Maslan: Letter of support presented for Cabinet's nod to raise US$3b for 1MDB

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 17): Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan today confirmed that a letter of support issued by the government to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to raise US$3 billion in bonds, has been submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

However, he was unable to say when it was submitted.

"(A) letter of support does not need to be presented to the Cabinet," Maslan told a press conference at Parliament lobby today.

Nevertheless, in this case, the government had presented the letter of support to the Cabinet due to the size of the loan, said Maslan.

He also reiterated that the government did not give any explicit guarantee for the US$3 billion bonds, which Maslan had clarified in a statement that was carried by The Edge Financial Daily last Tuesday.

As for any letter of explicit guarantee issued by the government,  he noted that such letters need to be presented to the Cabinet at all time for approval because the government gives its explicit guarantee on the amount raised.

Maslan was answering to claims by former finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had said the letter of support issued by the government to 1MDB is indeed a sovereign guarantee as Putrajaya would still be liable if the sovereign wealth fund and that if it was a practise for the Finance Ministry to refer (letter of support) to the Cabinet for approval, which Anwar believe it did not take place.

On a separate matter, Maslan said he will not be attending a forum hosted by the National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) on 1MDB to be held in Petaling Jaya, Selangor this Wednesday.

"I did not receive any invitation and I never gave my consent to be there," he added.

Mazlan also noted that 1MDB's chief executive officer Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman will also not be present at the forum organised by the non-profit outfit that is founded by PKR's Rafizi Ramli.

Maslan was referring to the forum on "1MDB: Malaysia in Debt?" that will be held at The Club @ Bukit Utama, Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya.

Apart from Maslan and Mohd Hazem as publicised in the forum, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Rafizi and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua have also been invited to speak at the forum.

On the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bailout scandal, a letter of comfort issued to bondholders was recognised as a form of government guarantee, hence the Finance Ministry had given a loan of RM1 billion to PKFZ to repay its bondholders.

Meanwhile, the decision to refer Maslan to the Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee for contempt over statements made on 1MDB has been deferred.

The decision was made by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia due to the absence of Rafizi, who is Pandan MP, in the Dewan Rakyat today.

"I have submitted all the documents that explain the difference between a guarantee letter and a support letter.

"If Rafizi has documents that can dispute what I said, I hope he will submit it," said Mazlan.