Paying taxes from 1MDB gains doesn’t mean funds legitimate, DAP tells Ka Siong

Yiswaree Palansamy
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters during the 2019 DAP National Conference in Shah Alam May 5, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — MCA-owned Koperasi Jayadiri Sdn Bhd’s (Kojadi) tax payment last year does not mean the RM15 million Kojadi received from the 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) Foundation was legitimate, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng said today.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today took MCA President Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong to task for suggesting so, saying the latter “should stop pretending to be stupid” by making such a remark, pointing out that no country would deem whitewashing laundered funds as legitimate, even if taxes were paid.

“This is my reply — paying taxes complies with tax laws but does not absolve a corrupted entity from any criminal wrongdoing, if so then Jho Low or Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak can easily pay their taxes and not fear any criminal prosecution,” the Finance Minister said, referring to fugitive tycoon Low Taek Jho and embattled prime minister, Najib Razak, both of whom are linked to 1MDB.

“No self-respecting democratic country in the world would allow you to whitewash laundered funds or sanctify illegal money as legitimate, merely because you paid taxes on those laundered or illegal money,” Lim added.

Last week, The Star quoted Wee saying that Kojadi had written to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) regarding the details of the RM15 million grant, received from the 1MDB Foundation in 2012, to provide microcredit for youths.

The MCA president reportedly said that under existing laws, funding can be received in the form of grants. However, he said, this must first be approved by the Cooperatives Commission, which he claimed, had approved of it.

He reportedly said that Kojadi, which was formed by his party to provide loans for higher education, had also already paid RM1.03 million in income tax to the Finance Ministry.

“If it paid taxes, how is the fund illegal?” he was quoted saying by The Star.

He also added that funds from the 1MDB Foundation had helped millions of Malaysians, whose recipients include over 57,000 fishermen, thousands who performed the haj pilgrimage and umrah, farmers and Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) scholars.

“Now Wee is upset that I did not believe Wee, but chose to believe and praised Kojadi suspended Chairman Datuk Ng Peng Hay three times, whom Wee had called Ng a liar. Wee made his claim that Kojadi need not return the RM15 million on the basis of a letter from Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) earlier this year, that 1MDB is still under investigation.

“However, Wee is dishonest by not mentioning that on June 21 2019, MACC filed civil forfeiture applications including freezing their bank accounts, against 41 individuals and entities on those connected with Najib/1MDB. According to newspaper reports, Ng was worried that Kojadi would be next to be subjected to similar action and have its bank account frozen by MACC, and wanted to return the back the RM15 million.

“However, Ng was stopped from doing so by Wee, who used MCA’s outsized influence in Kojadi to interfere in Kojadi’s matters,” Lim added.

He also questioned why Kojadi was not able to return funds it received from 1MDB when others entities were able to do so, accusing MCA of playing up ‘chauvinistic sentiments’.  

“Like the racist and extremist Umno, MCA leaders try to play with chauvinistic sentiments to cover up their own parties’ involvement in corrupt acts, by belittling efforts made by the government and MACC to recover such stolen wealth from those that received monies from 1MDB. BN should not sacrifice ordinary people or voters with no political links or connections just to save themselves,” he added.

Lim said he would also leave investigations to the MACC, stressing however, that entities closely linked to BN parties do have a ‘moral and ethical obligation’ to return 1MDB funds.

Related Articles PAS won’t accept Amanah’s invite to join Pakatan, Najib suggests Najib says appointed to BN advisory post for past contributions Najib says will reveal who disclosed Kit Siang’s ‘plan’ on Bersatu, if needed