By TK Chua
The US government is not perfect, but then which government is.
Whatever our personal views and apprehension, I think on any account, the US government is a better bet than many others.
They jealously protect the rule of law, adhere to the principle of separation of power and defend the fourth estate.
In the US, once an investigation has begun, it will take its course. Hardly anyone can intervene, derail or cover up the process. An investigation must lead to some outcome or closure, regardless of the parties involved.
This is how I look at the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) actions on forfeiture of assets bought with money allegedly stolen from 1MDB.
The DoJ investigated and took action because crimes, be they money laundering, stealing and squandering, were allegedly committed in the USA. They have specific laws which allow the US government to take action to recover the loot from those who have stolen from others, especially the helpless people from third world countries.
I am not saying the DoJ is squeaky clean. But given its transparency and strong attachment to press freedom and rule of law, I think it would be very difficult for anyone to influence the decisions and actions of the DoJ.
Since the latest filing by the DoJ, many insinuations and accusations have been hurled against the department.
But did DoJ deliberately and wilfully single out Malaysia as a target to “victimise”? In the last 60 years of Malaysia’s existence, has the DoJ at any time seized our assets and hassled our people?
Mahathir was very independent and even arrogant to the Americans, but did the DoJ seize any Malaysian asset during his tenure as the prime minister. My question is, why now?
What gain or benefit would the DoJ get by wilfully taking action if not for reasons of justice and complying with the laws?
Did opposition politicians in Malaysia influence the US DoJ to take action against those who were allegedly related to 1MDB? Well, I really wish opposition politicians are that influential and powerful.
In fact, this begets my next question. If opposition politicians can somehow influence the DoJ, I am sure the ruling party and the government too could have done the same thing, if not more. I am sure Government to Government relationship is stronger than opposition politicians trying to have their views heard.
I think it is pointless to deny or to divert the issue any longer. The best denial is to challenge the claims filed by the DoJ. Those who chose to buy and hide their assets there must have believed in their legal system. You can’t have it both ways.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
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