Tuesday, April 14, 2015

1MDB: Let’s not jump the gun


Penang Umno chairman Zainal Abidin Osman appealed to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to refrain from being too pushy regarding the investigations into 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) affairs.

“Tun Dr Mahathir should be patient and allow the investigations to be completed first,” said Zainal.

He also urged the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to expedite their investigations into 1MDB’s many ‘questionable investments’.

This appears to be a statement in support of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, plus a mild rebuttal to Dr Mahathir. However, the insertion of ‘questionable investments’ in that statement gives a hint into what Zainal is thinking -- and that is the investments are indeed dodgy.

The PAC, on the other hand, announced that it may not wait for the Auditor-General’s report before proceeding and may instead press ahead with its own investigation.

As unfair as it may sound, in politics one is considered guilty until proven innocent and one is subjected to trial by the court of public opinion. And this is what is happening with the 1MDB issue.

Basically, it is a classic case of the mob-lynching syndrome.

The opposition, plus those within Umno and Barisan Nasional opposed to the Prime Minister, are giving an impression that RM42 billion of the taxpayers’ money has disappeared or vanished. It has simply gone.

What is the basis for coming to that conclusion? Have the opposition and those other critics of the Prime Minister produced any evidence for believing so or is this based merely on rumours, innuendos and allegations?

The opposition demands justice and the application of the standard of innocent until proven guilty. But in the 1MDB case they practice the reverse and give the excuse that since there is no evidence of innocence then we must assume there is guilt.

We are yet to see 1MDB’s balance sheet. If RM42 billion has disappeared then the balance sheet would certainly reflect this. And the balance sheet would, therefore, show a figure of zero.

How do they know it is zero instead of, say, RM50 billion? The investigation is yet to be completed and no figures have been revealed thus far. So let us see what the figures are before we decide that a crime has indeed been committed.

Is this not the very essence of fairness and justice? Why should Najib Tun Razak be denied this same decency just because he is the Prime Minister?

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