1MDB helped save Malaysia RM200 billion

(Today Online) – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) were used to solve issues from the “lopsided power agreements” signed by a former leader.

“When 1MDB entered the industry, it was the lowest bidder in all its agreements, saving Malaysia RM200 billion (S$64.35 billion) over the next 20 years.

“One research house’s report about the revised power agreements was simply titled ‘No more sweetheart deals’,” he said in his blog on Tuesday (Oct 24), adding that revenue from the goods and services tax was not used to pay 1MDB debts.

He said 1MDB had played a role in improving eight military bases, which past governments had failed to execute.

He also said 1MDB had funded thousands of scholarships and haj trips for pilgrims.

“Now, it is true that 1MDB has had its share of problems, but we long ago revamped the management to correct mistakes and bring it back to financial health,”   he said.

Mr Najib said 1MDB will make profit to the benefit of the people through its Bandar Malaysia project.

“When the Bandar Malaysia project agreement is signed, you can expect 1MDB to make a decent profit that will more than recover its losses.

“And the lie that the people have had to pay for 1MDB’s decisions will be put to bed once and for all, as after the rationalisation programme is completed, it is very likely that 1MDB will have made a profit for the people – not to mention all the corporate social responsibility work it has done over the years,” he added.

1MDB subsidiary Edra had acquired power plants in Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh between 2012 and 2013, which reportedly cost about RM12 billion.

After not receiving a response from the IPO (initial public offering) in 2015, Edra was sold to the China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN Group) for RM9.83 billion.

Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in the past, vociferously attacked Mr Najib over the 1MDB issue, accusing the prime minister of stealing from the development fund.

The opposition coalition have also undertaken various nationwide talks titled ‘Save Malaysia, End Kleptocracy’ to explain the 1MDB scandal to the people. The series of talks ended with a rally on October 14 in Petaling Jaya.

In May last year, the Finance Ministry appointed a new three-member board of directors for 1MDB. However, Mr Arul Kanda Kandasamy remained 1MDB president.

In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department seized a number of bank accounts for possible money-laundering offences related to 1MDB. In July, Singapore sentenced wealth planner Yeo Jiawei to 64 months’ jail for money laundering and cheating in relation to billions of dollars allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB.

In August, the United States Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into money allegedly stolen from 1MDB, delaying civil suits filed the past two years to forfeit more than US$1 billion (RM4.28 billion) in real estate and other assets.

In its civil cases, the DoJ alleged that between 2009 and 2015, more than US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.