KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Lim Kit Siang today acknowledged that Malaysia appears slow in doling out justice on those who pilfered from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) after the United Arab Emirates government sent two key players named in a US rogues’ list to jail for financial crimes.
However, the veteran DAP lawmaker said it is the price the country has to pay to restore public confidence in Malaysia’s rule of law and the independence of its judges.
“Qubaisi and Husseiny’s conviction and jail sentences will make many Malaysians squirm and wonder why the wheels of justice in Malaysia grind so slowly and tardily, but this is the price we have to pay if we want to restore national and international confidence in the rule of law and an independent judiciary in Malaysia,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said in a statement.
Lim was referring to news reports yesterday of former International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) managing director Khadem al-Qubaisi and Mohammed Badawy al-Husseiny who once headed its subsidiary and were sentenced to 15 years and 10 years’ imprisonment respectively for abusing their positions in the Abu Dhabi fund for personal benefit.
Wall Street Journal also reported the Abu Dhabi criminal court ordering the two men to pay about US$336 million (RM1.4 billion), half to IPIC that was described as a “victim company” and half as a penalty.
Al-Qubaisi was reportedly convicted of “exploiting his job and unlawfully appropriating €149 million (RM697.8 million) after selling shares he owns for the company he heads, without disclosing his ownership of the shares, for €210 million”, though the WSJ said it was not related to the 1MDB scandal.
Lim in his statement also warned Umno leaders that the latest news about the conviction of these two personalities who were linked to 1MDB showed that all those who played a role will be called to justice eventually.
He noted that the US Department of Justice had named 11 people, nine of them Malaysians when it filed its kleptocracy lawsuit on the 1MDB scandal and named the “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1) in a final 251-page chargesheet of embezzlement and defrauding of US$4.5 billion in the Malaysian sovereign investment fund.
“It is not just ‘MO1’ but all Umno/BN leaders who had helped him to cover up the monstrous 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal and did nothing to purge Malaysia of the infamy and ignominy of a global kleptocracy who is on trial,” he said.
He then challenged the previous Barisan Nasional Cabinet and its MPs of the 13th Parliament to each state what they did when in July 2016 when the first US filing was made.