MEDIA STATEMENT (27 NOVEMBER 2017):Democracy and Good Governance are Our Core Concerns, Not Fear Mongering Along Racial Divides

I am totally shocked at Director of JASA, Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz’s comment regarding BERSIH 2.0’s campaigns related to 1MDB are examples of social media threat to the Muslim community. However, if one takes a closer look at our latest campaign on asset recovery which is jointly led by BERSIH 2.0 and C4, it is clear that this endeavour is about good governance, accountability, transparency and distributive justice.
He has confused the issues and made wild allegations on the good intentions of our initiative to recover assets stolen from 1 MDB, as this campaign is clearly about efforts to return this money to the people of Malaysia and not about inciting hatred against the government as Tun Faisal has claimed.
Let me put the facts clearly before JASA: This issue began last year when Switzerland’s chief prosecutor conducted a criminal investigation into state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and found that approximately US$4 billion appeared to have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies. The Swiss Attorney-General has since made two requests to the government and 1MDB to seek ‘mutual legal assistance’ but failed to receive any positive response from the Malaysian government. Nevertheless, the Swiss Attorney General’s office has pushed ahead with investigations and is currently gathering sufficient evidence to take appropriate action.
Subsequently, the Swiss financial regulatory body, FINMA, punished three Swiss banks for serious breaches of money laundering regulations and has confiscated a total of 104 million Swiss Francs in illicit gains from money laundering related to the 1MDB scandal.
JASA has to understand that this has nothing to do with the US DOJ case as this case of money laundering happened in Switzerland. Legal actions have already been taken against the banks and money has been confiscated.
The initiative put forward by BERSIH 2.0, C4 and 112 non-governmental organisations can only be viewed as in defence of good governance and carried out in the interest of our country, Malaysia. This is not about threatening the peace of the country, but rather an investment in the peace and security of the citizens.
We have carried out in-depth research on assets recovery and how affected countries have made attempts to handle corrupt monies. We have cited the BOTA Foundation in Kazakhstan as an example of best practice are lobbying the Swiss government to seek a resolution to the confiscated illicit funds. We want those funds, which belong to Malaysians, to be used for the people. We do not want it to be returned to the present government because they are seemingly complicit in suppressing any attempts to raise questions related to the 1MDB scandal.
We have proposed for an interim trust fund to be set up and this has yet to be discussed with the Swiss government.
The Attorney General’s decision to not prosecute BERSIH 2.0 clearly absolves BERSIH of any allegations of wrongdoing. JASA should learn to keep up with the news and not engage in false news as well as irresponsibly spewing hatred against civil society organisations. It is such behaviour that is a threat to democracy and those working to advance democracy in Malaysia.
Tun Faisal’s allegations that BERSIH is making baseless accusations about the identity of MO1 is ludicrous in light that BN’s strategic communications chief’s declaration that Prime Minister Najib Razak is MO1. JASA director Faisal Ismail Aziz should come out of the rabbit hole and realise that Malaysians are not mindlessly buying into his lies.
As such, Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz must retract his statement. I encourage JASA to work with the NGOs to recover all stolen assets that rightfully belong to Malaysians as this will illustrate that they have no malice and no intention to instigate fear mongering along racial divides and hatred among Malaysians, a common tactic used by the authorities to smother dissent.
Issued by:
Maria Chin Abdullah,
In response to