1MDB chief says company is ‘open book’ though assets are intangible

Arul said the public cannot appreciate the kind of investments 1MDB makes and its contribution to the country as they are intangible. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Arul said the public cannot appreciate the kind of investments 1MDB makes and its contribution to the country as they are intangible. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Under pressure as the country’s “most investigated company”, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy has insisted its dealings are an “open book” but lamented that the public was unable to appreciate the good it has brought as its investments are intangible.

In an hour-long interview aired late last night by Umno-linked terrestrial broadcaster TV3, the state-owned investment fund’s top executive reiterated his readiness to cooperate with investigators probing the controversies surrounding 1MDB even as he lamented how the company is hurting from allegations hurled against it.

“For me, 1MDB is an open book with many investigations [against us]. We are the most investigated company in Malaysia,” Arul said, referring to the various federal agencies scrutinising its accounts, including an independent inquiry by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that has stalled due to the mandatory changes to its line-up.

“The delay is really making it hard for us to work. As 1MDB, we want to give answers to the questions and allegations made against us. When the meeting is stalled, we do not have that chance,” he added.

Arul also said that the PAC is the “best institution” to which it can make its case, as it is bipartisan.

He also repeated 1MDB’s pledge to return for the meeting originally scheduled last week before the PAC was dissolved following the appointment of several of its members as ministers and deputy ministers, including chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Defending its negative perception, Arul said the public cannot appreciate the kind of investments 1MDB makes and its contribution to the country as they are intangible.

“When we come home, we switch on the lights. 1MDB is among the biggest power producers in Malaysia, but we cannot see that. We cannot see the electricity,” Arul said.

He also pointed out that the public is not aware that 1MDB is currently building eight military and police camps all across the country, even when they can see the Sungai Besi air force base which will be the site for the Bandar Malaysia development.

“It is similar in TRX, we will spend RM3 billion to put infrastructure in. This infrastructure we cannot also see because they are underground… This will take some time, and not something can be openly seen.”

Prior to the appointments, the PAC had scheduled August 4 and 5 to question Arul and his predecessor, Datuk Shahrul Ibrahim Halmi, as part of their investigation into the state-owned firm’s dealings.

Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman had announced yesterday that a new line-up for the PAC including its chairman will only be appointed on October 19, adding that the move was not a deliberate attempt to interfere with investigations.