PETALING JAYA: Following the government’s announcement of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the massive foreign exchange (forex) loss decades ago, the opposition today demanded a similar RCI to look into allegations by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) that billions had been stolen from 1MDB.
“The Cabinet‘s decision to set up a RCI to investigate the foreign exchange trading loss by Bank Negara is most welcome,” said Opposition Leader and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
“Based on the same principle, I demand a RCI be set up to investigate allegations by the DoJ concerning the 1MDB scandal,” she said at a media conference at the PKR headquarters.
The Cabinet yesterday announced the establishment of the RCI to investigate the central bank’s forex loss in the 1980s and 1990s, a period coinciding with the premiership of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir is now the chairman of PPBM, a member party of Pakatan Harapan (PH), and a vocal critic of the Najib Razak administration.
Wan Azizah said a meeting of the PH leaders would be held on June 28 to discuss the DoJ’s allegations that 1MDB funds were misappropriated to buy luxury assets.
The DoJ filed a forfeiture suit in a California court last week seeking to seize assets valued at US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) which were allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB.
Wan Azizah did not reject the possibility of the Cabinet using the RCI decision to divert public attention from the DoJ allegations which implicated high-level Malaysians and their associates.
She said the government should agree to form a RCI to probe the DoJ’s allegations to prove the RCI on the forex loss was not intended as a diversion.
“We should not wait 23 years in order to unravel the allegations of wrongdoings in 1MDB,” she said.
Amanah communications director Khalid Abdul Samad interjected at the media conference to point out that the RCI on the forex loss scandal was ordered only after Mahathir quit Umno to support the opposition.
Wan Azizah also called for the reopening of domestic investigations into 1MDB in light of the DoJ’s allegations.
“I urge the institutions responsible – the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Bank Negara – to reopen their investigations into the 1MDB scandal.
“This is an opportunity for responsible institutions to restore the reputation of the country which has been tarnished, and also to revive public confidence in the institutions that were set-up to defend the rule of law and ensure integrity in the government,” she said.