KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak today issued a frank admission of 1MDB’s failure, adding that there had been “valid cause for concern” over the state company’s affairs which have triggered investigations in several parts of the world.
“Now, I am not going to brush over this issue. There were indeed failings at the company, there were lapses in governance,” Najib told some 1,000 people at the Invest Malaysia 2018 conference today.
But Najib said the 1MDB issue had been politically exploited, adding that there was “a concentrated campaign” to sabotage the Malaysian economy.
He said the government was aware of 1MDB’s failings, which was why it had launched an investigation involving multiple authorities.
“Their findings were taken on board – and the company’s board was dissolved, its management team changed, and its operations reviewed,” he said.
1MDB was created by the government to promote long-term economic development for the benefit of the Malaysian people.
Najib, who chaired its advisory board until 2016, said 1MDB had rationalised its assets and, with the proceeds, taken an aggressive approach to reducing its debts to the lowest possible levels.
He added that the company had concentrated on ensuring its two most valuable assets, Bandar Malaysia and the Tun Razak Exchange, remained attractive investment propositions to both shareholders and investors.
“Just as we have learned lessons there, so we have learned lessons from past mistakes.
“Those were issues of the past that we had to correct. But we are, and we have been, focused on the future,” he said.