By a guy who attended it (source FB)
To cut the long story short:
If you subscribe to the narrative given by Tony Pua or Rafizi Ramli, I have good news for you:
What Arul Kanda said tonight, neither disproves or debunks the narrative from Pakatan Harapan.
So are Tony Pua and Rafizi telling the truth? I don't know about that. But what was telling was the lack of effort from Arul to even convince the audience in Lucky Garden tonight not to believe the allegations thrown by PH leaders at 1MDB.
And to me, that was the biggest disappointment of the evening.
I came to the talk tonight with high hopes. Call me an idealist, call me a romantic. Time has thought me that there is always two sides to a story, and the only fair thing is to listen to both sides before coming to a judgment.
Arul Kanda has the reputation of an excellent debater. Even 20 years ago back when I was in MCKK, the legend of Arul Kanda the extraordinary debater from the Royal Military College filled the imaginations of wannabe debaters, along with the homegrown legend like Rafizi himself and also Saifuddin Abdullah from the Class of 1980 (now the Secretary General of Pakatan Harapan)
Tonight, his legend status preceded him. I wanted to be convinced. I wanted to me wowwed. I wanted to have that spark in my mind saying "Hey, this dude does make sense"
And i walked away from the talk. Disappointed.
There were 4 main things from tonight's event that sealed my judgment on 1MDB.
ONE - Arul Kanda went to great lengths to explain the reporting structure on 1MDB, and how NTR was not involved in any way in influencing the decision making within 1MDB.
The funny thing was, he placed the blame of all the bad decisions made within the company on the management and also of the Board of Directors, conveniently leaving out the roles played by its Board of Advisors of which Najib is the Chairman, and also the roles of the sole owner of 1MDB which are MOF Inc, which minister is also Najib himself.
Convenient Arul. But not smart.
TWO - He placed the blame squarely on the management and on the BOD for making all those bad decisions, calling those as 'business errors' and absolving himself from any blame.
Funny again, for a company supposedly managed by the brightest Malaysia had to offer, they were making massive decisions worth billions of dollars without consulting and without the approval of the Board. Even penny stock companies on Bursa Malaysia would know that this is wrong. How come the brightest in 1MDB had the temerity and audacity to act in that wrongful manner, which in normal companies will earn you a quick removal from the job?
Nope. No explanation from Arul.
THREE - He stated and agreed with the findings of the PAC that the 1MDB business model was wrong which ultimately led the company into cashflow problems due to heavy borrowing and high debt repayments required.
Funny as well, since from day one of 1MDB it had that seemingly flawed business model in place. None of the brightest stood up, the BOD stayed silent, even more so Board of Advisers chaired by Najib.
It was never a viable venture to begin with. And for many years nobody voiced out against this business model, until it is already too late.
Thanks Arul for agreeing with this point. Which in hindsight is really dumb to have happened to a company transacting in of billions of dollars, mostly in debt.
FOUR - Arul skirted around the Auditor General's Report on 1MDB, which is still being kept hostage by the Official Secrets Act. "Download the PAC report" he said too many times tonight, never responding to calls to release the AG report.
Something you want to be kept hidden, Arul?
I walked away feeling disappointed. I didn't even wait for the Q&A to start.
The thing is, I somewhat felt pity for Arul. He was there with a mic in his hands and PowerPoint slides to back him up, but I got the feeling that he was just going through the motions, like the story has already been scripted. "Believe me if you want to, I don't care if you dont". And from his talk today, Arul was just there giving a talk - he didnt bother to convince, he didn't bother to connect with this audience to get them to see things from the way he sees it.
Which to me is very telling.
I would wager a reason for this. For he himself does not believe in the bullshit that he is peddling.
Apatah lagi rakyat Malaysia.
So I end with the same conclusion that I started with.
I was waiting to be convinced straight from the horse's mouth. If there was somebody who should be able to sell me the 'real' story of 1MDB, it should have been Arul Kanda Kandasamy, debater extraordinaire.
But that didn't happen.
Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli can rest easy.