Friday, August 14, 2015

Mr Arul Kanda, All I Want is a Chat

If Arul Kanda truly believes that 1Malaysia Development Bhd is an “open book” then he must honour his invitation to me in January this year for an open dialogue.

On Wednesday late night, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) President, Arul Kanda granted TV3 an interview to dispel the supposedly unjustified criticisms against the company.

“For me, 1MDB is an open book with many investigations… We are the most investigated company in Malaysia.”

Arul Kanda even has the cheek to claim that the delay in the Public Accounts Committee investigation “is really making it hard for us to work. As 1MDB, we want to give answers to the questions and allegations made against us. When the meeting is stalled, we do not have that chance.”

The 1MDB CEO is completely insincere with his claim of being an “open book”. If he is really sincere about being an “open book”, there would have been a lot more clarity and factual information about 1MDB without having to await exposes by third party sources such as the Sarawak Report, The Edge or The Wall Street Journal.

In fact there are so many simple questions that 1MDB has refused to answer in a straightforward and forthright manner. For example, is it true that 1MDB’s group debt has increased from RM42 billion to nearly RM50 billion to date? Or is it true that 1MDB has doctored its financial statements provided to the financing banks? Or how much did 1MDB pay Aabar or International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) to redeem its options?

Or a question which has been floating around for the past 6 months – did 1MDB transfer nearly US$1.2 billion to Good Star Limited, a company controlled by the international man-of-mystery, Jho Low?

Why can’t Arul Kanda answer these questions to allay the fears of the public and the suspicion of gross mismanagement and misappropriation taking place in the wholly-owned Ministry of Finance subsidiary? No one is more responsible for the credibility damage caused to 1MDB than 1MDB’s own top executives for refusing to be transparent and accountable.

Instead, all we get is a scripted television interview within the safe confines of UMNO-owned TV3 in a futile attempt to redeem its own reputation.

If Arul Kanda is truly sincere, and 1MDB is truly an “open book”, then Arul Kanda must honour his offer made earlier in January this year to hold a dialogue with me over 1MDB. There’s no need to pretend to wait for the PAC.

In fact, given that 1MDB’s battered image is causing serious negative consequences to Malaysia’s currency and economy, Arul Kanda must now accept an open debate or public dialogue with me to answer the many pressing questions, all Malaysians and the international community are asking.

If Arul Kanda is able to respond to the questions posed and successfully debunk all my allegations and criticisms, it will not only do 1MDB a whole load of good, it will go a long way towards halting the slide of the Malaysian currency, stock exchange and economy.

Surely, Arul Kanda can’t be afraid of someone whom he claims got all his facts wrong?

Tony Pua

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