Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has joined the chorus of criticism against 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), saying Putrajaya should not have allowed it to keep its money overseas, reported The Star today.
He said the sovereign fund’s decision to park its money on the Cayman had only raised more questions.
“The fear by most people is that this is too secretive. The board should come out and explain. Why money should be put in Cayman Islands?” he asked yesterday at a luncheon talk organised by the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd.
“I don’t think it (1MDB) has been unfairly criticised. The rakyat have the right to ask. It is only fair given that a huge sum is involved,’’ he was quoted as saying in the report.
The fund had taken flak from the opposition and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over a wide range of issues, including alleged purchase of assets at inflated prices to paying high fees in its issuance of debt papers.
“We are entitled to some answers,” Daim said in the report.
Yesterday, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan told Parliament that 1MDB had pulled out about 60% from its total RM7 billion investments in Cayman Islands and would bring back the remaining 40% at year-end.
In a statement later, 1MDB said it has redeemed more than RM4 billion from its investments in segregated portfolio companies (SPCs) registered in the Cayman Islands, which represent more than half the US$2.3 billion (or about RM7.68 billion) parked there.
The balance – of around RM3.18 billion – was expected to be fully redeemed by this month, 1MDB said in a statement yesterday.
The Star said Daim, who served twice as finance minister during Dr Mahathir’s administration spoke for more than an hour, fielding questions from the audience on wide-ranging issues, despite by his own admission of being “unwell” yesterday.
Daim also shared his thoughts on the current exercise to merge CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, RHB Capital Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB).
“It also depends on a good business plan and capital base, alongside management.
“It is good to have big banks. But, if not properly managed, it doesn’t mean anything,’’ Daim said in the report. – November 7, 2014.