Greater transparency needed on 1MDB, urge academics, public intellectuals

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Source: theedgemarkets.com

Eighty-seven Malaysian academics and public intellectuals have condemned the aggressive police interference with the work of the MACC and called for greater transparency.

We, the undersigned, note with grave concern the allegations of financial abuse and corruption against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

We note that these allegations are directed at various forms of wrongdoing and have been raised by multiple sources, some of which have made public numerous documents to substantiate their claims.

We also note with increasing alarm that various individuals entrusted with the responsibility to investigate these allegations of wrongdoing, in particular the officials at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), have now become the targets of harassment and a probable witch hunt.

Other incidents of significant concern include the sudden replacement of the attorney general, only a few months before he was supposed to retire, and the abrupt dismissal of the deputy prime minister. The ensuing reshuffling of the cabinet has led to the paralysis of the Public Accounts Committee investigating 1MDB, further damaging the credibility of the multi-pronged investigation authorised by the prime minister.

Apart from these criminal allegations, we also note with alarm how 1MDB is currently burdened with a huge debt. Finance Minister II Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has estimated the amount of annual loan interest serviced by 1MDB as between RM2.4bn and RM2.7bn. This means that its daily interest repayment amounts to millions of ringgit.

The government owes the people a clear explanation as to how a state-owned company which uses public funds has come to incur such an astronomical debt, which continues to drain the wealth of our nation.

The government must investigate and reveal those responsible for such gross mismanagement. The issuance of a mere statement thus far, based on the auditor general’s report that there has been no wrongdoing, is clearly unsatisfactory from the point of view of transparency and accountability.

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It is equally a matter of public concern that even though a denial of any wrongdoing has been issued by the prime minister, it has been officially revealed that there was a deposit of nearly US$700m (RM2.6bn) into his personal account and he, somehow, does not see the need to justify or provide further details about this massive amount.

We wish to state that short of coming clean about the problems with which 1MDB is saddled, no amount of counter-allegations of conspiracy to oust the prime minister from his office will be able to clear the air and the names of those involved.

We urge:

  • the prime minister to go on temporary leave pending the investigation by the various agencies to ensure the credibility and integrity of these investigations;
  • the government and law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and discernment and desist from carrying out repressive actions which could be construed as attempts at obstructing investigations and muzzling freedom of the press;
  • the government to make public all interim or preliminary reports produced by various agencies investigating 1MDB;
  • all persons exercising functions of public office and involved in the investigation to do so with impartiality and integrity.

We strongly urge the relevant authorities not to ignore the wide-ranging international and domestic implications and consequences – both in the short and long term – of a failure to address the serious allegations of corruption that arise from this series of events.

We believe the aggressive police interference with the work of MACC, ostensibly to investigate an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government, will have a huge negative impact on Malaysia’s international anti-corruption reputation and affect bilateral and multi-lateral foreign relationships in trans-border anti-crime cooperation efforts.

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The total disregard for openness and transparency may deter and dissuade further foreign direct investment in Malaysia, and any resultant capital flight will seriously jeopardise the international financial rating and reputation of Malaysia. The government must be advised, and act, accordingly.

1. Professor emeritus Datuk Abdul Rahman Embong, academic

2. Adrian Pereira, social justice activist

3. Agatha Foo Tet Sin, retired lawyer

4. Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, academic

5. Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, academic

6. Dr Alicia Izharuddin, academic

7. Associate professor Andrew Aeria, academic

8. Dr Andrew Filmer, academic

9. Andrew Khoo Chin Hock, public intellectual

10. Angeline Loh, writer

11. Dr Ang Sze Wei, academic

12. Anil Netto, social activist

13. Rev Dr Anthony Loke, academic

14. Associate professor Dr Azmi Sharom, academic

15. Dr Aznijar bin Ahmad Yazid, academic

16. Dr Carol Yong, independent researcher/consultant

17. Dr Cecilia Ng, retired academic

18. Professor Chan Chee Khoon, academic

19. Chan Yen Lian, concerned citizen

20. Dr Charis Quay Huei Lin, academic

21. Dr Chee Heng Leng, academic

22. Dr Christopher Chong, academic

23. Christopher Choong, development economist

24. Dr Clarissa Lee, postdoctoral researcher

25. Dr David Tan, postdoctoral associate

26. Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, public intellectual

27. Dr Diana Wong, retired academic

28. Dr Faisal Hazis, academic

29. Fauwaz Abdul Aziz, PhD student

30. Dr Francis Loh, political scientist

31. Goh Chun Fan, PhD candidate

32. Dr Gregore Pio Lopez, academic

33. Associate professor Helen Ting, academic

34. Henry Loh Kee Wey, retired banker

35. Dr Hew Wai Weng, academic

36. Hwa Shi-Hsia, PhD candidate

37. Professor James Chin, academic

38. Associate professor Joanne Lim, academic

39. Joel Gurprit Singh, academic

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40. Dr Johan Saravanamuttu, independent scholar

41. Professor Khoo Boo Teik, academic

42. Associate professor Khoo Gaik Cheng, academic

43. Kuan Chee Wah, academic

44. Dr Lee Hwok Aun, academic

45. Dr Lee Wai Leng, academic

46. Dr Leong Kar Yen, academic

47. Dr Lim Mah Hui, city councillor

48. Professor Living Lee, academic

49. Dr Mahyuddin Ahmad, academic

50. Maimuna Merican, academic

51. Professor Maude Phipps, academic

52. Dr Mohd Faizal Musa, academic

53. Professor Mohd Nazari Ismail, academic

54. Dr Mohan Ambikaipaker, academic

55. Muhammad Taufik bin Mohd Yusof, MSc candidate

56. Dr Mustafa K Anuar, researcher

57. Dr Ngu Sheau Shi, academic

58. Professor Datuk Omar Shawkataly, academic

59. Dr Patricia Martinez, independent scholar

60. Dr Paul J Lim, retired professor

61. Associate professor Phua Kai Lit, academic

62. Dr Por Heong Hong, academic

63. Dr Prema Devaraj, social activist

64. Dr Regina Lim, researcher

65. Ruhana binti Padzi, academic

66. Sarajun Hoda, social activist

67. Professor emeritus Shaharir bin Mohamad Zain, retired academic

68. Associate professor Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, academic

69. Rev Dr Sivin Kit, academic

70. Associate professor Subramaniam Pillay, academic

71. Associate professor Sumit Mandal, academic

72. Syerleena Abdul Rashid, councillor

73. Dr Tan Beng Hui, academic

74. Tan Pek Leng, researcher

75. Professor Terence Gomez, academic

76. Th’ng Bee Fu, academic

77. Associate professor Uma Devi Palanisamy, academic

78. Professor Wan Manan Wan Muda, academic

79. Dr Wan Puspa Melati, academic

80. Wang Lay Kim, academic

81. Dr Wong Chin Huat, political scientist

82. Dr Wong Kock Hoo, academic

83. Dr Wong Kok Keong, academic

84. Yalini Easvaralingam, PhD student

85. Dr Yeoh Seng Guan, academic

86. Professor Zaharom Nain, academic

87. Professor Sheila Nair, academic.

Source: themalaysianinsider.com

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