Has Malaysia a Cabinet of idiots or kleptocrats?

Thanks to the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of EPU, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the question arising from the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s largest single action in the United States and the world for forfeiture of over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland because of embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering is simply this:

Has Malaysia a Cabinet of idiots or kleptocrats?

Abdul Rahman said that there is no secret who is Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) mentioned in the US DOJ civil lawsuits as everyone who has read the court documents or familiar with the issues would know who is the person being referred to.

He said that there is “no mystery” about “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” as “only an idiot doesn’t know who that person was”.

Can we be sure that we do not have a Cabinet of Idiots, that at least by now, 19 days after the DOJ complaint, every Cabinet Minister would have “read the court documents or familiar with the issues” and would know who is the person codenamed “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” being referred to?

Can Malaysians expect the Malaysian Cabinet which is not composed of “idiots” to put the damning 136-page DOJ complaint as the top agenda of the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday – the third Cabinet meeting after the DOJ action on July 20 – especially as only an idiot does not know that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” is implicated in the “criminal conduct” of embezzlement, money-laundering and misappropriation of some US$3.5 billion 1MBD funds which formed the basis of the US DOJ lawsuits to forfeit over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Although the DOJ lawsuit is a civil action, it is based on the criminal conduct of an international money-laundering conspiracy to misappropriate 1MDB funds, as stated by Paragraph 5 of the DOJ action, which states:

“5. This is a civil action in rem to forfeit assets involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”), a strategic investment and development company wholly-owned by the government of Malaysia. The United States seeks forfeiture of property located in the United States and abroad, including in the United Kingdom and Switzerland, pursuant to 18 U.S.C…..on the ground that it was derived from violations of U.S. law, and pursuant to 18 U.S.C…..on the ground that it is property involved in one or more money laundering offences in violation of 18 U.S.C……1956 and/of 1957.”

Abdul Rahman made a very revealing statement when he said that “everyone who has read the court documents or familiar with the issues” would know who is the “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” being referred to, with the emphasis on the latter, as the DOJ suit did not deal with the entire grand larceny of 1MDB funds with the 136-page DOJ lawsuits only dealing with how some US$3.6 billion was stolen from 1MDB – the three Good Star, Aabar-BVI and Tanore phases – when the Swiss investigators in January this year had alluded to four phases, putting the total misappropriated sum at about US$4 billion to include the fourth SRC phase.

Anyone “familiar with the issues” would be aware of the SRC phase, which started in 2011, when SRC obtained a RM4 billion loan from Malaysia’s Retirement Fund Incorporated, the country’s civil service pension fund, also known as KWAP, with at least RM69 million making its way into Prime Minister’s Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts.

Unless the Prime Minister is going to deny that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, mentioned 36 times in the DOJ complaint, does not refer to him, and the Cabinet maintain that Malaysia’s reputation and good name have not been besmirched or stained by the DOJ action, is the Cabinet going to decide on a Government White Paper to debunk the DOJ complaint about the litany of “criminal conduct” as well as the embezzlement and money-laundering of billions of dollars stolen from 1MDB meant for the country’s development?

Will the Cabinet on Wednesday order the publication of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB which had been classified under the Official Secrets Act and withheld from publication when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on 1MDB was tabled in Parliament on April 6 – to demonstrate to Malaysians and the world that the Government has absolutely nothing to hide in the 1MDB scandal?

Or has Malaysia a Cabinet of kleptocrats, a Cabinet which does not mind Malaysia gaining overnight an international infamy and notoriety as a kleptocracy, which has been defined as a rule by a thief or thieves.

The Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, has said that the DOJ action to forfeit over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets was “normal matter” and nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the Malaysian government.

Are all Ministers of Ahmad Shabery’s “normal” state of mind?

The Prime Minister is as good as accused as a co-conspirator of the world’s largest kleptocracy case of 1MDB multi-billion dollar embezzlement and laundering, as Paragraph 33 of the DOJ lawsuit states:

“33. The Defendant Asset represents a portion of the proceeds of over US$3.5 billion misappropriated from 1MDB. That misappropriation occurred in multiple phases over the course of several years. The misappropriated funds were then used to purchase the Defendant Asset, as well as to fund the co-conspirators’ lavish lifestyles, including purchase of artwork and jewellery, the acquisition of luxury real estate, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties. The use of the diverted 1MDB funds for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators and their associates was not consistent with the purposes for which 1MDB raised the funds, and neither 1MDB nor the government of Malaysia realised any returns on these purchases and expenditures.”

Malaysians expect the Cabinet to compose of patriotic Malaysia who would deem it as their first duty the purging of Malaysia’s name and association as among the world’s top kleptocarcy.

We will know on Wednesday whether Malaysia has a Cabinet of idiots or kleptocrats!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah