KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The racially-tinged claim of a purported conspiracy to overthrow the ruling government is a tactic to shift the public’s attention from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy, says former deputy chief of the police’s Special Branch Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador.
Abdul Hamid reportedly alleged that this bid to confuse the public is meant to halt ongoing investigations on the state-owned firm.
“In line with that effort (to stop the investigations), they are confusing the public by conjuring a stale script that there is supposedly a conspiracy to topple the government, which doesn’t make sense.
“Who wants to topple the government? Supposedly it’s the Chinese who are taking power?” he was quoted saying in an open letter by news portal Malaysiakini.
In his October 1 letter directed at the government, Abdul Hamid reportedly claimed that this was a “wicked” tactic to turn a matter of alleged “criminal breach of trust” into a “racial issue”.
Abdul Hamid also reportedly claimed that there have been attempts to hamper local investigations into the 1MDB controversy, including through the removal of Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as Attorney-General, the arrest of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers and the disruption of investigations by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and a special government taskforce.
The taskforce has since been disbanded and rebranded into a new taskforce that does not include a specific probe on 1MDB as one of its brief, while the PAC’s probe will only resume after the replacement of its chairman and several members who have been made ministers and deputy ministers.
The controversy surrounding 1MDB spilled over to Putrajaya, when the US-based Wall Street Journal cited government investigations in its report of the alleged movement of almost US$700 million (RM3.1 billion) through 1MDB-linked entities into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts, which the MACC has said is a donation by a Middle Eastern source.
Following a Cabinet reshuffle in late July that saw Umno leader Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin losing his deputy prime minister post over what some suspected to be his vocal views on 1MDB, speculation of a purported plot to remove Najib Razak as prime minister cropped up but later died down.
The Bersih 4 rally on August 30 and 31 for institutional reforms was declared illegal by the government while the leader of organiser Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, was reported calling for Najib’s removal through a vote of no confidence in Parliament.
Critics of the Bersih 4 rally claimed that it was dominated by the Chinese, while Najib later explained on September 18 that it was declared illegal because it was planned as part of an alleged bid to topple the administration by demonstrating in a place where preparations were being held for the Merdeka celebration.
Najib recently said that a counter-rally on September 16 by red-shirt participants in favour of Malays and him was allowed to go on as it was not aimed at toppling the government, among other reasons.
1MDB is currently under investigation for corruption and mismanagement domestically as well as by various authorities in several countries, including Hong Kong, Switzerland and the UK.