BN Backs Motion to Reopen 1MDB Probe

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PAC, A-G to investigate scandal again after MPs, including those from Barisan Nasional, approved the motion to reopen the 1MDB probe.

The motion to reopen investigations into the scandal and misappropriations surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and reveal the findings publicly was passed in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The debate took over two hours as MPs from both sides traded barbs with one another, following Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s opening speech for the motion.

Lim said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Auditor-General should conduct a detailed investigation again to restore the dignity of the Dewan Rakyat and for all related information to be made public.

The Bagan MP said it was only fair to carry out the audit and confirm the level of involvement of former prime minister Najib Razak in the scandal.

“At the same time, Najib (BN-Pekan) will also be given the opportunity to defend himself and to clear his name openly. 

“Furthermore, the proposal to reinvestigate the case is an opportunity to clear Malaysia’s name, once known as a kleptocracy.

“This is an opportunity to free Malaysia from the clutches of graft, by upholding the sovereignty of the law in the country and restoring the dignity of the country in the eyes of the world,” he said.

During the debate, former PAC chairman Hasan Ariffin (BN-Rompin) stood up to defend himself while Tony Pua (PH-Damansara), who had also been part of the committee, grilled him.

Hasan claimed that agencies such as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) could not identify if Good Star Limited’s owner is indeed Jho Low.

“The letter given by BNM to PAC mentioned the information it contained was sensitive and as such cannot be publicly revealed,” he said.

Lim’s special officer Tony Pua countered Hasan’s statement, arguing that when serving in the PAC at the time, he and other members had requested BNM to identify who the unnamed individual behind Good Star Limited was.

“They responded to us, identifying that it was Low. It was included in the PAC’s report on the matter, but we only realised it was removed a week later,” Pua said, referring to Jho Low.

Pua added that the removal was clear-cut collusion to protect Najib.

Other MPs who spoke in favour of the motion included PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, who pleaded that the public deserves closure on the issue, as well as DAP’s Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang.

Fahmi also urged the PAC not to rope in Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad in its reopening of investigations into 1MDB.

He made the call after Pua pointed out there could be a collusion to prevent information related to 1MDB from being revealed.

He said such a collusion in the past had managed to “protect” then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak from appearing before the PAC proceedings.

Fahmi expressed his doubt over Madinah’s ability to handle the matter.

“I feel that if the Auditor-General herself is involved in the investigation, I do not quite agree. Maybe we can find another (government auditor),” he said.

He said this was because the authorities may need to probe the Auditor-General in matters related to 1MDB.

Following allegations of multi-billion ringgit misappropriation in 1MDB in 2015, Najib urged the public to wait for an audit of the state-owned company.

However, when the report was completed, it was classified as secret until three months ago when it was declassified by the new Pakatan Harapan government.

The US Department of Justice believes that at least US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.

In contrast to Hasan, Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa surprisingly supported the motion.

“I would like to thank the government and minister for tabling this motion.”

He said the new government should be given the chance to dig into the truth behind the 1MDB issue for the benefit of everyone.

“As MPs, we only wish to seek the truth and not shield or protect anyone. If we do the latter, it is against the oath we have taken.

“The new government should be given wide latitude in determining how to best deal with the issue, just as how the previous administration did what it thought was best,” said the Umno secretary-general, who had in recent days tried to dissociate the party with embattled former president Najib.

“God has fated that this matter to be reopened again and voters are tired of listening to this. There should be closure to this,” said Annuar.

He even urged the government to expedite the 1MDB investigation and prosecution.

“I support this motion and I hope the government will expedite (the investigations).”

He also voiced support for the subsequent PAC hearings on the new 1MDB investigations to be open to the public.

Similarly, Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (PAS-Pengkalan Chepa) voiced support for the motion.

“I would like to state that PAS welcomes and state my support for the motion tabled by the minister as it is a matter of public interest.”

Lim, in his winding-up speech, thanked MPs for the unanimous support.

“I appreciate the support from all MPs even though we are from different parties. At least, we can speak with one voice.

“In the past, the other side (BN) would not agree with us. This was only made possible through change (of government) and I thank the people for choosing change,” he said.