If authorities are not out on a “witch-hunt”, Najib should be the first person who should be probed for “foreign funding” and not Ambiga or Bersih

If the authorities are not out on a “witch-hunt”, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should be the first person who should be probed by the police for “foreign funding” and not Ambiga Sreenivasan or Bersih, for three reasons:

Firstly, the quantum. The amount of “foreign funding” which went into Najib’s personal banking accounts boggles the imagination – at first it was the gargantuan figure of RM2.6 billion and later it was expanded to an even more astronomical figure of RM4.2 billion.

No sane person would dispute the claim by Ambiga, who headed Bersih from 2010 to 2013, that Bersih had at all times been transparent about its finding and accounts, and had never hidden the fact that it had received US$25,000 from Open Society Institute (OSI) and US$9,690 from National Democracy Institute (NDI) in 2011 which were used in election-related projects.

But what is US$34,690 compared to the over US$1 billion foreign funding which had been deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts – as the “foreign funding” that was deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts was 30 million times larger than the puny figures which Bersih had received from OSI and NDI in 2011.

Secondly, the source of the “foreign funding”. Bersih never attempted to conceal or equivocate over the US$34,690 which it received from OSI and NDI in 2011, which is in sharp contrast about the source of the foreign funding of over US$1 billion which went into Najib’s personal banking accounts.

But there had been multitude of different versions and purposes for the over US$1 billion deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts, including:

  • On August 11, 2015, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the donation was from a “brotherly nation” which wanted to see certain parties win the 13th general election because they were friendly to them.
  • Four days later, Umno Kuantan division chief Datuk Seri Wan Adnan Wan Mamat said the RM2.6 billion was from Saudi Arabia as a form of appreciation of Malaysia “championing Islam” and fighting militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).
  • But on August 22, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the donation came from their “Muslim friends in the Middle East” to help Umno fight DAP in the general election, as the party was funded by Jews.
  • Later that same day, Zahid said he met the donors’ representatives who informed him that the funds was in appreciation for the government’s efforts in countering terrorism, and to help Barisan Nasional (BN) maintain Malaysia’s status as a Sunni country.
  • After the new Attorney-General’s no-further-action decision on Najib, however, the BBC reported an unnamed Saudi source as saying that the money was donated to help the prime minister win GE13 and counter potential Muslim Brotherhood influence in Malaysia.
  • The latest account from Director-General of Department of Special Affairs (Jasa), Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi in his speech in Canberra in his international “Veracity Tour” in May 2016, claiming that Najib had told UMNO leaders when the Wall Street Journal reported the expose in early July last year that he had “Bank Negara documents” to approve the transfer the money (RM2.6 billion) into his personal accounts and that he had discussed it with the Bank Negara governor. According to Puad, Najib denied the money originated from 1MDB and told UMNO leaders that the money was from the Saudi King (Raja Saudi) to “combat the Islamic State, and secondly, to help in other places such as in Palestine and others”.

Can Najib now confirm which one or several of these versions were true and correct and which were untrue and incorrect?

Furthermore, have the Police and the investigative authorities established which of these diverse and even contradictory versions were true, or were they all false?

Thirdly, the application of these “foreign funds”. Again there was full transparency and accountability by Bersih with regard to the US$34,690 which it received from OSI and NDI in 2011, but serious contradictions with regard to the US$1 billion deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 45-minute Four Corners’ documentary “State of Fear: Murder and Money in Malaysia” in March this year had helped many Malaysians to realize that there were actually three separate tranches of deposits into Najib’s personal banking accounts at AmBank, (i) pre the RM2.6 billion donations, (ii) the RM2.6 billion donations itself and (iii) post-RM2.6 billion donations, viz:

(i) some US$300 million from 2011 to March 2013;

(ii) two transactions in March 2013 totalling US$681 (the often-reported RM2.6 billion political donation) – bringing the total deposited into Najib’s accounts to US$1.03 billion (RM4.14 billion) by April 10, 2013, just over a month prior to the 13th General Election; and

(iii) deposits of £50 million (RM285 million) as well as “a series of cash deposits” in June 2014 and after.

Najib had never contradicted these facts and figures, elevating Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal into at least RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal.

In fact, former Kuala Lumpur police Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim had lodged a police report in March this year against the attorney-general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, claiming that the AG was suspected to have “abused his powers, hidden information, and or used false statements” when clearing Prime Minister Najib of wrongdoing in the then RM2.6 billion donation case.

Has the Police investigated Mat Zain’s police report against the Attorney-General Apandi Ali, and if so, what is the outcome of the investigations; and if not, why not, considering that the report was made by a former senior cop who had been KL CID chief?

The Attorney-General’s claim that Najib had returned US$620 million to the Arabs had been rubbished by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits to forfeit over US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

If Bersih receiving US$34,690 which it received from OSI and NDI in 2011, and used for election-related projects, could be the subject of investigations under SOSMA and Penal Code Sections 124C for being engaged in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, what about the more heinous activities of receiving over US$1 billion foreign funding clearly to undermine parliamentary democracy in Malaysia and even undermining Malaysia’s sovereignty?

In any event, when did SOSMA and Penal Code Sections 124C which were enacted by Parliament in 2012 take retrospective effect as to empower the police to use these two provisions enacted in 2012 to investigate activities in 2011?

The Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Nur Jazlan, raised a very valid question when he asked Malaysians, NGOs and media like Malaysiakini why they should fear if they have nothing to hide.

The answer is simple and straightforward – peaceful and law-abiding Malaysians have nothing to fear if there is professional and non-partisan application of the law, but they have every reason to fear if there is a “witch-hunt” with investigations carried out in bad faith, contrary to both the spirit and word of the Rule of Law.

Will the authorities prove that they are not guilty of such “witch-hunt” and violation of the rule of law by probing the Prime Minister for his US$1 billion “foreign funding” in his personal banking accounts?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah