In his interview with the New Straits Times, 1MDB President Arul Kanda said the state-owned company that he leads could have obtained better deals in the sale of its assets had not the Opposition scared investors away.
“Arguably, we could have got better value for Edra Energy, Bandar Malaysia and the land in TRX and I would say yes, we would not have this problem if it had not been for the opposition which politicised this issue,” he is quoted as saying.
This argument is akin to saying that if the Opposition had not been so relentless in exposing the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal and so adamant in demanding accountability in the state-owned enterprise, Arul Kanda would have had an easier job stripping the assets of 1MDB to cover up the gaping losses.
As the President of 1MDB, a wholly-owned Ministry of Finance company, the statement is completely reckless and irresponsible. Arul Kanda may have often insisted that he “is not a politician”, but he speaks no differently from a Barisan Nasional Minister like Dato’ Ahmad Maslan or Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan.
The sale of Edra Energy for RM9.83 billion incurred RM2.27 billion of losses because 1MDB overpaid for these assets at RM12.1 billion. Worse, they borrowed some RM22 billion to make the RM12.1 billion acquisitions. The money is clearly missing and unaccounted for, but Arul Kanda would prefer the Opposition and critics to shut up so that the culprits can get away scot-free.
On the other hand, the Bandar Malaysia and Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land belonged to the Federal Government before being sold to 1MDB at dirt cheap prices of RM1.6 billion and RM192 million respectively.
The fact that 1MDB managed to sell 60% of the vacant Bandar Malaysia land for up to RM7.41 billion to help pay down its crippling debt is clearly a massive loss for the Malaysian tax-payers. Why should the proceeds of the Federal Government land be used to pay off debt 1MDB is unable to repay, instead of going to the federal treasury to ease the burden of the poor and marginalised?
Worst, despite paying the Federal Government only RM64 per square feet for the TRX land, 1MDB sold parcels of TRX land to government controlled funds – Tabung Haji and LTAT’s Affin Bank to RM2,700 and RM4500 per square feet respectively. It helped of course that the directors of 1MDB are also directors and chief executives of Tabung Haji and LTAT.
1MDB benefited from all the above sales, while ordinary Malaysians have had to pay the cost of bailing out the heavily scandalised multi-billion ringgit loss-making company. However, Arul Kanda doesn’t care about these ordinary Malaysians, because his only interest is that he raises sufficient money from the stripping of 1MDB assets to settle the latter’s debts.
In fact, Arul Kanda has failed Malaysians because he has failed to provide answers to the Malaysian public on many questions arising from the 1MDB scandal, despite him clearly having access to the truth.
He has refused to tell the truth on the US$700 million which has been paid to Jho Low-controlled Good Star Limited. He has refused to come clean on the US$993 million from Cayman Islands and the US$975 million from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium used to compensate Aabar Investments PJS for the options.
He has even refused to explain to Malaysians if 1MDB paid money to a fraudulent Aabar Investment PJS Limited established in British Virgin Island, which is unrelated to the real Aabar Investment PJS of Abu Dhabi, as exposed by The Wall Street Journal.
Instead of blaming the opposition, Arul Kanda should reflect on how his actions have allowed the thieves to get away with the heist of the century.