Call to probe politically-linked families

By Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Sarawak DAP wants an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the massive illicit outflow of funds – RM889 billion between 2000 and 2009 – from the country and its link to powerful politically-connected families.

Citing a Washington-based  Global  Financial Integrity report on the massive illicit financial outflow from Malaysia, state DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said: “Not only is the figure shocking but what is more worrying is the trend of increasing illicit outflow of fund from Malaysia.

“In 2000 the estimated outflow was RM67 billion. In 2008, it shot up to RM208 billion.

“Compare this to the total expenditure of the federal government in 2008, which was only RM170 billion.

“The fund illicitly taken out of the country is larger than the total budget of the country’s government in the same year,” he said.

Chong also said that powerful politicians or their family members could be involved in such illicit transfer of money.

He said that the royal commission should investigate Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and his family’s alleged ownership of billions of ringgit worth of property in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

“If the government truly intends to get to the bottom of the matter, investigation must start with politicians whose family members own valuable property overseas,” he said.

No explaination

Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching MP, said that despite widespread reporting of Taib’s massive wealth, no explanation had been forthcoming from the chief minister.

“Until today, Taib did not say whether the reports in the website are true – how the family members got the money to buy such valuable property.

“Was the money illicitly taken out from Malaysia?

“These are the million-dollar questions that most Sarawakians want to know and expect the authorities to investigate,” Chong said.

He also posed a question for Bank Negara.

“Given the severity of the illicit outflow of funds and the possibility that the country could lose more, doesn’t Bank Negara have the required power and independence to carry out a thorough investigation?” he asked.