2016 is here and with it comes a lot of anticipation and expectations over one of the biggest scandals of the year. Dare I say it? The 1MDB scandal!
It was promised that all the challenges faced by 1Malaysia Development Bhd would be resolved come the end of 2015, and now that we are in the first day of 2016, we hold our breaths to see what is coming.
Of course, 1MDB’s CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy nicely called for a press conference on December 31, 2015 to reveal to the nation what they had finally settled at the end of the year.
And what they have achieved is to reduce the sovereign fund’s RM45 billion debt. But wait a minute. Didn’t the prime minister say all their challenges would be resolved?
Okay, sure. They have managed to significantly reduce the loans by selling assets. However, the recent sales now raise questions about the unloading of strategic assets to foreign companies.
That’s a whole new set of challenges right there when the old set really hasn’t been addressed as promised at all. The questions that were asked still haven’t been answered.
The main one has to be the RM2.6 billion channelled into the prime minister’s personal account and he has been dead silent on this matter.
No matter how intense the pressure for him to provide an explanation, he has withheld. Yet, this is probably the best strategy because he’s still hanging on at the top, not answering to anyone.
And through it all, we’ve seen so many of its consequences, like the reshuffling of the Cabinet for example. Even the deputy prime minister was removed for being critical of the scandal.
The attorney-general was also removed and replaced, and numerous Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) staff have been transferred here and there.
And don’t forget the suspension of The Edge weekly newspaper for constantly running articles that brought attention to the scandal and asking the tough questions.
Individuals who were committed to putting pressure on the scandal were not spared. Some were detained for investigations (along with even their lawyers!) while others were questioned.
Threats of legal action to be taken against international news organisations, apparently because they are spreading false information, have also been empty, and this makes people wonder.
So obviously a lot of 1MDB’s challenges have yet to be addressed as 2016 begins. But I guess what the challenges are depends on which side of the fence you are on.
The fact that some people on one side of the fence consider it resolved now that the bulk of its debt has been cleared off the books seems to mean that they want it to be forgotten.
Then there are also those on the other side of the fence who don’t want everything forgotten once the debt is settled. They want questions answered, and explanations.
So now it’s 2016. MACC has just handed over an investigation paper on the RM2.6 billion to the (new) attorney-general. Let’s wait and see.