Set up inquiry into 1MDB too, says PKR leader

Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the government must now set up a similar formal inquiry into state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the government must now set up a similar formal inquiry into state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR • The Malaysian opposition welcomes the setting up of a high-level government committee to probe a 1980s foreign exchange scandal at the central bank, but is asking for another special investigation to look into the 1MDB scandal, said parliamentary opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail yesterday.

The government on Wednesday announced that it was setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into massive foreign exchange losses incurred in the 1990s, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister.

The Prime Minister's Office said the Cabinet has agreed to form the RCI after a special task force, set up in February to probe the forex scandal at Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), found there was sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation. The formal inquiry will be led by the former chief secretary to the government, Mr Mohd Sidek Hassan.

Dr Wan Azizah said the government must now set up a similar formal inquiry into state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), with the US' Department of Justice saying last week that US$4.5 billion (S$6.3 billion) was misappropriated.

"Setting up an RCI on 1MDB is important to show that the forex scandal RCI is not a selective political move or the government's desperate attempt at diverting attention from the United States DOJ's latest allegations on 1MDB," she told a news conference yesterday, as quoted by Malaysiakini news site.

"On the same principle of public accountability, I am calling for an RCI to investigate the allegations by the DOJ," said Dr Wan Azizah, who is president of opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

NOT A DIVERSION

Setting up an RCI on 1MDB is important to show that the forex scandal RCI is not a selective political move or the government's desperate attempt at diverting attention from the United States DOJ's latest allegations on 1MDB.

PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION LEADER WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAIL, as quoted by Malaysiakini news site.

The government in February began looking into the alleged losses of US$10 billion in reserves at Bank Negara after former assistant governor Abdul Murad Khalid made the claims in a newspaper interview.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Set up inquiry into 1MDB too, says PKR leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe