We should not let up on pursuit of 1MDB culprits: Sin Chew Daily

A 1MDB sign at the site of the Tun Razak Exchange project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 17.
A 1MDB sign at the site of the Tun Razak Exchange project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 17. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Have the funds raised through the issuance of government-guaranteed bonds been converted into personal expenses of a small group of corrupt individuals? This is a matter that involves the interests of the nation and her people as well as gross misappropriation and legal issues.

Tay Tian Yan

Sin Chew Daily/Asia News Network

The long hushed 1MDB incident has been revived following the decisions by the US and Singapore authorities to take swift actions against 1MDB-linked money laundering activities in their countries, bringing a largely domestic issue to international level.

More secrets are to be unveiled, more queries yet to be answered, and more responsibilities awaiting to be borne.

The seriousness of this issue has far exceeded general expectations. As US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said, it was the "largest single action ever brought by the Department of Justice's Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative."

The DOJ filed lawsuits to freeze US$1 billion (S$1.358 billion) worth of 1MDB-linked assets while Singapore also moved to seize some SGD 240 million assets linked to the Malaysian sovereign fund.

Lynch made it very clear that the DOJ would not allow the American financial system to be used as a conduit for corruption, and allow the money to be stolen and laundered through US financial institutions to benefit only a handful of corrupt officials and their associates.

"And it should make clear to corrupt officials around the world that we will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds of their crimes."

The reactions back home vary. Some question why Washington and Singapore have specifically targeted 1MDB, taking unprecedented actions concurrently.

While we are free to explore the "motives" behind those actions, this is never the priority nor critical part.

The most important thing is whether their actions have been justified and supported by facts.

On the roles of Jho Low and Riza Aziz in 1MDB, the DOJ's statement shows that these two people amassed astronomical sums of money through 1MDB and siphoned them to their personal bank accounts for ridiculous luxuries such as posh real estate, a private jet, lavish parties and even settling of personal gambling debts.

Despite the moves to seize their assets in the US and Singapore, these two people have yet to be officially prosecuted to date, and their whereabouts remain a mystery.

Have the funds raised through the issuance of government-guaranteed bonds been converted into personal expenses of a small group of corrupt individuals? This is a matter that involves the interests of the nation and her people as well as gross misappropriation and legal issues. There is no way we should let up on our effort to pursue it.

Prior to this, MACC, PAC and other institutions have wanted to summon them for questioning but have been largely unsuccessful. Even 1MDB itself has not actively gone after them to sort things out.

Without bringing them back to answer all our queries about 1MDB, there is no way the case can ever be concluded.

How can they play such monumental roles and have assumed so powerful influences in this case? Where have they come from? All these must be pursued and brought to light before Malaysians.

The government has no choice but to extend full cooperation to international investigators and ensure that the seized assets will eventually be returned to the Malaysian people.