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Six options for ministers to prove they are patriots

MP SPEAKS All eyes are on the first cabinet meeting today after last Friday's The Wall Street Journal report making unprecedented and ground-shaking allegation of embezzlement against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak that Malaysian government investigators have found almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of 1MDB's funds deposited into Najib's personal accounts.

Today's cabinet meeting is a test for all the ministers as to whether they are model Malaysian  patriots and leaders who will always put national interests above party and/or personal interests, or whether they are just a coterie of self-seeking politicians who are not prepared to take a public and patriotic stand on the great issues of the day.

And the greatest issue of the day is undoubtedly the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, the WSJ allegation of embezzlement and prime ministerial misconduct and Najib's failure, after five long days in this information age of 24/7 communication of information, to categorically clear himself of impropriety by declaring two simple things: (i) that it is untrue that some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into his personal bank accounts; and (ii) that he has no personal bank accounts in AmBank.

Yesterday's announcement that the special task force of the quartet of investigating agencies (Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Royal Malaysian Police and Attorney-General's Chambers) into 1MDB and the allegation that RM2.6 billion of 1MDB funds had been transferred into Najib's personal accounts, and that six bank accounts, three of them believed to belong to the prime minister, have been frozen has cast a completely new complexion on the biggest prime ministerial crisis in the nation's history.

Is the noose around his neck getting tighter?

Is the noose that The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report has thrown around Najib's neck getting tighter?

And if the noose for Najib is getting tighter, it is also getting tighter for the cabinet ministers as well, and the cabinet meeting today is the last opportunity for the ministers  to acquit themselves as honourable, upright and patriotic Malaysians for the annals of Malaysian history.

There are six honourable and patriotic options open to the cabinet today to prove that the Ministers are Malaysian patriots and leaders who are prepared to put national interests above personal and/or party interests.

Firstly, to demand that Najib makes a clean breast to the cabinet and nation of his role in the 1MDB scandal, since he is in law and fact the final approving authority for 1MDB deals, not only as prime minister and finance minister but also under Clause 117  of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A).

Most important of all, Najib must declare to the cabinet and nation whether he can deny categorically that some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had  been deposited into his personal accounts in AmBank and to declare whether he had any personal accounts in his name in AmBank, and if so, to reveal their identities.

If some RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his personal accounts, then Najib should also explain where these colossal sums of money have now gone to.

Secondly, to ask Najib to explain to the cabinet and nation whether he is aware that the WSJ report “Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leader's Accounts” was based on the government probe into 1MDB by BNM, MACC, RMP and AGC,  and to state when the report of the government probe finding that almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) of 1MDB's funds had been deposited into his personal accounts had been presented to him, and what actions he had taken.

Thirdly, to declassify and make public the interim report of the auditor-general on the 1MDB, which will be presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee tomorrow, to demonstrate that the National Transformation Programme principles and objectives of accountability, transparency and good governance are not empty slogans but living  operational principles of the Najib premiership.

Fourthly, to approve the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry with unfettered powers to inquire into all aspects of 1MDB, and to demonstrate that both the government and the prime minister have nothing hide and are not afraid of the most thorough inquiry, to appoint the strongest critics of 1MDB ventures as commissioners – with the RCI headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the commissioners to include MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua and MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli.

Fifthly, to ask Najib to go on leave as prime minister for three months, which should be the timeframe for the RCI into 1MDB to submit its report and findings.

If the cabinet is unable to secure these five decisions, then the cabinet ministers, as honourable and patriotic Malaysians, have one final option left – which is to collectively resign as and dissociate themselves from such  irresponsible, opaque and unaccountable management of massive public funds and even more important, to set high standards of trust,  integrity and good governance for all holders of public office for now and the future.

The ball is in the court of the cabinet ministers, at their meeting later today.

LIM KIT SIANG is DAP Parliamentary Leader and the MP for Gelang Patah.

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