By Azmi Arshad
You should not be surprised at the angry tone of Matthias Chang’s article where he tries to sound convincing:
Indeed empty vessels make most noise.
Matthias has a record of being emotional and irrational. He had attempted a 5-day hunger strike in Kajang Prison in 2010 and consequently landed himself in Serdang Hospital, a tactic he must have learned from Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
I am not going to defend or condemn the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for any inconsistent use of words in communication. It is for MOF to clarify or rectify such details. Indeed worse happens all the time everywhere, including the very portal that Matthias Chang’s article was published. Remember the apology Free Malaysia Today had to issue for misleading the public on the safety of Lynas. Let’s also not forget The Malaysia Insider having to make five apologies in the space of a week. No sound from Matthias Chang.
Matthias Chang says, “We cannot but agree that this is the Malaysian scandal of the century. Heinous and despicable crimes have been committed.”
This guilty verdict is mind-boggling, especially from a lawyer (but then again there’s also the Bar Council setting the low standards). Did he mean an inconsistency in wording is a “heinous and despicable crime”? I’m sure not because that would be ridiculous. Was money stolen? Nope. Did the money inadvertently go missing? Nope. Was there any financial loss? Nope. Then I can only figure that Matthias Chang has still not fully recovered from the effects of his Penjara Kajang hunger strike.
Matthias also claims “forged documents must have been presented to show that cash was in fact deposited”. Indeed I wouldn’t discount that possibility but a rational person would believe that it could only have been schemed by a 1MDB hater. Police should investigate the person who possessed or presented the forged document. Matthias Chang is of course maliciously trying to imply that 1MDB forged the document to deceive the auditors but perhaps because he is not familiar with auditing standards and guidelines. I had put up a Facebook posting (13/5/2015) to explain why this alleged forged document was irrelevant and inconsequential to the audit of 1MDB’s accounts.
Matthias claimed that “The Board of 1MDB even had the audacity to threaten to sue any one who dared question its integrity.”
Well, Matthias Chang shamelessly lied. This is the relevant extract of 1MDB’s press release on 15/5/2015:
“The Board takes malicious and slanderous allegations seriously and reserves the right to undertake legal action”.
Matthias Chang’s blatant lie is many times more misleading than “cash” vs “asset”. (By the way, cash is an asset and furthermore, in my opinion, MOF should have used the term “near cash” or “cash equivalent” instead of “asset” because of the nature of the US$1.103bil – they appear to be readily convertible government guaranteed papers).
Why this emotional and irrational outburst from Matthias Chang and Opposition leaders? Where was Matthias Chang heading with his rhetoric, wild allegations, conjectures and lies? You’d be naïve if you didn’t think he had a motive.
With a tone of authority intended to sound conclusive, Matthias blurted, “The Prime Minister must resign and if UMNO leaders do not demand the resignation of the Prime Minister and continue to use their public office to deny this irrefutable confession by the MOF then they are all complicit in this heinous crime.”
No wonder. I’m just surprised he didn’t also jump on the bandwagon calling for the whole of the 1MDB board to be sacked (not that they should be without cause).
If I were to stretch it a bit, I might actually refrain from questioning the false logic and presumption of a crime committed if Matthias Chang were a legally trained prophet but his prison record and emotional hunger strike are not exactly traits of excellent character, wisdom and divine revelation. I think his judgment, verdict and sentencing all in one breath would make even the late Karpal Singh turn in his grave.
Matthias Chang may not understand the substance over legal form of cash, near-cash, cash equivalent or government guaranteed papers but as far as any rational person is concerned it is MONEY and that the US$1.103 billion never disappeared and was never a hoax. Indeed it would have been reckless and negligent of 1MDB to have converted the papers to cash and placed it in fixed deposit or, worse, in a current account.
The truth of the matter is that 1MDB haters are not upset that the money or CASH was in papers or “units” but because the US$1.103 billion did after all exist in Cayman and still exists now. It means 1MDB never lied about the redemption in Cayman. It means 1MDB always had the US$1.103 billion. It means 1MDB does indeed have CASH resources to settle the US$975 million loan due by August 2015. It also means it would be impossible for US$700 million to have been siphoned out of the Cayman investment.
Does that mean that the Sarawak Report, DAP’s Tony Pua and PKR’s Rafizi Ramli lied? Had the Dumb & Dumber duo been fooling the public all this while? Duhhh… Of course it does, and 1MDB should sue them for defamation and slander. Oh yes, 1 MDB should also sue Matthias Chang for his lies and false allegations; and perhaps he can then amuse us again with another hunger strike in prison.
The fact there is now certainty (pending only the conversion to hard currency and official announcement) that US$1.103 billion does exist is a big relief to me (not that I was ever in any doubt) because otherwise I would have had to deactivate my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I would also then join Pakatan to be with the rest of the band of liars.
If it was a mistake in not being precise with words, it was an honest and minor mistake of no consequence. However, the accusers themselves are also certainly guilty of not doing their own basic homework. If they had read the press releases on 1MDB’s website they will find that at no time the word “cash” was used to refer to the US$1.103 billion. In other words there was never any attempt to deceive, contrary to how Matthias maliciously tries to make it sound. Instead haters chose to rely on the wording of that one response from MOF and deliberately blow things out of proportion to divert attention from their own sinister agenda.
There is a lot more smoke without fire that Mathias is trying to create with his ranting but it would all ultimately be inconsequential and obsolete as facts speak for themselves. Most importantly, the fact remains that the US$1.103 billion had always been safe and sound. It was and still is invested in risk-free papers, which obviously makes financial sense.
The proof is in the pudding but a contemptuous Matthias Chang’s hunger strike in prison means he won’t be able to taste it.
P/S — Matthias Chang has the audacity to ask others to “humbly seek forgiveness” for something relatively petty compared to the false, malicious and slanderous allegations that US$1.103b was missing and that US$700 million had been siphoned out. Incidentally Matthias himself was jailed for contempt of court for, wait for it…. yup, NOT APOLOGISING to the court for his rude behaviour.