(February 10): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been urged to tell the whole truth about debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), now that businessman Jho Low has admitted that he was "regularly consulted" on the company's action.
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said this following the expose published in The New York Times on Saturday that although Low held no position in the strategic development fund, he had been consulted on 1MDB affairs – a revelation from three people who regularly dealt with the company.
"Even in his own statement, Jho Low admitted that 'from time to time and without receiving compensation,' he had given his views on various matters.
"This new piece of evidence points to the fact that both Jho Low and 1MDB have been lying to Malaysians over the past few years," the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said in a statement.
The businessman in his early 30s, whose real name is Low Teck Jho, had been repeatedly linked to 1MDB but he had before this denied having any involvement of any nature with 1MDB or formerly known as Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
It was reported that Low has never been appointed to any position in 1MDB or the government, but he was an adviser at TIA from January 2009 to mid-May the same year.
It was also reported that Low or any company he wholly owns had never received any compensation or patronage directly from any entity wholly owned by the Malaysian government.
Pua cited a 2012 statement from the then 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Halmi, who said “the role of Jho Low as far as 1MDB is concerned is zero”.
"It has now been proven with the expose in The New York Times and by Low’s own words, that his role is certainly not anywhere near ‘zero'.
"In fact, Low's role may be far greater than he has let on, given his wavering stance on the matter.”
Pua said it now appeared that there was credibility in the allegations on the Sarawak Report website that Low was actively involved in decisions made at 1MDB and all its related vehicles, including Petrosaudi International Limited.
According to Sarawak Report's sources, Low controlled 1MDB and this accusation was backed by a series of communications between leading managers of 1MDB and the businessman, it had reported.
"The exchanges allegedly showed that Low was copied into the details of investment decisions, along with a handful of senior 1MDB management figures and partners to major transactions.
"It was also the Sarawak Report, which first exposed in May 2014, the fact that 1MDB had backed Low’s £1.028 billion (RM5.7billion) bid for the Maybourne Hotel Group with a 'letter of support' in documents sighted from the United Kingdom Courts," he said.
Pua cited Sarawak Report's article that the judge had made it clear on a number of occasions that Low was representing himself and his company as an entity backed by a Malaysian government “sovereign wealth fund”.
"Together with the latest expose by the New York Times, it is now clear that both Jho Low and 1MDB have at best, been economical with the truth. At worst, they are lying through their teeth to Malaysians.
"What is more damaging is that the good name of the prime minister is now being sullied by the fact that he is the country’s finance minister, the chairman of 1MDB’s Board of Advisers as well as being close family friends with Low.”
Pua said it was, therefore, crucial for Najib to tell Malaysians the truth about 1MDB and in particular, Low's involvement in the troubled wholly owned subsidiary of the government that has accumulated a debt of RM42 billion in just five years.
"The scandal is even more pressing given 1MDB’s inability to repay a paltry RM2 billion of the outstanding loans since November 2014 when it was due," he added.
1MDB recently asked for an extension to pay the loan. The new deadline was due on January 31 and Pua questioned the company and the government last Friday why they were so silent about whether the deadline was met or otherwise. – The Malaysian Insider