AmBank shareholders unable to question 1MDB settlement due to Emergency, says Nur Jazlan

AmBank earlier announced it had reached an RM2.83 billion settlement with the Finance Ministry for its involvement in the defrauding of the sovereign fund.. — Reuters pic
AmBank earlier announced it had reached an RM2.83 billion settlement with the Finance Ministry for its involvement in the defrauding of the sovereign fund.. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed today said that the Emergency has effectively denied AmBank minority shareholders the right to challenge the bank's settlement with the government over its role in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

In a report by The Malaysian Insight, the former Pulai MP said that the suspension of parliamentary sittings due to the state of Emergency has prevented MPs from raising sensitive issues with full immunity there.

“The minority shareholders should have recourse in the courts to question the transparency of the deal but the Emergency laws have provided immunity to government officers executing the transactions under opaque circumstances,” the former Public Accounts Committee chairman was quoted saying.

On February 26, AmBank announced it had reached a RM2.83 billion settlement with the Finance Ministry in its efforts to recover funds and assets linked to the defrauding of the sovereign fund.

In its statement, the bank said that the provision for the sum will be recorded in the final quarter in the group’s financial statements ending March 31, which will translate into a loss of 93.89 sen per share.

The bank also said that it will not be proposing any final dividends for the year ending March 31.

Nur Jazlan added that the practice of outsourcing negotiations also raises transparency issues.

“The practice used by the Attorney General’s Chambers to subcontract negotiation work that can easily be done in-house also raises issues on the transparency of the details and compensation to third parties.

“The parties involved in the deal should be held accountable to protect the interests of the minority shareholders of AmBank and the public in general,” he reportedly said.

Nur Jazlan went on to say that the public too has a right to know the details of the settlement, questioning why the government has only chosen to punish the bank and not those involved in the case.

“These are questions that can only be dealt in Parliament. Without a sitting, there’s no way of holding the government accountable,” he reportedly said.

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