Maslan says sorry for misleading Parliament

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan today apologised for misleading Parliament in his statements made last week that the government did not issue a letter of support to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) for the sovereign fund to raise US$3 billion (RM9.6 billion) in bonds.

“I admit to the error of the ommission of six words that had led to the confusion.

“I had no intention to confuse the Dewan. What is good comes from Allah and the weak from his servants. Sorry and thank you," Maslan said in Parliament today.

His apology was in relation to earlier contradictory statements he made on the question of whether there was a letter of support by the government issued to 1MDB for the latter to raise debts.

Maslan today admitted that he had left out "six words" and wants to correct the statement he made when addressing Parliament on Nov 6. Maslan's statements had been recorded in the handsard in Parliament.

According to Maslan, the actual statement should read as "...tidak ada surat jaminan lain apa semua....satu lagi yang disebut mengenai letter of support yang memberi jaminan lain itu sebenarnya tidak ada"  (the six words that Maslan had left out are in bold)

With the correction that will be made to the handsard at Parliament, Maslan's statement would mean that the government did not give explicit guarantee, other than for the RM5.8 billion Islamic loans.

To recap, Maslan had on Nov 6 told the Parliament that the government did not give any explicit guarantee for the US$3 billion bonds. However, two days later, the deputy minister admitted that the government had issued a letter of support to 1MDB when it issued debt papers to raise US$3 billion.

Nevertheless, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today rejected an attempt to refer Maslan to the Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee for allegedly misleading the Dewan over his contradictory statements on 1MDB.

The speaker, in passing his judgement, ruled that in order for an individual to be called up to the Rights and Privileges Committee, certain criteria needs to be adhered like when the facts and arguments are wrong in addition to an intention to mislead Parliament.

The speaker also pointed out that Maslan had clarified his stand on the matter.

"Many questions had to be answered on the spot. It is my view that the deputy minister had no intention to mislead the Dewan," he added.