October 28, 2018
Where is 1MDB’s Brader Arul?–Braders MIA
Brader Arul probably back to Sitiawan to sell Boe-Tie Chendol
COMMENT | Six months ago, he was a much sought-after speaker. Not so for pre- and post-dinner entertainment but to propagate to the masses that everything is hunky-dory in a company called 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
He undertook a series of 30 roadshows throughout the country. However, for all intents and purposes, they were political gatherings in support of the then ruling party. The blue buntings and minders dressed in blue vests with the “dacing” logos gave away the charade.
He didn’t exactly draw big crowds or enthral them with his mantra. But the media copiously repeated his chants through interviews.
Brader Apandi silenced
On eve of Election Day on May 9, he declared that the roadshow had achieved its objectives, claiming more and more people were beginning “to understand and accept the issues facing the 1MDB”.
Forty-eight hours later, Arul Kanda’s world came tumbling down. So did the fate of thousands of others who thought that their shenanigans and tom-fooleries had been adequately covered so that they could continue ripping the nation.
Despite the entire hullabaloo and the worldwide coverage of the US Department of Justice findings, Arul Kanda had once famously boomed: “I have no idea of the identity of Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) in the report and do not want to speculate”— even after BN propaganda chief Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s admission on the identity.
Brader Ali Hamsa put to pasture
These prophetic words were plentifully and profusely reproduced in the subservient mainstream media in its election propaganda. After all, wasn’t he the Messiah who had arrived from the Middle East to save 1MDB? Wasn’t he willing to face all and sundry in any debate at anytime and anywhere? Wasn’t he touted by some sections of the Royal Military College alumni that only a “budak boy” could put the house in order?
Flamboyant Brader Irwan Serigar Abdullah put in cold storage pending trial
Wasn’t he the man whose magic wand could turn bad to good; wrong to right; losses to profits; and anything he touched would turn into gold?
Those who questioned any activities of 1MDB were treated as “enemies of the state” and he was the much-sought after person by news persons in the BN-related media houses. He attached labels on his detractors. He could do no wrong. And their responses were spiked by editors.
MP Tony Pua –The Luke Sky Walker of The 1MDB Saga
After Petaling Utara MP Tony Pua made a series of satirical videos, Arul Kanda bellowed: “He is a hypocrite and would make a great comedian.” He described fellow Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegaram (pic below) a “coward”. But when the writer invited Arul Kanda to a public discussion on 1MDB, the latter chickened out. The last we heard on the issue was: “I will await their (his lawyers’) legal advice on how best to clear my name and to let the facts stand on its own.”
hen the facts and figures which Arul Kanda and company were fudging with some sort of creative accounting emerged. On May 23, the new Finance Minister revealed that 1MDB was unable to pay its debts. For that too, he had an answer— he didn’t know financial details of the company.
Wasn’t he the same guy, who went on the roadshows to tell Malaysian voters “the truth” among which was his claim that the 1MDB’s debt of US$7.75 billion is backed by US$11 billion in assets?
Why the sudden interest in Arul Kanda? On Thursday, Najib Abdul Razak and former Treasury chief Irwan Serigar Abdullah pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur to six counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) of RM6.64 million of funds belonging to the government.
The offences were alleged to have been committed at the Finance Ministry Complex in Putrajaya between December 21, 2016 and December 18, 2017. Wasn’t this done for 1MDB which was then under Arul Kanda’s watch? And wasn’t he aware of these arrangements when he went on his roadshows?
Let’s digress. Najib wanted to gag the media when he was first charged with offences related to SRC International last month, claiming he did not want a “trial by media”. He failed.
It is the same Najib now, trying to provide his defence via the media. He spoke to reporters after the proceedings, proclaiming innocence.
This man and his infamous wife have been striped of their titles by The Ruler of Negri Sembilan and are now on bail pending trial for corruption, money laundering and abuse of power.
“My conscience is clear that the decisions were taken in the interest of the nation, in context of when you receive certain money, you will have to pay it back.
Otherwise, we would be at default and it would lead to a collapse of the bond market. That would be very serious.”
In a Facebook post, Najib said four of the six charges were related to a settlement with the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), where the government had to pay US$1.2 billion in arrears last year.
Let us put this into perspective. N is the owner of a hospital. Money, say RM100,000, has been set aside for payment to the food contractor, RM100,000 for pharmaceuticals and RM50,000 for cleaning services. N tells the finance director, S, to “pakat” with him to pay a bank loan unrelated to the hospital. S then instructs A, the chief executive officer to remit RM250,000 to the bank to prevent foreclosure.
Is it acceptable for N to come out and claim that those transactions had to be done to avoid embarrassment to the hospital and other loans will be recalled? It is true that N, S and A received no personal gain. But wouldn’t that be wrong in the eyes of the law?
We will leave it to the legal eagles to sort this out but on the issue of 1MDB, IPIC and related issues, the silence from Arul Kanda is deafening. He had previously talked about “solid assets” and “units” which could be converted to cash. Where are they?
For someone who came with his guns blazing, giving Najib cover, Arul Kanda appears to have taken to the bunker as the bombs drop all around him.
For a man who thumped his chest and said “take me on”, he has become as silent as a church mouse. Malaysians are not exactly watching a double-tragedy play like Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, but it is worth asking: “Where art thou, Arul Kanda?”
R NADESWARAN is keeping track on the key players who put their hands in the cookie jar in the name of development. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.