KL CHRONICLE: Dato Seri @VellPaari thoughts on the #1MDB issue

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dato Seri @VellPaari thoughts on the #1MDB issue


Dato' Sri S. Vell Paari
Communication and Public Relations Chief
Malaysian Indian Congress

My thoughts on the 1MDB issue

" Be bold and daring… to break new ground and do things differently" - Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak instructs the 1MDB team on 11 January 2010

1. With regards to the subject matter above, in my personal opinion there is a need to maintain rational sense in managing issues related to 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is a strategic development company, wholly-owned by the Government of Malaysia. There are and has been accusations of wrong doings. 

However, those allegations are currently being investigated and perhaps there will be more investigations done as a result of the outcome of these initial investigations. But we should not forget what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said during his interview on TV3 which is he wants 1MDB to be investigated and if there is any wrong doing the perpetrators are brought to face the justice system. It has to be noted that Malaysia is a civilized country and with all civilized countries, a man is innocent until proven guilty. Period.  

2. The law will take its course and justice will be done in the courts and not on the streets.  There should not be a trial by the media and by the public. Perceptions, facts and reality must be differentiated as these 3 elements tend to cloud the people's judgement. 

3. In the meantime, we should also let 1MDB do their job as per their rationalization plan which was presented on 29th of May 2015 by Dato' Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah YB Minister of Finance II. They (1MDB) has a business to run and they have a strategic project to deliver – which is the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and Bandar Malaysia. 

In fact, 1MDB are also custodians to various power plants in the country and by being a fully owned company by the Ministry of Finance all revenues from these power plants goes back to the government rather than into the pockets of powerful families and tycoons. 

4.​Notwithstanding the above, 1MDB has been given the responsibility by the government to develop Malaysia's very own Central Business District (CBD). To those that are not familiar with what a CBD is, it is a commercial and business centre of a city in this case Kuala Lumpur. 

In larger cities, it is often synonymous with the city's "financial district". In the United Kingdom, the City of London and Canary Wharf are their financial districts. Since Malaysia is a developing country, to cater for the expansion of our economy, the need to have a CBD is crucial to ensure our success. 

However, before we pass judgement, let us consider this:

The greatest sin or mistake that we could ever commit is to demonize 1MDB and to alienate it to a point that there is a total loss of confidence in anything that involves 1MDB.

If we keep doing this, we will end up with a situation where we will force an even greater crisis upon 1MDB which will trigger a fire sale of its assets. Who gains from this?

That is a question that we have to ask ourselves. I am appalled that every Malaysian who invests in TRX is being attacked, like how Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) was pressured to relinquish their land and depositors were caught in the bad publicity given by the opposition parties to the sale. Since when owning a freehold land in central Kuala Lumpur can result in a loss of revenue and profit? 

5. If there is a firesale of 1MDB assets, 1MDB will lose money and so does the government. Furthermore, we are putting at stake national power assets and the most strategic lands this country has. Kuala Lumpur is not a sea fronting city like Singapore. 

It cannot reclaim land to create a "new" CBD. We (1MDB, the government and Malaysians) have to use the resources that we currently have and that is the land in TRX and Bandar Malaysia. TRX and Bandar Malaysia are national assets. They do not belong to any crony or family. Rather than fighting each other, we shall ensure that these valuable plots of land does fall into the hands into foreigners or opportunist local businesses who are trying to exploit this situation to make a quick profit. 

As a conclusion, 

if 1MDB performs and its rationalization plan materialize,  we will have a project site which will have a Gross Development Value (GDV) of a few billion Ringgit and a platform for future growth and revenue generation. I submit an extract of PM speech on 2012 on TRX

" The Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is a 70-acre haven for new investment opportunities, estimated to generate a gross development value of RM26 billion (USD8 billion).

We also expect more than 250 of the world’s leading companies to locate here, creating 500,000 jobs directly and indirectly by the time it is fully completed. 40,000 will be knowledge workers specified to financial services, reflecting our ambition for the Tun Razak Exchange to be home to a strong, vibrant and diverse international business community. "

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