Final audit report on 1MDB classified as secret

A long-awaited audit report on the troubled Malaysian state investment company 1MDB has been classified as secret.
A long-awaited audit report on the troubled Malaysian state investment company 1MDB has been classified as secret.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR • A long-awaited audit report on the troubled Malaysian state investment company, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), has been classified as secret - lawmakers are banned from taking copies outside Parliament amid political tensions over financial scandals.

The report by the Auditor-General has been categorised under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) by the National Security Council, according to MP Tony Pua, who sits on the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating the company. 

At a PAC hearing yesterday, those present were required to sign a form that acknowledged they were aware of the report's secrecy, and they were not allowed to bring it outside Parliament, said Mr Pua, from the opposition Democratic Action Party. The committee has 14 members, nine of whom are government lawmakers.

Debt-ridden 1MDB has been the subject of investigations by local agencies including the central bank, as well as by countries such as Switzerland and Singapore, amid allegations of financial irregularities. 

An interim report from the Attorney-General's Office last year did not find any suspicious activity. The Attorney-General dismissed the central bank's request to start criminal proceedings against the company.

The submission of the final audit report to the PAC had previously been delayed. Prime Minister Najib Razak chairs 1MDB's advisory board.

The Auditor-General classified the final report under the OSA after parts of the interim report became public, according to The Malaysian Insider, quoting PAC chairman Hasan Arifin.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2016, with the headline 'Final audit report on 1MDB classified as secret'. Print Edition | Subscribe