AG says not stopping London challenge against IPIC but acknowledges bilateral negotiations

Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun confirmed that there has been no move to stop the proceedings. ― Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun confirmed that there has been no move to stop the proceedings. ― Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun denied today that the Malaysian government was ceasing its lawsuit to undo a previous settlement with International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) in London, UK.

He confirmed that there has been no move to stop the proceedings at the moment to dispute an online article claiming otherwise.

However, he also confirmed that related negotiations between the governments of Malaysia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) were taking place concurrently with the legal action.

“The government is open to considering any resolution, in the event an offer is made that is in line with the government’s principles and duty, which are to ensure that national assets are recovered and justice is simultaneously upheld,” he said in a statement.

Idris highlighted, however, that such discussions were already taking place when Pakatan Harapan was still in power.

He also said the talks were limited to the government officers from Malaysia and the UAE, and did not involve “other parties” that he did not specifically name.

On Sunday, the Sarawak Report website alleged that the federal government was ceasing its attempt to undo a previous settlement with IPIC in the British legal system in favour of negotiations.

The website also alleged that Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has been appointed to lead negotiations with Abu Dhabi over the matter.

In 2017, the Barisan Nasional government at the time settled with the IPIC after the UAE sovereign wealth fund initiated arbitration proceedings against 1MDB over US$1.4 billion (RM5.9 billion) it had put up as a guarantee for US$3.5 billion in bonds issued by the Malaysian investment firm.

After PH won the general election in 2018, it launched a lawsuit in London to undo the settlement.

In November last year, the PH government managed to secure a decision for the matter to be heard in an open court instead of private arbitration.

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