Parliament Speaker Pandikar should take a cue from the Attorney-General’s refusal to send lawyers to US to observe the US DOJ’s civil forfeiture suits of 1MDB-linked assets to revoke his ridiculous ruling banning MPs from asking questions or debating the 1MDB scandal in Parliament
The Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia should take a cue from the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali’s refusal to send lawyers to the United States to intervene or observe the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) civil forfeiture of US$1.7 billion 1MDB-linked assets to revoke his ridiculous ruling banning Members of Parliament from asking questions or debating the 1MDB scandal in Parliament.
It is ridiculous for the Attorney-General to adopt the stance that the US DOJ forfeiture suits were unfounded, misconceived and baseless as there is no evidence that any 1MDB funds had been misappropriated or money-laundered, while on the other hand the Speaker of Parliament adopted the equally ludicrous stance that he has “extra-territorial” powers under the sub judice rule to protect the integrity, independence and impartiality of the American system of justice while completely impotent to protect the integrity, independence and impartiality of the Malaysian system of justice!
I had last week challenged Speaker Pandikar to cite an instance from another Commonwealth Parliament where the Speaker used sub judice rule to stop parliamentary question, debate or scrutiny of a local financial scandal because of court proceeding in another country but the Speaker has not been able to cite an instance so far and must be busy looking for such a precedent in another Commonwealth Parliament.
Since Monday, DAP MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo’s substantive motion to review Pandikar’s abuse of Speaker’s powers to reject the questions of over 30 MPs on 1MDB scandal had been placed at the bottom of the Order Paper i.e. Item 41 of today’s Parliamentary business, which makes nonsense of the requirement of only two days’ notice for such a substantive motion.
It is the responsibility of the Speaker to ensure that there is a parliamentary convention that such a substantive motion comes up for debate after the requisite two-day notice, or the Speaker’s favourite reminder that his ruling from the Chair is final and cannot be questioned further subject to review by the House is an empty and meaningless statement, if there is no parliamentary convention requiring debate of a motion to review the Speaker’s ruling after the requisite two-day notice.
Today in fact, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should come to Parliament to make a Ministerial statement, which should be allowed to be debated, to explain why 1MDB had failed to make a US$603 million payment to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) yesterday, as part of a settlement over a debt dispute.
The obligation, which was due on July 31 in London, is half the amount 1MDB and the Malaysian finance ministry agreed to make to IPIC, with a second payment by the end of 2017.
According to an IPIC filing to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) yesterday, 1MDB and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOF InC) have five business days to “remedy” the failure to pay IPIC and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS (Aabar) outlined in the settlement between the company and 1MDB on May 11, 2017 before 1MDB and MOF Inc become subject to additional obligations to IPIC and Aabar.
IPIC’s filing to the LSE said it should have been paid US$602,725,000 (RM2.58 billion) and US$26,024,509.59 (RM111 million) by July 31.
MPs are entitled to know the reasons for the two separate items.
It is also long overdue that Parliament should be given a full accounting of the 1MDB-IPIC arbitration fiasco, especially the statement made by the second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani, in August 2016 who was supposed to be the “final gatekeeper” in the entire 1MDB imbroglio, that he was confident that 1MDB would win in any arbitration case and about bringing to book the “culprits in the 1MDB scandal”.
Why have the Ministry of Finance and 1MDB gave away a “sure win” case in the London arbitration and why have the “culprits in the 1MDB scandal” have yet to be brought to book?