As US authorities swoop in to recover the allegedly corrupt proceeds siphoned out of 1MDB, DAP lawmaker Tony Pua launched a sarcastic swipe at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“Surely, Najib will not turn around and accuse his golfing buddy, President (Barack) Obama of being part of a global malicious conspiracy to bring down his government?” he said.
This was in reference to the much publicised golf match between the US president and the Malaysian prime minister in Hawaii in December 2014.
Pua pointed out that in the past, Najib’s administration had made such accusations against the Wall Street Journal regarding its reports concerning1MDB.
Among others, the WSJ’s allegations were claimed to be unsubstantiated, malicious, and part of a global conspiracy to topple a democratically elected government.
Pua’s media statement was in response to the US Department of Justice announcing civil forfeiture complaints to recover about US$1 billion in assets linked to a global conspiracy to launder over US$3.5 billion that were supposedly siphoned out of 1MDB from 2009 through 2015.
It marked the largest action ever brought under the US’ Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which is a specialised unit that traces, seizes, and recovers, proceeds of high-level corruption in foreign countries that had been laundered through the US, with the aim using it for the benefit of those adversely affected by the corrupt act.
Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, tycoon Low Taek Jho, better known as "Jho Low", Abu Dhabi government officials Khadem Abdulla Al-Qubaisi and Mohammed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny, and a person codenamed ‘Malaysian Official One’ are the persons named in the suits.
Najib himself was not named in the suits. Attorney-General Mohamad Apandi Ali had cleared him of wrongdoing in the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation scandals.
Pua, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee and a vocal critic of 1MDB, said the fact that US authorities had taken action while the Malaysian government insisted Malaysians aren’t being robbed has made the nation the butt of jokes.
He urged Najib to chastise local authorities for their ‘ineptitude’ in uncovering the scandal.
“The prime minister must instruct the police and the MACC to follow the leads provided by the Department of Justice to charge all the relevant parties who have stolen billions from Malaysians, including but not limited to Riza Aziz and Jho Low.
“Most importantly, they must obtain and discover, who is the ‘Malaysian Official One’ who has been accused of siphoning billions of ringgit of 1MDB’s borrowed wealth,” he said.