The 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration “settlement” is a financial scam against the people of Malaysia – why did Speaker Pandikar become part of it by refusing a parliamentary debate on it?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that 1MDB is able to pay Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) the US$602.5 million as part of a settlement struck in April, giving an assurance that 1MDB was facing a “technical matter” and not a question of being unable to pay (IPIC).
The DAP MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng’s emergency motion today under Standing Order 18(1) on 1MDB’s failure to meet the deadline to pay IPIC was rejected by the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, on the ground that the Speaker “difahamkan oleh pihak Kerajaan bahawa 1MDB telah mengambil tindakan seperti yang telah di umumkan pada 1Ogos 2017 berkenaan dengan Pelan Rasionalisasi 1MDB bagi menyelesaikan isu yang dibangkitkan dalam usul” Lip Eng.
I rose in Parliament just now and said that the 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration “settlement” is a financial scam against the people of Malaysia and asked why the Speaker wanted to be part of this financial scam to deceive Parliament and the people of Malaysia by rejecting a parliamentary debate on it.
The 1MDB failure to pay IPIC has been attributed to misappropriation of 1MDB fund or being symptomatic of “bad financial planning”.
I think it is more serious, as the whole so-called 1MDB-IPIC arbitration settlement is a financial scam against the interests of Malaysian taxpayers.
The second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani is on record as saying that he had studied the documents of the 1MDB-IPIC dispute and he was confident that 1MDB would win the case in going for London arbitration.
Why then did the Ministry of Finance and 1MDB ended up “surrendering” to IPIC claims in toto in reaching the 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration “settlement” where 1MDB had to pay IPIC twice, and now we have the new problem of 1MDB unable to meet the deadline for the a first payment?
Parliament is the proper forum where Malaysians, through Members of Parliament, could demand a full accounting from the government for the latest “financial scam” by 1MDB.
The Speaker had rejected questions by over 30 MPs on the 1MDB scandal, and he said that MPs who are not happy with his ruling, which is final until reviewed by the House, can invoke Standing Order 43 to move a substantive motion which requires only two days’ notice to review his ruling.
DAP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo, had moved such a substantive motion to review the Speaker’s ruling rejecting questions by MPs on 1MDB, but since Monday, despite the two-day requisite notice, Gobind’s motion remains at the bottom as the last item of the Parliamentary Order Paper, ie. Item No. 39 - never to see the light of day or coming up for debate making Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 43 a “dead leter”!
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 pastime reminding MPs 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.
The proper place for the Speaker to justify rejection of questions about the 1MDB scandal is through debate in Parliament to review the Speaker’s rulings, and not at press conferences by the Speaker.
Alternatively, Pakatan Harapan can host a public forum on 1MDB next week where the Speaker can be a panel speaker to give reasons for rejecting questions about the 1MDB scandal, which had overnight turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy.