Malaysian Opposition Leader Calls for Release of Auditor’s Report on 1MDB

BenarNews Staff
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150716-MY-KITSIANG620.jpeg Lim Kit Siang, leader of the Malaysian opposition Democratic Action Party, looks on during a rally at a stadium in Kelana Jaya, Selangor, May 8, 2013.

A leader of the Malaysian opposition Friday called on the government to publicly release a report by the Auditor-General into the financial scandal-plagued state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Lim Kit Siang issued the call a day after a British whistleblower website, The Sarawak Report, published an article saying that billions of dollars had gone missing from 1MDB. The website cited a leaked copy of the Auditor General’s report on the troubled investment fund, a document classified under Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act.

In a blog post calling for the auditor’s report to be declassified and publicized, Lim questioned whether the Malaysian parliament was being denied an opportunity and materials needed to decide if its Public Accounts Committee (PAC) did a competent job in investigating 1MDB.

1MDB has been at the heart of a corruption scandal plaguing Prime Minister Najib Razak since last July, when news reports emerged that nearly U.S. $700 million linked to the fund had been deposited into his private bank accounts in 2013.

“As a first step, the report of the AG on 1MDB which had been submitted to the PAC should be made public forthwith without any further delay, which will allow members of parliament the opportunity to decide whether to approve or demand further PAC investigations on the ground[s] that the PAC report touched only on the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of the global 1MDB scandal,” Lim wrote in his blogpost.

The committee presented the Auditor-General’s report to parliament in April, but lawmakers took no action then on the grounds that the document was classified under the secrets act.

“Information is freely available pointing to 1MDB scandal as a heinous crime which is global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption scandal,” Lim wrote in his blog.

“How far can the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament, the PAC, the various law enforcement and investigative agencies, whether Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Police, Bank Negara, Attorney-General’s Chamber, continue to play the collective role of the three traditional monkeys of eyes that see not, ears that hear not, and mouths that speak not,” he asked.

1MDB is under investigation over claims of money laundering and embezzlement in Malaysia and one-half dozen other countries. Malaysia’s attorney general has cleared Najib of any wrongdoing despite calls for his resignation, and the prime minister has denied wrongdoing or taking any of the 1MDB-linked money for personal gain.

Leak: Threat to national security?

Separately, DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua said in a statement that, in the spirit of the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, Najib should “honestly and decently” declassify the auditor’s report, adding that it was never meant to be permanently classified as a secret document.

The Sarawak Report, which covers controversial Malaysian issues, promised to publish more details from the AG’s report in the future. The website has been blocked in Malaysia since 2015 but can be accessed in other countries.

On Friday, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak urged Malaysian police to investigate the leak “urgently and expeditiously” to prevent the release of other official documents, which, he said, could put the country’s security in jeopardy.

People’s Justice Party (PKR) Vice President Rafizi Ramli was arrested on April 5 after allegedly divulging a page from the Auditor-General’s report, in violation of Malaysia’s law of having unauthorized access to or disseminating classified information. He faces up to seven years in prison, if convicted, according to local media reports.


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