KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 19): Why were the responses from Datuk Seri Najib Razak and businessman Low Taek Jho strikingly similar in stating the latter never worked in debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, DAP asked today.
Party publicity chief Tony Pua said their statements also failed to answer specifically Jho Low's role in 1MDB.
Pua said if the prime minister continued to side-step the issues, it would only raise speculation and suspicion that he was covering up for Low.
He added that by failing to come clean, Najib could also be implicated in the same multi-billion ringgit crime Malaysians now suspected Low of executing.
Last Thursday, in answering a question in Parliament by Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Kee Kwong, Najib provided a short and curt answer when he said Jho Low never worked in 1MDB and that transactions were made by the management and the board of the company.
Pua said in a statement today in Jho Low's interview with South China Morning Post that same day, he had reportedly said: “business decisions by 1MDB are ultimately decided and approved in accordance to their corporate governance framework, which is the management, board and shareholder. So why politicise and try to blame it all on me when I have no decision-making authority?”
Yet in another interview with CNBC on that day, Jho Low had said: “I’m not hired by 1MDB and I’m not paid any fees. Business decisions are ultimately decided by the management, board and shareholders".
Pua asked if was a mere coincidence that Najib's response was practically identical to the ones by Jho Low on the same day.
He added that the likelihood of coincidence may have been higher if both had answered the questions in a more specific manner, instead of sidestepping them.
"Dr Tan Kee Kwong didn’t ask if 1MDB paid Low a salary or a fee, he asked if there were any business transactions or dealings between 1MDB and Jho Low.
"Similarly, despite being repeatedly asked to clarify his involvement and connection with 1MDB, Jho Low continued sidestepping the issue by claiming that his ‘views are always sought by numerous parties’.”
He added that until now, both Najib and Low had not addressed the fact that the Sarawak Report expose of email correspondences between PetroSaudi International executives, 1MDB management as well as Low and his associates clearly showed the latter's direct involvement in the entire joint venture exercise.
"Jho Low was even offered the direct opportunity to describe these specific emails as fabrications but he didn’t.
"Both also avoided the fact that 1MDB had authorised a US$700 million transfer to Good Star Limited, a company controlled by Jho Low and his associates which could certainly be described as ‘dealings with 1MDB’.”
As such, the Petaling Jaya Utara urged Najib to tell the whole truth on Jho Low's involvement and potential embezzlement of billions of ringgit from 1MDB's coffers.