Various global developments of the 1MDB scandal, which made Malaysian overnight into a global kleptocracy, are coming to a head and it may not be possible for the Najib government to continue with the national and international charade pretending that the 1MDB scandal does not exist.
Firstly, there is the news report from Los Angeles that the billions of US dollars of stolen 1MDB funds are now the focus of United States criminal investigation and that the US Justice Department has asked a judge in Los Angeles to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired by Malaysian financier Jho Low and others involved with 1MDB to prevent any hampering with the criminal investigation.
The US investigation is part of a global effort to track how much of the US$6 billion that 1MDB raised for development projects were stolen, embezzled or involved in money-laundering and used to pay for luxury real estate in New York, London and Beverly Hills, film productions, private jets, yachts and more – all for personal aggrandizement.
What is now the stand of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali as it was only in June after the third kleptocratic suits by US DOJ to forfeit 1MDB-linked assets money-laundered through American banks that Apandi reiterated that “there has been no evidence from any investigation conducted by any law enforcement agency in various jurisdictions that show that money has been misappropriated from 1MDB; and that there have been no criminal charges against any individual for misappropriation of funds from 1MDB”?
No ostrich has dug it head so deep in the sand, despite Apandi’s exoneration of Najib of any wrongdoing or crime in the 1MDB scandal in January 2016 which had become increasingly ridiculous and unbelievable with the deluge of information and data on the 1MDB international money-laundering scandal, especially from the US Department of Justice kleptocratic suits.
Secondly, 1MDB has made a US$360 million payment to the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), as 1MDB was given by IPIC until tomorrow to pay US$310 million as part of the first tranche of a debt repayment scheme.
Malaysians are entitled to know whether the difference of US$50 million was the “default interest” which 1MDB had to pay as a penalty for failing to miss the original July 31 deadline and a five-day extension for the first tranche of US$603 million as part of the 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration settlement – as it is definitelyh a very hefty and extortionate “default” penalty?
Thirdly, on the Malaysian front, Najib have strengthened himself by winning over the support of the PAS leadership for the 1MDB-IPIC arbitration settlement, when it is in fact the latest financial scam in the 1MDB scandal against Malaysian taxpayers and people.
The second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani is on record as saying that he had studied the documents of the 1MDB-IPIC dispute and he was confident that 1MDB would win the case in going for London arbitration.
Why then did the Ministry of Finance and 1MDB, with now the full support of the top PAS leadership, ended up “surrendering” to IPIC claims in toto in reaching the 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration “settlement” where 1MDB had to pay IPIC twice?
Twenty months ago, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib was supremely confident that he had fixed up the 1MDB problem, and he even announced in the New Year Eve Message on Dec. 31, 2015 that his RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation twin mega scandals had been resolved and were no more issues.
Najib could not be more wrong as for the past 20 months, the 1MDB scandal, instead of fading from the public radar into some distant “bad dream”, had gathered increasing speed, momentum and power every month as the biggest kleptocratic scandal in the world.
Malaysians cannot hold their heads high in international forums until we have exorcised the ghost of the 1MDB scandal and laid to rest, firmly and unequivocably, the corpse of Malaysia as a global kleptocracy.
But this is only possible if there is a change of occupiers of Putrajaya in the 14th General Election.