The police arrest and three-day remand of three student activists, Muhammad Luqman Nul Hakim Zul Razali, Luqman Hakim and Ashraff Nazrin, for promoting next week’s #TangkapMalaysianOfficial1 rally at Seri Iskandar in Perak yesterday is unwarranted, a grave abuse of power and serious police failure to understand their real powers and duties.
The police should release the three student activists immediately, as there is no reason or justification to continue to remand them.
In fact, what all policemen and women should seriously consider is whether they should obstruct or assist the #TangkapMalaysianOfficial1 campaign.
Should the inspector-general of police (IGP) and the police be concerned as to who is ‘Malaysian Official 1’ mentioned 36 times in the 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) US$1 billion assets forfeiture lawsuits arising from the embezzlement and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds?
The question must be an unequivocal “Yes” if Malaysia believes in the rule of law and upholds good governance principles of integrity and accountability.
The police should fully assist in the #TangkapMalaysianOfficial1 campaign if there is evidence that “Malaysian Official 1” is involved in the “criminal conduct” outlined in the 136-page DOJ filings of theft, embezzlement and money-laundering of 1MDB funds.
The initial reactions of the inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar to the DOJ filing of US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets forfeiture lawsuits on July 20 were most disappointing.
Firstly, with the IGP’s declining to comment claiming that it was a civil proceeding, that the Malaysian police were not consulted and he had not been informed, and four days later, reiterating that the Malaysian police will not take action unless the US’ 1MDB civil lawsuits develop into a criminal case as the Malaysian police “only dealt with criminal matters”.
This police myopia is most shocking to say the least. Was the Malaysian inspector-general of police unable to understand the strong language used by the US officers, for instance:
(i) When the US attorney-general Loretta E Lynch said that DOJ would not allow the American financial system to be used as a conduit for corruption and that the DOJ action sought “to forfeit and recover funds that were intended to grow the Malaysian economy and support the Malaysian people. Instead, they were stolen, laundered through American financial institutions and used to enrich a few officials and their associates”.
(ii) When the US assistant attorney-general Leslie Caldwell said the DOJ allegations is “a case where life imitated art” where“the associates of these corrupt 1MDB officials are alleged to have used some of the illicit proceeds of their fraud scheme to fund the production of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, a movie about a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven”.
(iii) When US attorney Eileen M Decker of the Central District of California who spoke of the commitment to send “a message that we will not allow the US to become a playground for the corrupt, a platform for money laundering or a place to hide and invest stolen riches”.
(iv) When US Federal Bureau of Investigations deputy director Andrew McCabe said the United States will not be a safe haven for assets stolen by corrupt foreign officials.
(v) When the complaint proper in the DOJ lawsuits stated it is “a civil action in rem” to forfeit assets which are “a portion of the proceeds over US$3.5 billion misappropriated from 1MDB” (Paragraph 33) in an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB, and setting out the series of “criminal conduct” of such global misappropriation and money-laundering?
How can a Malaysian police investigation into the 1MDB scandal be regarded as serious, thorough or comprehensive if it refuses to even take cognisance of the series of criminal conduct with regard to the theft, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB funds uncovered by the investigations of the various US authorities highlighted in the DOJ lawsuits?
In the reactions after the DOJ filings, Khalid said that the police will question two important personalities in the 1MDB scandal, the Penang-born tycoon Jho Low and Najib’s stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, before submitting papers to the attorney-general.
As Khalid has said that the police have submitted its investigation papers to the attorney-general, have the police succeeded in questioning Jho Low and Riza?
The 1MDB investigations by the Malaysian police and the US authorities were initiated at almost the same time – in the first quarter of last year.
Can the Inspector-general of police explain why the US investigation seemed to have made greater headway than the Malaysian police investigation, and why the Malaysian police investigation seemed to be trailing not only those in the US, but also in other countries like Singapore, Switzerland and Abu Dhabi?
Will Khalid as IGP demonstrate that he is the country No 1 policeman who will act without fear or favour to uphold the law, and is prepared to find out who is ‘Malaysian Official 1’, and will assist and not hamper the #TangkapMalaysianOfficial1 campaign?
LIM KIT SIANG