With debate cancelled, Dr M posts ‘burning questions’ in blog

Photo credit: Malaysia Kini

Following the police’s decision to cancel, for the second time, the much anticipated debate between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, the former premier has decided to air his questions and arguments in a blog posting instead.

Among others, the debate was supposed to focus on 1MDB, the RM2.6 billion in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s accounts, and the BMF scandal, which happened during Mahathir’s tenure.

Although Najib has denied abusing public funds for personal gain, and has been cleared of any wrongdoing by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who also confirmed that the RM2.6 billion in the prime minister’s accounts was a donation from a Saudi royalty, Mahathir however continues to accuse Najib of having a hand in the 1MDB scandal.

Mahathir also insists that there has been a cover-up, which the government has denied.

Najib’s camp, on the other hand, has accused Mahathir of attempting to topple him from power in order to engineer the political ascension of his son Mukhriz.

“Since the debate had been disallowed, I believe Malaysians missed the opportunity to hear Nazri explaining some of the burning questions I would have asked,” said the former premier in his blog.

“These questions are based on known facts and are not wild accusations or speculations,” he added.

Below are the issues Mahathir raised:

1. For example the Malaysian attorney- general declared that Najib was not guilty of any wrongdoings.

2. Accordingly all the reports by Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the auditor general which were the bases for indicting Najib, were dismissed by him. But they were also put under the Malaysian Official Secrets Act, which means nobody can quote from them even if they had read them.

3. And Najib declares that he had done nothing wrong.

4. On the other hand the Singapore prosecutors have found

i) Yak Yew Chee, former director of Swiss bank BSI, guilty of four criminal charges related to Malaysia’s state investor 1MDB.

ii) Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, a former BSI private banker, was sentenced to two weeks jail and fined $10,000 becoming the second person convicted in Singapore’s probe into 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

iii) Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei was jailed for 30 months for witness tampering in 1MDB scandal.

iv) Falcon Bank’s ex-Singapore branch manager, Jens Sturzenegger, jailed 28 weeks and fined S$128,000 in 1MDB related scandal.

5. Also reported by the Straits Times of Singapore is Sturzenegger’s ties with Jho Low (Low Taek Jho) a close friend of Najib, “accused around the world of being at the centre of alleged massive money laundering linked to 1MDB”.

6. Clearly Singapore finds a lot of things wrong with 1MDB funds and management. But Malaysia’s famous attorney-general declares there is nothing wrong in the operation of 1MDB money. He does not see any need for continued investigations.

7. It cannot be that 1MDB money flew on its own to Singapore into the hands of the four crooks named. Somebody in Malaysia who managed 1MDB must have sent the money to Singapore. Somebody from 1MDB must have had dealings with the crooked Singapore bankers and the banks involved. Somebody in 1MDB’s management must know about the systematic siphoning of 1MDB money, or abuses of the authority to handle it.

8. But the AG, the Malaysian police and 1MDB executives are not interested. The whereabouts of the 1MDB money and the siphoning of a substantial amount of it by various people seems to be of no concern to Malaysian authorities. That billions of Ringgit of 1MDB money have been lost is also of no concern to Malaysian authorities, the 1MDB managers and Najib as the sole authority on 1MDB money and as prime minister of the country.

9. When the BMF money was lost way back in 1981, the government set up a committee of three, headed by Ahmad Nordin, the auditor-general then, to investigate the management of BMF and the losses, although the money lost was not government money. A white paper was issued and parliament debated the matter openly. The report was not placed under the Official Secrets Act.

10. Civil suits against BMF officials were initiated by the government and extradition began to bring back Lorrain Osman.

11. The amount lost by BMF was about USD47.5 million (RM118.75 million at the exchange rate in 1980s), a piddling sum compared to the RM42 billion (42 thousand millions) involved in 1MDB scandal. Yet the government of that time initiated action against the culprits. In the end Lorrain was jailed and others who were implicated punished or fled the country.

12. In the case of 1MDB and the loss of billions as well as the continued need to pay billions for loans raised by 1MDB, the attorney-general merely said nothing wrong was done and no more investigation needed to be made.

13. This decision by attorney-general clearly seems to be a cover-up of Najib’s involvement in the losses, the obvious possibility that the (US Department of Justice) DOJ’s allegation that the RM2.6 billion ($681 million) in his bank account came from 1MDB is true.

14. Najib’s approval must be obtained for all money transactions by 1MDB, according to article 117 in 1MDB’s Articles of Association. Any loss of money by 1MDB must therefore be placed squarely on Najib’s shoulders.

15. On June 3, 2015, Bank Negara issued a statement which include the legal provision under which the bank would trigger formal investigations. The provisions are:

i) When monies for which approvals are given are not used for the purpose indicated in the submission;

ii) When incorrect or false information are provided in the submission;

iii) Failure to comply with the conditions in the approval.

16. If any or all of these rules and regulations are breached then Bank Negara would revoke the approval.

17. The statement went on to say “with respect to 1MDB, a formal inquiry has commenced to examine any contravention of the central bank’s rules and legislation…”.

18. It seems that Bank Negara did carry out an inquiry on 1MDB for on April 28, 2016, the bank issued the following statement: “Following receipt of the consent of the attorney-general today, Bank Negara Malaysia has issued a letter of administrative compound to 1MDB for failure to comply with directions issued under the Financial Services Act, 2013.

“This includes requirement for 1MDB to repatriate monies remitted abroad following the revocations of the three permissions granted by Bank Negara Malaysia to 1MDB in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“1MDB has also failed to submit evidence and documentation specified by the Bank to justify its liability to fully comply with the repatriation order. 1MDB has been given until May 30, 2016 to pay the compound. The payment of the compound marks the conclusion of the investigation by Bank Negara Malaysia on the contraventions to the rules and regulations of the central bank.”

19. Conclusion of investigation does not mean no action should be taken based on the results of the investigation.

20. In a news report on May 25, 2016 “1MDB confirms that it has today made payment in full, of the compound, in compliance with the decision of BNM”.

21. This payment of the compound means that 1MDB does not dispute the correctness of the accusations made by Bank Negara that it is guilty of wrongdoings with regard to the approval of Bank Negara for USD1.83 billion for debt management and restructuring exercises overseas.

22. Since the attorney-general had given his consent to the action taken by Bank Negara, he himself has clearly admitted that 1MDB was involved in wrongdoings with regard to the approval of Bank Negara.

23. The wrongdoings of 1MDB must be shouldered by Najib because they cannot be done without his approval (article 117 of 1MDB Articles of Association).

24. How then can the AG declare that Najib has committed no wrongdoings when he himself had given his consent to Bank Negara to issue a letter of administrative compound (fine).

25. According to the law, the AG’s decision is final. In the courts, appeals are allowed. But in this country, the AG holds indisputable authority. But the fact remains that his decision is contrary to his earlier decision to give Bank Negara consent to compound (fine) 1MDB.-Malaysia Kini

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