Anwar: ‘Colossal’ 1MDB issue can’t be resolved in months

PETALING JAYA: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today denied the Pakatan Harapan government is giving too much “focus” to investigations into the 1MDB scandal.

“It is a huge and colossal issue that must be handled. It cannot be settled in a matter of months.

“Jho Low is still not found,” said the Port Dickson MP, referring to the fugitive businessman whose full name is Low Taek Jho, a key player who has been charged in absentia in Malaysia for alleged money laundering offences involving the fund.

“I don’t think we can close the issue. People do consider that we’ve been on it for far too long but they don’t realise the problem is huge and requires government resources and efforts to at least regain some of the losses,” he said.

Anwar also said the scrutiny of American investment banker Goldman Sachs was ongoing for its role in helping to raise funds through bond offerings for 1MDB and earning huge commissions.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby today, he repeated his call for Putrajaya to seek compensation from Goldman Sachs.

Anwar had previously said that although the US had initiated prosecution of individuals linked to the scandal, Malaysia should also take action to demand for the return of the US$600 million commission Goldman Sachs received for its work for 1MDB.

“We must claim not only the commission. Malaysia must also claim compensation for our damaged reputation.

“I believe the government should take this measure to secure a quantum far bigger than the commission given to Goldman Sachs,” Anwar said last month.

Anwar today said the government also has to “grapple” with the issue of economic reforms to boost economic growth, citing problems “inherited” from the former tenants of Putrajaya.

“It’s time for us to refocus on measures that can help generate economic growth. I think this was highlighted in the budget speech.

“Although now there is the issue of national unity that we have to handle, I think the main issue would still be the economy,” he said, in reference to the riot at a Hindu temple in Subang Jaya during which a fireman was seriously injured.

On the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), Anwar said he would bring up concerns from borrowers over the repayment mechanism to the education minister and PTPTN chairman.

“I’ll give them a quick note,” he said, adding that he has also received complaints about the matter from his constituents in Port Dickson as well as his former constituency of Permatang Pauh in Penang.

“I will also ask the prime minister to study (this). If there is any point of view that can help, I am sure (PTPTN chairman) Wan Saiful (Wan Jan) and (education minister) Maszlee (Malik) will reconsider this.”

PTPTN yesterday proposed a new repayment mechanism which will involve mandatory salary deductions of 2%-15% of borrowers’ salaries for those earning RM2,000 and above.

While the repayment amount for those earning RM2,000 is only RM40 a month, the figure spikes for those earning RM8,000 and above.

Many social media users were critical of the proposal, which they said meant an increase of several hundred percent in the amount they would have to pay.

However, FMT has been made to understand that the actual amount borrowers will have to pay will take into account the amount they have already paid.

The fund said yesterday it would inform borrowers of the actual amount they would need to pay, urging them to update their contact information so that PTPTN could do so.