The magic of the internet and the 1MDB report
In this era of Internet-driven communication, truth is hard to hide and what is blocked can be unblocked.
I was referring to the extensive expose by the UK-based Sarawak Report (SR) of the “Laporan Pengauditan 1DDB” by the office of the Auditor-General.
Access to SR in Malaysia was blocked by the government and the Auditor-General’s report was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) – both are lame attempts to stop Malaysians from knowing the truth.
It is an offence – punishable with mandatory jail sentence – to reveal information that had been OSA-ed. So be very, very careful not to reproduce what you saw and read because it is an offence.
What I am saying here is this. It is impossible to stop the information from reaching the public especially when the report was tabled in the Parliament. It will somehow leak out.
Apparently SR had either got or seen a copy of the report or sections of it. On July 6 it published what it claimed to be excerpts of the report. That item is widely disseminated via the Internet.
SR is free to report what it knows about the “Laporan” because it is out of reach of the Malaysian laws. Not that the government of Datuk Seri Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sanrobone Mohd Najib Abdul Razak had not tried to impose its will on SR. It did.
In July last year it did the Keruak on SR. It blocked the Internet access to SR in Malaysia. Then in August the Malaysian police requested the Interpol to arrest SR’s gritty editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown on charges of colluding with opposition lawmakers in a conspiracy to topple Mohd Najib using the controversy surrounding 1MDB, but was turned down.
Although SR was blocked, it can still be accessed. All that an interested reader has to do is to install one of several web and mobile applications (Apps) freely available online. They are not only free but their kindly inventors claims that they provide a faster, private and more secure Internet.
They offer a form of virtual private network services to their users through what is called a peer-to-peer network that Salleh Said Keruak and his trigger-happy snoops at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia cannot interfere.
My university-going niece installed one for me. So I continue to have access to SR and other Keruak-ed sites like OutSyed The Box.
This is the beauty of the digital world as opposed to the atomic one – reads Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital. Never mind that the atomic NST and Utusan do not publish the news your want to read, the digital SR, OutSyed The Box and the online version of the Wall Street Journal do.
So OSA no OSA, blocked or unblocked the inquisitive computer-literate readers can still read what the Auditor-General had exposed in the OSA-ed report.
Go online, look for virtual private networks (VPNs) and download one of them onto your computer or smartphone and there’s nothing Salleh Said Keruak can do to keep you in his information gulag.
Happy cyber hunting.
The Secrets in OSA Vault
When Mohd Najib, on March 4 last year, ordered the Auditor-General (Tan Sri Ambrin Buang) “to verify” the accounts of 1MDB and pass the report to the bipartisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament, he might have thought that the Auditor-General would merely rubber-stamp the company’s ledger.
Maybe that was the reason that he dared to promise that actions would be taken if wrongdoings were found.
He might have wanted it to be the magic key that set free all the trapped souls and the antidote that heals the 1MDB venom.
But when the report is locked away in the OSA vault, it raises suspicion that what the Auditor-General discovered and penned down was not what Mohd Najib had expected and wanted. There wasn’t a magic key or an antidote. Instead there are more venom and toxin.
And if enforced, as he had promised, the cheats, the corrupt and the corruptors named in the report would eventually find themselves in jail.
As the whole world knows, Mohd Najib himself is the ace in this game of strip poker (where the nation’s assets were stripped and sold), ahead of the likes of Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, members of the 1MDB board, ex-CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, the current CEO Arul “Azrul” Kanda Kandasamy and the PM’s sacred cow Jho Low.