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Pua: 1MDB 'social welfare' paid with taxpayers debt

Published
Modified 26 Jul 2016, 1:22 am

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's claim that 1MDB had contributed immensely to social welfare is a "farce" as it is funded by debt that is borne by taxpayers, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua says.

Najib yesterday praised 1MDB Foundation for donating RM10.4 million to sponsor 1,100 pilgrims to perform the Haj this year.

In fact, Pua said, 1MDB Foundation was set up to to mask the billions in losses that have resulted in an international anti-money laundering action.

He said 1MDB has not seen a sen of profit since it was set up six years ago, and is using the "social welfare" programmes as a "public relations exercise".

"Therefore, we call upon the prime minister to stop putting on a false front on 1MDB.

"The public relations exercise is doomed to fail because the facts and evidence of the multi-billion dollar embezzlement from 1MDB is clear for all to see," Pua (photo) said in a statement late yesterday.

"Najib will serve the rakyat better by explaining why he took US$731 million from 1MDB and why he allowed his step-son, Riza Aziz and the latter’s best friend, Low Taek Jho, to pillage 1MDB to buy luxury properties, pay for gambling debts, acquire an aircraft, collect art masterpieces and finance their decadent lifestyles."

Pua said it was also ironic that Najib was boasting about the RM10.4 million sponsorship for pilgrims, given Tabung Haji's much criticised purchase of 1MDB land.

1MDB land that Tabung Haji purchased

Tabung Haji acquired 0.64 acres of land at TRX in the heart of Kuala Lumpur for RM188.5 million or about RM2,774 per square feet in 2015, when 1MDB bought the land from government at only RM64 per square feet, he said.

"It is of the greatest irony that Najib boasted of 1MDB’s RM10.4 million contribution to the 1,100 pilgrims – who were supposed to be funded by Tabung Haji, when more than RM184 million have been ripped off from Tabung Haji on the above transaction alone," he said.

Pua said taxpayers are again in jeopardy, with 1MDB now facing a US$6.5 billion suit from Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC), with the Finance Ministry holding the bag by having guaranteed the debts.

According to the DOJ lawsuits, US$731 million was funnelled from 1MDB to the account of an unnamed individual referred to in the lawsuits as 'Malaysian Official 1'.

The official is described as someone who had authority over the Finance Ministry-owned 1MDB and is a relative to Hollywood motion picture production firm Red Granite Pictures owner Riza Aziz.

Riza is Najib's stepson while Najib, who is also finance minister, was chairperson of the recently disbanded 1MDB advisory board.

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali maintains that Najib was not named in the US civil forfeiture filings, while Najib said those mentioned in the suit have to clear their names.

Najib and Riza deny wrongdoing, while the prime minister has said the government would cooperate with international investigations and is committed to good governance.