Malaysia PM Najib says 1MDB will leave behind 'real legacy'

Action will be taken against any wrongdoing found in controversial state investment fund 1MDB, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.
Action will be taken against any wrongdoing found in controversial state investment fund 1MDB, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR -  Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Tuesday (April 12) that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will leave a lasting “legacy” despite the “shameful” criticism levelled at the state investment firm.

In his keynote address at the 12th Invest Malaysia (IMKL2016), Datuk Seri Najib said there would be evident legacy of the fund when Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia projects are completed. 

“In the years to come they will be the real legacy of 1MDB. They will be what is remembered,'' Malay Mail Online quoted Mr Najib as saying.

“And history will show that the shameful, politically-motivated allegations made to unseat a democratically-elected government were false,” he added.

Mr Najib also reiterated that 1MDB’s assets exceeded its liabilities and the state-owned company’s debts have also been cleared through its Cabinet-approved debt reduction plan.

“The reality is that there is a rationalisation process, and it is working. Substantial debts have already been cleared — including the recent repayment of a RM950 million (S$326 million)  standby credit facility provided by the government last year,” he said in his speech.

Mr Najib said the report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week has also controverted allegations that RM42 billion went missing from 1MDB.

“Malaysia’s name has been unfairly dragged through the mud,” he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail Online. 

While conceding that there were “weaknesses” in 1MDB’s structure and management, he pledged to hold those responsible accountable and to take action should evidence of any wrongdoing surface.

“Action will be taken if any evidence of wrongdoing is found. In addition 1MDB’s board of directors has offered their resignation,” he said.

The PAC report was based on almost a year of proceedings, and the questioning of dozens of government and 1MDB officials, including its CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Among its findings, PAC found that the 1MDB board of directors had failed to ensure the fund’s management complied with good accounting practices.

The panel said the apparent negligence on the part of the board should be blamed for the management’s decisions that led to the fund amassing a debt pile of RM42 billion in just five years.

In his speech, Mr Najib also slammed his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad and others for going against their own principles in asking for foreign intervention, Malaysiakini reported.

"Now, I know that there are some who would like you to think that our economy is in trouble.

"Some, who, against their own principles, even asked for foreign intervention," Mr Najib said without naming Dr Mahathir. "Some who ought to know better have been talking down about Malaysia.

"Malaysia is sustainable at the core. Because the facts - including those I have just outlined to you - are indisputable," Mr Najib said.

Dr Mahathir on Monday (April 11) had denied urging for foreign intervention to oust Mr Najib.

"I did not ask any foreign government to interfere. I said that all the means to redress in this country have been shut down by Najib. So, I will tell the foreign press about this,"  he was quoted as saying by The Star Online.