Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin is wrong to claim the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has painted Putrajaya as guilty in its series of forfeiture suits, as the department is merely carrying out its role as prosecutor.
“Khairy, you are wrong – the US Department of Justice did not paint Putrajaya guilty, they merely laid out the facts which have remained undisputed for more than two weeks,” said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua in a statement.
“Yes, the DOJ did indeed accuse ‘Malaysian Official 1’ of embezzling US$731 million of Malaysian taxpayers’ money via 1MDB.
“But what is wrong with that? Isn’t the role of any public prosecutor, including those in Malaysia, to lay out the charges by accusing the suspects of criminal wrongdoings?
“The DOJ did not pronounce the Malaysian Official 1 ‘guilty’.
“They merely laid out the detailed facts and figures which backed their very serious and convincing charge of money laundering and grand larceny.
“Hence when Khairy demanded that the troops ‘defend the truth’, Malaysians would like to know what exactly is the truth that the Umno youth and sports minister is talking about?” he asked.
He responding to Khairy’s comments at the Sepang Puteri and Umno Youth annual assembly last night where he defended Prime Minister Najib Razak against calls to step down.
“It is all a very clever play of words, to first discredit the prosecution, taint the people’s perception of the case and tug the members’ heartstrings for sympathy for pretend innocence,” said Pua, who is DAP national publicity secretary.
‘Where’s the proof’
Pua noted the ruling party has yet to rebut the DOJ’s allegations with solid proof.
“In fact, the DOJ charges are all the more convincing because the prime minister, Khairy and all the other BN leaders have failed to come up with an iota of evidence or alibi to deny the charges put forward by the DOJ.
“For example, why hasn’t Najib denied that US$681 million of funds borrowed by 1MDB Global Investment Limited on March 19, 2013 found its way into the personal bank account of Malaysian Official 1 on March 21 and 25, 2013 via intermediary companies?”
The MP also asked if the prime minister will continue to use the Middle East donor as the alibi.
“It could be easier for the prime minister to prove the DOJ wrong by showing up the mysterious Arab donor with the relevant transaction documents.
“Instead, the Arab shield seems to have vanished altogether into thin air after DOJ laid out its facts,” said Pua.
He added that the prime minister should not make Malaysians “cringe with shame and embarrassment” by denying the DOJ suits involve the government or 1MDB.
Najib’s silence not golden
Meanwhile DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said Khairy’s complaint is “precisely the reason why inaction by the prime minister and the Malaysian government for the past 17 days is untenable and not an option”.
He said it is ironic that the Umno Youth Chief had inadvertently admitted the DOJ suits do involve Najib and the government.
“How can Najib tell Indonesian television that the US DOJ lawsuit ‘does not involve him, the Malaysian government or 1MDB directly?
“The whole DOJ suit, laid out in the 136-page complaint, is about 1MDB,” said Lim in a separate statement.
He added that numerous inquiries by the various Malaysian authorities had been conducted on 1MDB, therefore it is inexplicable that the prime minister is unable to issue a white paper or an official rebuttal to debunk the DOJ complaint.
On July 20 the US DOJ filed a series of forfeiture suits to recover assets in the country that it alleged had been procured with funds embezzled from 1MDB.
Lim asked if the public accounts committee (PAC) has met over the DOJ complaint and said it should consider whether it should update or revise its report on 1MDB to Parliament.