As more people request for the declassification of the Auditor-General’s Report on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) alleged financial scandal, the Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has stepped forward to defend the secrecy of the said documents.
Salled says that the portal Sarawak Report (which leaked excerpts on the A-G’s Report) is oblivious to the fact that the A-G’s Report on 1MDB is just one of the many sources that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) used in its deliberations to come up with the final report – following Sarawak Report’s leak claims.
If what Salleh said is true, his effort in protecting documents that are classified does not look very effective as he is already revealing investigation sources – the A-G’s Report.
He also says that the Sarawak Report story compromised the integrity of PAC members, insinuating that there has been a cover-up by PAC.
As claimed by DAP Petaling Jaya MP Tony Pua who was also part of PAC, he was only allowed a glance at the report and not permitted to keep a copy.
If what Pua said is true, how much leverage does PAC have to actually stage a cover-up?
Those on the outside who have been keeping track of Pua’s constant demand for the declassification of the A-G’s Report would think that the PAC members have also been left in the dark alongside the public.
On Thursday (July 7), the London-based whistleblower site Sarawak Report made another revelation of what it claimed to be important excerpts from the classified A-G’s Report relating to 1MDB investigations.
In reply to Salleh’s outburst, Parti Amanah Negara Strategy Director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad says Salleh’s comments could not have come at a worse time than this.
“Pressing for an urgent and expeditious investigation by the police, on the leaked A-G’s Report, smacks of a government that is aloof, oblivious and arrogant.
“Coming close on the heel of the clarion call by the rakyat for the Council of Rulers to declassify the A-G’s Report, as to ascertain the authenticity and accuracy of the Sarawak Report’s damning expose a few days ago, Salleh’s outburst is entirely misplaced and atrocious,” he says.
Dzulkefly adds that the minister needs to be reminded that the Official Secret Act (1972) is supposed to help prevent crime and not to cover it up.
“Arguably, one could ask, what critical strategic or national security risk is stake in the issue of 1MDB?
“It has now come to be known to the entire nation, and the entire world, after the presentation of the PAC Report to the Parliament of investigation carried out by the A-G Department of the many dubious, controversial breaches and some outrightly non-compliant transactions by 1MDB, ever since the first issuant of the Islamic Medium Term Note (IMTN) back in Sept 2009.
“Shouldn’t he be equally concerned and outraged by the colossal amount of public fund that has been embezzled by unscrupulous top executives of the 1MDB? What providence on integrity and sovereignty of the nation is he talking about?” Dzulkefly questions.
He reminds that the country’s perception by the international community is now questionable when at least seven jurisdictions including Switzerland, Singapore, the US, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, are conducting forensic investigations on the wholly owned Ministry of Finance’s strategic fund, 1MDB.
Dzulkefly points out that legal actions on top individuals in some financial companies globally, complicit to the alleged money-laundering and embezzlement activities are already instituted.
“Specifically, Private Swiss bank BSI, (Singapore) is now struggling to appeal a 95 million Swiss Franc (approximately USD$100 million, RM384.94 million) penalty issued by Switzerland’s financial regulator (Finma) over the lender’s ties to 1MDB and for breaking anti-money laundering rules which severely harmed the reputation of the bank and its employees.
“So what is Salleh Keruak’s ultimate objectives after all? Which national security is he securing?” asks Dzulkefly.