the Malaysian people. However, loads of the money was diverted by high-ranking fund officials and their associates to purchase yachts, hotels, a $35 million jet, artwork by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, and to bankroll the popular 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.
In response, the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak calmly called for calm. After all, Najib was the one who started the 1MDB as Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), a sovereign wealth fund aimed at ensuring economic development for the state of Terengganu for the people of Terengganu. Najib calmly said that one must not jump to conclusions and prejudge those named by the US DOJ.
The Star Online reported that Najib has urged all parties not to jump to conclusions over the ongoing action by the US Justice Department to seize over US$1bil (RM4.02bil) in assets allegedly linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The Prime Minister said the Government will extend its full cooperation to all international investigative bodies relating to the matter. “We take the matter seriously on the statement by the United States’ Justice Department which was issued late last night. I want to say categorically that we are serious about good governance so anything that is against the law, we want the process to take its course,” said Najib.
Najib said it is important to establish that it is a civil action and not a criminal action. “And those people who are involved will have their right to say through the court process in the United States,” he said, reported The Star Online.
Yes, one must give thumbs up to Najib’s call and must not prejudge and must let the law take its course.One must also give credit to Najib’s bravery and calmness for coming out in public and saying this, despite his stepson Riza Aziz being named.
One must also applaud Najib for being very “Prime Ministerial” and not telling us who “Malaysian Official 1” as named by DOJ is. (For one must not interfere in an ongoing investigation.) Najib is ‘doing well’ by holding up his demeanour, despite the looming court case in US which may be the downfall of many in the government, or the government itself, which has been battling the 1MDB scandal for more than a year now.
While all this is happening on the internet and all this news is being bandied about by the Malaysian rakyat who understands English, one does wonder if the rural folks may want to get it further translated into the people’s language. One does hope that the majority of the rakyat in the country does know what is going on, if only to massage the present government for temporary relief while it is going through this ordeal of shame.
So, let us hope the government of the day walks the talk and not prejudge those of us who may have our own ideas of what has really happened and will happen. Najib must also tell his ministers to hold their tongues and not speak of it and be defensive.
It would do good too for Najib to walk among the rakyat freely now and take all the questions of the media on 1MDB, so that we do not prejudge and come to our own conclusions.