Damned if it does, and damned if it doesn't – Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak mused whether people would rather see 1MDB bankrupt instead.
He said some quarters are unhappy that the state investment company borrowed billions of ringgit for its investments and want the debt settled to mitigate its consequences, which the company has been trying to do.
At the same time, however, these people are also unhappy when local companies such as TNB expressed interest in buying 1MDB's assets, and deemed this to be a “bailout”, he said.
When a foreign investor steps in, he said, people slammed the move as a “betrayal” due to foreign involvement, and criticised the sale price as being too low.
This despite China General Nuclear Power Corporation's (CGN) offer being higher than TNB's bid, he said.
“ The situation is becoming more complicated when society doesn't know what it wants.
“ They want 1MDB to reduce its debt but at the same time they don't want any local company to buy 1MDB assets, and would not allow 1MDB to sell its assets to foreign investors. With that, what do they want 1MDB to do?
“ In the end, 1MDB can only do three things, and all three are unacceptable to the critics. There is however a fourth alternative, and that is bankruptcy..
“ Is this what they want 1MDB to do, which is to declare bankruptcy? So that they can use this issue against the prime minister?” he wrote in a blog post today.
Salleh was referring to the sale of 1MDB's stake in Edra Global Energy Bhd to CGN, announced on last Monday drawing criticism, including from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and opposition parties .
CGN bought the assets for RM9.83 billion in the deal slated for completion in next February.
TNB's bid for the energy assets is believed to be around RM8 billion .