Former Malaysian PM Mahathir says 1MDB money is 'all gone'

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, in this March 1, 2015 file photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, in this March 1, 2015 file photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SHAH ALAM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is not convinced that the problems of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) can be resolved.

"The money is gone (duit tak ada)," he said. "I am not convinced because it (the money) disappeared," he told reporters after witnessing a collaboration between Proton Holdings Berhad, DRB-Hicom and Suzuki Motor Corporation Japan.

In a posting on his blog on Monday, Tun Mahathir also said that statements without any documentary proof are useless, with regard to the money borrowed by 1MDB.

The former prime minister added that unless there is proof of all the investments and payments made by 1MDB, it had to be assumed that the borrowed money had disappeared.

In the posting on his blog chedet.cc, Dr Mahathir said besides the acquisition of power plants, government land in Kuala Lumpur and private land in Penang, no other proof has been shown in relation to 1MDB's investments.

The former prime minister also questioned the investment in Cayman Islands, claiming that 1MDB did not invest directly and that the money seems to have gone to Hong Kong companies owned by businessman Jho Low.

"Then we are told by the Prime Minister that actually the fund is only recorded in Cayman Islands. The money is elsewhere, probably in Hong Kong. It is apparently invested in a hedge fund in Hong Kong," he said.

"Is it in Singapore or has US$1 billion disappeared?" he further asked, pointing out contradictions in replies on the money's whereabouts.

Dr Mahathir also questioned 1MDB's joint venture with PetroSaudi.

"Then PetroSaudi is said to have bought the assets of PetroSaudi International, which is not owned by PetroSaudi. The JV between 1MDB and Petro Saudi then requested 1MDB to pay US$700 million to settle the loan from Petro Saudi International to PetroSaudi.

"The ownership of the oil fields in Argentina and Kazakhstan (or is it Turkmenistan) is not very clear, nor is the ownership of drilling ships.

"Then suddenly US$300mil of the payment by 1MDB is converted to a Murabaha loan. This US$300mil seemed to have changed hands with lightning speed. We really don't know where it is. And 1MDB will not tell us either," he said.

Dr Mahathir added to reporters that it was alright for Prime Minister Najib Razak to do all he can to resolve the issue, but he would not stop voicing out what was wrong with the government investment firm.

Datuk Seri Najib had told Umno information chiefs on Sunday that 1MDB's problems would be resolved "in a matter of months".

Asked when he would "likely stop" his criticisms of Mr Najib and stop pushing for his resignation, Dr Mahathir said he was merely exposing wrongdoings.

"I have never complained about the things he did right.

"In fact, I supported him until he won the general election although (his margin was) small (compared with former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi)," he added.

On Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan's statement earlier that Dr Mahathir's recent criticisms on Mr Najib was bad the country's economy and had contributed to the decline of the ringgit, Dr Mahathir said: "Never mind, let him say whatever he wants."