Malaysia’s 1MDB crisis

The husband is the PM and the wife is the Chairman of a sovereign fund. They thought having a sovereign fund with a lot of borrowed money must surely make money. They may be doing a copycat operation after visiting the rich southern state with two successful sovereign funds to boot. So the husband and wife team copied the successful formula of their neighbor, to every small detail, to borrow billions to set up 1MDB, after Khazanah, to invest with OPM. With so much money to make money, how to lose, or at least statistically it should make money in the long run. Even if the money is lost, so what when it is OPM?

Somehow sovereign funds have the same bad habit of buying high and faced with immediate fall in value and then hoping for a good return in the long long run. This formula never fails. 1MDB is no exception. But no worry, the long term would be ok, and they went investing recklessly, buy all kinds of shit that the snake oil sellers threw at them, even hot air.

The PM and his wife are now accused of corruption openly. Everyone is talking about it, from the kampong folks to the lawmakers. And they did not mince their words and were very generous in the use of the fear term, ‘corruption’. I was viewing the video clips of presentors Haris Ibrahim and Rafizi Ramli and their interviews with Tony Pua on the subject of 1MDB. My God, if you want to know what democracy and freedom of speech are you must google for these names to know what we are missing.

Najib and Rosmah are involved in this corruption case amounting to 42 billion ringgits in unexplained debt, and the audience roared with the approval. And why was Mahathir complaining? Because he did not have his fair share, that’s why. And who topped the list in the total value of bad debts to be bailed out by the Govt? Mahathir pipped Najib by a nose but only because he ruled the country for more than 20 years. Najib did what he did in 2 years. And the good news, Najib is catching up fast. Wow, can this kind of language be used in our little island of democracy and free speech? I don’t think anyone would dare to say these things even in Hong Lim’s Speakers’ Corner. Oops, not true. I am sure there will be brave people, given the permit, to stand in Hong Lim’s famous little mound to say Najib, Rosmah and Mahathir are corrupt. Sure can.

Tony Pua and Rafizi even claimed that the ruling party was treating the Malaysians as daft, a familiar note, not being able to understand how the money was transacted through many layers to lose its trail, till no one know what to ask, where it went. At least our MPs and ministers know how to ask where is the money going. Everything is secret and there was no transparency in 1MDB’s activities to talk about. Is that new? But Tony Pua and his gang were still able to trace the highly questionable investments in oil fields in Altantuya’s Mongolia and the Caspian Sea with equally questionable companies operated by unknown and questionable individuals.

The facts that were revealed and confirmed, according to Tony Pua, were that a govt sovereign fund under the charge of the wife of the PM has been involved in questionable dealings and the PM could go down with it, and they are going after Najib and Rosmah for accountability. Tony and Rafizi also claimed that the 42b ringgit of debt by the sovereign fund could bring down the Malaysian govt and affecting every Malaysian adversely. This part I find it quite unbelieveable for such a big country, with oil wealth oozing out from the sea, to be at crisis level all for a miserable 42b in ringgits which is not even 20b Sing dollars. That only proves how rich Singapore is compares to Malaysia. Even without oil oozing out from the sea, we don’t even bat an eyelid with the officially announced lost of $50b or $60b Sing dollars during the financial crisis. In ringgit terms that would be more than $100b! What crisis are they talking about?

Anyway, it was an eye opening experience to know the generous space available to talk about corruption of a PM and his wife involving billions of public money, OPM. And they are not even charged, just assumptions and insinuations. And as if God wants to push the knife deeper, the falling oil price would only accentuate the severity of the miserable 42b ringgits and made it a bigger crisis.

Malaysia boleh, at least in democracy and in free speech, and the wide berth to play around for the opposition lawmakers in Parliament. The speakers were so casual when they made the corruption charges as if the PM and his wife were already guilty. This is a plus point for the Malaysians. The names of Najib, Rosmah and Mahathir and other senior politicians were freely and loosely used for condemnation with no hesitation, no restraints or the need to self regulate, with no fear of being sued to bankruptcy. They were telling them like jokes in a kopitiam but on youtube and in public forum.

Can’t imagine a similar scenario happening in Sin City. The husband and wife team’s days are numbered and it is only a matter of time for more disclosure of 1MDB’s debt problem. They can’t keep manipulating the accounts to show profit when there is no profit or hide under non disclosure or secrecy. And there is a limit to how much they can squeeze from the provident fund and the number of assets they can transfer to the sovereign fund to make it look good. Everything is hidden, secret, no need to tell. And this is what made Rafizi and Tony giggled. Secret lah! When no one knows what is happening, something seriously wrong is likely to be happening.


Anonymous said...

Wow. This sound very familiar. Don't laugh at them first. Better make sure this does not happen here.

Anonymous said...

"Very Eat Strength"....in hockien!

Will this affects their banks here as I have "tons" of $$$$$$$
deposited in local branches here?


Anonymous said...

In their last GE in 2013, the Matland opposition Pakatan Rakyat won 51% of the votes but only 40% of the seats.

The ruling National Front coalition won only 47% of the votes but with a majority of 60% of seats. That's how Najib became PM.

Can Sinkies, especially those from the u-no-which party, learn something from the Mats for the coming Sinkieland GE?

Anyway, I think things are better in Sinkieland for the u-no-which party because unlike the Mats, the Sinkie opposition is not even ready to be govt.

Anonymous said...

Will this affects their banks here as I have "tons" of $$$$$$$
deposited in local branches here?
Anon 9:31 am

But their banks pay very good, maybe even the best interest rates for FDs leh. And I have been a customer for a long, long time withoug problems.

So I think should be safe lah. If it is not safe, then their ringgit will be in even greater trouble. They cannot afford to have "A Nation Without A Ringgit" (ANWAR for short), tio bo? Hahahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Close down the sovereign fund.
Sack the management team.
Just buy Berkshire Hathaway shares.
And you get Warren Buffet for free as your investment manager.

Anonymous said...

Only silly twits would park billions in foreign companies without asking for a controlling stake.

They are so naive to trust the foreign crooks with their money, or is it their money. Throw money everywhere and hoping to strike jackpot, like spending $10m hoping to hit Toto first price of $600k. Then happily announced strike toto first prize ah.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Nothing much will happen lah. A bit of expressed outrage in the online blogs and forums, some mutterings down at the kampong wet markets, kopitiams and clubs....but that's it.

Politics comes from culture. Malaysian UMNO culture is grounded in a history of grafts, bribes, scandal, blackmail ....and other tools of "leverage". No surprise here. Even Mahathir cannot make too much noise, because he was a master of "leverage" when he was Tuan Besar (The Big Boss)

After awhile...back to business as usual. Just about anyone can be bribed in Malaysia---from traffic cops to govt regulators...no problem. That's part of the charming Malaysian culture :-)

Matilah_Singapura said...

P.S. There is no "crisis" lah. 1MDB and their shitty assets will be restructured and "bailed out" if necessary. Dun worry, someone has made and will make money :-)

Virgo49 said...

Right Matilah, next project the fast train from SIN TO KL to be announced end of march when the leaders will retreat to their hideout for some luxurious Kong Hee Fatt Choy makan and some women, wine and songs.

1MDB still the number one chief investor with Temasek SIN. Route from Sin Tanjong Pagar Iconic railway station to KL with connecting MRT Line TO Marina and etc.

Best way of one stone kills two birds. Above ground still preserves as green lung for the Nature Group with trains running below.

No hindrance in constructing the line as no need to acquire any buildings or roads and also not much obstruction to traffic.

Big marshalling yard old railway land with nearly completed soil testing by LTA on going at old station and nearby land.

Huat Ah- IMDB and Temasek.

Anonymous said...

Where do all these crooked people think they can bring their money to?

Beats me. Humans know they came into this world naked and will leave naked as well.

Buy a place in heaven? Goodness me, have they also changed the heavenly laws about the rich having more difficulty in going to heaven than a camel going through the eyes of a needle? Wonder whether corruption has reached even God's kingdom.