Putrajaya, 2 Sep – Its president, Jose Ugaz, said Malaysia’s commitment towards fighting corruption cannot be taken seriously as long as it did not explain who paid the money, why, and what happened to it.
“We want to see more progress (from Malaysia) but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the US$700 million that made its way into the prime minister’s personal bank account,” said Ugaz at the opening ceremony of the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).
The hall, which comprised delegates from across the world, broke into applause at his statement.
“No one can be in Malaysia and not be aware of the corruption allegations of recent months and how damaging they are to the country.
“There is a corruption crisis here,” said Ugaz.
He said in recent weeks, the attorney-general “who was critical of the government” was replaced, the task force probing into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) was suspended, investigators were arrested, and newspapers suspended.
“These are not the actions of a government that is fighting corruption.
“We may well hear promises of reform. That is not what is needed at this time. And promises alone will not restore confidence and trust,” said Ugaz.
Ugaz, a Peruvian lawyer with a history of taking on grand corruption, said only “one man” could provide answers, in an apparent reference to Najib.
But he said if the man refused to come forward, then only a fully independent investigation, free from political interference, could uncover the truth.
“Until that happens, no claim from the government on anti-corruption will be credible.”
Kuala Lumpur is hosting the ongoing IACC and Najib was to have given the keynote address.
Earlier today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said he advised Najib to pull out from officiating IACC in Putrajaya today in case the environment turned “hostile”.
The conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre ends on Friday.
Touted as a premier global gathering of anti-corruption stakeholders, the IACC is held once every two years and this year it drew 1,000 delegates from 130 countries. – September 2, 2015. – TheMalaysianInsider.com