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Thursday, 30 July 2015


By Dr Mavis Puthucheary

The prime minister is fully within his constitutional rights to reshuffle Cabinet, getting rid of those whom he thinks are not loyal to him and packing the Cabinet with a new line-up of faithful supporters.

But for him to say that he had to take this action because they contradicted the concept of collective responsibility shows a lack of understanding of this important democratic convention.

The purpose of this article is three-fold.

First it demonstrates that the concept of collective responsibility refers to public criticism of government policy and cannot be used to condone any wrong-doings of individual ministers.

Second, it is the prime minister who is responsible for taking action that has had the effect of contradicting the concept of collective responsibility.

Third, for the concept of collective responsibility to work effectively, members of Parliament, both from the opposition and from the ruling coalition, need to act like parliamentarians rather than representatives of their political parties.

The doctrine of ministerial responsibility, whether collective or individual, expresses the conventional relationship of minsters to Parliament.

For the doctrine to work properly, it requires that all ministers be jointly responsible as a team.

This means that individual ministers may not in public express views that contradict public policy.

Since the ministers who have been sacked did not openly criticise the policies of the government, they cannot be said to have contravened the doctrine of collective responsibility.

Collective responsibility does not mean that ministers must condone the personal misconduct of their fellow ministers. Indeed, they have a moral duty to protect the integrity of the government.

A prime minister who does not take action against a colleague who has been found to have committed a serious personal offence, runs the risk of having his whole government fall.

But what happens when it is the prime minister that does not resign even though he is directly involved in a financial scandal?
In such a situation individual ministers or the cabinet as a whole may revolt against the prime minister.

If this fails to bring about his resignation, the matter will be brought up in parliament where it is likely to result in a vote of no-confidence against the prime minister.
The fact that the Cabinet has not taken action to censure the prime minister is an indication of the extent to which money politics has seeped into the political system.

Although the prime minister accused his deputy of bringing about a negative public perception of the government, it cannot be denied that this negative public perception was already there before the deputy intervened and it is likely to increase with the deputy’s dismissal.

Second, if anyone should take the responsibility for contradicting the concept of collective responsibility, it is the prime minister himself.

Although the prime minister does have the prerogative of choosing his Cabinet, the fact that he chose to appoint the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be a deputy minister shows his complete disregard for the concept of collective responsibility.

For this committee is most closely identified with the function of securing government accountability to Parliament.

The work of this committee is based on the principle that parliament grants money to the government to carry out certain expenditures and holds the ministers accountable for the proper use of this money.

It is directly involved in the task of holding government accountable for the way it has spent public money.

Our Parliament's PAC was in the midst of carrying out this important function when the prime minister appointed the chairman and three other members of the PAC to Cabinet positions.

Clearly, the move has had the effect of reducing the effectiveness of the PAC and indirectly preventing Parliament from carrying out its important function of holding government accountable.

This, together with the sudden removal of the Attorney-General from office, has had the effect of weakening Parliament and jeopardising the concept of collective responsibility.

In Britain and other parliamentary democracies, the chairman of the PAC is, by convention, drawn from the opposition and the committee consists of equal number of MPs from each side of the House.

This reduces the chances of pressures from the government to influence the outcome. In Malaysia the fact that the prime minister also heads the Ministry of Finance and, further is also head of a department with diverse functions and has nearly one-third of the ministers working directly under him – a kind of cabinet within a cabinet – makes him the most powerful prime minister in the world.

The convention that the prime minister’s status is one of “primus inter pares” (first among equals) simply does not apply in Malaysia.

Third, paradoxically the principle of collective responsibility can also act as a shield to protect the government against parliamentary scrutiny.

This is particularly the case when backbenchers in Parliament are prevented from making their own decisions because of a strong party discipline.

In such a situation Parliament and the public are presented with the appearance of a united front that is impenetrable. For collective responsibility to work properly, it is important that backbenchers are given a degree of freedom to exercise their responsibilities as parliamentarians and not just as party members.

This is important because in a parliamentary system, the majority of members of Parliament come from the ruling party.

If the assertion of accountability is exclusively a function of the opposition, we could not properly speak of ministerial responsibility to Parliament.

The maintenance of an effective responsibility to parliament depends not only on the opposition but also on the willingness of backbenchers to play their role as parliamentarians.

The tendency in Malaysia is for the party whip to come down hard on backbenchers who may wish to query any aspect of government policy.
This practice has the effect of reducing the status of parliament to a rubber stamp of the government.

Yet the role of the backbenchers can be crucial, especially in times of crisis such as what Malaysia is facing today.

It is when dissatisfaction among the government’s own backbenchers threatens to break out in open revolt that the government is most responsive to parliamentary pressure.

In many developed democracies, the concept of collective responsibility is regarded something which has its uses but which can also be inimical to good government.
It is recognised that the best decisions are made in an atmosphere of transparency and open debate and this has led to a more tolerant view of public dissension within the government.

Ministers seem to be given a greater degree of freedom to express views that are contrary to the official view without having to resign or be dismissed.

In Malaysia we have lost out on both counts. A strong party ensures that MPs toe the party line to the extent that parliament cannot carry out its function to hold government accountable in any meaningful way, and ministers are prevented from speaking openly against wrong-doings in the government because if they do, they risk being sacked by the prime minister.

As backbenchers fail to see their role as parliamentarians and become lackeys of their party bosses, the concept of collective responsibility becomes little more than a myth to be used by politicians to justify whatever action they choose to take. – July 30, 2015.

* The writer is a former associate professor in the Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015


By National Human Rights Society Malaysia (HAKAM), Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM), Negara-Ku People’s Movement


The nation is in crisis.  The numerous financial scandals, falling ringgit, implementation of GST, and curtailment of our fundamental freedoms have resulted in a loss of trust and public confidence in the government.  Transparency and accountability are non-existent.  Those exercising the levers of power are not using them for the public good.  There is scant attention by the leadership to the economic crisis and the hardship faced by the people.  The unbridled corruption against a background of diminishing civil and political rights, has created an environment of uncertainty and the welfare of the people does not appear to be a priority.

Therefore, in the interest of the people and the nation, we, the undersigned members of civil society, present an action plan to arrest the crisis and to restore the nation to an even keel.


The aim of this action plan is to provide a solution to the present crisis.

I.       We are confident that full acceptance and implementation of this action plan will have the following effects, namely to :-

a)       Restore the confidence of the people of Malaysia and members of the international community in the government of the day;
b)      Address the immediate and urgent problems of the people of Malaysia both in terms of economic as well as social issues;
c)       Allow the people of Malaysia to live in peace, security and dignity to fulfill their individual goals and aspirations in the knowledge that their fundamental freedoms are protected; and
d)      Promote the harmonious co-existence of people of all communities.


In putting forward this action plan, we applied the following overarching principles:-

1.       Malaysia is built on the fundamental pillars of democracy and the rule of law where the Federal Constitution is supreme;
2.       Transparency, accountability and good governance are critical in maintaining a credible government;
3.       Institutions have a duty to act independently and without fear or favour in upholding public interest;

4.       Core principles of the rule of law that must be upheld include the following:-
a)       No one is beyond or above the law;
b)      Everyone is equal before the law; and
c)       Everyone is entitled to due and fair process of the law.
5.       Everyone is entitled to their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental liberties which include freedom of speech, expression and association;

6.       All citizens have the constitutional and inherent right to participate in and therefore to know and be informed about, public issues affecting their lives, rights and livelihood.

With these objectives and principles in mind, members of civil society wish to present the Demi Rakyat Action Plan.


I.       The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak must immediately respond in public to the serious allegations of financial impropriety and in particular, must account for public monies reportedly paid directly into his account;

II.      Recognising the need to preserve the sanctity of the office of the Prime Minister and the need to put the nation and the people above personal and party interest, the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak shall take a leave of absence until full investigations of these allegations; and

III.     Thereafter, and in any event within one week thereof (the effective date), an emergency parliamentary session be convened to constitute a National Government from amongst members of parliament from all sides of the political divide. It is crucial that all members of parliament put aside their political differences in the interests of the people and the nation to bring stability and confidence back to the nation.


The National Government shall hold free and fair elections within 18 months of the formation of the National Government and shall immediately appoint independent Election Commissioners who enjoy public confidence and who shall proceed to clean up the electoral process for the general elections.


I.       The National Government shall make the eradication of corruption in all sectors including the eradication of political patronage, a priority;
II.      The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) shall be further empowered by making changes to its structure, composition, mandate and relevant laws; and
III.     Steps shall be taken to strengthen the protection and immunity for whistleblowers by ensuring they are free from intimidation, and by reforming the Whistleblowers Act 2010.


I.       The National Government shall immediately repeal all legislation that restrict media freedom and revoke the restrictions and bans imposed on all media including The Edge and the Sarawak Report;
II.      SUHAKAM shall be tasked with examining and making  recommendations for the repeal of laws that curtail and threaten fundamental liberties, within a period not exceeding 3 months from the effective date and thereafter to present the recommendations for reform to the National Government for implementation;
III.     Pending the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948, charges against individuals under this legislation shall be suspended and upon its repeal, all charges shall be withdrawn; and
IV.     The National Government shall take steps to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).


I.       The Task Force undertaking investigations into the 1MDB and other financial scandals shall act independently and without fear or favour or interference from any external parties. In this regard, the Task Force must remain accountable to the public and issue bi-weekly reports to the public in view of the seriousness of the task undertaken by them.
II.      The Auditor General’s report and all other reports into the 1MDB and other financial scandals must be made immediately available to the public.


The following priority measures must be taken to lessen the burden of the people:-
I.       A moratorium on the GST;
II.      Providing further aid and housing for all those who have lost their homes in recent natural disasters; and
III.     Strengthening the economy and restoring the integrity of our financial system and in this regard, the corporate sector, business community, relevant experts and other stakeholders are to recommend appropriate measures.


In order to promote social cohesion and respect amongst all communities in Malaysia, the National Government shall call upon the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) to formulate guidelines and laws to combat divisiveness and hate speech. The National Government must lead in promoting social cohesion and in condemning divisive actions.


I.       The National Government shall draw up their plans for the nation with the free, prior and informed consent of the public through town hall meetings, roundtable discussions and meetings involving relevant NGOs, academicians, think tanks, and media activists; and
II.      The National Government shall within a time frame of 3 months from the effective date, report to the people of their plan for the implementation of these proposals and demands for reform.


It must be understood that this action plan does not address general policy issues which will be the ultimate responsibility of the government that is elected by the people through free and fair elections.

Ambiga Sreenevasan
President, National Human Rights Society Malaysia (HAKAM)

On behalf of:-

National Human Rights Society Malaysia (HAKAM), Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM), Negara-Ku Movement.

July 28, 2015

National interim government should be formed to tackle current political instability, says Ambiga

A. Azim Idris

Prominent lawyer and electoral reforms activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan has called for an emergency parliamentary session to be convened to form a national-interim government comprising members of Parliament from all sides of the political divide.

She said the interim government should be constituted for the next 18 months to restore stability to the current political landscape before a fresh election was held to bring back public confidence in the administration.

“It is crucial that all members of Parliament put aside their political differences in the interest of the people and the nation to bring stability and confidence back to the nation,” she told a press conference to introduce the Demi Rakyat (For The People) action plan to provide a solution to the present political “crisis”.

Ambiga, who is also National Human Rights Society president, said the implementation of the plan would address the immediate and urgent problems of the rakyat in both economic and social issues.
She said the national government should hold a free and fair elections within that period and appoint independent Election Commissioners who enjoy public confidence and proceed to “clean up” the electoral process for the general elections.

The interim government, she said, should also address the scourge of corruption with its eradication in all sectors, including the eradication of political patronage, while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be empowered by making changes to its structure, mandate, and relevant laws.

“Steps shall be taken to strengthen the protection and immunity for whistle-blowers by ensuring they are free from intimidation, and by reforming the Whistleblowers Act 2010.”

As part of the “temporary” government’s overarching principles, Ambiga said it should also restore fundamental liberties under the Federal Constitution.

“It should immediately repeal all legislation that restrict media freedom and revoke the restrictions and bans imposed on all media including The Edge and The Sarawak Report,”
This was part of the principles contained in a seven-page action plan which was jointly formulated by the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), and the Negara-ku People’s Movement.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Interference into 1MDB Investigations Shields Wrongdoers and Conceals Wrongdoing

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 09:01pm

Many burning questions in respect of allegations of financial impropriety in 1MDB remain unanswered.  There are also serious concerns that the evidence or statements of critical witnesses or suspects, including the Prime Minister, have apparently not been recorded, and that relevant documents have not been promptly (or at all) secured. 
In this regard, the Malaysian Bar is astounded by the news reports today regarding the Government’s removal of the Attorney General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who is a key member of the Special Task Force investigating the 1MDB matter.  This lends to the perception of interference by parties with vested interests — such as the Executive, or even the Prime Minister himself — in the work of the Special Task Force.  

The abrupt removal, and the manner of removal, of the Attorney General are shocking.  It has been reported that the Attorney General’s services were terminated on 27 July 2015 on health reasons and that he will remain as a Judicial and Legal Services officer until his retirement on 5 October 2015.  It would seem unprecedented for a senior civil servant, let alone one with the rank of the Attorney General, to be removed so close to his official retirement. 

Moreover, his removal and reduction in rank are unconstitutional, inasmuch as there appears to be non-compliance with Articles 135(2) and 145(5) of the Federal Constitution, which include the requirement for reasonable opportunity to be heard.  The position of the Attorney General is constitutionally mandated, and any removal must comply with stringent standards of due process.

Further, the Bar Council has frequent and direct engagement with the Attorney General and, to the best of our knowledge, his recent health has not hindered the performance of his duties.  The reason given for his removal is therefore questionable.

The unwarranted termination of the Attorney General’s services is in sequel to a series of administrative orders that have impeded and undermined the investigations into 1MDB.  The latter seriously curtails fundamental rights such as the freedom of information, movement and expression.

Administrative orders are made by the Government and its agencies pursuant to discretionary statutory powers.  The exercise of this governmental discretion is subject to overarching principles of fairness and natural justice.  It would be a stark abuse of power if administrative orders were exercised in a biased manner or for ulterior purposes, including to shield wrongdoers or to conceal wrongdoing.

The recent actions by the authorities appear to demonstrate a pattern of abuse of power to impose dubious administrative orders.  Instances include the following:

(1) The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s decision to issue an administrative order under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to block the Sarawak Report website, due to perceived threats to national security.  Sarawak Report has been one of the sources of allegations of wrongdoing involving 1MDB, which has also implicated the Prime Minister.  Naturally, the common perception would therefore be that the order is an attempt to suppress the flow of, and access to, information on the allegations.

(2) The administrative orders imposed by the Director General of Immigration, under the Immigration Act 1959/63, on Tony Pua (Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara), Mohd Rafizi Ramli (Member of Parliament for Pandan) and Datuk Tong Kooi Ong (owner of The Edge Media Group), which ban overseas travel without any reasons. The freedom of movement of these persons has been infringed, and they seem to have been targeted because of their strident criticism of 1MDB or the exposé of alleged wrongdoings concerning 1MDB.  Ironically, the very persons who have been implicated in these allegations — such as the Prime Minister and some of the officers of 1MDB — have not been similarly barred from travel. 

(3) The three-month administrative suspension order imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, on The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, on grounds of possible public alarm over the publication of reports concerning 1MDB and allegations in them that implicate the Government and national leaders.  These grounds are irrational, as the public alarm is in fact due to the failure to answer satisfactorily the allegations and the reports in the publications.  The suspension order stifles freedom of expression, and can easily be perceived as a blatant attempt to silence a contrary voice on a matter of grave public interest.

The resort to such administrative orders fuels the growing perception that critics in the 1MDB matter are being victimised and muzzled, whilst their allegations are being ignored and the persons against whom the allegations have been levelled are not being investigated fully.  

The Malaysian Bar condemns the ostensible interference, through unconstitutional and unlawful conduct, with the ongoing investigations in the 1MDB matter.  There must be no meddling with the Special Task Force, particularly the work of the MACC, since the nature of the allegations largely involves corruption.

The acid test of the integrity and credibility of any investigation is how allegations against persons in high office are dealt with.  The abuse of administrative powers, and now the removal of a key member of the Special Task Force, threaten to cripple the investigations into 1MDB and render the entire exercise a meaningless charade. 

Steven Thiru, President, Malaysian Bar

28 July 2015

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Why suspend The Edge?

By Dato’ Akhbar Satar, President, Transparency International Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 26 July, 2015. Transparency International – 
Malaysia (TI-M) stands with Dato' Seri Mohd Nazir bin Tun Abdul Razak in condemning the Government’s action in suspending  The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily based on the principle that the right to free expression, freedom of the press and other media are essential components  and pillars of democracy.

Rewind, six years back in April, the PM, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak had said “The day and age where government knows all and knows best is so long over”. He also described his new Cabinet, then, to serve the people whose performance will be closely monitored through key performance indicators (KPI) and added his Cabinet promised to take on efforts to build a Government “for the rakyat, and one which will serve the needs of the people”.

This year in April, the PM said inclusiveness and sustainability will be the core values of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP). And in the same April too, the PM's speech at the launch of the 2014 GTP and ETP reports stresses "the bottom-line is, we listen to complaints and criticisms and welcome the views and opinions of all parties, especially the people at the bottom. However, it should be remembered that whatever criticisms and suggestions should be constructive and not blindly given. Because, only with constructive criticism and suggestion are we able to correct, and improve on what is lacking and the weaknesses that exist here and there".

Move forward to this past few weeks, we have had loads of news on allegations, accusations, threats, remands, wanted list and travel bans. We are seeing an overdose of 'slinging' from all sides. But, why then suspend the Edge?

The CIMB group boss puts it succinctly - "Recent 1MDB coverage seems outstanding but if there were flaws, then correct them or take legal recourse. The media indeed played a big role in keeping businesses informed, honest and competitive”.

According to Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, “Banning media publications for reporting what certain quarters deem “unsavoury” will not solve anything. If at all, it’s making many more people upset”. Worse still, there is now another grouse against the Government - for nothing.
While AirAsia chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, among those who commented on Nazir's post, said freedom of the press is the pillar of democracy. There are other recourse if reporting is wrong.

Since the 1MDB case is currently being investigated by the special task force, TI-M is of the view that it would be appropriate and fair that any decision against both The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily to be suspended should only be taken after the completion of the investigation and if found that there is a basis from the outcome of the investigation so that their decision can be easily justified and to avoid any person from questioning the decision of suspension made by the Home Ministry.

On the other hand, if the Home Ministry is of the view that the articles written by the both publications violates or contravenes the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (amended 2012) and are prejudicial or may be prejudicial to public order, or may alarm public opinion or jeopardise public order and national interest, TI-M strongly feels that Home Ministry should go through legal process and action rather than to suspend these two publications for three months from July 27 based on the 3 reasons mentioned as proper legal action would allow the relevant parties to defend their action in the court of law. 

Suspending a newspaper which reported on the 1MDB scandal is not going to help the government in any way. In fact it will have more negative impact on Malaysia in terms of its international standing, sovereign ratings and the other ratings including the international perception on our press freedom.

On another point the Malaysian government seems to have reneged on its promise not to censor the internet by blocking access to Sawarak Report. All these unpleasant acts will lead to loss of confidence in this country and impact our economy negatively as seen by the free fall of ringgit. Our government must not go for the ‘overkill’ in suppressing free speech on the pretext of acting against critics. Let’s get our facts right before we carry out more irrational measure.

Let us for a moment step back and ask ourselves why we are in this unwanted predicament today. So many people who are not directly related to 1MDB have been raided, remanded, interrogated and even faced with travel bans.

If only the few characters that are directly related to 1MDB fulfil their moral and legal obligation to tell us Malaysians the full story and not bits and pieces which have in some cases been proven incorrect, we could have spent our useful resources to reach the goals of 2020.

"Let there among you be a group that summon to all that is beneficial commands what is proper and forbids what is improper; they are the ones who will prosper." (Ali 'Imran 3:104)
The government of the day with the promise of inclusiveness could help in resolving the mess that we are in now. The day and age where government knows all and knows best is so long over.

In Democracy, the government cannot function unless the people are well informed and free to participate in public issues by having the widest choice of alternative solutions for the problems that arise.

A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Dangerous Precedent to Human Rights Violations

PROHAM expresses shock and deep concern over the manner in which certain authorities are exercising their administrative powers which are now being seen as curtailment of freedom of speech, expression, freedom of movement and press freedom.

The travel bans and suspension of the newspaper is now being feared as heralding an old era of human rights restrictions and potential glooming clouds of the climate of fear.

PROHAM is of the view that such action without a proper hearing in complying with ‘natural justice' is a major setback to parliamentary democracy and human rights in Malaysia.

We recognise that both Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli are elected Members of Parliament. 

We also recognise that it is part of their duty to the nation to expose any potential financial abuse of power by anyone in the Executive without fear or favour exposure to 

The two MPs and the Edge Media Group owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong are in the forefronts of the controversial revelations of the 1MDB funds.

PROHAM calls on the Cabinet to exercise tremendous caution on this matter. Malaysian society wants to know the truth over the alleged revelations of misdoing. There are also the ongoing investigations of the Taskforce on this matter.

PROHAM calls on the authorities to undertake their duties without fear or favour which is consistent with fundamental human rights.

We reiterate our earlier call for an independent Royal Commission on the 1MDB so as to restore public confidence.

We call on the authorities to uplift the travel bans and suspension of the Edge in the interest of democracy and human rights in Malaysia.

Issued on behalf of Proham by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (Proham Chairman) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General)

July 25, 2015

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

RCI to bring out the truth about 1MDB

By Zakiah Koya (July 7, 2015)

The talk of the town is all about the 1MDB fiasco and how billions of ringgit from the fund have been deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts.
Unfortunately, this was not the only thing on Najib’s head since he became prime minister in 2009. He has allegedly been involved in other scandals which rocked the country. However, he has yet to satisfactorily explain any of them.
The allegation by New York-based Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and whistle blower site Sarawak Report that RM2.6 billion of the funds from 1MDB had been channelled into his personal accounts is, by far, the most serious accusation of impropriety against him.
The 1MDB was his brainchild as the Minister of Finance. But only after a year in operation, the company was found to be RM42 billion in debt.  It was also said to have mismanaged its funds and business dealings.
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) likens the WSJ’s and Sarawak Report’s allegations to “a catastrophe” that has rocked the nation.
It is now pushing for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), which will investigate these allegations against Najib and restore public confidence in the government.
Proham secretary general Datuk Denison Jayasooria says we should bear in mind that Najib is innocent until proven guilty, and only an independent RCI would do well to silence the gossip and stop the trial by social media.
“As this allegation is against a leader holding the highest office in government, there is a need for an independent RCI to investigate if there have been serious wrongdoings, false allegations or any truth to the reports,” says Denison (pic).
“The Attorney General, police and the central bank are already taking action by freezing accounts and launching investigations, but these are mere internal investigations. The public wants to know the truth on the allegations against the prime minister and an RCI would allow the public to hear the evidence first hand.” 
Although there are quarters who have called on Najib to step down temporarily until investigations into the allegations are completed, Denison says this is not an ideal solution as it will not help to restore public confidence in the government.
He says the PM can continue in his position, but the roles which deal with 1MDB and the investigations would have to be relegated to other capable people. If an RCI on this does take place, it will be the first in this region dealing with a sitting prime minister.
Scandals involving a country’s top officials have been investigated by independent committees in the US but not in this region.
In the Watergate scandal that rocked US President Richard Nixon’s tenure in the 1970s, the senate established a senate committee to investigate. Nixon resigned.
Denison says Proham is interested in getting to the truth, and is not saying that the PM has to prove his innocence. “So far, he has denied (all the allegations) but an RCI would be the most transparent of investigations and it would provide greater involvement from the public,” says Denison.
He says the public’s confidence at present has been shattered, and any attempts to dismiss the allegations by Najib’s political supporters would only result in political imbroglio.
The truth, Denison says, could set Najib free of all allegations if a panel of independent and neutral personalities find they were falsely made. On the other hand, should the RCI find Najib guilty, then the existing legal system must deal with the matter.
“The public wants to know if money has been transferred, if there was criminal misdoing and if Najib had committed any wrong. The prime minister holds the highest office in the country, and an allegation such as this is a national catastrophe which should be dealt with as such,” says Denison.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Proham calls for an independent royal commission of inquiry to investigate the WSJ allegations

Proham recognises that the recent Wall Street Journal’s allegation that in March 2013 about USD 681 million from 1MDB were deposited in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s personal account has shocked the nation.

It is of utmost importance that this matter be urgently, thoroughly and with transparency be  investigated by an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry so as to restore public confidence in the office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Proham is of the opinion that during this period of investigation that Dato Seri Najib should relinquish all duties and responsibilities pertaining to Ministry of Finance and 1 MDB so as to facilitate investigations.   

Proham calls on the Cabinet to view the serious implications of these allegations and ensure that truth is revealed for the good of the nation.

Issued on behalf of Proham by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (Proham Chairman)
July 6, 2015