Lawyers call for RCI on 1MDB and RM2.6b donation, allow Bar Council to sue if probe obstructed

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru  said it was in Najib’s interest to recommend an RCI and to allow investigations to run unhindered. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng
Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said it was in Najib’s interest to recommend an RCI and to allow investigations to run unhindered. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — The Malaysian Bar voted at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) today to demand for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion donation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

An “overwhelming” majority of the 1,040 lawyers present at the EGM also voted in favour of allowing the Bar Council to sue anyone interfering with investigations on the state investment firm and on the donation deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

“We’re looking at the RCI to put the investigations back on track,” Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru told a press conference after the EGM.

The head of the legal professional body based in peninsular Malaysia said it was in Najib’s interest to recommend an RCI and to allow investigations to run unhindered.

“We’ll write to the government and ask for the RCI to be set up as soon as possible,” he said.

At the EGM, the Malaysian Bar also condemned the purported interference with the investigations on allegations of financial impropriety involving 1MDB as well as on the transfer of RM2.6 billion and the flow of RM42 million from former 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International, to Najib’s private accounts.

The Malaysian Bar further denounced the “abrupt” removal of Tan Sri Gani Patail as the Attorney-General, the “crippling” of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that had been investigating 1MDB, and the “harassment” of investigating officers of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara and the police’s Special Branch that had been probing the debt-laden state investment fund.

“The Malaysian Bar notes that several members of the administration are advocates and solicitors of the High Court of Malaya, and the Malaysian Bar reminds such members of the administration that, whether in active practice or not, all advocates and solicitors are expected at all times to protect and further the rule of law and to uphold justice,” the Malaysian Bar said in its resolution.

Tan Sri Apandi Ali, who replaced Gani as Attorney-General, previously announced the dissolution of the special task force investigating the purported RM2.6 billion and RM42 million deposits into Najib’s accounts.

Najib has denied using public funds for personal gain, while the MACC has said that the RM2.6 billion did not come from 1MDB, but was a donation from the Middle East.

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