S'porean on probe team to be deported

A Singaporean legal officer who was part of a high-level government probe into the debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is facing deportation, a week after she was sacked from Malaysia's Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC).

Ms Jessica Gurmeet Kaur Sidhu, a senior member of the AGC's anti-fraud and tax evasion department, had her Malaysian permanent resident status revoked, a family member said yesterday.

Ms Sidhu is married to a Malaysian. Their three children's residency permits have also been cancelled, according to local reports.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said last night in a statement that its High Commission in Kuala Lumpur met Ms Sidhu recently and is rendering consular assistance. MFA is also in contact with her next-of-kin and will continue to provide them with the necessary consular assistance, it added.

The family member, who declined to be named, told The Straits Times that Ms Sidhu had accepted her termination "without question" but was troubled by the deportation order. "Some of us are born in Malaysia. It is very upsetting because our relatives are in Malaysia," she said. 

The Malaysian Home Ministry did not respond to The Straits Times' queries yesterday.

Ms Sidhu, who has lived in Malaysia for 20 years, was head of administration and finance for the AGC-led special task force that was investigating 1MDB. However, the task force, which included the central bank, anti-graft agency and police, was disbanded by Mr Mohamad Apandi Ali, who replaced Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as Attorney-General on July 28. The same day, Prime Minister Najib Razak reshuffled his Cabinet, and sacked critics of 1MDB from the government.

The task force last month raided several offices, including 1MDB's headquarters, and arrested several people. This was after media reports on July 3 alleged that nearly US$700 million (S$984 million) linked to 1MDB was deposited into Datuk Seri Najib's private bank accounts.

After a purported charge sheet accusing Mr Najib of corruption surfaced, Ms Sidhu was arrested on Aug 1 - along with former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission adviser Rashpal Singh - in connection with the alleged leaks of documents in the 1MDB probe.

Mr Najib is the chairman of 1MDB's advisory board.

The family member said Ms Sidhu, who worked for the AGC for more than three years, plans to challenge the revocation of her PR status. "She was just doing her job on the instruction of her bosses. If at all, the bosses should be taken to task," the relative said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2015, with the headline 'S'porean on probe team to be deported'. Print Edition | Subscribe