KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — A minister protested today against claims that the entire Cabinet should be held responsible for the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy, saying it would be unfair to do so when he and his colleagues were just as unclear as the public over the firm’s allegedly opaque deals.
According to Malaysiakini, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said his fellow ministers have been actively raising questions on 1MDB during Cabinet meetings.
“We are responsible Cabinet members. That’s why we asked the questions... We want to know (as well),” he was quoted telling reporters after a function in Putrajaya.
“We can’t be blamed for something we are not clear on,” he added.
Shafie was reportedly asked to respond to former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who said recently that the entire federal Cabinet should be held responsible for the 1MDB controversy.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby earlier this week, Tengku Razaleigh or Ku Li as he is popularly known, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak alone should not shoulder the blame for 1MDB’s alleged wrongs.
“Everybody there must be responsible collectively for the problem, you cannot say this is your problem, not my problem.
“So long as you’re a member of the Cabinet, whether you know or don’t know what goes on in the government, you are equally responsible,” the Kelantan prince said.
“The whole lot (of Cabinet must be responsible). If they don’t know, they should find out,” Tengku Razaleigh added.
In March, Najib ordered the Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee to investigate 1MDB, amid growing demands for explanations over the state investment firm’s allegedly opaque investment decisions and for amassing a RM42 billion debt pile.
The strategic investment firm’s debts and subsequent cash flow issues that led to problems servicing its loan payments had prompted former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to seek Najib’s resignation.
1MDB was incorporated in 2009, after Najib announced the decision to turn the Terengganu Investment Authority state fund into a federal agency.
Since then the fund has been dogged by negative publicity over its finances and debts with the most recent being the controversial land deal with Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH).