TI fears Malaysia moving towards autocracy over 1MDB

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016

PETALING JAYA: Transparency International (TI) has expressed concern that Malaysia is moving rapidly towards autocracy amid the investigations into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The global anti-corruption movement said in a statement that Malaysia was also on its way towards disregarding its international commitments, including under the UN Convention against corruption and Asean Political-Security Community Blueprint 2015.

The statement came in the wake of remarks by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali who called for amendments to the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 to charge journalists who refuse to reveal their sources as well as whistle-blowers.

"The A-G's statement is just another in a long line of incidents that raises questions about the impartiality of the judiciary and Malaysia's commitment to fighting corruption," TI's Asia Pacific regional director Srirak Plipat said.

TI recounted the time when the previous A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who was investigating the 1MDB case, was "replaced" and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers dealing in the investigations arrested or transferred.

"Almost six months later Transparency International remains seriously concerned that this is a case of 'grand corruption that will go unpunished' if the international community does not come together to hold the country to account.

"We need the international community to come together to ensure that Malaysia responds to the ongoing investigation into the misappropriation of government funds, known as the 1MDB scandal, and does not try to cover up any wrongdoing,” said Srirak.

TI said there were still many unanswered questions surrounding the 1MDB investment fund.

It said there were also questions about how RM680mil was deposited into Najib’s private accounts from Saudi Arabia and where that money is now.

"Attorney-General Apandi recently closed the investigation into the Saudi donation, a decision that should be reviewed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission free from political pressure," it said.

TI said in light of what happened, international investigations may now be the only way to "shine a desperately needed light on what has really gone on in the case," referring to the ongoing investigations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the US over the 1MDB fund, and the Swiss authorities which found allegations of corrupt activities.

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