PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of lying when he told Parliament that money held by government investment arm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is being kept in Singapore.
"No money was banked into BSI Bank in Singapore. This is his second lie. It is clear from the amendment to his first answer that it was not US$1.103 billion (S$1.47 billion) in cash that was being kept with BSI but in the form of documents. It is unclear what is in the documents, but it is clear it is not cash," said Dr Mahathir in a blogpost on Sunday.
In January, the Finance Ministry said 1MDB had deposited the funds it had redeemed from its offshore account in the Cayman Islands into BSI Bank, with the amount held in US dollars.
On Mar 10, it confirmed in a written reply to PJ Utara MP Tony Pua that the funds were held in the Singapore bank in the form of cash.
The Government said last week that the funds were not in the form of cash, but assets.
Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah then clarified last Thursday that 1MDB might have misinterpreted the investment of US$1.103 billion in BSI Bank (Singapore) Ltd.
"There's a mistake. They (1MDB) had the impression that there was cash when they redeemed the funds. Actually, that is a saving," said Husni.
He did not elaborate on the assets when asked but stressed that the saving was in the form of "units".
Husni said the units were backed by sovereign wealth funds and the Government hoped it could repatriate the funds as soon as possible.
However, in his blog post, Dr Mahathir pointed out several issues with the documents in BSI Bank.
"BSI Bank has stated that the documents that state savings have been made by 'Brazen Sky', a subsidiary company of 1MDB, are false and not from them. Therefore, the second written reply from Najib to Parliament saying what is kept by them are documents is untrue. BSI Bank has filed a report with the Monetary Authority of Singapore that no 1MDB money is kept with them," said Dr Mahathir.
The former premier added that normally, the Monetary Authority of Singapore would report such information to Bank Negara.
"It is clear from the admission that the report is governed by principles of international secrecy and the wish for secrecy under the Anti Money-Laundering Act. From this it is clear that Bank Negara has received the Monetary Authority of Singapore report. The intent of keeping it a secret is because there is something that is not right, or deception when Najib said the money was with BSI Singapore," he said.