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Monday, 10 August 2015

Greater transparency needed on 1MDB – Malaysian academics and public intellectuals

We, the undersigned, note with grave concern the allegations of financial abuse and corruption against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). We note that these allegations are directed at various forms of wrongdoing and have been raised by multiple sources, some of which have made public numerous documents to substantiate their claims.

We also note with increasing alarm that various individuals entrusted with the responsibility to investigate these allegations of wrongdoing, in particular the officials at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), have now become the targets of harassment and a probable witch hunt.

Other incidents of significant concern include the sudden replacement of the attorney-general, only a few months before he was supposed to retire, and the abrupt dismissal of the deputy prime minister. The ensuing reshuffling of the Cabinet has led to the paralysis of the Public Accounts Committee investigating 1MDB, further damaging the credibility of the multi-pronged investigation authorised by the prime minister.

Apart from these criminal allegations, we also note with alarm how 1MDB is currently burdened with a huge debt. Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has estimated the amount of annual loan interests serviced by 1MDB as between RM2.4 billion and RM2.7 billion. This means that its daily interest repayment amounts to millions of ringgit.

The government owes the people a clear explanation as to how a state-owned company which uses public funds has come to incur such an astronomical debt which continues to drain the wealth of our nation.

The government must investigate and reveal those responsible for such gross mismanagement. The issuance of a mere statement thus far, based on the auditor-general’s report that there has been no wrongdoing, is clearly unsatisfactory from the point of view of transparency and accountability.

It is equally a matter of public concern that even though a denial of any wrongdoing has been issued by the prime minister, it has been officially revealed that there was a deposit of nearly US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) into his personal account and he, somehow, does not see the need to justify or provide further details about this massive amount.

We wish to state that short of coming clean about the problems with which 1MDB is saddled, no amount of counter-allegations of conspiracy to oust the prime minister from his office will be able to clear the air and the names of those involved.

We urge:

1. the prime minister to go on temporary leave pending the investigation by the various agencies to ensure the credibility and integrity of these investigations;

2. the government and law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and discernment and desist from carrying out repressive actions which could be construed as attempts at obstructing investigations and muzzling freedom of the press;

3. the government to make public all interim or preliminary reports produced by various agencies investigating 1MDB;

4. all persons exercising functions of public office and involved in the investigation to do so with impartiality and integrity.

We strongly urge the relevant authorities not to ignore the wide-ranging international and domestic implications and consequences – both in the short and long term – of a failure to address the serious allegations of corruption that arise from this series of events. 

We believe the aggressive police interference with the work of MACC, ostensibly to investigate an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government will have a huge negative impact on Malaysia's international anti-corruption reputation, and affect bilateral and multi-lateral foreign relationships in trans-border anti-crime cooperation efforts. 

The total disregard for openness and transparency may deter and dissuade further foreign direct investment in Malaysia, and any resultant capital flight will seriously jeopardise the international financial rating and reputation of Malaysia. The government must be advised, and act, accordingly. 

1. Professor emeritus Datuk Abdul Rahman Embong, academic
2. Adrian Pereira, social justice activist
3. Agatha Foo Tet Sin, retired lawyer
4. Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, academic
5. Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, academic
6. Dr Alicia Izharuddin, academic
7. Associate professor Andrew Aeria, academic
8. Dr Andrew Filmer, academic
9. Andrew Khoo Chin Hock, public intellectual
10. Angeline Loh, writer
11. Dr Ang Sze Wei, academic
12. Anil Netto, social activist
13. Rev Dr Anthony Loke, academic
14. Associate professor Dr Azmi Sharom, academic
15. Dr Aznijar bin Ahmad Yazid, academic
16. Dr Carol Yong, independent researcher/consultant
17. Dr Cecilia Ng, retired academic
18. Professor Chan Chee Khoon, academic
19. Chan Yen Lian, concerned citizen
20. Dr Charis Quay Huei Lin, academic
21. Dr Chee Heng Leng, academic
22. Dr Christopher Chong, academic
23. Christopher Choong, development economist
24. Dr Clarissa Lee, postdoctoral researcher
25. Dr David Tan, postdoctoral associate
26. Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, public intellectual
27. Dr Diana Wong, retired academic
28. Dr Faisal Hazis, academic
29. Fauwaz Abdul Aziz, PhD student
30. Dr Francis Loh, political scientist
31. Goh Chun Fan, PhD candidate
32. Dr Gregore Pio Lopez, academic
33. Associate professor Helen Ting, academic
34. Henry Loh Kee Wey, retired banker
35. Dr Hew Wai Weng, academic
36. Hwa Shi-Hsia, PhD candidate
37. Professor James Chin, academic
38. Associate professor Joanne Lim, academic
39. Joel Gurprit Singh, academic
40. Dr Johan Saravanamuttu, independent scholar
41. Professor Khoo Boo Teik, academic
42. Associate professor Khoo Gaik Cheng, academic
43. Kuan Chee Wah, academic
44. Dr Lee Hwok Aun, academic
45. Dr Lee Wai Leng, academic
46. Dr Leong Kar Yen, academic
47. Dr Lim Mah Hui, city councillor
48. Professor Living Lee, academic
49. Dr Mahyuddin Ahmad, academic
50. Maimuna Merican, academic
51. Professor Maude Phipps, academic
52. Dr Mohd Faizal Musa, academic
53. Professor Mohd Nazari Ismail, academic
54. Dr Mohan Ambikaipaker, academic
55. Muhammad Taufik bin Mohd Yusof, MSc candidate
56. Dr Mustafa K Anuar, researcher
57. Dr Ngu Sheau Shi, academic
58. Professor Datuk Omar Shawkataly, academic
59. Dr Patricia Martinez, independent scholar
60. Dr Paul J. Lim, retired professor
61. Associate professor Phua Kai Lit, academic
62. Dr Por Heong Hong, academic
63. Dr Prema Devaraj, social activist
64. Dr Regina Lim, researcher
65. Ruhana binti Padzi, academic
66. Sarajun Hoda, social activist
67. Professor emeritus Shaharir bin Mohamad Zain, retired academic
68. Associate professor Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, academic
69. Rev Dr Sivin Kit, academic
70. Associate professor Subramaniam Pillay, academic
71. Associate professor Sumit Mandal, academic
72. Syerleena Abdul Rashid, councillor
73. Dr Tan Beng Hui, academic
74. Tan Pek Leng, researcher
75. Professor Terence Gomez, academic
76. Th'ng Bee Fu, academic
77. Associate professor Uma Devi Palanisamy, academic
78. Professor Wan Manan Wan Muda, academic
79. Dr Wan Puspa Melati, academic
80. Wang Lay Kim, academic
81. Dr Wong Chin Huat, political scientist
82. Dr Wong Kock Hoo, academic
83. Dr Wong Kok Keong, academic
84. Yalini Easvaralingam, PhD student
85. Dr Yeoh Seng Guan, academic
86. Professor Zaharom Nain, academic
87. Professor Sheila Nair, academic. 

Published: 10 August 2015 7:19 AM

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