PETALING JAYA: An academic has urged the finance ministry to present evidence to support its allegation that a Chinese state-owned enterprise laundered money in a scheme to pay off debts incurred by 1MDB.
Speaking to FMT, Ngeow Chow Bing of Universiti Malaya’s Institute of China Studies noted that the company, China Petroleum Pipeline Company (CPPC), has denied the claim.
He said the denial made it necessary for Malaysia to make a strong case for the claim and to do so with diplomatic tact.
He also advised against trying to iron out the matter in the full glare of the media.
“The common diplomatic practice is to discuss such matters behind closed doors,” he said.
The allegation has come mainly from Tony Pua, a senior aide to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Last week, CPPC issued a media statement denying that funds for its two pipeline projects in Malaysia were used to pay 1MDB debts.
“We wish to make it very clear that all funds from Export-Import Bank of China were only paid directly to CPPC’s bank accounts,” it said.
Ngeow said it was important to keep the channels of communication open. “We must present our case in good faith and see why CPPC’s version differs,” he added.
Pacific Research Centre principal adviser Oh Ei Sun said he didn’t believe Pua would make the allegation if he couldn’t provide proof.
“So it’s best to produce the evidence,” he said.
He also said he didn’t believe the issue would put Putrajaya-Beijing relations at risk because China appeared keen to continue trading with Malaysia.
Yesterday, former prime minister Najib Razak told FMT for the second time that he believed Pua had lied.