Sunday, June 21, 2015

Najib's NGO in WSJ report funding S'wak projects

5:10PM Jun 20, 2015
Malaysiakini
Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M), the foundation which was implicated by a Wall Street Journal report as being an intermediary to channel 1MDB's funds for election campaigning, is now actively funding social activities in Sarawak.

iM Sarawak which is an umbrella programme for various projects in the state, listed YR1M as well as Yayasan 1MDB as among its contributors.

The projects include repairing dilapidated houses, building gravity feed systems for rural communities, giving entrepreneurship training and conducting programmes to assist farmers.
 
The programmes by iM Sarawak are similar to social programmes being pushed by the opposition in Sarawak, such as DAP's Impian Sarawak, in a bid to win hearts and minds in the rural heartland.
 
This is ahead of the Sarawak state election which must be called by mid 2016.
 
However, there is no indication that the iM Sarawak programme is linked to the state election.

"iM Sarawak is a social development initiative led by the 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC) to help improve the quality of life of various communities throughout the state, in line with the principles of 1Malaysia.

"The 1MSAC was formed by the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, to advise him on the needs of the communities in Sarawak.

"The 1MSAC gathers inputs from the people and various government agencies to identify and propose projects under the iM Sarawak banner." it said on its website.

1MSAC council member Irwan Zulkernian Muhammad Hasbie was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post that all iM Sarawak projects are led and carried out by YR1M and Yayasan 1MDB with the cooperation of state agencies and local entities.

Yesterday, WSJ claimed YR1M, which is chaired by Najib,received millions in donations from the Genting Group in return for 1MDB buying the group's power assets at inflated prices.

'Charity used as front'

The report said this was an indirect means for 1MDB, which is owned by the Finance Ministry headed by Najib, to channel money for election purposes.

It noted that YR1M had made heavy charitable contributions during the 13th General Election after receiving the donations, particularly in Penang.

While YR1M is barely heard of in Penang anymore, its name has consistently appeared in the Sarawak press since 2013.

The WSJ report also claimed that regulators found the charity had failed to file its required financial status since 2013.

WSJ added that Goldman Sachs, which received a handsome commission for raising US$3 billion (RM11.22 billion) in bonds for 1MDB, was pressed to do so quickly shortly before the general election.

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc arranged the bond sale and took on extra risk to get the deal done quickly at 1MDB’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter, earning unusually high profits as a result," it said.

Malaysiakini has contacted the Prime Minister' Office, YR1M, Genting Group and 1MDB and is awaiting their response.
 
~ Malaysiakini

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