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Dr Mahathir’s latest commentary on 1MDB (English translation)

Below is the translation I’ve made of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s commentary on 1MDB featured today in his blog Chedet.

The translation from Dr M’s original write-up in Malay is my voluntary effort in the public interest and is not authorised by Tun.

1. Umno held a closed door briefing which was attended by some of the party division chiefs on March 8. According to press reports, the meeting had concluded with full support expressed for the party President.

2. The topic of 1MDB is one that is being widely discussed by the public. However, the explanations provided by the Umno President (to the division chiefs) concerning the 1MDB controversy have not been publicly revealed. It is not enough to merely dismiss this matter as having been brought up by political opponents and hence to regard talk of it as slander. This is not a valid excuse for people to reject the allegations concerning 1MDB.

3. The rakyat are still dissatisfied in respect of 1MDB. They (continue to) discuss the subject everywhere. If they are not satisfied and do not support Barisan Nasional in the next polls, it follows that BN may lose the general election. And if the BN is rejected, then support for the President by the Umno division leaders is no longer meaningful.

4. The 1MDB debts are extraordinary unlike the more usual Government debt that amounts to only hundreds of million. 1MDB has debts running into the billions. Although 1MDB is not the Government, it is nonetheless a body that was established by the Government with a capital of 1 million ringgit, and is fully owned by the Government. There is also a guarantee by the Government for some of the 1MDB debts. Therefore the Government cannot claim that it is a problem confined to the company and not the Government’s problem.

5. The Government has appointed the Auditor General to inspect the 1MDB accounts. But this will still not answer a lot of questions that have been raised and hotly discussed by the people.

6. Allegations against 1MDB are not reckless charges. They are accompanied by concrete facts, that is, the amount of debt, who facilitated the transactions, who received the billions of ringgit, where the investments were parked, where the money was deposited and in what form.

7. The name ‘Jho Low’ is mentioned time and time again as well as the names of the companies he owns. Allegations are also made in respect of the purchase of luxury homes by him in London, New York and Hollywood. The home(s) was/were then sold to the Prime Minister’s stepson for hundreds of million ringgit. This will surely not be mentioned in the 1MDB accounts to be inspected by the AG.

8. At first, Riza Aziz’s money is said to be the inherited wealth of Tun Razak’s family. This claim is later denied. The thing is, if not from Tun Razak then from where does that much money come from? Is it from business? If so, what business or businesses, where? Has the income tax been paid? To which Government?

9. From where does the investment of hundreds of millions pumped into the film The Wolf of Wall Street by Riza Aziz, Dato Seri Najib’s stepson come? The film did not make profit. It is not possible that this film funded the luxury homes purchased at the cost of hundreds of million ringgit or US dollars.

10. All these details will not be included in the accounts of 1MDB. But people want to know nonetheless because it involves Jho Low. And Jho Low’s name is implicated in the public talk with regard to the management of USD700 million from the 1MDB.

11. It is mentioned the Petro Saudi received an injection of hundreds of millions of dollars from the 1MDB. Is it true that Petro Saudi has concessions for oil and gas in Argentina, in Turkmenistan, etc.? Where’s the proof? Is it also true that a joint venture was made with Petro Saudi before due diligence was conducted? It is said that while 1MDB had invested USD1 billion in the JV with Petro Saudi, the Saudi company nonetheless did not itself invest a single sen. It is unclear what happened to 1MDB’s money through the JV.

12. Why is more than 6 billion ringgit (dollars) kept in the Cayman Islands? The Government has never kept our money in other countries with the exception of bonds. What bond was purchased (by 1MDB)? What is the outcome?

13. It is said that money amounting to USD1 billion has been brought back from the Cayman Islands and kept in a Singapore bank. Bank Negara purportedly poses a hindrance because the process of keeping that much money has to go through complicated procedures. Can Bank Negara clarify why there is trouble in doing this when 1MDB is a Government company under the control of the Finance Ministry? If it is easy to do in Singapore, why is it so very hard in Malaysia?

14. Government dealings can be kept confidential. But the question of paying back debts is public knowledge (open to public scrutiny). People want to know if Ananda Krishnan had loaned RM2 billion to pay for the loan servicing. What is the interest rate charged by Ananda? How is Ananda going to be repaid? 1MDB is said to have made profits. If so, why is it unable to meet the RM2 billion payment?

15. It is also known to the public that 1MDB had recently requested a 3 billion loan from the Government. Did the Cabinet approve this humongous sum? What are the conditions imposed? How will this debt be repaid by 1MDB?

16. Government land in Jalan Tun Razak and Sungai Besi Airport was bought by 1MDB. What was the purchase price? Are these lands the touted 1MDB assets? How were the land prices assessed? The Government is entitled to a commensurate return when its land is sold to anyone. What was the price per square foot? Land nearby was sold at RM7000/-per sq ft. 1MDB also bought land in Penang. At what price? What type of development was proposed? Has the project begun?

17. If these lands have become 1MDB assets, does the high value of these assets derive from the increase in their value (as a result from revaluation to match the high market price) after buying cheap?

18. 1MDB borrowed more than 10 billion ringgit to buy some power stations. The price paid was higher than the market price. The licences of these stations will expire soon. Why not wait until their licences expire before buying? Once the licenses have expired, the stations can be bought at low prices. Buying them at a high price before the expiry of their licenses is a loss-making venture.

19. The money to buy the power stations even had to be borrowed. Reports show that a commission of more than 10% was paid to Goldman Sachs to manage the bond sale.

20. If the commission is 10%, then 1MDB would only be left with 90% of the amount raised. Interest, however, must be paid on 100% of the total debt. This (decision of 1MDB) is most perplexing!

21. Usually a debt guaranteed by the Government bears an interest rate of 3%. The loan managed by Goldman Sachs bears an interest rate of 5.9%.

22. 1MDB’s total debt has reached 42 billion ringgit. Interest on this amount, even if only at 5%, will amount to 2.6 billion ringgit a year. This is an enormous sum.

23. On the other hand, the profit from investing in power stations will not be sufficient to pay the interest. Similarly the investment in land in Kuala Lumpur and Penang will not yield any returns before the lands are developed and the development (projects) sold.

24. Indeed, many questions arise about the purpose of 1MDB and its administration. And its cost is also very high. People are entitled to feel suspicious with the way such an enormous sum of public money is being spent.

25. It is not persuasive nor convincing (for the Government) to simply deflect the allegations as defamation. Those who claim that there are irregularities in the management of 1MDB have dared to make public statements against the Government and certain individuals even when they face exposure to libel suits. They claim to have clear evidence such as e-mail, letters of agreement and other information. Dates and names have been given without any concealment. Are their allegations then lies?!

26. To date the Government has not responded rationally to the various queries. For example, it claims that 1MDB does not have a problem because of the company has assets exceeding debt. Yet 1MDB does not even have the money to pay an interest of 2 billion and is therefore unable to close its accounts on schedule. Instead it is forced to borrow in order to pay interest on its debt.

27. Ever since Arul Kanda Kandasamy took office as CEO, he has made many unreasonable or illogical statements. The money in the Caymans has been brought back, supposedly. But then again, this money cannot be brought into Malaysia. They’ve brought it back but are keeping it in Singapore.

28. A regular audit of the account books will not suffice. What is required is a forensic investigation by the police on the allegations made against several individuals involved with the management of 1MDB’s money.

29. If this is not done and done as soon as possible, declining support for the BN – which had already shown a decrease in the 2008 and 2013 general elections – will be further reduced. There is a big likelihood that BN will lose in 2018 despite the acceptance and endorsement by Umno leaders for the explanations provided on 1MDB. Remember that the vote of Umno people alone is not enough to win an election.


Tun’s blog appears to be still under suspension or blocked.

You can however read his (copypasted) 1MDB commentary in Malay @


I have no Faceook or Twitter.

27 thoughts on “Dr Mahathir’s latest commentary on 1MDB (English translation)

      1. J.S. Bach: Air


        “Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, likening a good word to a good tree, whose roots are firmly fixed and its branches reach high towards the sky? It produces fruit in every season, by permission of our Lord. And Allah presents such parables to remind the people.” (Surah Ibrahim)

  1. Ms H. Many thanks for the super translation of our Statesman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s censored comments on !MDB which is now proven to serve no useful purpose.

  2. Ms H. With your kind permission, I like to repeat the list of SCAMS as produced by a few crooked Chinese in our beloved Malaysia. to cheat the Chinese. Fortunately, the majority of the Chinese are not crooks but good and hard-working people.

    1. 1949-1956. The MCA Welfare Lottery.
    2. 1960s. The Mushroom Insurance Caper
    3. 1970s The Gemini Chit Fund
    4. 1970s-1980s The Co-Operatives Scandal
    5. 1976-2015 The RM2 tax free incorporated churches. 4 crooked Chinese tycoons formed their own churches to collect more money, of which 2 were convicted felons.
    6. 1970s-2015 Rigging and insider trading of shares.
    7 2004-2009 The Forex Caper.
    8. 2009-2013 The Gold Bullion Caper
    9. 2009-2015 ?

      1. The Rithmatist. Whatever, I only produced the facts on the crooked Chinese. Please prove to me or us that the scams I mentioned as created by the Chinese did not happen?

        1. A point of clarification – I thought that the Gemini Chit Fund scandal originated in Singapore and that the man responsible (an Indian Muslim if I remember right) was prosecuted in the Singapore courts and fined a hefty amount.

          Where is the Chinese “angle”?

      2. Kalo sejak zaman nenek I, lagi strange the timbang letak ketul2 berat and sempoa all Apeks used in every business deals, until the introduction of calculators.

        Entah berapa billions angka timbang asyik senget… eeh eh.. mujuq generasi sekarang bukan lagi dari golongan buta huruf! kesian betul bila kenang zaman takde calculators, the strange maths being applied then.

        Muda2 dulu klo nak ambil loan kereta pun kena main bawah meja.. isssh dulu tak faham…

    1. Of course the oft-repeated figure of RM42 billion is a figment of the Oppo’s demented imagination!

      But it is curious why the Swiss private bank BSI’s Singapore branch was chosen.

      There are way better known and bigger Swiss banks (Credit Suisse and UBS come to mind) with big private banking and wealth management businesses in Singapore.

      They would have been more prudent choices.

      In any case, that amount of funds (in US Dollars) deposited in a Swiss bank’s Singapore branch would have attracted the attention of the US Fed which keeps tabs on significant US Dollar transfers and deposits worldwide.

      Did the Fed ask any hard questions about the provenance of these funds?

  3. No. 16… What was the price per square foot? Land nearby was sold at RM7000/-per sq ft. …

    Helen?,… when was this land being sold at this price?…

    Helen?… are you sure this is not a typo error?…

  4. “”’A regular audit of the account books will not suffice. What is required is a forensic investigation by the police on the allegations made against several individuals involved with the management of 1MDB’s money””

    Forget about the Big4 accounting entities, we can never trust their practices.

    Since this issue seem global ,where transactions are made in many countries we should enlist the assistance of Interpol to carry out a forensic investigation.

    Our police do not have the aptitude to perform a forensic investigation of this scale, furthermore their capabilities will be hindered in many ways.

    If Najib, Arul,and the whole gang involved want to vindicate themselves and have nothing to hide why not get Interpol involved.

  5. Judging by the names and the players here it is clear that none of these people like Ananda Krishnan were people ‘favoured’ by Dr. Mahathir or people who ‘corrupted ‘ him as the opposition claim.

    If indeed that were the case as the late Ani Arope and the likes of him claim was the case that Dr. Mahathir was corrupted in government, I doubt very much the good doctor would dare raise not only the challenge with the current PM but also raise the spectre of Anand Krishnan’s alleged involvement in the 1 MDB transactions concocted by Jho Low (Jo Lo??).

    Pity Ani Arope who hated me with a vengeance like the retired public servant Tan Sri Ramone Navaratnam tow peas in a pod who hurled allegations of corruption against Tun Dr. Mahathir’s government but remain deafening silent today in the face of this “burst water main”.

  6. “The film did not make profit. It is not possible that this film funded the luxury homes purchased at the cost of hundreds of million ringgit or US dollars.”

    I think the movie did rake some profits (some movie sites bandied a box office number of about $390m on top of a $100m budget) but those profits are probably miniscule compared to the price of the alleged luxury homes purchased.

    1. The movie profits would not have gone to Riza Aziz alone. It would have had to be split and shared with other people.

      1. Anyhow I see that this is just a vanity (pet) project for them, profit or not is immaterial.

  7. Picked this up from malaysiakini

    “”’Prime Minister Najib Razak today called on Umno members to ignore ‘jemuan-jemuan’ (bad characters) and apple-polishers as these people caused disunity in the ranks.

    “The ‘jemuan’ are worse than apple-polishers and “batu ronson” (instigators), because they try to pit us against each other, so much so our shortcomings are amplified, party harmony is affected.””’

    Wonder which retard press secretary writes Najibs speeches.
    Damm Umno is built on apple polishers.and there are ppl in Umno who sabotage from within just like MCA MIC and the rest of the gang.

    You name it semua ada dalam Umno. beli dalam election Umno ada. husband mentri dapat contract ratusan juta ada tapi duit hilang ada, ex pm dapat concesssion 30 tahun nilai ratusan juta ada, and the list goes on and on.

    This bugger is clueless,dumb and dumber all rolled up in one package.

    Betul ke Najib ini President Umno and our countries Prime Minister????

    1. The Prime Minister seems to be his own worst enemy. Why does he go around picking at his own people who are his own picking or picked by his own picking. Isn’t the country not doing well on many fronts already, that the PM would make matters worse?

  8. No, it’s not just the votes if division heads that win elections. But just create some more safe rural seats, just like what is happening in Sarawak. No more problems re peoples perceptions or voting intentions. It’s not as though the opposition has any realistic hope of hanging together. So all is good in the nation.

  9. “. 1MDB’s total debt has reached 42 billion ringgit. Interest on this amount, even if only at 5%, will amount to 2.6 billion ringgit a year. This is an enormous sum.”

    This is the line that is flabbergasting, and the govt can’t just brush off claims and state that there’s nothing shady happening. Ultimately, the rakyat will be hit hard by this sort of irresponsible spending and mismanagement of funds. We all demand and have a right to answers, Najib.

  10. Only SPRM and the Police have executive powers of arrest if they suspect on reasonable grounds a seizable offence(s)( Corruption, CBT, Cheating ) have been committed. Based on evidence, the Attorney General has the powers to decide to prosecute or not.

    The best bet is that let these 2 enforcement agencies carry out their investigations. They should be given the latitude to engage specialists to assist them in investigation.

    Leave the Auditor General out. They are not crime busters. They are just external auditors for the Government

  11. Hi Helen,
    Thanks for the translation. It was most helpful.

    Please translate Mahathir’s latest posting. Thanks

    1. The Tun is embarking on a strategy to woo back and galvanize voters who deserted the BN at the last general elections. He is a wily old man who is leveraging the opportunity to woo and to hold on to a large bank of dissatisfied and deserted voters from both government and the opposition parties.

      From the opposition there are those who are left rudderless after the fall of Anwar Ibrahim. From the BN there are those who can’t get enough of a prime ministerial scandal even where there is none.

      If the responses in opposition rags are anything to go by, the Tun is now the new poster boy for opposition politics and opposition views. Not the radical Anwar Kit Siang type but the anti PM type.

      The Tun’s word is fast becoming gospel to many disgruntled Malays who have an axe to grind with the Najib Razak government. Some Tamils are saying things like “even the Tun Dr. Mahathir has said………”. The Tun is fast becoming a by word for everything hurtful the opposition to government wishes to throw at Najib Razak and the current ultra right insular exclusive UMNO in power.

      Soon the Tun will have a constituency large enough to make UMNO irrelevant as he made it when creating UMNO baru all those years ago.

      If there is one thing history has taught us, it is that we do not learn from the lessons of history.

      There is still a lot of gas and a lot of mileage left in the old Emperor. The Najib government has to answer for the scandal that is developing around 1MDB and properly respond to the questions being raised or be consumed by it.

      Foreign PR agencies like that the Najib government has used has paid no dividends, has reinforced the negative perceptions that this is a government that throws money at problems rather than the political skills to deal with them satisfactorily and in pragmatic way.

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