Muhyiddin rejected questions from Tony Pua to protect Najib.

Is Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, previously a leading critic of 1MDB and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, which led to his sacking from UMNO, now adopting the former Barisan Nasional strategy of not answering questions?

Malaysians were shocked when the new Attorney-General, Tan Sri Idrus Harun allowed for a “discharge not amounting to acquittal” for Riza Aziz over five counts of money laundering amounting to US$248 million, misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds.  This was purportedly with the condition that Riza would return part of the loot which amounted to “several millions of ringgit”.

Riza Aziz was discharged over five counts of money laundering amounting to US$248 million

The decision was ridiculous simply because the laundered assets relating to above charges were already seized or were being seized by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).  In fact part of these funds appropriated from Red Granite, Riza Aziz’s movie production company have already been returned to Malaysia.  Hence, the question all Malaysians are asking is, why discharge the case against Riza when the DOJ is already returning the laundered funds back to Malaysia?

We all fear that the above is a signal that the Muhyiddin government is going soft on the parties directly implicated in the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal because they are heavily dependent on the support of the former Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and UMNO members of Parliament (MPs).

This fear is further accentuated when the Prime Minister rejected two of my parliamentary questions for the current sitting.

In the first question, I asked the Prime Minister to state the stand of the Attorney-General on the on-going 1MDB and SRC International corruption case against Najib.  We want to hear the Prime Minister iterate his commitment to punish those guilty of misappropriating tens of billions of ringgit from 1MDB and the Malaysian government.  We want to be comforted that Najib will not be similarly be given a “discharge”.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has used the very same ‘sub judice’ excuse used during the Najib era to avoid replying to the question.  The question of ‘sub judice’ does not apply simply because I’m not asking about the merits of the legal arguments in the case.  All I’m asking is the position of the Attorney-General on this case.  It is extremely worrying for Malaysians that the Prime Minister has refused to answer this question.

In the second question that was rejected, I had asked what is the position of the Government on the 6 MPs who are being charged for corruption, especially if they are found guilty.  This is an important question not only because it will indicate Muhyiddin’s resolve to fight corruption, but also respond to the concerns of the public at large over the stability of the Perikatan Nasional government.

These questions should never have been rejected.  They should have been the perfect opportunity for Muhyiddin to put to rest the questions over his commitment to fight corruption.  

The Prime Minister should be reminded that Najib has sacked him as the Deputy Prime Minister as well as the Deputy President of UMNO in 2015 precisely because Muhyiddin became a vocal critic who questioned Najib on the 1MDB scandal.

It is ironical that Muhyiddin, now the Prime Minister, has decided to play mute on 1MDB and indirectly ‘protect’ Najib, who is now a backbencher in Muhyiddin’s razor-thin majority government

Tony Pua

MP Damansara

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