A campaign to discredit the investigation into 1MDB has led the special task force responsible to hasten the probe, including making arrests, according to veteran newsperson A Kadir Jasin.
"Sources say the arrests were partly hastened by the heightened campaign to discredit the investigation by (Prime Minister) Najib Abdul Razak's propaganda machine," Kadir said in a blog posting yesterday.
Kadir ( photo ), who was group editor of the New Straits Times for 12 years, zoomed in on the alleged smear campaign led by Najib's ally, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
"Najib's propaganda outfit, led by his strategic communications chief Abdul Rahman Dahlan, has gone into high gear to discredit the prime minister's critics and to create doubt about official and unofficial investigations into the 1MDB scandal and its link to Najib.
"The latest to be roped into the offensive was a little-known Sarawak reporter by the name of Lester Melanyi who 'confessed' that he knew about the 'falsification and adulteration' of 1MDB documents by Sarawak Report , a claim which has since been rubbished by the latter," he said.
The special multi-agency task force is investigating, among others, claims that RM2.6 billion from 1MDB was deposited into Najib's private bank accounts, an allegation reported by both Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal .
The task force arrested a company director on July 20 and another director with a 'Datuk' title on July 22 to facilitate its investigations.
AG not a member
Following these arrests, Kadir said the task force appeared serious in wanting to unravel the 1MDB saga.
However, he said, he had some slight reservations in that the Attorney-General's Chambers did not appear to be on the same page as other members of the task force.
"My slight reservation is based on my observation of media statements that suggest a certain member of the task force is still playing 'kayu tiga' (two-timing)," he said.
The attorney-general had previously been accused by the opposition of trying to cover up for the prime minister.
Following this, the task force, in a joint statement that for the first time excluded the attorney-general, said the attorney-general was not part of the task force and was merely referred to when legal guidance was needed.
The task force comprises the police, the MACC, the Attorney-General's Chambers and Bank Negara.