Amanah Youth deputy chief Faiz Fadzil has urged Malaysians not to be duped into thinking that the action taken by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to forfeit more than US$1 billion in assets allegedly from 1MDB is only a civil suit, and hence not a serious matter.
Faiz, who is a practising lawyer, said the civil forfeiture suit is just the initial action under the US law, and the criminal prosecution will follow suit.
He added that some people may have been confused by the terms used, namely on the matter being civil or criminal.
Faiz said the action taken by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative was to recover assets which are acquired through criminal means.
The Amanah leader said that even Umno information chief Annuar Musa and de facto Law Minister Azalina Othman Said have downplayed the issue by using the word "civil" when describing the action in US.
Faiz, who is the son of late PAS president Fadzil Noor, asked if this action was not serious, then why was the US attorney-general from the criminal division heading the suit.
He said the US was using Title 18 of the US Code (USC) which is related to criminal law and criminal procedure law, which are similar to Malaysia's Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.
“If one were to look at Title 18 USC 981 under civil forfeiture, it defines any property, real or personal, involved in a transaction or attempted transaction in violation of section 1956 (laundering of monetary instruments) can be forfeited.
“Although those section mentioned civil forfeiture, the action taken by the DOJ was done based on US criminal law. Hence, Malaysians should not be duped into thinking it is only a civil action. The civil forfeiture is the beginning of a criminal action," he said in a statement.
Hence, he said he was puzzled as to why the Malaysian police have not found any element of abuse when the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could.
“How could the US attorney-general find the criminal elements after Malaysia's attorney-general had cleared Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak? This has brought shame and disrepute on Malaysia in the eyes of the international community," Faiz added.
He said the facts laid out in the US suits were consistent with the revelations on Najib's involvement and benefits he allegedly received.
Faiz said that Najib must be held responsible for the biggest scandal that has tarnished the country's reputation.
“Article 117 of the Memorandum of Articles of 1MDB states that the PM is chairperson of the board of advisers of 1MDB that approves all international investments,” he said.
Faiz also noted that the accusation by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua that Najib is the individual referred to as 'Malaysian Official 1' has not been denied.
“The cause papers on the civil forfeiture have not cleared the PM's name or his involvement.
“It is a mockery to Malaysians, especially taxpayers, to see 1MDB funds laundered illegally by joint conspirators for personal use to purchase a jet, properties and Monet and Van Gogh artworks, and paying gambling debts,” he said.