For the past month, Malaysia had been haunted by the 1MDB financial scandal – with Goldman Sachs pleading guilty in the United States to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the 1MDB scandal, “a massive global scheme to loot billions dollars” from Malaysians, and the 2021 Budget debate in the Dewan Rakyat where the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak soiled and stained Parliament for 90 minutes when he spoke as Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club Chairman without explaining his role as “Malaysian Official 1 (MO1)” which plunged the country into unprecedented infamy, ignominy and iniquity.
Najib was convicted on July 28 in the first of a series of 1MDB-related charges of corruption, money-laundering and abuse of power and sentenced to 12 years’ jail and RM210 million fine.
There was thunderous silence from Najib when Al Jazeera telecast an special investigative report – Jho Low: Hunt For A Fugitive – which shed light on the fugitive financier’s desperate attempts to strike a deal with the Pakatan Harapan government and avoid going to jail for the 1MDB scandal.
In the 13th Parliament, the 1MDB scandal was not allowed to be debated or dissected, although it often made international media headlines, as it was the subject of investigation of foreign law enforcement agencies of at least ten countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.
The United States Attorney-General Jeff Sessions described the 1MDB scandal as “kleptocracy at its worst”!
In July 2016, the Department of Justice of the United States started kleptocracy litigation proceedings in connection with the 1MDB scandal, where a high-ranking government official having control over 1MDB was referred to more than 30 times as “Malaysian Official 1” (“MO1”).
In Sept 2016 Najib was identified as “MO1” by Abdul Rahman Dahlan, then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Departmernt.
In April 2020, US$300 million from 1MDB was returned to Malaysia by the United States Government, representing funds recovered from asset seizures related to 1MDB under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative of the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
A total of US$620 million of 1MDB monies have been returned to Malaysia by the US Government and the process to sell other forfeited 1MDB-related assets is ongoing.
If Najib had continued as Prime Minister of Malaysia after the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, would Najib have accepted the return of this US$620 million of 1MDB monies from the US Government?
For three years from 2015-2018, Parliament was part of the farce and charade that the 1MDB scandal was “fake news”.
It is time that Parliament redeems its honour , dignity and integrity by getting to the bottom of the 1MDB scandal, which in 2015 saw the sacking of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Rural and Regional Development and the Attorney-General, and the castration of Parliament and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) should present a report of its investigation into the 1MDB financial scandal to redeem Parliament’s honour, dignity and integrity – and tell the whole ugly tale of the 1MDB scandal from its very genesis.
In its investigation, the PAC should summon all personalities related to the 1MDB scandal to testify, whether Ministers or public officials who were its chief exponents or defenders before 2018 like former Prime Minister Najib Razak, Cabinet Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan, JASA director-general Puad Zarkashi, former Attorney-General Mohamad Apandi Ali or its victims, like former DPM Muhyiddin Yassin, former Attorney-General Abdul Ghani Patail, former Cabinet Minister Shafie Apdal and a gallery of MACC and Police officers.
The PAC should invite representatives of law enforcement agencies of foreign governments and well as media representatives, both local and international, to testify as to their investigations into the 1MDB scandal.
The PAC should also consider whether there should be special safe passage for one of the two 1MDB masterminds, Jho Low to come to Malaysia to testify.