Malaysia Dateline

Where are the long robed ulama and state muftis

Where art thou, Raja Bahrin asks ‘missing ulama’ in 1MDB affair

Amanah’s Terengganu chief Datuk Raja Bahrin Shah has lashed out at the failure of Muslim religious leaders in the country who have stayed silent in the wake of revelations of extravagant lifestyle of government leaders and their families.

“Where are the long-robed ulama and state muftis?” asks the outspoken Kuala Terengganu MP in a strongly worded statement.

“Are they there just to garnish official functions and churn out views for the TV audience?”

He was commenting on the latest development involving 1MDB, after the US Department of Justice sought to seize assets linked to the Malaysian state firm worth some US$1 billion.

On Wednesday, US prosecutors said over US$3.5 billion was diverted illegally from 1MDB.

They also named Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson who heads a film production company in Hollywood, of using some RM256 million from illegally obtained 1MDB funds to finance the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

The document accusing Malaysian officials of illegal money transfers and high-level corruption however did not mention by name Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who set up 1MDB in 2009.

Instead, it merely referred to a mysterious person using the phrase “Malaysian Official One”.

But Raja Bahrin said Malaysians were not foolish not to know who it meant.

He said the revelations showed Malaysia was still primitive, and comparable to third world countries in Africa where leaders amassed wealth.

“Maybe it’s not suprising because a large section of the population there still live in poverty and lack proper education.

“But in Malaysia, most of its population are educated and live moderately, so how could such a big scandal as 1MDB take place,” he asked.

He said the US document clearly mentioned Najib’s stepson but one had yet to hear any response from those who had been claiming to champion the Malay race.

“Not only the ulama are refusing to voice out, the Malay ‘warriors’ are also mute,” said Raja Bahrin.

He hoped the Malay rulers would urge the government to set up a royal commission of inquiry following the latest revelations by US investigators.

He also urged that the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB which has been classified under the Official Secrets Act to be declassified, so that the public can judge for themselves.

“If the US goverment’s report is not to be believed, then the people should be able to examine our auditor-general’s report to judge for themselves.”