Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Support letters have always been tabled unlike now, says Ku Li

BY EILEEN NG

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says Putrajaya's move in not informing Parliament when it issues letters of support goes against past practice. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, March 17, 2015.
























Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says Putrajaya's move in not informing Parliament when it issues letters of support goes against past practice. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, March 17, 2015.



Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah told Parliament today that during his time in the Cabinet, any letters of support or guarantee in finance matters was always tabled in Parliament first.
The former finance minister said Putrajaya's move in not informing Parliament of its practice in issuing letters of support or guarantee was a new development.
"As far as I remember, this is a new thing. We have always tabled everything, regardless if it is letter of guarantee, letter of support or letters of comfort," he said when replying to a question from Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan) during the debate on the royal address today.
Rafizi had asked the veteran Gua Musang MP on whether it was proper for the government to issue a support letter for debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) bonds.
Tengku Razaleigh's answers however did not directly refer to 1MDB or any specific institutions but in recent weeks opposition members have raised the issue of letters of support to the strategic investor by Putrajaya. 
The long serving Umno Gua Musang MP also expressed his worries over the country's burgeoning debt  which will have an impact on the people, and urged his fellow colleagues to ensure that all financial instruments and letters of comfort are tabled in Parliament by Putrajaya.
"This will enable us to evaluate responsibly if the people should continued to be burden further," he said. Putrajaya has admitted that the letter of support it issued to 1MDB Global Investment Limited, a  subsidiary of debt-laden 1MDB, will be effective if the company failed to repay a US$3 billion (RM11.1 billion) loan it took last year.
However, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said 1MDB Global Investment Limited needed to utilise its internal funds, including all its assets first before the Federal government stepped in.
"If all these steps have been taken and the company is still facing a shortfall in resolving its loan, then the government's support letter will be effective," he had said in a written reply to Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) on Thursday.
The strategic investor’s wholly-owned subsidiary, 1MDB Global Investment Limited, had issued a bond to raise US$3 billion in March last year, for which Najib’s government had provided a “letter of support”.
Criticism has been mounting over 1MDB, the wholly-owned Finance Ministry investment vehicle, established in 2009, which had chalked up debts of up to RM42 billion.
Scrutiny on it has grown more intense recently following whistleblower site Sarawak Report's exposés last week. This has piled further pressure on Najib and prompted opposition politicians, former Umno leaders and anti-graft bodies to demand a thorough investigation into the fund.
Najib ordered the country's auditor-general to "independently verify 1MDB's accounts", with the findings to be passed to the Public Accounts Committee, which in turn reports to Parliament.
Last week, Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang told the media that the national auditor's inspection of 1MDB's account had started, but did not set a time frame to complete the audit.
The national auditor's finding on 1MDB is key as it precedes further action by PAC, as well as the police's own investigation. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the forces own probe into 1MDB would be contingent on the national auditor finding any "discrepancies or indications of wrongdoing". – March 17, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/support-letters-have-always-been-tabled-unlike-now-says-ku-li#sthash.XcKVKnTN.dpuf

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