Finance Ministry: Dr M's claims on 1MDB funds "unfounded, unfair"

Finance Ministry: Dr M's claims on 1MDB funds "unfounded, unfair"

PETALING JAYA - The claim that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak "lied" about 1Malaysia Development Bhd's funds in Singapore is unfounded and unfair, the Finance Ministry said.

Clarifying the matter raised by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a blog post, the ministry said the written reply by Najib, as Finance Minister, on the finances of 1MDB in BSI Bank, Singapore, was based on information received from 1MDB.

It said the ministry made amendments to the March 10 written reply in Parliament to prevent confusion on 1MDB's funds in Singapore in line with parliamentary procedures.

The action by the ministry in this regard proves it has no intention whatsoever to lie about 1MDB's finances, the ministry said in a statement Sunday.

As such, it said, the claim by Dr Mahathir that Najib had not been telling the truth was unfair.

It has been the practice that Parliamentary written replies were made on the minister's name based on information received from agencies and verified by officers.

The ministry said it has taken steps that such instances do not recur.

On Mar 10, the ministry confirmed in a written reply that the funds were held in the Singapore bank in the form of cash.

However, it clarified later that the funds were not in the form of cash, but assets.

Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah clarified last Thursday that 1MDB might have misinterpreted the investment of US$1.103bil (S$1,474bil) in BSI.

"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.

Dr Mahathir has accused the prime minister of not telling the complete truth when he told Parliament that money held by 1MDB was being kept in Singapore. "No money was banked into BSI Bank in Singapore. It is clear from the amendment to his first answer that it was not US$1.103bil 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.

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