Tony Pua explains Najib’s ‘afterthought’ to Speaker over 1MDB repayment claim

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Najib Abdul Razak (BN-Pekan) has informed the Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun that 1MDB did pay the principal on loans in 2017 and 2018.

The former prime minister claimed that the payments were made through monies generated by the sale of 1MDB assets such as Edra Energy and the Tun Razak Exchange.

This explanation was contained in Najib’s letter to Azhar, who is considering whether to allow a motion to refer the Pekan MP to the Rights and Privileges Committee for telling the Dewan Rakyat on March 2 that “not a single sen” of taxpayer funds was used to pay the principal in 1MDB loans.

The contents of Najib’s explanation to Azhar was revealed by Tony Pua (Pakatan Harapan-Damansara), who was asked by Azhar to respond to all four explanations submitted by the accused.

Pua, a former political secretary to a finance minister, explained that the record showed that 1MDB’s debt repayment of RM6.47 billion and RM1.65 billion in 2017 and 2018 respectively was performed by the Finance Ministry and Finance Minister Incorporated.

The proceeds of the disposal of Edra Energy and Tun Razak Exchange assets, explained Pua, had already been utilised by 1MDB before 2017.

According to Pua, Najib told Azhar that his March 2 speech only meant to refer to the period after the Harapan administration was formed (May 2018).

The DAP lawmaker argued that Najib’s explanation was an “afterthought” as no one who read the latter’s March 2 speech would have drawn the same conclusions.

Pua added that it has been three weeks since Najib made the speech and he has never corrected himself in the House nor to the public.

“It is clear that the member for Pekan has shown an intention to confuse the Dewan Rakyat. In fact, he has doubled his crimes by (now) trying to confuse the speaker,” wrote Pua.

Shafwan Zaidon

He reiterated his call to allow his motion to refer Najib to the Rights and Privileges Committee.

“Najib’s refusal to apologise or withdraw his allegations, clearly showed his intention to mislead the House.

“YB Pekan’s motive in this matter is obvious because he is the person who has been charged in court on serious allegations that he is the main character in the embezzlement of billions of ringgit from 1MDB.

Pua also alleged that Najib was using the Dewan Rakyat as a stage to give a false impression that he is innocent.

“On the other hand, YB Pekan would like to give the impression that his actions in the affairs of 1MDB do not burden the people, but provide huge profits.

“What’s more, as the former Finance Minister, he is the one who should stick to accurate figures and facts, instead of making all sorts of false and baseless allegations,” said Pua.

In his letter to Azhar dated yesterday, Pua listed the four areas raised.

The first being l1MDB’s principal debt paid in 2017 and 2018 that was done only after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration was established.

The second revolves around the actual calculations on the claimed savings of RM50 billion on the settlement of the one-sided Independent Power Plant (IPP) deal,

Third alleged that Najib did not provide any explanation that the acquisition of three private IPPs by 1MDB contributed to Petronas’ cash reserves that increased from RM30 billion to RM176 billion in 2018.

The fourth involves the Bandar Malaysia value of RM140 billion that refers to the estimated Gross Development Value (GDV) and not the value of the land assets formerly owned by 1MDB, and now by the Finance Ministry.

On March 3, Najib reiterated again that not a single sen from taxpayers was used by the government to repay the principal amount of 1MDB debt, despite being disputed by the current and former finance ministers.

Bernama

He said that part of the loan had instead been paid by selling 1MDB’s own assets, which included IPP companies worth RM10 billion and a plot of land in Penang worth RM2.6 billion.

Earlier on the same day, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz called Najib’s claims “baseless” saying that the federal government will begin servicing the principal debt once the bonds issued by the sovereign fund and its subsidiaries mature, at least two of them by May this year. The debt servicing will continue to be paid until 2039.

DAP’s former finance minister Lim Guan Eng also previously said the government has already repaid RM13.3 billion of 1MDB’s debt so far.