Najib government in two minds over ABC Four Corners’ documentary “State of Fear: Money and Murder in Malaysia”
The Najib government is clearly in two minds over the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Four Corners’ documentary “State of Fear: Money and Murder in Malaysia” aired on Monday and widely shared on the Internet.
The first response to the ABC programme was from the Prime Minister’s Office, which said that the Four Corners documentary had confirmed the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement and the findings of Malaysian authorities that the money deposited into his personal accounts was a donation from a Saudi royalty.
"The investigations included forensic examination of every wire transfer," said a government spokesperson in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office yesterday.
"Malaysian authorities also travelled to Saudi Arabia to examine documentation and interview members of the royal family, and the officials who administered the donation.
"As the leaked letter from Saudi Arabia states, the donation was a gift to the prime minister for promoting moderate Islam, and his leadership in combatting terrorism and extremism – such as by launching his Global Movement of Moderates initiative.
"The letter makes clear the gift was to be used as the prime minister saw fit; would be transferred directly or through the donor's companies; and no benefit was expected in return."
Journalist with Australian 'Four Corner’s' programme Linton Besser has dismissed speculations that a letter from Saudi prince Saud Abdulaziz Majid to Najib was planted by Putrajaya to exonerate the Prime Minister.
When contacted by Malaysiakini, Besser called such claims preposterous and stressed that the letter did not exonerate anyone.
Besser said: “If anything, it raises further and more difficult questions. The remittances we reported were associated with the letter pledging the money came from an altogether different person, from the personal accounts of someone calling themselves Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Bandar Alsaud.
“Meanwhile, who is this HRH Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud? And crucially, who is behind Tanore Finance and Blackstone? None of these questions has been answered.”
A few hours after the Prime Minister’s Office statement, the Foreign Ministry issued a separate statement that the ABC Four Corners programme was “one-sided” in attacking the accountability of the Prime Minister and the government system.
It said that while many official statements by the government of Malaysia towards the allegation had been produced to clarify the issue, the clarifications had been conveniently ignored and had resulted in biased reporting.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had also a different take on the ABC Four Corners documentary, accusing it as “retaliation” and “actually vindictive” because of the arrests of the two ABC reporters in Sarawak.
Khalid said that the Four Corners show had deliberately attempted to link Najib to the murder of AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najidi and Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Morais out of vengeance, in a bid to tarnish the prime minister’s image.
The Najib government must make up its mind on the ABC Four Corners documentary, instead of coming out with conflicting positions.
Ever since the beginning of this year, Najib had been declaring that his twin mega scandals were no more issues as they had been “resolved”.
In a way, Najib is right, as his RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal is no more an issue as it has been replaced by an even bigger RM4.2 billion donation scandal.
Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal has become history, and we should now talk about Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal!
It is sad that Malaysians have to piece together from various bits and pieces of information in the public domain to get a handle of the scale and monstrosity of Najib’s twin mega scandals, as the Prime Minister and his Ministerial cohorts in Parliament have simply refused to give a proper, full and satisfactory accounting about the twin mega scandals even in Parliament.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 45-minute Four Corners’ documentary has helped many Malaysians to realize that there were actually three separate tranches of deposits into Najib’s personal banking accounts at AmBank, pre the RM2.6 billion donations, the RM2.6 billion donations itself and post-RM2.6 billion donations, viz:
- some US$300 million from 2011 to March 2013;
- 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
- 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.
Is Najib now confirming that a total of at least RM4.2 billion “donation” had been deposited into his personal banking accounts since 2011?
The 1MDB scandal is no less perplexing.
According to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister on July 26 last year, the total 1MDB debts were more than RM50 billion. By November last year, before the start of the “rationalisation” of 1MDB with the sale of Edra to China General Nuclear Power Corp Ltd. (CGN), the total 1MDB debts could have reached RM55 billion.
Why is Najib and 1MDB so shy in revealing 1MDB’s latest total debts before sale of Edra to CGN at the end of November?
The oft-mentioned RM42 billion figure is not the latest update figure, as it represents 1MDB’s total debts as at the end of March 2014 – 1MDB’s last audited accounts – and not in November 2015.
So have Najib’s twin mega scandals been grossly underestimated when they are close to RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion donation scandals?
Malaysia has indeed become a most extraordinary country, with the Prime Minister and the Malaysian Government regarding Najib’s twin mega scandals as “no problems” which cannot even be debated intelligently and fruitfully in Parliament, while 30 million Malaysians and the world regard them as the top issues and scandals in the country.
This is an indictment of the Najib premiership on its government system, particularly on the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance.
Najib’s twin mega scandals are responsible for Malaysia being regarded as the top ten countries notorious for “Grand Corruption”, netting for Malaysia the infamous third-ranking mention in website ForeignPolicy’s “world’s worst corruption scandals in 2015” and a second-place mention in the recent Time magazine listing of five countries notorious for “global corruption”.
Even more shameful, Najib is subject of investigations by United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Department of Justice under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative over the twin mega scandals.
Najib should take a courageous decision to give a full report to the current Parliament on the twin mega scandals which had been hounding and haunting the country for the past two years especially as nobody expects anything to emerge from the Public Accounts Committee after the appointment of a “cari makan” Chairman.
Najib should present a White Paper on his twin mega scandals to Parliament and slot the last two days of Parliament next Wednesday and Thursday for a full parliamentary debate on two scandals which had infamously catapulted to the top of the world for global corruption.