PETALING JAYA • Umno members should accept the reality of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal as denials will continue to hurt the party, said former Cabinet minister and MP Khairy Jamaluddin.
"1MDB is not a perception or slander, but it is indeed a case that has been proven in the United States. What is there to hide? Just admit it," he told the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia newspaper.
Former premier Najib Razak, who started 1MDB in 2009, and other Umno leaders have repeatedly said the 1MDB issue was blown up by the party's political enemies and this caused negative "perceptions" that toppled Umno in the May election.
The US Department of Justice has said US$4.5 billion (S$6.2 billion) of 1MDB funds was misappropriated by top officials in Malaysia and their associates. US officials earlier this month unveiled criminal charges against two former Goldman Sachs bankers and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho over 1MDB.
Najib has been slapped with 25 charges of graft and money laundering in Malaysia's court relating to transactions amounting to RM2.3 billion (S$750 million) linked to 1MDB.
In the interview, Mr Khairy discredited the notion that 1MDB was beneficial. Referring to its haj pilgrimage sponsorship programme for rural Malays, he said doing charitable work does not cancel out the crime. "We cannot cleanse the sins of our robbery by using a part of our loot to do good," he said.
He said Umno members should not live in denial. "If we continue to deny the reality, I feel the impact on Umno is worse. Because the rakyat (people) will say, they have lost and have been exposed, but they still do not want to accept it."
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK