Pua: 1MDB ‘donation’ to pilgrims, actually from taxpayers

tony-pua-1mdb-haji

PETALING JAYA: The 1MDB Foundation’s contribution to social welfare is a farce designed with the specific intent to mask the fact that 1MDB suffered losses amounting to billions of ringgit, says Tony Pua.

Referring to the announcement by Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday that 1MDB Foundation had sponsored RM10.4 million for 1,100 pilgrims to go for their hajj in Mecca, Pua said the funds are actually from taxpayers, and not 1MDB.

“It beggars belief that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak could still heap praise on 1MDB for ‘making immense contributions to social welfare programmes’.

“He should stop pulling the wool over the rakyat’s eyes with purported social welfare programmes by 1MDB which are in actual reality, funded by the Malaysian taxpayers,” Pua said in a statement.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP highlighted how 1MDB was cash-strapped and unable to fulfil its debt obligations on a timely basis, resulting in government agencies being forced to step in to bail out the state-owned investment fund.

“For example, Tabung Haji – the pilgrimage fund, was called upon to acquire a piece of 0.64 acres of land from 1MDB in Tun Razak Exchange for the exorbitant price of RM188.5 million or approximately RM2,774 per square feet in 2015.

“1MDB had earlier acquired the land from the Government at the bargain basement price of only RM64 per square foot.

“It is ironic that Najib boasted of 1MDB’s RM10.4 million contribution to the 1,100 pilgrims, when they should have been funded by Tabung Haji in the first place,” Pua said, then alleging that the pilgrim fund had been “ripped off of more than RM184 million from the above transaction alone.”

Pua said that 1MDB had funded itself entirely with debt – at its peak, borrowings had reached RM55 billion – and never made a sen of cash profits in its entire six years of existence.

“If 1MDB had made real profits and subsequently allocated part of these profits to charitable causes, then the efforts by the state-owned company should certainly be applauded,” Pua said, adding that 1MDB had borrowed to contribute to social welfare programmes, just to repair the damage to its reputation caused by its massive losses and scandalous misappropriations. – FMT

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