Sunday, March 8, 2015
No protection if misconduct detected in 1MDB, Najib assures Umno leaders
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who was tasked with speaking to reporters after Najib had briefed some 160 Umno division chiefs on 1MDB at a closed-door meeting at Putra World Trade Centre on Sunday, said all those present at the meeting "fully supported" the explanation given by Najib.
Ismail said Najib gave the assurance that he would ensure that "no one would be protected" if misappropriation in the government-backed fund was discovered.
"This means that there is nothing to be protected by the Prime Minister and there is nothing that the government is trying to protect. This is what the president has explained and all division heads are satisfied with the explanation," said Ismail.
According to Ismail, Najib said the 1MDB accounts had undergone a more detailed "forensic audit," and no elements of misconduct, fraud or embezzlement were discovered by audit firm Deloitte.
Najib, after the weekly Cabinet meeting, had directed that the 1MDB accounts be scrutinised by the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to ensure a clean bill of health.
"The commitment of the president is the same as that decided by the Cabinet. The president has explained that we will not protect anyone if misconduct is found within 1MDB," said Ismail.
Ismail said the additional steps and explanation by Najib, who is Prime Minister, was necessary amidst "accusations and slander" hurled on him on 1MDB.
He said Najib had called for solidarity and the strengthening of Umno ahead of next year's party elections.
He said Sunday's meeting was a "usual meeting" and arranged by the division leaders for the purpose of hearing a response from the party president on current issues.
He said it would be part of a biannual meeting to be chaired by Najib.
According to Ismail, the estimated 160 division chiefs accepted Najib's explanation and there were no questions from the floor. Umno has 191 divisions throughout the nation.
Notably absent from the meeting was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.
Ismail said Mukhriz, who is Jerlun Umno division chief, had to accompany the Sultan of Kedah at a function.
However, Ismail explained that the absence of other division chiefs was due to their prior commitments and should not be interpreted to mean anything else.