Not my orders, Guan Eng says on RM1 bil transfer from China company

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today denied instructing the transfer of over RM1 billion from the Malaysian bank account of a Chinese state-owned company to that of a company owned by the finance ministry.

“I would like to clarify that the finance ministry and I have not issued any instructions on seizure.

“If there is any such instruction, you should refer to the enforcement agencies,” he told reporters in Parliament.

It was previously reported that global banking giant HSBC was told on government orders to transfer more than RM1 billion held in the Malaysian account of China Petroleum Pipeline (CPP) Engineering Ltd to Suria Strategic Resources Sdn Bhd, which is wholly owned by the finance ministry.

The Straits Times described the seizure and transfer of funds by the Malaysian authorities as “an unprecedented move in Malaysian banking”.

The Chinese company is the main contractor for the 660km peninsular west coast pipeline, a project costing RM5.35 billion, and a Sabah gas pipeline costing RM4.06 billion. Both projects have been suspended by the Pakatan Harapan government.

The news report said CPP had confirmed that the funds were transferred out. “CPP firmly abides by the laws of Malaysia and is perplexed by the unilateral transfer of monies without notifying CPP,” it said.

HSBC, however, declined to comment.