1MDB scandal may have links to Chinese companies

PHOTO: Reuters

PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan government is stunned by the widening scope of its findings on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), including possible links to Chinese firms.

Damansara MP Tony Pua, who is also a special officer to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, told the BBC that despite an average completion rate of only 13 per cent, with another two years of the contracts to go, a total sum of RM8.25bil - or 88 per cent of the total project value - had been drawn down and paid to China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB).

On July 6, the Finance Ministry announced the suspension of three contracts with Chinese companies, with two of them being pipeline schemes handled by Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd (SSER).

Both projects amounting to RM9.41bil were awarded to CPPB on Nov 1, 2016 during former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's trip to China.

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Former Treasury secretary-general of the Finance Ministry, Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who resigned on May 23, signed the agreements.

Pua told BBC that building work had not even started, with only consultancy studies completed so far.

According to Pua, the Finance Ministry believes that the money was being used to cover debts linked to 1MDB.

CPPB reportedly did not answer e-mails regarding Pua's allegations, but the Chinese embassy in London gave its response to BBC.

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"We have noted the relevant report. China has all along conducted economic, trade and investment co-operation with Malaysia, as well as other countries, with the principle of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes," said a spokesman.

SSER was set up on May 19, 2016 as a wholly-owned unit of Minister of Finance Inc, with the specific intent to undertake the multibillion-ringgit, multi-product pipeline (MPP) project from Melaka to Jitra and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) project.