‘Stashing of wealth in offshore accounts cannot be allowed to fester.’
Pressure group Malay Consultative Council (MPM) has urged the government to investigate possible wrongdoings among Malaysians named in the Pandora Papers.
In a statement on Tuesday (Oct 12), MPM political bureau chairperson Shahbudin Embun (below) said the stashing of wealth in offshore accounts cannot be allowed to fester because national pride and public interest were at stake.
“The authorities must investigate alleged wrongdoings without fear or favour on those involved, regardless if they are ministers, former ministers, VVIPs or anyone named in the Pandora Papers.
“If there are wrongdoings, the perpetrators must be prosecuted fairly and in accordance with the law,” Shahbudin said.
The MPM was responding to futile attempts by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and other MPs in convincing the Dewan Rakyat to debate issues relating to the Pandora Papers.
Anwar had complained that “Malay-Muslim champions” on the government bench were very silent on the topic.
Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun has repeatedly denied Anwar’s request for a debate.
The Pandora Papers is the latest set of leaked documents from those providing services for individuals to set up offshore accounts in tax havens.
Washington DC-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists got hold of the documents and provided access to partners worldwide, including Malaysiakini.
Malaysiakini has named a handful of notable Malaysians in the Pandora Papers, including the former finance minister and corporate bigwig Daim Zainuddin, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – all of whom said they did not break any law and that all taxes due have been paid.
While owning offshore accounts is not in itself illegal, it can possibly lead to loss of government revenue.
Similar leaks in the past, such as the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, have led to reforms and greater scrutiny on tax havens.