Johari: No one dropped from panel overseeing 1MDB rationalisation

1mdb-johari-arulKUALA LUMPUR: The Budiman Committee, set up in 2015 to oversee the rationalisation exercise of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), has completed all four of its assignments and has no longer any function to execute, says Second Finance Minister, Johari Abdul Ghani.

In fact, he said, there had been no meeting of the committee for the past six months.

“Therefore, any report stating any member of the Budiman Committee had been relieved of his duty is simply erroneous and maliciously misleading,” he added in a statement here today.

Johari was referring to a news article entitled, “Bandar Malaysia fallout: Two relieved of duties” which appeared in the Singapore Straits Times on May 10.

Both Johari and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda were part of the Budiman Committee.

The news article in question had also quoted another report, saying both men and the committee were no longer spearheading 1MDB-linked prime developments, namely the Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia.

This followed the decision to abort a RM7.41 billion deal to jointly develop Bandar Malaysia with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC).

In the statement, Johari said he was affiliated to the Budiman Committee only after being appointed as deputy finance minister in July 2015.

He said the committee had continued with the 1MDB rationalisation and was able to dispose of its power assets to China’s CGN Group, re-activate the development of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and conclude an international bidding exercise in respect of Bandar Malaysia.

The committee also pursued the arbitration between Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and 1MDB to resolve the dispute over the US$3.5 billion payment made by 1MDB to the IPIC Group.

Johari pointed out that the recent settlement arrangement entered into between 1MDB and IPIC and the current dispute between Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd- China Railway Engineering Corporation (IWC-CREC) and Bandar Malaysia were handled and being handled directly by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the 1MDB Board.

Apart from the removal of Arul Kanda as chairman of Bandar Malaysia, the 1MDB Board and the PMO would continue to manage the issues in respect of Bandar Malaysia directly with the parties concerned, he said.