PAC not to touch 1MDB, says chairman

Nur Jazlan Mohamed

(FMT) – Since an international audit firm has already cleared 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) financial dealings, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will not touch the government-link company (GLC).

PAC chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed said,  “A big name international reputable auditing firm has already audited the company and given (its) okay on 1MDB’s books.

“So what are we going to use as (a) basis to investigate it?” asked Nur Jazlan during a question and answer session at a forum here last night jointly organised by the Penang Institute and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) entitled: “Government Audit: Formality or Accountability?”

Other panelists were Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) legal advisor Han Chee Rul and Penang Institute director and Bukit Mertajam MP from DAP Steven Sim.

Nur Jazlan was responding to a question on whether PAC would probe into various allegations of rising debts and financial controversies made against 1MDB, a GLC established under the Prime Minister’s Department.

The Pulai MP also argued that allegations and figures given by 1MDB’s most vocal critics, Pakatan Rakyat MPs Tony Pua of DAP and Rafizi Ramli of PKR, were not substantiated and accurate after all.

“Pua and Rafizi’s figures at times are not even correct,” he said.

He also raised suspicion as to why a particular Jho Low had been linked to 1MDB when the person’s connection with the GLC could not be established by critics.

Meanwhile MACC’s Han spoke at length about the issue of illicit flows of money, pointing out the inaccurate methodology deployed by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) to rate nations.

For instance, he said Malaysia might export RM80 billion worth of goods to Japan.

But, he said only RM70 billion goods would have reached the Far East country directly while another RM10 billion exported indirectly to Japan via other countries such as Hong Kong or Singapore.

The GFI methodology however, he said would not take into account the RM10 billion indirect exports to Japan and would classify it as “illicit flow of money.”

“I pointed it this out to GFI at an international forum. None of the GFI authors objected to my point,” said Han.

Last year’s annual report of the Washington-based GFI index revealed that Malaysia lost RM171 billion in illegal outflows of money in 2012 and was ranked fifth in the world.

It also revealed that the country had lost some RM1.38 trillion since 2003.

According to the GFI index, China topped the list of the illegal outflow of capital in 2012 with US$249.57 billion, followed by Russia (US$122.86 billion), India (US$94.76 billion), Mexico (US$59.66 billion) and Malaysia is US$49 billion.

Last night’s forum was officiated by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng while C4 co-founder Cynthia Gabriel was the forum moderator.