Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 21 June 2017:
Why is Minister Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan more interested in asking why Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was implicated in the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) suit rather than being outraged by the allegation that US$27.3 million of funds originating from 1MDB has been used to acquire a 22-carat pink diamond pendant necklace for her?
Malaysians are amused by the sardonic entertainment the Barisan Nasional (BN) Ministers are putting up for us on a daily basis in response by the recently updated US DOJ suit to seize an additional US$540 million worth of assets laundered with funds from 1MDB. This sum is on to of nearly US$1.2 billion in the suits filed since July last year.
At the heart of the scandal is the involvement of a “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1) who received more than US$732 million of the laundered funds in his personal bank account in Malaysia. What further stunned the nation was when “MO1’s wife” was mentioned in the updated kleptocracy suit, when DOJ alleged that she spent US$27.3 million on a 22-carat pink diamond pendant necklace with that money.
Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein would put up a blank face feigning ignorance and asked “for all we know it could be anyone. ‘MO1’ could be (Second Finance Minister) Johari (Abdul) Ghani.”
This of course runs contrary to Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s public admission on BBC in September 2016 that “obviously, if you read the documents, it is the prime minister…”
This confirmation is on top of the Minister’s earlier contemptuous remark made in August 2016 that “only an idiot doesn’t know who MO1 is”.
The question as to whether Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan would tell Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein that the latter is “an idiot” is perhaps best left for the former to answer. What is perhaps comically incongruent is how two senior Ministers in the Prime Minister’s office held 2 contradictory positions over the simple poser.
They were both however consistent in ignoring the elephant(s) in the room pointed out by the DOJ – that MO1 received more than US$732 million in his personal bank account while Mrs MO1 got her US$27.3 million necklace with money borrowed by the Government’s wholly-owned subsidiary.
Yesterday again, the EPU Minister, who is also BN Strategic Communications Director, confirmed that MO1 is Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, and MO1’s wife would be Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
However, Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan took pains to lament that “you (DOJ) mock, you gave the impression that Rosmah and the diamond did something wrong. But in the document you submitted, you didn't include the diamond as one of the items that you want to seize. It was unnecessary to put the name there."
The Minister clearly and intentionally missed the woods for the trees. Instead of asking why “implicate” Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, should the Minister, whose primary responsibility is not to protect the Prime Minister’s wife but the interest of the Rakyat, confirm if the US$27.3 million diamond necklace was indeed purchased with money laundered from 1MDB?
It is worth noting that the EPU Minister did not deny these facts. He is merely making a hue and cry of the exposure of these “facts”.
Before Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan decides to speak to the press again regarding this issue, let me challenge him to confirm these simple facts exposed by the DOJ with Mrs MO1:
1. On or about July 5, 2013, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor met New York jeweller, Lorraine Schwartz together with Low Taek Jho and others aboard the 147 meter Topaz, one of the largest private yachts in the world in Monaco. There group discussed the design of the necklace to hold the 22-carat pink diamond, which itself would be made of smaller diamonds.
2. On or about September 28, 2013, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor again met Schwartz with Low in a hotel suite in the Mandarin Time Warner in New York in order to show them the layout of the necklace that Schwartz had designed.
3. The finished 22-cart pink diamond necklace, which included the 22-carat pink diamond as a pendant, was delivered to a friend of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in Hong Kong on or about March 7, 2014, for delivery to the wife of the Prime Minister in Kuala Lumpur.
If Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan can provide evidence, on behalf of Mrs MO1 that the above allegations brazenly untrue, then let me assure the Minister and everyone else in the Cabinet that I will be the first from the opposition bench to sit with him in a press conference to publicly denounce the DOJ allegations.
If not, then let me remind Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan, that as a responsible Minister and citizen, he must report the above transgression to both the Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for their respective investigations.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of theedgemarkets.com/The Edge group.