The 1MDB scandal took a new turn two days ago when the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had filed two lawsuits to seize assets linked to the state investment fund
The DOJ suit claimed that more than USD3.5 billion of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds had been misappropriated and the US authorities are now seeking to seize more than USD1 billion in assets that were acquired using the illicit funds.
While the topic was trending globally yesterday, 21 July, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the public should not jump to conclusions yet, in regards to the DOJ's crackdown on the siphoning of funds from 1MDB
He told the reporters this after the FELDA Hari Raya open house at Menara FELDA in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Najib also stressed that this was a civil suit, not a criminal one, and limited to the individuals named in the filing.
"We have to establish the facts, and this is a civil action, this is not a criminal action."
He has also urged the public to not pass judgment on the individuals identified in the lawsuit simply for being named in the filing
"It's not wise for us to make assumptions until the (legal) process is completed," Najib said in a video recorded by Malay Mail Online yesterday.
"Because of that, the process must be respected. Meaning, an individual has the opportunity to defend himself or use the judicial process in court and we rightly should not jump to any conclusions so long as the process has yet to be completed,' he added.
"I want to say categorically that we are serious about good governance."
"We don't want anyone to misunderstand the government's principle. Good governance is something that we always strive for," he was quoted as saying by NST Online.
He has also assured the government will give its full cooperation to international parties investigating the issue.
He added that those people involved, including his stepson Reza Aziz, who was named in the lawsuit, will have their say through the court process in the US.
Watch a snippet of what the Malaysian PM said when he addressed the press for the first time since the DOJ revelations here:
The filing of the civil forfeiture complaints was announced by US A-G Loretta E. Lynch on 20 July, during a press conference. We summarised the 35 minute-long press con in 14 major points:
Meanwhile, check out what other Malaysian politicians are saying about the US' lawsuit against 1MDB:
In the midst of all the frenzy about the DOJ's lawsuit, a certain 'Malaysian Official 1' stood out after this mysterious figure was named 32 times in the documents: