1MDB chief should testify before parliamentary panel, says Pua

DAP lawmaker Tony Pua has challenged 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief Arul Kandasamy to testify to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the strategic investor’s state of affairs, saying that this would ensure its engagement was fair and free of politics.

“Since ‘public scrutiny of 1MDB is a good thing’, the new CEO, Arul Kandasamy should offer to testify to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to ‘strengthen the company and its governance’,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said in a statement.

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The Malaysian Insider reports:

Yesterday, Arul invited the DAP publicity chief to engage with him “to be better informed” about the controversial debt-ridden fund, following Pua’s string of attacks against it.

While Pua today thanked Arul for the offer, he noted that the newly appointed company president and group director had previously accused critics of being driven more by “political rather than genuine business considerations”.

“Therefore, to avoid any accusation that I may ‘politically’ twist and manipulate the engagement with 1MDB, perhaps it would be better if Arul engage and testify to the PAC.

“The PAC comprises of seven Barisan Nasional and five Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives, which cannot be accused of political bias against 1MDB.

“Such an engagement will not only be fair, but be seen to be fair by the Malaysians at large.”

He said it was important that the critical questions were answered publicly so that Malaysians were informed of 1MDB’s state of affairs.

Pua added that Arul in his statement yesterday did not provide any clarification to the issues he had raised previously.

Pua had wanted to know what Arul meant when he said that the US$2.318 billion (RM8.34 billion) fund parked in the Caymans had been redeemed in full.

He also urged the new chief to confirm the actual amount received in cash by the company.

“Such disclosure will certainly go a long way towards lifting the secrecy veil over the various mysterious actions of the company over the past five years,” Pua said.

He noted that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had joined him in asking the whereabouts of the fund.

“Since Arul has openly welcomed ‘public scrutiny’ as ‘a good thing’ that ‘will only serve to strengthen the company and its governance’, we will certainly look forward to 1MDB’s date with the PAC to prove that the company has nothing to hide.

“Surely there is no better way for 1MDB to engage in the most ‘responsible manner’ sought by Arul.”

But Pua added that regardless whether it was a private dialogue, or a meeting with the PAC, he looked forward to hearing “honest and straight answers from the horse’s mouth soon”.

The strategic investment fund, the brainchild of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and owned by the government, was to have repatriated its Caymans funds before the end of November as agreed with its auditors, Deloitte Malaysia.

Arul said on Tuesday that 1MDB had redeemed the funds it had invested in a Cayman Islands registered fund.

But Dr Mahathir told a news portal, Sarawak Report, that the explanation offered by the Malaysian strategic investor was “shallow”.

“The explanation does not enlighten us on anything. I want to know which bank it’s kept in now.

“A billion dollars. You must keep it somewhere, you see. I don’t know where the money is. That is part of transparency,” he said.

Pua had similarly asked on Thursday where the money was parked and the exact amount in cash. – January 17, 2015.

 

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