Malaysiakini Opinion

Mission impossible: How our Socso money got loaned to TRX

R Nadeswaran  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The question: “Where has the US$3 billion (RM12 billion) raised in 2012 for the purpose of investing in Tun Razak Exchange gone to?”

- Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng

The reply: “So far, the loan is government-guaranteed and we managed to get the returns as promised which is twice a year. They have also started to repay the principal payment. The coupon payment was twice a year, normally in April and November and the recent payment was paid on time. So, all this while they have honoured (payments), meaning there is no lapse in payment.”

- Socso CEO Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed, in stating that TRX City Sdn Bhd honoured its repayment schedules for the RM800 million loan.

COMMENT | The scenario is frightening. Money from the Social Security Organisation (read, money from the workers of Malaysia) was loaned in 2012 to TRX has disappeared.

Yes, someone in the 1MDB took it – perhaps to buy a yacht or pay for their casino gigs. The money belongs to us – you and I, who part with deductions from our salaries every month for a scheme under the employees’ social security scheme.

It is easy to dismiss this loan transaction as “guaranteed by the government” and hence, believing that there is nothing to fear.

But one must realise that if there is a default, it will once again be the taxpayers who will have to foot the bill. The workers who pay taxes are getting the wrong end of the stick. It is a case of heads you win, tails we lose.

Why were the loans given in the first place? Socso is not a bank or a financial institution. Neither is it in the moneylending business, nor does it have a money lending licence. There are explicit provisions in the preamble to Socso’s statute book which reads: “An Act to provide social security in certain contingencies and to make provision for certain other matters in relation to it.”

Does the law allow Socso to go into such business or transaction? The answer is...

 

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