Why is 1MDB scandal which made Malaysia a “global kleptocracy” allowed to be the “elephant in the room” throughout the five-day UMNO Assemblies, causing Najib and UMNO to lose all political credibility and moral authority as Malaysian Prime Minister and leading political party respectively?
Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s UMNO Presidential speech has been shocker. But the five-day UMNO General Assemblies are a greater shocker.
I fully agree with the head of the Pakatan Harapan Secretariat and former Deputy Higher Education Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah that Najib has made a grave error in using racial connotations at the UMNO General Assembly as it has disastrous racial implications.
Saifuddin is spot-on when he said firstly, that Najib had made baseless accusations against DAP as though DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam party; and secondly, Najib has compounded his error as DAP does not dictate matters in Pakatan Harapan, which is led collectively by the three component parties, DAP, PKR and Amanah.
The Pahang State Assembly Opposition Leader and DAP Pahang Assemblyman for Mentakab, Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, has responded to Najib’s speech at the UMNO General Assembly declaring that he would have left DAP long ago if DAP had been anti-Malay or anti-Islam.
In actual fact, Tengku Zulpuri said Najib’s accusation was completely baseless as the DAP-led Penang State Government had brought many benefits to the Malays and promoted Islam in Penang State.
Tengku Zulpuri’s view has been endorsed by the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister and former Agriculture Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Sharif Omar who said that the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng “lebih banyak menjaga kebajikan rakyat Pulau Pinang, termasuk kaum Melayu di negeri itu berbanding pemimpin sebelum ini” and “tidak ada satu pun tindakan DAP yang menunjukkan parti tersebut anti-Melayu sepanjang Pakatan Harapan memimpin Pulau Pinang sejak tahun 2008”.
“Lim Guan Eng ini buat lebih baik dari dulu. Ini berasaskan fakta. Jadi isu rasis yang UMNO dok canang tu tak laku dah. Orang Pulau Pinang tak boleh terima dah isu tu.
“Yang depa tahu, hidup UMNO, hidup Melayu. Padahal dia sapu habis semua dah.”
But an even greater shocker than Najib’s presidential speech is that throughout the five-day UMNO Assemblies of UMNO and its wings, UMNO Youth, Wanita and Puteri, the pernicious international 1MDB money-laundering scandal which made Malaysia a “global kleptocracy” was allowed to be the “elephant in the room”, causing Najib and UMNO to lose all political credibility and moral authority as Malaysian Prime Minister and leading political party respectively.
Yesterday, Singapore’s central bank imposed penalties on the local units of U.K.-based Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and private bank Coutts for money-laundering breaches related to Malaysia’s scandal-tainted 1MDB fund and said it was nearing the end of its probes.
The penalties – of S$5.2 million ($3.65 million) and S$2.4 million, respectively – were the latest punitive measures taken by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in its crackdown on 1MDB money-laundering, having ordered the closure earlier this year of the local units of Swiss banks BSI and Falcon.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is also in the process of issuing a prohibition order against Tim Leissner, Goldman Sachs’ former Southeast Asia chairman.
1MDB is the subject of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries, including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
On the eve of the 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Panama City on Dec. 1 – 4, 2016, Leslie Caldwell, the assistant attorney-general for the US Justice Department’s criminal division, wrote an opinion piece in Bloomberg entitled “End the Corporate Shell Games” where he used Malaysia’s multi-billion dollar international 1MDB money-laundering scandal as a “prominent example” of the need for legislation to stop those who “corrupt the U.S. and financial systems” and to stop the flow of illegal money through the financial markets.
“It is no secret that the U.S. financial system is an attractive playground: We have the deepest, most liquid and most stable markets, and criminals seek to use the tools of our financial and banking systems to serve their illicit purposes. For an illegal enterprise to succeed, criminals must be able to hide, move and get access to their proceeds without detection. And when they are successful, their actions serve as a dual threat: Their criminal conduct itself can threaten the safety and security of all citizens, and their use of the financial and banking systems to hide their gains — or to fund additional criminal conduct — undermines the integrity of those systems.
“One prominent example is a case the Justice Department filed seeking to forfeit and recover more than $1.2 billion in assets that were involved in, or traceable to, an international conspiracy to launder funds stolen from the people of Malaysia. The government of Malaysia wholly owns 1Malaysia Development Bhd., a strategic investment and development fund. As alleged in the complaint, over a six-year period, 1MDB associates took more than $3.5 billion from the development fund to purchase luxury condominiums, a $35 million jet, expensive works of art and a motion picture company that used the money to finance, among other things, the production of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’
“According to our allegations, the 1MDB associates were able to successfully divert funds meant to assist the Malaysian people by providing false information to banks about the ownership of the accounts opened to facilitate their criminal activity. The 1MDB case is just the latest illustration of a global problem arising from the ability of individuals and criminal organizations to use shell companies to conceal the proceeds of crime. Gaps in legal regimes around the globe allow anyone with a basic level of sophistication to create accounts in the names of shell entities and avoid disclosing their beneficial owners of those accounts. Through cooperation and assistance from our international partners, investigators were able to lift that shroud and identify the true identity of the beneficial owners in the 1MDB case. However, that can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process based on extensive document searches and witness interviews. In many cases, it can take years to break through these barriers, if we succeed at all.”
From the Wall Street Journal’s report yesterday, two of the five “relevant individuals” named in the US DOJ lawsuits as key players in the 1MDB global money-laundering scandal, Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi, managing director of Abu Dhabi government wholly-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) 2007-2015 and Chairman of IPIC subsidiary, Aabar Investments PJS (Aabar) 2012-2013 and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny (CEO of Aabar 2010-2015) are now sitting in Abu Dhabi jail under investigation for money-laundering, corruption and other possible offences.
The other three of the five “relevant individuals” named in the US lawsuits, Jho Low, Raja Shariz Abdul Aziz (Najib’s stepson) and Eric Tan Kim Loong are more fortunate than Al-Qubaisi and Al-Husseiny, as the Malaysian authorities do not seem to be looking for them and allow them to be international fugitives.
The US DOJ lawsuits listed four persons indirectly, referred to as “Malaysian Official 1”, “1MDB Officer 1”, “1MDB Officer 2” and “1MDB Officer 3” – and although they are not named, their identities should be very easy to discover.
Are the UMNO leaders, delegates and members not interested to find out who is MO1, 1MDB Officer 1, 2 and 3?
Who are these four individuals referred to indirectly, and what actions have the Malaysian authorities taken against the three Malaysians referred to directly by name and four Malaysian individuals referred to indirectly in the US DOJ lawsuits, including MO1?
Parliament in its 25-day budget meeting had failed its national duty to rebut and refute Malaysia’s ignominy and infamy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” as a result of the International multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal or to cleanse and purge Malaysia of such infamy and ignominy.
Now, the five-day UMNO General Assemblies have also failed the country in neither rebutting and refuting the preposterous epithet of a “global kleptocracy” nor purging and cleansing Malaysia of such international infamy and ignominy.
Instead of boldly confronting the 1MDB and “global kleptocracy” issues, the five-day UMNO Assemblies have put up a infamous charade to vaporise the 1MDB and “global kleptocracy” issues into a humongous “elephant in the room”.
There was a shifty, half-hearted and unconvincing attempt to reply to the US DOJ lawsuits for forfeiture of over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from the international US$3 billion kleptocratic money-laundering from 1MDB funds by an “anonymous” booklet on 1MDB – which clearly had the sanction of the UMNO leadership for it to be distributed surreptitiously to UMNO delegates, as if work of a “thief in the night”.
This is a most shameful episode of the UMNO government and party in the nation’s history.
This is not the act of patriots and nationalists who are prepared to defend the honour, reputation and integrity of Malaysia to the bitter end.