Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Speaker has gone bonkers in his over-zealousness to cover up the 1MDB mega-scandal, in this case a US$600 million (RM2.5 billion) emergency bailout of 1MDB by the Ministry of Finance in August 2017

The Parliament question time has become a complete joke.  During the last sitting, I had 5 questions rejected for asking questions with regards to 1MDB.  This round, I have 3, in part because I submitted less questions on 1MDB to avoid too many questions being thrown out.

However, the basis of rejecting the questions I had posed remained completely untenable.  For example, I had asked submitted the following question to be answered today:
Tony Pua meminta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan adakah 1MDB membayar lebih kurang US$600 juta kepada IPIC pada bulan Ogos 2017 melalui pengewangan (“monetisation”) ‘unit’ dana pelaburan 1MDB?  Adakah Kementerian Kewangan telah membantu membiayai bayaran tersebut secara langsung atau tidak langsung?
The question was whether 1MDB’s settlement to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC was funded through the monetisation of 1MDB investment ‘units’ and/or whether the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had helped support these payments either directly or indirectly.

However, I received a rejection letter from the Speaker claiming that the question could not be answered presumably because it would be subjudice as “the matter is in court”.  But the above payment which is part of an agreed settlement with IPIC has nothing to do with any court, whether in Malaysia or any where around the world.

I didn’t even ask about the ‘settlement’ itself.  I merely asked if the MOF helped 1MDB, directly or indirectly, with the US$600 million payment to IPIC which was made in the month of August.  Hence, how is this in any way related to any court case?

The Speaker should be reminded that in April this year, it was 1MDB itself who claimed that its payment obligations would be funded by the monetisation of investment ‘units’.

In August, 1MDB changed their tune and said that the payments were funded through the ‘proceeds of the on-going rationalisation programme’. What exactly is this rationalisation programme?

Is it not ridiculous that 1MDB can make all sorts of conflicting and vague statements to the public but Members of Parliament have no recourse to obtain any clarification or confirmations from the Ministers?

Both 1MDB and the MOF need to come clean about the source of these payments. If the Ministry is helping make these payments, surely the rakyat have a right to know.  In fact, the refusal to respond has only confirmed the suspicions that the MOF has indeed conducted an emergency RM2.5 billion bailout of 1MDB in August this year.

We very much regret that the purportedly independent Speaker’s Office is now helping 1MDB and MOF cover up questions on the scandal.  I will certainly raise this question again in my speech in this sitting and it will make a complete mockery of the Budget debate if the Finance Minister cannot tell us where our money has been used or spent.

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