Benevolent corporate, or reckless spender? DAP’s Pua asks 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11, 2017: The RM690million apparently spent on “worthy causes” by the debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is reckless spending, and not benevolent charity, a DAP lawmaker today said.

DAP Publicity chief Tony Pua in a statement said, 1MDB’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, ostensibly executed from the company’s profits is mere pretence, since 1MDB has not made profits from its businesses past or present.

“1MDB wasn’t executing its CSR programmes from its cash pile arising from the company’s profits.  Instead, 1MDB was pretending to be a big profitable company, spending big on CSR via its mega-borrowings which it is now unable to service,” Pua, who is also Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said.

He was responding to 1MDB’s announcement that since 2010, its foundation has spent RM690 million into “worthy causes” which had benefited 2.8 million Malaysians through 60 projects in education, healthcare, youth development and community services. The examples given by 1MDB of these worthy causes include the Dana PIBG grants, academic grants, as well as Dana Belia 1Malaysia and 1Malaysia Mobile Clinics.

The beleaguered company also emphasised that its funds were generated from “its legitimate business operations, formerly in energy production and more recently, in real estate development”.

However, Pua said 1MDB not only did not make profits, but had to sell some of its businesses (like their energy business) for huge losses, while some of its ventures never took off at all.

“1MDB’s real estate business never took off for the years in question.  The land 1MDB acquired was alienated to 1MDB by the Federal Government at bargain basement prices.

“The company was sold undeveloped land to Tabung Haji and the Armed Forces Pension Fund (LTAT) group, who were cajoled into buying at astronomical prices.  For example, LTAT subsidiary, Affin Bank paid RM4,500 per square feet for a piece of land in Tun Razak Exchange, when 1MDB acquired it from the Government at only RM64 per square feet,” he said.

“What is vital to note is the fact that despite the sale of land at astronomical prices, 1MDB still cannot settle its outstanding debts that remains in excess of RM35 billion today,” he added.

Pua said, the burden of these loans are now dumped squarely on the shoulders of ordinary Malaysians who are forced to bailout 1MDB via the Federal Government.

In short, Pua said, Malaysians are footing the bill, with interest, the money that 1MDB has so “generously” spent on us via its CSR programmes.

“This leads to the conclusion that 1MDB is not the benign and benevelont entity it sought to portray but a recklessly irresponsible one causing greater hardship on the rakyat.  And it did so with the clear intent to influence and “buy” votes for the general elections to prop up the corrupt Najib administration,” he added. – The Rocket

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