PUTRAJAYA should start criminal proceedings on the millions defrauded from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and not leave the case to foreign authorities, said Pakatan Harapan leaders.

They were commenting on reports that the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) had asked a court to delay civil asset-forfeiture suits so that criminal investigations into the millions allegedly stolen from the troubled state investment firm would not be compromised.

Former Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff of PKR said the 1MDB scandal should have been a criminal case from the beginning, and the first civil suit DoJ had filed last year was a preliminary move to get a court to seize US$1 billion (RM4.3 billion) in assets bought with money stolen from 1MDB.

“It’s embarrassing that our justice system has not taken action to this day  ,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Yusmadi said it was no laughing matter that Malaysian authorities continued to insist that the scandal did not require further action.

Barisan Nasional strategic communications deputy director Eric See-To earlier today said DoJ’s latest move was just “a distraction”.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said the investigations into 1MDB spanning multiple national jurisdictions were the reason why the opposition was organising roadshows to explain the issue to the people.

The Lembah Pantai MP said Malaysians should be made to understand how the scandal affected their lives.

“The allegations surrounding 1MDB will get worse as it now involves criminal offences.

“If we are successful in taking Putrajaya, PH will ensure that the stolen money and assets are recovered, and those responsible, prosecuted.

“This is because the money stolen through 1MDB will eventually burden the people, with taxes like the goods and services tax.”

A Bersatu leader, meanwhile, said DoJ’s latest move was embarrassing for Malaysia.

“The US judicial system is very independent in cases that don’t involve terrorism.

“President Donald Trump is also learning the hard way that the White House is not immune from federal investigations,” said the head of the party’s Policy and Strategy Bureau, Dr Rais Hussin.

A criminal probe into 1MDB was likely to bring criminal elements hiding within the “deep state” to face justice, he said.

“When a scandal as serious as 1MDB happens, and there is no culprit arrested or investigated in the country where the crime was committed, we are seeing the weakening of our democratic institutions.

“I believe many of them have gone into hiding or are on the run, with some of them out sailing on the ocean,” he said, in a likely reference to the luxury yacht “Equanamity” owned by Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low.

The yacht is one of the assets that DoJ had listed in its civil asset-forfeiture suits.

– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com