Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz must answer where the billions of ringgit that landed in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal bank accounts came from during his debate with Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
According to DAP lawmaker Tony Pua, this would be the most important question Nazri should address.
Pua also said Nazri’s answers on the issues raised, including the 1MDB scandal, would be considered as representing the government’s stand.
“If he answers wrongly, that’s his business, not ours,” he told a press conference in Parliament.
“So I hope he comes prepared with the facts to answer the collosal loss and where the billions went,” added the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, who is a staunch critic of the 1MDB affair.
Responding to Nazri’s statement that he would not be representing BN at the debate, Pua said it would render moot the point of holding the debate.
“What is the point if he is debating for personal reasons, and does not show the facts from the government… He is a senior minister, not some junior representing the government,” he added.
To another question, Pua did not rule out meeting Mahathir prior to the debate in order to share ideas and information.
Nazri is slated to debate with the former prime minister on March 25, at the minister’s parliamentary constituency of Padang Rengas in Perak.
The debate is expected to focus on 1MDB, the sum in Najib’s accounts, the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project and the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal that occurred during Mahathir’s tenure.
As for the sum in the prime minister’s accounts, RM2.6 billion (US$681 million) was said to be a donation from the Saudi royalty, which was also confirmed by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.
However, the United States Department of Justice, in its suits related to 1MDB, claimed that a total of US$721 million linked to 1MDB went into the accounts of an individual it described as “Malaysian Official 1” or “MO1”.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan later confirmed that “MO1” was Najib, but said that since the suits did not name the prime minister, he was not being investigated.
The recent visit of Saudi monarch King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud to Malaysia reignited the debate on this matter.
Najib’s supporters claimed that King Salman would not have set foot on Malaysian soil if the prime minister had lied about receiving a donation from the Saudi royalty, whereas DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang argued that the king’s silence on the matter during his trip was a blow for Najib.
Najib has repeatedly denied abusing public funds for personal gain, and blamed such allegations on Mahathir and those conspiring with the former prime minister to topple him from power.