Low: The law will take its course on 1MDB

Paul-Low-dojs-1mdb

KUALA LUMPUR: As allegations in the US Department of Justice (DoJ) civil action suit against certain individuals in Malaysia make reference to 1MDB, the government takes the matter very seriously, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Paul Low, in a keynote address at a conference in the Federal capital on Thursday.

The cases must be viewed on the facts and evidence that have been presented by the investigators, he added. “Should it be established that funds were taken out from 1MDB, the government will take legal action against the individuals named.”

It will also take legal action against anyone else who is complicit in the alleged scheme to defraud IMDB, he assured.

He was delivering the keynote address at the Governance Symposium 2016, “Driving Public-Private Governance Forward”, in Kuala Lumpur.

Low, resuming his take on the DoJ civil action, stressed the money involved – “if stolen from us” – must be recovered in full. He reiterated that those guilty should be punished in accordance with “our laws and those of the countries where the money was laundered”.

He warned the government’s credibility and reputation was at stake, and “therefore appropriate action must be taken against the perpetrators of the crime”.

Criminal prosecutions must be instituted and the law must be upheld, he continued.

He called for enforcement agencies and the Attorney-General in Malaysia to cooperate fully with all international agencies to deal with the matter in an appropriate manner. “This would allay negative perception and restore the trust and confidence of the people in the government.”

Low also disclosed that the government has in fact been working on “corporate liability provisions” with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to compel the private sector to step up and implement robust anti-corruption measures.

The newly defined ISO 37001 Anti-bribery Management Systems, expected to come into effect this September, may be used as an acceptable guide to determine the type of adequate measures as defined under the provisions, said Low. “Malaysia played an important role in contributing to the drafting of this standard.”

Elsewhere, with help from Suhakam, Low said the government was also developing a National Action Plan (NAP) on business and human rights for Malaysia.

“Developing a NAP necessitates the identifying of measures to ensure the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP),” he explained.

The Minister went on to raise the issue of raising integrity in the country, human rights in business, and five proposals that he was sending to businesses on establishing Board Committees on Governance & Ethics.

He pledged that his office would work closely with the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG) “with a view to facilitate the promotion of good governance in the private sector”.

The Minister also said that his office would provide training to equip commercial enterprises in areas concerning governance, ethics, integrity, anti-corruption and human rights.