Azmin fails to unseal 1MDB audit report

Amin Iskandar

THE Kuala Lumpur High Court has rejected Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali’s application to challenge the “official secret” status of the scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s audit report by the auditor-general.

High court judge Kamaludin Md Said ruled that Azmin had no “locus standi” to access the audit report.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Razak admitted that there were failures in 1MDB but said they were amplified by the opposition.

Najib, however, brushed aside the magnitude of allegations currently being levelled against the state investment arm, saying that he has instructed all government agencies to investigate allegations of wrongdoing.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has called the 1MDB scandal the world’s biggest kleptocracy scandal, and other jurisdictions, such as Switzerland and Singapore, have taken legal action against banks and individuals for money laundering linked to 1MDB. 

Azmin, who is Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman, told reporters outside the courtroom that he will confer with his lawyers before appealing against the decision.

“I was shocked when told that as an MP, I have no locus standi to get access to the report.”

He said the issue was why, if Najib had ordered investigations into 1MDB, was the audit report by the auditor-general classified as a secret document.

“This is why I have gone to court to challenge the secret classification of the report.”

In his submission, Azmin had sought for a declaration that the actions of the first respondent, which is Najib, in classifying the 1MDB report as an official secret posed a conflict of interest.

He also sought a declaration that the classification of the 1MDB report as an official secret by the second respondent, then auditor-general Ambrin Buang, was against the law and ultra vires against the Federal Constitution, Official Secrets Act and Audit Act 1957.

Government lawyers, in their objections last October, told the court that Azmin had no direct interest in this case.

In her submission, lawyer Suzana Atan said the report was classified under the OSA because it was prepared exclusively for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which was investigating the financial scandal.

The PAC also did not release the report when presenting its findings in the Dewan Rakyat in 2016, said Suzana.

She said the report must be considered a secret document because the initial report which was presented to the PAC in July 2015, had been leaked to the public. – January 24, 2018.

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  • ///She ( Suzana Atan, the government lawyer) said the report must be considered a secret document because the initial report which was presented to the PAC in July 2015, had been leaked to the public. – January 24, 2018./// the report

    The argument was that the document should remain secret until it is presented to PAC. But now that the report had already been seen by PAC, Malaysians now want to know about it. Public Account Committee serves the public, and they have no right to hide information to protect wrongdoers.

    Posted 6 years ago by Meng Kow Loh · Reply