Last night in his TV3 interview, Najib Razak said that he remains “respectful” of Tun Dr Mahathir. Nonetheless, respecting Tun is still not providing the grand olde man with the answers that he is demanding.
Giving Respect ≠ Giving Answers
Perhaps in his next blog posting, Tun can prepare multiple choice answers for Najib to tick.
Tun’s question was “Who ordered Sirul to kill Altantuya?”
Najib’s answers as recorded by TV3:
A. Err, dunno tapi saya sudah angkat sumpah Wallahi Wabillahi Watallahi
B. I personally dunno that woman Altantuya
C. Dunno but I was not at all involved, directly or indirectly and the IGP already said so when Pak Lah was PM
D. There is no proof – no photos, no nothing – that I had known Altantuya
E. All of the above
In his actual Q&A – transcript @ NST – Najib conveyed all of the above. Nonetheless the gist of his statements A, B, C & D fail to answer Tun’s question.
This being the case, Tun will keep on asking repeatedly – he is 90 and it’s expected that elderly folks are repetitive – until he gets a satisfactory to-the-point reply.
ASSET STRIPPING & LIQUIDATING
And furthermore, is 1MDB going to have a fire sale of its so-called ‘assets’?
Will the 1MDB power stations be sold at a loss?
Tun Mahathir had explained:
“Wang untuk membeli stesyen janakuasa dipinjam. Laporan menunjuk komisyen sebanyak lebih dari 10% dibayar kepada Goldman Sachs untuk mengurus penjualan bond.”
“Hutang yang diurus oleh Goldman Sachs dikenakan faedah sebanyak 5.9%.”
“1MDB meminjam lebih dari 10 billion Ringgit untuk beli beberapa stesyen janakuasa. Harga yang dibayar dikatakan lebih tinggi dari harga pasaran. Lesen stesyen-stesyen ini akan mati tidak lama lagi. Kenapa tidak tunggu hingga lesen mati sebelum membeli. Harga selepas mati lesen tentu amat rendah. Membeli dengan harga tinggi sebelum lesen mati amat merugikan.”
How ‘clever’ of 1MDB.
(a) Borrow money to purchase power stations
(b) Pay above market rate
(c) Now compelled to “liquify” (Najib’s word) these assets to settle loan
(d) Will some government entity like the EPF be forced to buy these overpriced power stations from 1MDB?
Question: Were the 1MDB transactions masterminded by certain personalities?
A. 1MDB is an investment company with a start-up capital of RM1 million and it borrowed to expand its business
B. 1MDB has assets exceeding its liability and it’ll either develop or liquify these assets to settle its loans
C. I don’t condone any abuse of power and I’ve asked for verification as to whether 1MDB funds were ever used to finance a movie
D. The opposition MPs in the Public Accounts Committee can discuss the Auditor-General’s audit when the report is completed [but dunno when though*]
E. All of the above
* “We did NOT give a time frame but they must do it ASAP”, said Najib.
Najib pukul rata A to D but his statements above do not answer the question as to whether Jho Low (or someone else), by implication, is the mastermind behind the 1MDB misadventure.
This is what Tun had to say.
Pinjaman bukan harta
“Kononnya aset 1MDB berjumlah 52 billion sedangkan hutang hanya 42 billion. Aset tidak jadi keuntungan sebelum dijual (dicairkan). Kenapa untuk membayar faedah sebanyak 2 billion pun terpaksa hutang dari Ananda Krishnan. Kalau 1MDB tidak rugi kenapa terpaksa hutang. Kenapa wang Kerajaan sebanyak 1 billion diberi kepada 1MDB setelah hutang dibayar?”
“Soalan-soalan lain berkenaan 1MDB tidak dijawab selain daripada berkata asetnya besar. Soal harga tanah Kerajaan yang dibeli oleh 1MDB tidak dijelas. Sudah tentu jika dibeli dengan harga yang murah dan dinaik nilai berkali ganda, aset ini menjadi besar. Tetapi Kerajaan rugi banyak dengan tanah miliknya dijual dengan harga yang tidak mencermin harga pasaran.”
Question: Why was the money transferred from Cayman Islands to Singapore instead and not brought back to Malaysia?
A. Firstly, the money was not from Cayman Islands; Cayman Islands was just for the registration
B. 200 Malaysian companies have a Cayman Islands account and there’s really nothing wrong in having a Cayman Islands a/c
C. At a certain time in future, the money will be brought back to Malaysia
D. Whatever we want to do has to be with the verification of Bank Negara and Bank Negara is aware of the movement of funds
E. All of the above
In a written reply to Parliament last month, the Finance Ministry said 1MDB had deposited the Cayman US$1.1 billion (RM3.91 billion) into a Swiss bank – BSI Bank Ltd – in Singapore. However, Najib’s all-of-the-above responses do not reveal the reason W-H-Y the money is purportedly parked in Singapore.
The Finance Ministry said: “The decision to use a bank in Singapore was done in order to smoothen the transaction as regulations set by Bank Negara Malaysia require for transactions above RM50 million to obtain its approval”. See ‘MoF says Cayman funds now in Singapore account‘ (The Malaysian Reserve, 12 March 2015)
In Dr Mahathir’s words: “Kononnya Bank Negara menjadi masalah kerana proses menyimpan wang yang banyak mesti melalui proses yang rumit.”
MoF said Bank Negara approval is required for transactions above RM50m and this is troublesome, i.e. it is smoother to deposit the Cayman “redemption” in Singapore. Meanwhile, 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy previously said the funds are in Singapore in order to keep the money in the form of US dollars because interest on the company’s debt is paid in US dollars.
Yesterday Najib said Bank Negara is aware of the movement of 1MDB’s funds. This implies that the money is in a Swiss bank in Singapore not because it is troublesome to deposit the sum in Malaysia. On the other hand, Arul Kanda’s explanation appears to be closer to the truth, i.e. 1MDB’s wish to retain the funds in US dollars.
1MDB is setting an example for other Malaysian companies to keep their capital and profits in Swiss banks in Singapore.
The 2 billion ringgit question
Tun Mahathir said on 15 March 2015: “Sehingga kini Kerajaan tidak menjawab secara yang masuk akal. Umpamanya 1MDB tidak punyai masalah kerana asetnya lebih dari hutang.”
Najib reiterated yesterday: “… the assets obtained by 1MDB had exceeded liability. This I want to stress – exceeding liability.”
Tun said: “Tetapi hanya untuk bayar faedah 2 billion, tidak ada wang sehingga tidak dapat tutup akaun ikut jadual.”
1MDB, the company with RM1 million paid up capital and RM42 billion debt plus owing Ananda’s (?) RM2 billion loan – brilliant!
“Standby credit” konon
Last week Tun had rebuked, “Soalan-soalan lain berkenaan 1MDB tidak dijawab selain daripada berkata asetnya besar.” And true enough, Najib yesterday fulfilled Tun’s prophecy. As Tun anticipated, the PM is not able or unwilling to illuminate the matter except to stress that 1MDB’s assets exceed its liabilities.
To which Tun already has the answers: “Aset tidak jadi keuntungan sebelum dijual (dicairkan)” and “Kenapa untuk membayar faedah sebanyak 2 billion pun terpaksa hutang? Kalau 1MDB tidak rugi kenapa terpaksa hutang [bayaran faedah]?”
Oh yeah, and don’t forget Finance Minister (II) Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah’s admission on March 12 that the government had injected RM950 million into 1MDB as “standby credit”.
Although the RM950m was on “standby” in name, a total of RM600m of the amount was quickly withdrawn a mere two days later and used up. So it was not for standby after all but actually a loan for immediate use. See, ‘1MDB: RM600 million of ‘standby credit’ used up, says Husni‘ (Astro Awani, 14 March 2015).
Urm, Tun also wants to know – “Kenapa wang [ditebus daripada akaun Cayman Islands] ini tidak diguna untuk bayar faedah 2 billion?”
Question not asked
Tun’s query: “US$700 juta dibayar kepada Petro Saudi untuk apa? Sudahkah ditentukan Petro Saudi memiliki konsesi kawasan minyak dan gas di Argentina dan Turkmenistan sebelum membayar wang yang begitu banyak?”
1MDB & PetroSaudi relationship status: It’s complicated
Leaving it to the people and the party
Najib said in his interview yesterday:
“Nothing will happen to me due to Tun Dr Mahathir’s criticisms. But I have to state that I am responsible to the people and the party. […] I leave it to the people and party to determine my position. It does not mean that I do not respect any individual. The fact is I must leave it to the people and the party to determine my position.”
Okay lah. But don’t forget that the individual holding party membership number 001 is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
And feel free to ignore the jemuan-jemuan in Umno as well