Did Putrajaya settle 1MDB’s RM2 billion debt, asks PKR

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 17): Did Putrajaya settle the RM2 billion loan owed to banks by debt-laden state investment vehicle 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), PKR asked today, pointing out that two treasury bills amounting to RM2.1 billion were paid out last week.

Party secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said under the listing of bonds and treasury bills in Bank Negara Malaysia's website, there were two Malaysian treasury bills issued on February 11 and 13 for the amounts of RM1billion and RM1.1billion, which he said, were unusually high.

"The timing and amount is very unusual and out of character.

"For one, the Malaysian government has not issued anything to the tune of RM1 billion in the past and the timing is too close to the time 1MDB had to settle their RM2 billion debt," he said today.

1MDB settled the loans last Friday, six days before bankers triggered a default.

"Whoever came up with this, I take my hat off to them, because it will not come up in the statement of financial position in the federal government.

"1MDB could have happily and quietly gotten away after taking money from the public if this is true," Rafizi added.

Saying he was raising the issue as a concerned member of parliament, Rafizi said that if it were true that 1MDB's debt was paid off by the treasury bills, it meant that the government has bailed out 1MDB to the tune of RM2 billion.

He added that this was extremely dangerous, as it involved manipulation of government cash flow to cover for 1MDB.

"I don't think the money came from a bank, because which bank will want to lend them, given that they cannot settle the existing loan.

"And I don't think it came from Ananda, so if it is from the Malaysian treasury bills, the government has to come clean and deal with it in Parliament," he added, referring to billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan.

Rafizi, however, said he could not raise it via a written question in Parliament as the treasury bills were issued on February 11 and 13, when the deadline for submission of parliament questions had passed either on February 10 or February 11.

"So I can only stand up and shout out the question in Parliament, but they are not obliged to answer.”

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has some RM42 billion in total debt.

It has been heavily criticised for taking on the debt and the difficulty in repaying its loans.

Rafizi said that the short term paper issued on February 11 was subjected to an interest rate of 3.2% and payable by May 13, adding that the interest for three months was comparable to an overdraft rate.

As for the short-term bill issued on February 13 for RM1.1 billion, the deadline for payment was August 14.

He added that 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy said recently that talk that Ananda Krishnan had helped the state investment fund settle the debt was mere speculation.

"So it raises the question, where did 1MDB get the money to settle to loan, because for months it did not have the funds to do so.

"So let's see how our dear clever Arul Kanda will try to wriggle out of this one." he added.