PM: Malaysia needs proof of China’s bailout claim

Dr Mahathir says govt yet to receive any documents related to the claim as proof before taking action

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government will need proof before deciding the next course of action over allegations that China had offered to bail out troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and in return for Beijing to be awarded contracts worth billions of ringgit.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published the allegation, claiming China had struck the agreement with the previous government based on documents sighted by the business daily.

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government has yet to receive any documents relating to the claims.

“This is a statement made by someone in the media. There are documents, I suppose. But we need to know if whether we can get the documents and they can be shown to us.

“Only then can we accept the statement. Until then, we cannot take action. We need to find and look at the documents to prove that this actually happened,” he said after a special Cabinet meeting on anti-corruption in Putrajaya yesterday.

The PM said the government will not make any comments which involve the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing relationship until such proof is unearthed.

The previous government had been generous in dealing with Beijing, awarding multibillion projects like the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and gas pipelines. China General Nuclear Power Corp and its subsidiaries also purchased 1MDB’s power assets under Edra Global Energy Bhd for RM9.83 billion cash.

The WSJ’s article alleged that the previous government under Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak inked several dubious deals with China on its Belt and Road Initiative including the ECRL at inflated prices which part of the money would be funnelled to pay off 1MDB’s loan obligations.

Both Najib and Beijing have denied the WSJ’s report.

Najib has also dismissed the claim that Chinese officials had offered to bug the homes and offices of WSJ reporters in Hong Kong who were investigating 1MDB. He has also denied that closed-door talks transpired to authorise China’s navy ships to dock at two Malaysian ports.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir expressed confidence that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho’s, or also known as Jho Low, location will be found.

The government has not been able to locate Jho Low’s whereabouts, but Dr Mahathir said it is not impossible.

“We can’t find him yet. But we will find him. There are only seven billion people in the world, so it is not very difficult to hunt him down. If we can find a needle in a haystack, he will be the needle among the haystack,” he said.