It is amazing how an UMNO MPs speaks when he is in or out of the Cabinet.
Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, before he was appointed to the Cabinet in July last year, was one of the more vocal UMNO members of parliament who asked probing questions with regards to the unravelling RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.
Today, after being promoted to become the Second Finance Minister recently, he would tell Malaysians that 1MDB has nothing to do with the Federal Government budget.
In his explanation to Malaysiakini, he said the government's budget had nothing to do with 1MDB, which was managed by its board.
“A budget is a budget, 1MDB is 1MDB, they are two separate matters. Budget is something that we present to the public to explain what the government is going to do - how to spend the money with the revenue. The budget has nothing to do with 1MDB. Please tell me which part is related,” he rationalised.
Instead, today we have former Cabinet Ministers, including the former Second Finance Minister, Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah asking probing questions about 1MDB and its very existence during his budget speech.
1MDB has everything to do with the Federal Government Budget not only because the global scandal has made Malaysia a renown kleptocracy and puts into question on why a tainted Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, who was found to have siphoned US$731 million into his personal bank account, is still the Finance and Prime Minister of Malaysia.
1MDB has everything to do directly with the Budget because Federal Government funds are being utilised to bail out 1MDB.
Most crucially, the Federal Government has given direct and indirect guarantees on RM5 billion and nearly US$8 billion, or an estimated combined RM32 billion worth of 1MDB’s borrowings and liabilities. If 1MDB fails to repay its loans and obligations, then the Finance Ministry will have to foot the bill. RM32 billion will raise our targeted deficit of 3% of the GDP to 5.4%!
Any responsible Finance Minister will have the obligation to explain to the Malaysian tax-payers as to how the financial scandal will be resolved, especially since the much-hyped rationalisation exercsise which was supposed to by completed by June this year has collapsed.
The collapse was a result of the discovery that 1MDB has made as much as US$3.51 billion payment, according to information submitted by the 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda to the Auditor-General, to a fraudulent Aabar Investment PJS Limited which was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
As a result, the parent of the “real” Aabar Investment PJS of Abu Dhabi, International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) has brought a suit against 1MDB and the Malaysian Government to the Arbitration Court in London. Of interest is the fact that the Ministry of Finance Incorporated has indemnified IPIC of up to US$4.8 billion of 1MDB’s obligations.
The failure of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in addressing the 1MDB issue, especially in the Budget, is a clear attempt to hide the scandal and cover up for the guilty parties, including himself, who had misappropriated billions of dollars from the state-owned investment firm.
It might be useful to remind Dato Seri Johari Abdul Ghani that in the Budgets prior to 2013, Dato’ Seri Najib was happily gloating about 1MDB projects and achievements in his Budget speeches and including the proposed 1MDB investments in Bandar Malaysia and Tun Razak Exchange in the data compiled for the Non-Financial Public Corporations (NFPCs). If it was relevant for the Budget then, why is it suddenly not relevant today?
The Second Finance Minister should be ashamed of himself for failing the people of Malaysia after he has been appointed to the Cabinet to get to the bottom of the single largest scandal ever suffered by Malaysia, and instead turned into a stooge to defend the kleptocrats of this nation.