The statement made by Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak couldn’t come at a worse time. Pressing for an urgent and expeditious investigation by the Police, on the leaked Auditor-General’s report, smacks of a government that is aloof, oblivious and arrogant.
Coming close on the heel of the clarion call by the rakyat for the Rulers’ Conference to declassify the AG’s report, as to ascertain the authenticity and accuracy of Sarawak Report’s damning expose a few days ago, Salleh’s outburst is entirely misplaced, nay atrocious.
The minister does not require reminding that the Official Secrets Act 1972 is supposed to help prevent crime and not to cover it up, much less justify the unjustifiable and defend the indefensible, on any abuse of power by any public office-bearers including ministers acting to protect themselves or even to protect a Prime Minister.
Arguably, one could ask; what critical strategic or national security risk is at stake in the issue of 1MDB? It has now come to be known to the entire nation, nay the entire world, after the presentation of the PAC Report to the Parliament, of investigation carried out by the Auditor-General’s Department of the many dubious, controversial breaches and some outrightly non-compliant transactions by 1MDB, ever since the first issuance of the Islamic Medium Term Note (IMTN) back in September 2009.
So why is the minister so frantic about the leaked document? Shouldn’t he be equally concerned and outraged by the colossal amount of public funds that has been embezzled by unscrupulous top executives of the 1MDB? What providence on integrity and sovereignty of the nation is he talking about?
The nation has indeed lost much of its goodwill and integrity in the eyes of the global community. The surest way to regain it back is to ensure that the critical institutions of the nation are again made vibrant and functional.
What do we expect of the perception among the international community, when at least seven jurisdictions including Switzerland, Singapore, the US, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, are conducting forensic investigations into the MOF’s wholly-owned strategic fund, 1MDB.
Legal actions against top individuals in some financial companies globally, allegedly complicit to money-laundering and embezzlement activities, are already instituted.
Specifically, private Swiss Bank BSI (Singapore) is now struggling to appeal against a 95 million Swiss franc (US$100 million) penalty issued by Switzerland’s financial regulator (Finma) over the lender’s ties to 1Malaysia Development Bhd and for breaking anti-money laundering rules which “severely harmed the reputation of the bank and its employees”.
So what is Salleh Keruak’s ultimate objectives after all? Which national security is he securing?
Dr. Dzulkifli Ahmad is the Strategy Director of Parti Amanah Negara