The Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah announced yesterday that the Finance Ministry will present a roadmap for 1MDB to the Cabinet today to solve the problems plaguing the 1MDP and to counter negative perceptions on the strategic investment fund company.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the second Finance Minister Husni should be fair to their ministerial colleagues in the 35-strong Cabinet, who should be given adequate time to understand and study the Save 1MDB Plan before a Cabinet decision is taken as all the Ministers have to bear collective responsibility for the success or failure of the Save 1MDB Plan once it is approved by the Cabinet.
The Cabinet should not repeat the farce of its March 4 meeting when the Ministers went through the motions of being briefed by 1MDB and its auditors Deloitte, with few Ministers understanding what was going on, but the Cabinet still prematurely and foolishly cleared the troubled fund of wrongdoing and issued 1MDB with a clean bill of health and integrity.
Without comprehensive Cabinet papers for the Ministers to understand the 1MDB scandal, without access to the thousands of 1MDB transactions and email which London’s Sunday Times and Sarawak Report said they had obtained access to, despite attempts by 1MDB at the end of last year to call in all of its computers, employee laptops and servers to wipe them clean of such transactions and emails, how could the Cabinet clear the 1MDB of any wrongdoing?
This has led to the shocking spectacle of the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, declaring after more than two months after the Cabinet meeting which cleared 1MDB of wrongdoing that the 1MDB Board should be sacked and the police called in to investigate 1MDB.
In a leaked video of the speech to four UMNO Divisions in Janda Baik on May 16, Muhyiddin lashed out at 1MDB’s huge debts and demanded that its entire board including the CEO should be sacked and the police called in to investigate.
In the video, Muhyiddin said the 1MDB scandal was the “last straw to break the camel’s back” and would cause the downfall of the UMNO/BN Government.
He said he had asked Najib how the issue should be solved as the people needed to be shown that the Government was transparent and viewed the 1MDB scandal seriously with a government-owned company saddled with liabilities of RM42 billion in such a short time.
He said the sacking of the board and calling in the police to investigate was what he would do if the company was his, and he “woke up to reports of such an extraordinary event, with the CEO making an issue by borrowing up to RM10bil, and every month I have to pay interest of RM100mil to RM200mil.”
Muhyiddin was not the only one in the Cabinet who was quite lost in the maze of the 1MDB deals and transactions, as another UMNO Vice President and Rural and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal yesterday confessed that he and his Ministerial colleagues were just as unclear as the public over 1MDB’s controversial and opaque deals.
I dare say without fear of contradiction that the overwhelming majority of the 35-strong Cabinet are quite ignorant as to what is happening in the 1MDB scandal, although they are collectively responsible for it.
I do not think anyone of them is prepared to face either the DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua or the PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli in a public debate or dialogue on the 1MDB scandal.
Would the Cabinet be allowed to decide by vote whether the majority support the Muhyiddin formula of sacking the entire 1MDB board and calling in the police investigate, to prove that the Cabinet government is serious about the RM42 billion MDB scandal?
The 35 Ministers in the Najib Cabinet should be given adequate time to understand and study what the Save 1MDB Roadmap imply, especially as they had so far been kept in the dark about the most vital aspect of the 1MDB scandal – that the Prime Minister is the final approving authority for all 1MDB deals, transactions and investments in the past six years.
We have the most anomalous and ludicrous situation where on the one hand, Najib could claim that as Chairman of the 1MDB Advisory Board, he has no role in the daily operations of 1MHD while on the other hand, as Prime Minister, he is the final approving authority for any 1MDB deal, transaction or investment under Clause 11 of the 1MDB M&A Agreement.
Why was this important aspect of the Prime Minister’s direct role as final approving authority of any 1MDB deal, transaction or investment not brought to the attention of the Cabinet, Parliament and the public?
To assist the Cabinet to decide on whether to approve the Save 1MDB Roadmap presented by Husni, Najib as the Prime Minister as well as the final approving authority for all 1MDB deals, transactions and investments under the 1MDB M&A Agreement, should “tell all” to the Cabinet about his 1MDB dealings in the past six years, including:
(i) the number of times each year since 2009 that Najib had acted under Clause 117 of the 1MDB M&A Agreement which stipulates that the Prime Minister must give his “written approval” for any 1MDB deals, including the firm’s investments;
(ii) the details of every such decision of the Prime Minister under Clause 117 of the 1MDB M&A Agreement;
(iii) whether Najib had personally given “written approval” under Clause 117 of the 1MDB M&A Agreement for the following deals:
• the initial USD1 billion investment in Petrosaudi International Limited;
• the additional USD1billion in loans extended to Petrosaudi;
• the US$1.16 billion (RM4.2 billion) which went into the account controlled by Jho Low (made up of payments of first US$700 million in 2009, then US$160 million in 2010 and finally US$300 million in 2011 – all to Good Star Limited, a company controlled by Jho Low);
• the siphoning of USD260 million from 1MDB for the acquisition of 53% shareholding in Utama Banking Group (UBG) from the latter’s substantial shareholder, Sarawak Governor Tun Taib Mahmud’s family vehicles;
• the raising of bonds amounting to USD6.5 billion by paying fees in excess of 10 per cent to Goldman Sachs International;
• the costly guarantee sought from Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) for USD3.5 billion of these bonds.
• the decision to move US$1.1 billion from Cayman Islands to a bank in Singapore;
• the deal with Mongolia-based company Gobi Coal & Energy Limited (GCE);
• the sale of Tun Razak Exchange land to the Lembaga Tabung Haji;
• the source of RM2 billion 1MDB used to pay back several debts owed local banks early in the year; and
(iv) The actual relationship between Najib and Jho Low in the entire history of 1MDB.
Jho Low was very patriotic in returning to Malaysia during the 13th General
Elections trying to wrest Penang state from Pakatan Rakyat for Barisan Nasional – resulting in 1MDB acquiring 234 acres (94.69ha) of land in Penang purportedly for development.
Najib should inform the Cabinet, Parliament and the nation whether his ties with Jho Low were so close and aboveboard that he could ensure that Jho Low would appear before the PAC hearing on the 1MDB scandal within the next 30 days to throw light on 1MDP’s past, present and future.