Vell Paari’s headline-grabbing strategy laughable

charles Vell PaariBy Charles Santiago

It is understandable that MIC Treasurer-General S Vell Paari wants a say in the country’s biggest financial scandal. I mean, the MIC is desperate to stay relevant but to spew nonsense is certainly not the way to do so.

Firstly, Vell Paari is too insignificant for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to sue. So, if he wants to curry favour with Prime Minister Najib Razak or grab headlines, this strategy is a no-go.

Secondly, reporting about Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor’s shopping spree is not about toppling the economy. But Najib’s inability to give plausible answers about 1MDB and the lack of transparency has caused the ringgit to tumble and expedited a crumbling economy.

And lastly, investigative journalism isn’t a terrorist attack on the country. Such simplistic conclusion is laughable even if it is done to score instant brownie points.

Recently, the WSJ published a report about Rosmah spending US$6 million on clothes, jewellery and accessories from 2008-2015. This is the cause of Vell Paari’s contention.

The misappropriation of finances from the sovereign fund 1MDB and the US$681 million that was transferred to Najib’s bank account are being investigated by at least seven countries.

The US Justice Department is seeking to recover more than one billion dollars in assets bought in the US using stolen money from the investment fund, which has accumulated RM42 billion in debts since its inception in 2009.

Rosmah’s penchant for shopping and allegations that the money from 1MDB was used to pay for her overseas purchases through credit cards were repeatedly reported.

And now WSJ has written another investigative piece. If Vell Paari wants to counter that, he must be able to prove his rebuttal through facts and figures. A verbal rant simply won’t do.

It is good if others like Vell Paari can stop to think about people’s anger, brought about by stagnant salaries, rising cost of living, medicine and their struggles to pay college fees, before they jump on a bandwagon.

Leaders who hold public office have a duty to protect the interests of the rakyat. And not trample on their welfare just to look good in the eyes of the prime minister.

Charles Santiago is a Member of Parliament for Klang

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