Anwar warns Najib’s RM15 bil 1MDB could sink Malaysia

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Amid growing concerns about the country’s wealth being wiped out by corruption, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has warned against a whopping RM15 billion bond issued to 1Malaysia Development Fund Bhd, which was personally initiated by Prime Minister Najib Razak and has been linked to Jho Low – a young millionaire friend of his wife Rosmah Mansor.

“Ever since 1MDB, which was formerly known as the Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad, was introduced by Najib, many questions arose on the role of 1MDB, its investments and related developments, particularly its link to PetroSaudi and millionaire Jho Low,” Anwar, a former Finance minister, said in a statement.

‘What is Jho Low’s role in 1MDB, specifically in the redevelopment of the Sungai Besi air base? PetroSaudi only became public knowledge after it formed a joint-venture company with 1MDB with a capital of RM8.5 billion.”

A close friend of Rosmah’s son 

Jho Low aka Low Taek Jho has been in the headlines – both internationally and locally – for his extravagant lifestyle and wild parties with Hollywood celebrities such as Paris Hilton. He is a close friend of Rosmah’s son from her first marriage,Riz Azizruns.

Jho runs three funds and recently announced plans to make a major Hollywood movie in Malaysia within the next 12 months.

“I have three funds – one for entertainment, movies and fashion, another for real estate and hospitality and the third for general investment. I will be introducing foreigners to invest in Malaysia’s property and heavy industries,” the Star reported Jho as saying on Monday.

But it is not in this sort of diversionary small investments that have sparked grave concern amongst the investing community, alarmed at the way the Malaysian economy has taken a turn for the worse.

Not only has foreign direct investment shrunk 81 percent in 2009, whistle-blowers have come forward on a shocking series of dubious mega-deals. These include the RM8 billion in losses at national airline MAS that implicates former premiers Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Badawi.

Najib himself is not unscathed and has been accused of delaying on a Letter of Intent to a Chinese construction firm CREC for a billion-ringgit double-tracking railway project in favour of another firm CHEC so that he can negotiate fresh terms and perks for himself.

The deal that may well bankrupt Malaysia

But according to Anwar, 1MDB may end up the mother of all dubious deals, exceeding even the RM12.5billion Port Klang Free Zone flop.