KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — DAP MP Tony Pua demanded today answers from the administration on the objectives of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying recent exposes in the media suggest that the firm was formed merely to fund Barisan Nasional’s (BN) election campaigns.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP pointed out that when 1MDB was founded in 2009, many within and outside government circles questioned the purpose of the firm given that Khazanah Nasional Bhd already existed then to meet similar objectives.
“Why create a separate competing entity?” Pua asked in a statement here.
He said the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opened up a can of worms in its Friday report where it was alleged that the acquisition payments made by 1MDB on several of its deals have been channelled back to special charities for BN’s election campaigns.
In its report, the international business newspaper had cited the example of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia that it said received RM35 million in donations from Genting Plantation soon after 1MDB’s acquisition of Genting Sanyen.
The Genting deal had been questionable in the first place, Pua said, noting that 1MDB had paid an “astronomical” RM2.3 billion for the acquisition, which later led to the former earning a handsome RM1.9 billion profit for the power asset sale.
The power plant asset, the lawmaker said, was only worth RM400 million because there was only four years left to its power purchasing agreement.
In another example involving YR1M, Pua cited a Kinibiz report in 2013 that revealed that various companies in Genting group had donated a total of RM190 million as part of its “corporate social responsibility contributions”. The May 2013 report quoted analysts and industry sources as claiming that the unexpectedly large contribution could be related to the May 5 federal polls.
“By putting all of the above two and two together, it would now appear that 1MDB may have been created as a special purpose vehicle with one of the key objectives being to raise a substantial slush fund to finance Barisan Nasional’s election campaigns,” the lawmaker said.
Pua then urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is also YR1M chairman to disclose all the charity’s financial transactions as well as the source of its funds.
“Did Tanjong Power and the Farlim Group which sold the Penang land also contributed significantly to YR1M or any other charities which the Prime Minister control?
“If proven, then the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal will widen from embezzlement, misappropriation and mismanagement to outright corruption by the Prime Minister – abusing tax-payers’ funds to further his own political interests, and that of UMNO and its coalition partners,” he said.
1MDB, a brainchild of Najib’s, is currently under investigation for alleged impropriety.