Malaysia rejects another 1MDB probe

Malaysia’s National Audit Department can only investigate 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) if the government gives the green light.

“We wait for instructions from the government, then only the National Audit Department will act on the instruction,” Auditor-General Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad told media after the publication of the first series of her 2016 report.

The Public Accounts Committee chairman Hasan Arifin agreed, saying the parliamentary watchdog’s so-called probe on 1MDB had been completed and that it would not initiate any further investigation unless requested by the executive, which is the main target of the allegations.

“The report on 1MDB has already been tabled to the parliament and is up to the government to take any action based on the report,” Hasan told reporters.

The government is being accused of being irresponsible for not sending lawyers to observe hearings on the cases filed by the US Department of Justice to seize assets bought using allegedly misappropriated 1MDB funds, according to an opposition Democratic Action Party MP.

The US legal cases are seeking to recover assets worth US$1.7 billion that were bought with funds allegedly misappropriated from the state-run 1MDB fund.

“We are aware that the DOJ [Department of Justice] has started civil proceedings against 1MDB. No Malaysian individual has been accused of criminal charges. There is also no court decision on this matter,” said Prime Minister’s Department minister Azalina Othman Said told parliament

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said it was unacceptable and did not reflect well on Malaysia, calling on embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak to reconsider the decision.

“Malaysia must take part in this claim, which involves billions of ringgit. The case will involve a process in which facts will be adduced which could well impute criminal or civil liability against individuals connected with the case.

“It would be plainly irresponsible for us to do nothing under the circumstances,” Gobind told the media at parliament

Azalina announced that there were no plans to send lawyers to observe the US cases.

But she also claimed the Malaysian government respected the US right to take legal action.

“With respect, Azalina Othman’s reply doesn’t make sense as the rule of law and respect for United States’ law does not preclude us from appointing lawyers there to observe proceedings on our behalf,” Gobind told journalists.

The executive is preventing the judiciary from inspecting the 1MDB scandal. Picture credit: Wikimedia