M’sians must persevere through the 1MDB fatigue



M’sians must persevere through the 1MDB fatigue
By Zan Azlee

After so many years and so many news reports from all over the world, there still has been no resolution with regards to the 1MDB scandal that involves Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. So we can’t blame everyone for having 1MDB fatigue.

It can get very frustrating when we see more than half a dozen countries around the world still conducting investigations on the scandal, yet our own Malaysian attorney-general has conveniently declared that there has been no wrongdoing.

The 1MDB fund itself has denied that any money was missing even though it is clear that they have no money. There were multiple investigations that were opened against the fund and, apparently, even against the prime minister. But they were all closed.

International probes

Switzerland has been very adamant in their investigations and has persistently tried to contact Malaysian authorities for assistance. The Malaysian authorities have not responded to any of the requests.

Initially, Singapore was quiet about the scandal but after international pressure, they started investigations as well. To date, they have convicted four bank officials and one has even been suspended from practising for ten years.

The highest-profile investigation has to be the one conducted by the United States’ Department of Justice (DOJ).

This week, a luxury yacht worth US$250 million was seized by the Indonesian government in Bali at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in their investigations. The yacht is said to be owned by Jho Low, the infamous 1MDB consultant.

Of course, in Malaysia, government officials have stood up and tried their best to disassociate the seizure of the yacht with Jho Low or the prime minister. Cabinet minister Salleh Said Keruak was one of the first to come up with a statement.

Salleh said that there has been no tangible proof that the yacht seized in Bali belonged to Jho Low. He criticised the US DOJ too by saying that none of their allegations have been proven in court. He fails to realise that they are conducting the investigation so that they can prove their case in court.

Latest development

Along with reports of the seizure of the yacht, the Wall Street Journal has reported that an American lobbyist, Elliot Broidy and his wife Robin Rosenzweig had allegedly discussed setting up a consulting contract with Jho Low. Apparently, it was even stated that US$75 million will be paid if the DOJ drops its investigations into 1MDB.

In the e-mails, it was also discovered that Broidy had even prepared talking points for Najib and his administration to refer to when they had their meeting with President Trump and his administration. Most of the points were political in nature. However, 1MDB was also raised.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the points specifically mentioned that the US investigation “has caused unnecessary tension and could cause a negative reaction among Malaysians”. Whether Najib actually used the talking points or not, we don’t know.

But according to US government sources, Najib did not raise 1MDB at all during the meeting and neither did Trump. There was also no big talk about it when both leaders held their joint press conference after the meeting.

So that is the latest update on the 1MDB scandal. As usual, there aren’t major reports in the Malaysian mainstream media about it aside from government officials and cabinet ministers trying to refute the investigation process.

It is very important that we do not forget about the scandal. Although it may have been years and it would seem like there would be no resolution, we must persevere through the fatigue. Justice needs to be served no matter how long it takes.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

Get Zan Azlee’s latest book ‘JOURNO-DAD: The chronicles of a journalist who just happens to be a dad!‘ today!

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