Letting 1MDB issue fester will feed public suspicion, Nazir Razak says


(Malay Mail Online) – Failure to quickly dispel allegations surrounding 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will fuel public cynicism over the controversy, according to CIMB chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

The brother to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also chided the state-owned investment firm for declining to attend the InvestMalaysia 2015 forum despite being invited.

“It’s also important for us to put the elephant in the room behind us. This whole 1MDB issue, the earlier it is cleared up, the better for everyone,” Nazir was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini.

“When issues are not cleared up, people tend to expect the worse.”

Speaking on the sidelines of InvestMalaysia, Nazir also expressed concerns that the controversy surrounding 1MDB was affecting the larger economy.

“I think this has impacted the ringgit and investors in general and it’s important that Malaysian companies and the government go out and explain their case,” he was quoted further by Malaysiakini.

Dogged for years by negative publicity, 1MDB came under the microscope after former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad began demanding answers over the firm’s debt pile that is reported to be around RM42 billion.

Today, Dr Mahathir said 1MDB operated on borrowed money and, as such, was “not sovereign wealth but sovereign debt”.

Dr Mahathir has been openly pushing for Najib’s resignation, saying that the prime minister’s refusal to address allegations such as those surrounding 1MDB and the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu puts Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule at risk.

1MDB was incorporated in 2009, after the prime minister announced the decision to turn the Terengganu Investment Authority state fund into a federal agency.

Since then, 1MDB has been dogged by negative publicity over its finances and debt, and most recently cash flow problems that saw it struggle to meet a RM2 billion loan payment.

Najib last month ordered the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee to investigate 1MDB, amid growing demands for explanations over the firm’s allegedly opaque investment decisions and for amassing a reported RM42 billion debt pile.