PUTRAJAYA, March 6 — The US$1.8 billion (RM8 billion) settlement between the Malaysian government and two Abu Dhabi companies to settle legal proceedings involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in recent weeks exceeded his expectations, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
Anwar said the negotiations involving Malaysian officials with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Company (Ipic) and Aabar Investments PJS (Aabar PJS) is testament to the competency of Malaysia’s civil servants in handling the responsibilities entrusted to them.
On the government’s target, Anwar added the settlement’s final amount was initially set between US$1.5 billion and US$1.7 billion.
“Congratulations to the Attorney General and his department including all those involved in the negotiations who had relied little on external consultants.
“My utmost gratitude to His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as well for using his cordial relationship with Abu Dhabi’s president Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al Nahyan to ease the ongoing negotiations as well,” he told civil servants in the Prime Minister’s Department at their monthly assembly here this morning.
Anwar said he was relieved that civil servants lived up to the trust placed in them to handle government matters, as can be seen in the 1MDB settlement, rather than relying on external consultants to handle it.
“I am not against the reliance on consultants or think of them unimportant, but what I want to demonstrate is that the expertise or skills that we possess, if encouraged, can provide room for those younger in age to manoeuvre.
“If we set a good example to our officers by not having a vested interest in any sort of dealings, the said officer can now go with confidence and government’s mandate to do their best with the full trust of the Cabinet.
“There are skills and expertise among us that we want to benefit from in restoring the public service department’s image in the country,” he said.
Malaysia’s Minister of Finance (Incorporated) — also known as MoF Inc — announced last Monday that it and its fully owned company 1MDB reached a settlement to the dispute with IPIC and Aabar PJS in respect of legal proceedings in the London Court of International Arbitration and the London High Court.
Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund IPIC’s wholly-owned subsidiary is Aabar PJS.