Lim stresses RM6.9b payment a ‘major bailout’

BY AZREEN HANI / pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture)  maintains that the RM6.98 billion payment made by the ministry on behalf of the embattled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is a “major bailout” by the previous government.

Lim said the payments, which were made since April 2017, have yet to include another RM954 million payment that needs to be paid before the end of this year.

“Why should the MoF (Ministry of Finance) compensate 1MDB to the tune of tens of billions of ringgit as asserted by Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, when 1MDB has hardly carried out any development on the land?” Lim said in a statement yesterday, in reference to Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia plots of land.

Last Friday, Najib said Lim’s statement on May 22 with regard to the RM6.98 billion payments for 1MDB is “misleading” and “a politically motivated attempt to obscure the facts”.

On his Facebook page, Najib also said based on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report recommendations on 1MDB, all of 1MDB’s valuable and strategic real estate assets have been transferred to other companies owned by MoF Inc.

Lim, however, pointed out that the transfer of these assets back to the MoF in April 2017 was not a “sale and purchase” (S&P) transaction, nor should it be.

“MoF officials have confirmed that no such S&P agreement was executed to the effect. This is consistent with PAC recommendation,” Lim explained.

Additionally, Lim also said these parcels of land were originally sold by the government to 1MDB at bargain basement prices between the years 2010 and 2012.

“Finally and perhaps most importantly, the RM6.98 billion paid by MoF on behalf of 1MDB were in relation to borrowings completely unrelated to the above real estate projects,” the minister said, adding that among others, the payment was made to service the coupon interest of RM5 billion 30-year bond issued in 2009.

“Hence, given all of the above facts and figures, there could be no other description for the RM6.98 billion worth of payments by MoF on behalf of 1MDB to date, other than to describe it as the single-largest bailout in his- tory carried out by the government of Malaysia.”

The finance minister also said MoF will work hand-in-glove with the 1MDB special committee set up by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to uncover the complete truth behind the 1MDB scandal.