At the event to mark his administration’s 100-day, PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob disclosed that the country had approved foreign direct investments (FDI) worth RM109.1 billion during that period.
This was supposed to be a feather in the cap for newly minted PM, at a time when the country badly needs foreign funds to help kickstart an economy badly hit by Covid-19.
Like most Malaysians, I am not privy to what goes on in the corridors of power in Putrajaya, but I am a bit cynical about the announcement. At a time when there’s still hesitation by the global investing community owing to uncertainty over Covid-19, especially the Omicron variant, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is able to approve an average of over RM1 billion per day during that period?
While I really hope this is true, no one can be faulted for being skeptical. According to the Statistics Department, FDI for the third quarter of this year was only RM12.8 billion.
But within 100 days since Ismail Sabri took office in August, MITI could approve investments eight times more than the total FDI the country secured in the third quarter?
As we know, PM would have relied on feedback on FDI from MITI, in particular its minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. As a member of the public, I wonder if the PM was misled? Were the figures massaged, leading to the PM unknowingly disclosing exaggerated figures?
To put into perspective, 1MDB’s debts stand at around RM30 billion. If MITI can draw and approve an average of RM1 billion FDI a day, then Azmin should be tasked with trying to raise funds to pay off our 1MDB debt. Theoretically, he should be able to settle the 1MDB debt in just over a month!
I am not saying that Azmin is lying. But the 100-day FDI figures announced by the PM leave too many unanswered questions.
Azmin needs to come clean and disclose details of the FDI, especially since he aspires to rebuild his credibility and seek higher office. As of now, his role in the Sheraton Move and the sex scandal involving a video confession has tarnished his reputation. God forbid, if he is made a DPM or a PM.
If he wants to clear his name, he can start by coming clean on the highly suspicious FDI figures. Otherwise, he risks dragging the Ismail Sabri administration through the mud.
The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader Julian Emmanuel from Penang.