1MDB saga

Police chief: Bid for probes abroad an act of sabotage

NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF KHALID ABU BAKAR, (above)
NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF KHALID ABU BAKAR, (above)PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan (above)
Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan (above)PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

KUALA LUMPUR • National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar has called a former Umno division leader's efforts to get the foreign authorities to initiate probes into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) an act of sabotage and a danger to Malaysia's economy and sovereignty.

The Inspector-General of Police was responding to allegations that Prime Minister Najib Razak was using the police, who arrested Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan last Friday before he could leave for the United States, to silence critics of the debt-laden 1MDB.

Tan Sri Khalid said late on Sunday that Mr Khairuddin had already made police reports regarding 1MDB. Umno subsequently sacked him from his position after he was declared a bankrupt.

Mr Khalid said in a statement that Malaysia's enforcement agencies, which include the anti-graft agency, the Attorney-General's Chambers and the central bank, should be given the space and opportunity to conduct their investigations. "This is clearly an act intended to challenge Malaysia's legal system, damage the credibility of local enforcement agencies, and invite foreign interference in the country's democratic system."

Mr Khairuddin, who is in remand until Thursday, said he was prevented from flying to New York to meet Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, after meeting the Swiss authorities regarding 1MDB.

CHALLENGE TO MALAYSIA'S LEGAL SYSTEM

This is clearly an act intended to challenge Malaysia's legal system, damage the credibility of local enforcement agencies, and invite foreign interference in the country's democratic system.

NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF KHALID ABU BAKAR, on Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan's efforts to get the foreign authorities to initiate probes into 1MDB

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Sunday reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into entities linked to 1MDB, which is mired in RM42 billion (S$14 billion) of debt. The newspaper also quoted an FBI spokesman as saying that the agency had no scheduled engagements with Mr Khairuddin. The reported FBI probe is the latest following investigations initiated in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Britain and Singapore.

The WSJ reported in July that US$700 million (S$980 million) allegedly linked to 1MDB had been deposited into Datuk Seri Najib's private bank accounts. The Prime Minister has denied using state funds for personal gain and claimed the money was "political funding" from unspecified Middle Eastern donors.

A Special Task Force comprising the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara Malaysia and the Attorney-General's Chambers had been probing 1MDB and made several arrests and raids after the WSJ report. But the task force was disbanded after the Attorney-General was replaced on July 28 as part of Mr Najib's Cabinet reshuffle that dampened dissent within the administration. Police subsequently questioned several MACC and central bank officers in relation to alleged leaks of investigation papers, leading to questions over the independence of the task force.

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2015, with the headline 'Police chief: Bid for probes abroad an act of sabotage'. Print Edition | Subscribe