Shahbudin: No fair probe on WSJ report if PM not on leave
KUALA LUMPUR: A political analyst sees the statements attributed to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, in the wake of a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that directly implicates Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in alleged wrongdoing, as not going far enough. He implied that Najib has lost the moral high ground in the wake of the allegations, while at the same time Muhyiddin had yet to seize it.
In fact, he added that Muhyiddin was evading the crux of the issue after he had conceded that his boss was facing allegations which were of a very personal and private nature. “It’s not enough for him to ask Najib to issue a statement explaining the WSJ allegations, since it was of a very personal and private nature, and that they should be investigated by the authorities concerned, ” said Shahbudin Husin.
He acknowledged like Muhyiddin that Najib had yet to confirm, for example, whether he holds the bank accounts mentioned in the WSJ report and whether certain extraordinarily large funds entered these accounts.
He wonders whether anyone would be impressed by the Attorney- General’s statement, in response to Muhyiddin’s comments, disclosing that a Task Force had raided three companies allegedly linked to the allegations against Najib in the WSJ report.
Any investigation of the WSJ report that nearly USD700 million entered the personal banking accounts of the Prime Minister hinges on him going on leave, spelled out Shahbudin starkly in his latest blog posting. “There are no two ways about it.”
“If Muhyiddin can’t ask Najib to go on leave, then no one else can with any degree of effectiveness. He was right to say that Najib can later sue WSJ if investigations proved that its reporting was baseless.”
Still, the analyst said that the Deputy Prime Minister cannot pretend not to know that it would be extremely difficult for the investigating agencies – the Attorney- General’s Chambers, Bank Negara, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), the Auditor-General’s Office, and the police – to work with any degree of independence if Najib, the subject of the investigations, was refusing to go on leave. “These agencies already have their Task Force to work together and they can’t be expected to report to Najib on his alleged wrongdoing.”
Again, he queries why Muhyiddin didn’t ask Najib to go on leave just as in the Mara case recently, and in other cases in the past involving for example Umno Youth Chief Rahim Tamby Chik in 1994. “The issue in both these cases was corruption and the personal nature of the allegations. Rahim returned to his post after his name was cleared.”
“Najib going on leave was not a new suggestion,” concedes the analyst. “It has been made in the past when the authorities concerned started their investigations into the RM42 billion scandal-ridden 1MDB.”
However, he reiterated, what makes the situation different this time and has certain urgency was the very personal and private nature of the allegations against Najib. “The WSJ report alleges, I reiterate, that nearly USD700 million entered his personal bank accounts with AmBank.”
Muhyiddin as the number two in the government, pointed out Shahbudin, was the right person to advise Najib to go on leave. “If not, the investigations into the WSJ report would have no meaning, and would not convince the people.”
In short, the bottomline was that Najib cannot continue to head the government when he himself was the subject of the investigations by the very authorities concerned who also report to him. “How would any such investigation with Najib still around as Prime Minister and Finance Minister be seen to be fair in the eyes of the people?”
The investigations, he continued, would proceed smoothly without any hint of interference, in Najib’s absence. “It would be a just outcome for all parties concerned.”
Instead of making the right call, the analyst again noted that Muhyiddin has been going all over the place, seeming to make the right noises but keeping himself safe as usual from any possible political retribution that could come his way.
Shahbudin agreed that the Deputy Prime Minister didn’t make himself look foolish like the other Ministers, who probably fearing for their own future, were too quick to rubbish the WSJ report which the newspaper itself has defended as accurate and based on the government’s own investigations.
Agreed, now why has the PM not deny that such funds were in his a/cs but instead wants to sue WSJ. A clean person with a clean bank a/c will gladly open up up his a/c for perusal by relevant people. WHAT IS THERE TO HIDE, Najib???