KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — The motion to reopen investigations into the scandal and misappropriations surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and reveal the findings publicly has been passed in the Dewan Rakyat today.
The debate took over two hours as MPs from both sides traded barbs with one another, following Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's opening speech for the motion.
Rompin MP Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin, who had served as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman when 1MDB was first investigated several years ago, claimed that agencies such as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) could not identify if Good Star Limited's owner is indeed fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.
“The letter given by BNM to PAC mentioned the information it contained was sensitive and as such cannot be publicly revealed,” he said.
Lim’s special officer Tony Pua countered Hasan's statement, arguing that when serving in the PAC at the time, he and other members had requested BNM to identify who the unnamed individual behind Good Star Limited was.
“They responded to us, identifying that it was Low. It was included in the PAC's report on the matter, but we only realised it was removed a week later,” Pua said, referring to on-the-run billionaire Jho Low.
The Damansara MP added that the removal was clear-cut collusion to protect former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Other MPs who spoke in favour of the motion included PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, who pleaded that the public deserves closure on the issue, as well as DAP’s Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang.
In contrast to Hasan, Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa took a different tack by surprisingly supporting the motion.
“As parliamentarians we only want to seek the truth, and not hide or protect anything. To do so would be going against our oaths as MPs.
“The new government should be given wide latitude in determining how to best deal with the issue, just as how the previous administration did what it thought was best,” said the Umno secretary-general, who had in recent days tried to dissociate the party with embattled former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Annuar said in his support for the motion, he hoped that the tensions during its debate would not repeat itself.
“Ultimately the PAC is responsible to Dewan Rakyat, and its findings must be discussed by the MPs in a proper manner,” he said.