Can’t stay on backfoot, Muhyiddin says of attacks on 1MDB

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaking during the official opening of the Malaysia Pavilion at the World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy, May 8, 2015. — File pic
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaking during the official opening of the Malaysia Pavilion at the World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy, May 8, 2015. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Putrajaya must be proactive over attacks on 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and not only react to criticism over the state investment fund, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

According to him, the results of the Rompin and Permatang Pauh by-elections have exposed Putrajaya’s weakness in handling the allegations over 1MDB as well as criticism against the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“In the rakyat’s view, the defensive attitude is not helping in the long term. An offensive stance is to be ready to answer the people,” Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama today.

“This means every issue raised that affects the public and is brought to the government’s attention must be managed as soon as possible… whether it is an answer or improvement.”

Muyhiddin is currently on a working visit to Milan, Italy.

Putrajaya has come under criticism over its handling of the growing 1MDB controversy, primarily over how the firm has amassed a reported RM42 billion in debt since its inception in 2009.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been pushing for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down as the head of the government over the alleged failure to answer allegations against 1MDB and other scandals.

1MDB yesterday again met controversy after an anonymous blog revealed that Lembaga Tabung Haji was purportedly purchasing two parcels of land from it for nearly RM800 million.

This board later revealed that the purchase was for one parcel valued at RM188 million, which an opposition lawmaker noted coincided with an upcoming interest payment on one of 1MDB’s loans.

The deal is being viewed as a bailout of the troubled state investment firm, with calls from both sides of the political aisle for the deal to be called off to safeguard the savings of prospective Muslim pilgrims with LTH.

BN retained the Rompin parliamentary seat with a majority of 8,895 votes, almost 7,000 fewer than what it gained in Election 2013.

In Permatang Pauh, PKR’s Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail won with an 8,841-vote majority, securing 30,316 votes to Barisan Nasional’s 21,475.

The Tun Razak Exchange, planned as a 70-acre financial centre within the capital, is one of two high-profile property projects in 1MDB’s portfolio.

1MDB is currently under investigation by the Auditor General’s Department and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.