KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition is blowing out of proportion the plight facing state fund 1MDB as a means to topple the government, Najib Razak today told an audience of hundreds of local and foreign investors.
“Although 1MDB certainly has a problem, some politicians have blown it up in their attempt to sabotage the company,” the prime minister said in his keynote address at the Invest Malaysia 2017 conference.
He said efforts to redress the situation were being carried out.
“Instead of running from the problem, we ordered an investigation of the company on a scale unprecedented in the history of our nation. Instead of spending money to cover it up – the method employed by a former leader – I instructed a rationalisation of the company.
“Now many assets previously owned by 1MDB are performing well. You can see new construction at Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as confirmation,” he said.
The 70-acre TRX, planned as a financial hub, was transferred from 1MDB to the Minister of Finance Incorporated in March this year.
1MDB has been investigated in several countries for alleged money laundering and embezzlement involving billions of dollars.
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has also filed civil suits seeking the forfeiture of assets which were allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB funds.
Najib said the opposition’s main focus was not 1MDB but merely using it as the excuse to attack the government.
“If 1MDB didn’t exist, they would use something else to attack in their attempt to change the government illegally. We must, therefore, be resolute in facing this plot,” he said.
Najib told the investors that the government would crack down on crony capitalism.
“No more sweetheart deals. No more national follies kept going to stroke the ego of one man. No more treating national companies as though they were personal property.
“Because it is the people who suffer, and we will not tolerate a few succeeding – and not on their own merits – while the many are denied opportunities, all for the interests of a selfish few,” he said.
He revealed that the government “in principle” had agreed to create an Integrity and Management Unit in all government-linked companies and commercial entities owned by ministries and states with the assistance of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
“The set-up is to strengthen investor confidence in Malaysia. The international business community knows this is a guarantee of the government,” he said.