Saturday, 13 December 2014

1MDB: The issue is now 'sensational' and 'potentially dangerous' - Kadir Jasin

Khairuddin Hassan when he lodged a police report at the Dang Wangi police headquarters on Friday. - Photo Astro AWANI/Shahir Omar

KUALA LUMPUR: As the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga takes a different twist when an Umno deputy divisional leader from Penang lodged a report against it, former New Straits Times editor-in-chief Datuk A.Kadir Jasin questions its implications on the issue.

“I am not sure how the ‘bangang’ bloggers would react to the report,” Kadir wrote in his latest blog posting.

“Bangang” (stupid) was the term used by Umno President and Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, to describe Umno-sponsored bloggers who attacked Umno leaders instead of the opposition,” Kadir added.

Kadir also commented in his blog that on Dec 4, the company’s top-level delegation led by its Chairman, (Tan Sri) Lodin Wok Kamaruddin was said to have been grilled by (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Others in the delegation were board member (Tan Sri) Ismee Ismail and Chief Operating Officer, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman. Ismee is also Executive Director and CEO of Tabung Haji.

Just over a week later, on Dec 10, the cabinet in its weekly meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, also discuss the 1MDB issue. Mohd Najib was away on official visit to South Korea.

He also wrote that sources have said that Dr Mahathir grilled the 1MDB team on the company’s modus operandi.

He is said to be curious about the way the company funds its businesses, bearing in mind that it has a paid-up capital of only US$1 million (about RM3.4 million). As of March this year, it has amassed assets worth RM51.4 billion and in the process piled up liabilities – mostly borrowings – totaling RM49.1 billion.

It registered a loss of RM665.3 million for the same period mainly due to staggering finance costs of RM2.4 billion compared with RM1.6 billion the previous financial year.

Kadir in the blog also wrote about the overpriced Penang purchases of the two plots of land in the Island state for which the company was said to have paid way over the market price.

Six days before the 13th General Elections, 1MDB bought the land for about RM1.4 billion from two Chinese tycoons.

“Reports have said that the land they purchased for RM400 million from Farlim Berhad are currently occupied by squatters and may be costly to resettle.”

Kadir also said that the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, was quoted as saying that 1MDB paid way above market rate. He asked: “Why was the purchase price at RM1.38 billion – 95pc higher than what some of the land was valued at, just two years earlier in December 2011?”

The company is also said to have purchased a third and final piece of land on September 23.

The source said Dr Mahathir feels obliged to take up the matter with 1MDB and to speak openly on the subject because many parties had come to see him to inform him about the goings-on in the company.

He was disappointed the issue surrounding 1MDB was not seriously discussed by delegates at last month’s Umno General Assembly.

Kadir questions the reasons on how Umno President and Prime Minister is the man behind 1MDB and resolutions on the economy were drafted for the debaters?

Prime Minister’s right hand man, (Tan Sri) Jamaluddin Jarjis inspired the speeches. The debaters were literally ordered to read the texts he and his team - including key officers from Khazanah Nasional Berhad – wrote.

According to Kadir, sources have told him that the 1MDB team also held a meeting with the Bank Negara Governor about the company’s borrowings.

He went on stating that a reporter (who used to be his employee) asked an officer in the bank’s strategic communication department said the bank do not have a clue about the meeting, insisting that they do not know anything.

“The sources said 1MBD had requested Bank Negara to extend it non-performing loan (NPL) period from three to six months and was agreed to.”

Said Kadir, ‘it is understandable’. And that no matter how unhappy the governor might have been with 1MDB borrowing, an extension is needed.

“If it was not given, there would have been a massive default and Tier 1 banks that extended the loans would have to make huge provisions. This could lead to the downgrading of the local banking system,” he wrote.

"1MDB’s ability to keep to the extended period, according to one source, depends largely on whether it will or can bring home the RM7 billion it parked in the Cayman Islands before the last GE."

Kadir also reaffirmed his point with The New Straits Times report stating that 1MDB has postponed the sale of up to RM8.4 billion sukuk (Islamic) bonds to next year. It said the delay came as the company is seeking an extension of two months on the construction of the US$3.2 billion (RM11.2 billion) power plant it won with partner, Mitsui & Co. earlier in the year.

Sources said some very harsh words and frightening warnings like “somebody is going to jail” were uttered at the meetings. One source said at the meeting with Bank Negara, Lodin had offered to resign immediately. But that is not the concern of Bank Negara. Lodin was appointed by the PM.

“If it is true that he offered to resign, he should tell that to Mohd Najib,” Kadir concluded. 

- Source: Blog | Published on Astro Awani on December 13, 2014

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