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1MDB not over ‘until the fat lady sings’

February 21, 2016

No one believes what the AG said about the RM2.6 billion. About 1MDB, many questions remain unanswered.

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By Ariff Sabri Mohd Aziz

Many people become angry when we say the RM2.6 billion donation issue is not over. How can we be so presumptuous, these people shoot back, when the highest legal officer of the government, our Attorney-General, has said the case is closed?

There is a simple reason: no one believes what the AG said about the RM2.6 billion.

As for 1MDB, many questions remained unanswered.

Why is no one punished for the fraud, embezzlement and other indeterminate wrongdoings? The transfer of more than USD1 billion into the account of Jho Low, for instance: it there was fraud, it would remain a fraudulent act even after any embezzled money is made good.

Suppose an invalid person who stole coins from a car then returned the money and made good the damage he did. Would he be absolved? Would he have escaped imprisonment? The crimes of breaking in, causing damage to property, and theft would remain. The same, it seems, would apply in the 1MDB case.

The Malaysian public has chosen to not believe that the RM2.6 donation issue is over. They don’t need to hear 1001 lies.

The government’s responses have been haughty belligerence, and insistence that everyone must believe the AG.

You can’t force the rakyat to believe you, can you? What can you do if people prefer to believe a news organisation that has been around for 130 years rather than the conflicting stories from Saudi Arabia? The people who write for WSJ stand by what they write. They are prepared to be proven wrong in court.

This is what the government and in particular, the PM must do. Take legal action against WSJ in a place where the plaintiff’s actions receive more sympathy.

Ministers like Rahman Dahlan and Salleh Said Keruak rely on the AG’s assurances. The WSJ, declared Rahman Dahlan, has been proven wrong again. When was it proven wrong previously?

The much-ballyhooed threat to take legal action has petered out and drowned out.

Salleh Said Keruak declared that WSJ was making baseless accusations. Azalina Said alluded to a ghostly spectre of external forces ganging up to destroy Najib. 1MDB berated WSJ as serving the agenda of an anti-Najib group.

Najibah-A Malaysia contribution to Islamic financial lexicon

‘Najibah’ has entered the lexicon of Islamic financial terms such as ajr, mudarabah, akad, murabaha, takafful, Al-Ghurm bil Ghunm (earning commissions or payments).

‘Najibah’ is Malaysia’s unique contribution to the Islamic world. It refers to a financial transaction where one receives a certain sum of money – termed loosely as a donation and part of the donation is returned to the donor. That act is called Najibah, if the sum returned is greater. If the sum retained is larger than what was returned, then the conduct is called Najibahan.

Then there are many technicalities that eat into the credibility of the returned money story. How was it done? No authorities have come out to say that yes, they transmitted the money by wire.

That story line conjures up scenes of vehicles carrying one-ton bags containing US Dollars and unloading their cargo into a plane. If so there would be records kept by the airport authorities to show that such activities took place.

If the money had been transferred by local banks, then Bank Negara Malaysia ought to know. Why don’t we ask the outgoing governor or an officer in charge of monitoring outflows of money, whether they have documents from the remitting bank or banks?

If so, they would be wise to make several copies and not hand over the only copy to the police, MACC or other authorities for safe-keeping. Not that we don’t trust our men in blue, but we must take precautions against the place catching fire and being burnt down because of faulty wiring and all that. Who knows?

If the money was transferred out from Singapore banks, then the Monetary Authority of Singapore can corroborate the story telling by our AG. Otherwise, Singapore will be viewed as a haven to park and then remit illicit money.

Although our AG announced the case is closed, authorities in at least six countries have launched their own investigations. These authorities cannot be stopped by the Malaysian government. Worse, the Swiss AG declared that as much as RM4 billion is missing from 1MDB. Unless 1MDB can prove where the money went, people will continue to thumb their noses at the AG and the government.

This whole saga does not end until the fat lady sings. I hope people understand the concept of this colloquialism.

Mohd Ariff Sabri Mohd Aziz is MP for Raub and an FMT reader.

This article has been edited from the original posted at his blog It aint over til the Fat Lady Sings

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