Wednesday, November 01, 2017

We either have the stupidest Finance Minister in the world or one who is trying his very best to pretend to be the stupidest

I have asked the Minister of Finance to state the current value of remaining investment ‘units’ owned by 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited and to name the bank or financial institution that was the ‘custodian’ of those investment ‘units’.

Tony Pua meminta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan baki nilai terkini pelaburan ‘unit’ yang dimiliki oleh anak syarikat 1MDB, Brazen Sky Limited dan nama institusi bank atau kewangan yang kini menjadi ‘custodian’ kepada pelaburan tersebut.

This question was rejected by the Speaker during the last sitting in July with the utterly ridiculous excuse that it was “buah fikiran” or basically a figment of my imagination.  I’m grateful that the second attempt at posing this question to the Finance Minister has been accepted.

However, my joy was shortlived.  I’ve received the reply dated 30 October 2017 from the Minister of Finance yesterday (attached).  It was the stupidest “pretend to be stupid” reply I have ever received from any Minister in my 9 and the half years in Parliament.

My question asked what is the current value of “units” and who is the custodian bank.  The reply start with “rancangan 1MDB untuk menyelesaikan hutang syarikat adalah seperti berikut…” or “the plan to resolve 1MDB’s debts are as follows”.

And the Minister goes on to tell the story of how selling the Edra Energy, 1MDB’s real estate properties and the investment ‘units’ will pay for the 1MDB debts.  He might as well have added that the sun rises from the east and sets in the west.

The Minister’s answer could have been less than 10 words, and it would have answered my question perfectly. Value of units, and name of bank.

Is the Finance Minister that stupid that he could not understand simple English or Malay?  Or he is trying his best to pretend to be a complete nitwit so that he doesn’t have to answer a very simple question from a Member of Parliament?  Either way, the Finance Minister has show utter contempt for the Parliament.

Malaysians have the right to know the status of USD940 million worth of investment ‘units’ held by Brazen Sky Ltd.  It’s not like the question has never been answered in Parliament before.

Current and former finance ministers, as well as 1MDB, itself had openly stated that the company had investments in the form of ‘units’ held with a ‘custodian bank’ previously valued at US$2.3 billion, of which a substantial portion has apparently been redeemed.

1MDB has in April this year, further emphasized that the investment ‘units’ would be “monetized” to repay Abu Dhabi’s IPIC the sum of US$1.2 billion.  Hence, it is an extremely valid question to ask what is the current value of these units which are previously held in BSI Bank, Singapore.

However, more than a year after BSI lost its license in Singapore, and we are still looking for the same answers regarding Brazen Sky’s accounts. Who is its new ‘custodian’ bank and what is the status of its units?

Or are Malaysians to assume that the refusal of the Finance Minister to answer the above question is evidence that the ‘units’ are indeed a fraud as suspected with little or no value, and it’s current not held in any bank around the world?
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