Singapore’s Straits Times and 1MDB reporting: What’s going on?

15 October 2018


Excerpts from:

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 15): MP for Damansara and political secretary to Minister of Finance, Tony Pua, has chided the Singapore Straits Times (ST) for allegedly getting its facts incorrect in its reporting of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Referring to articles reported by ST on Oct 7 and Oct 15, Pua in a statement today said the Pakatan Harapan government has no choice but to fulfil its commitments for the bonds, where the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had previously provided ‘back-to-back’ guarantees to IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Co).

“The failure to do so would immediately trigger potential defaults and downgrades for all the Government’s other borrowings.

“However, making current payments does not in any way mean that we concede to our fight against those who have defrauded 1MDB and the Malaysian government,” he said.

Pua said both the Finance and Prime Ministers have previously highlighted that the government will pursue all legal claims against those who are complicit in the heist against Malaysians, including but not limited to the investment bankers and individual culprits.

He said the newspaper had gotten it so wrong, because MoF had already authorised and made the October coupon payments without fuss.

“Surely, ST can get better sources for its stories?

“We didn’t make an official response to ST, as we didn’t have a bone to pick against the Singapore paper. However, ST followed up on 14 October with a story headlined “Malaysia’s 1MDB Debt to Abu Dhabi may have Ballooned”.

Pua went on to say that the story by the same writer claimed that:

“[t]he conundrum facing the Malaysian government is that the commitments listed in the IPIC statement to the London Stock Exchange, amounting to roughly US$6.89 billion before interest charges, are more than double the sum Kuala Lumpur believes is owed to Abu Dhabi.”

Pua said he had checked and double-checked the IPIC statement to the London bourse.

He said the Abu Dhabi company stated the guarantee for IPIC debts amounting to approximately US$6.89 billion will be assumed by its parent company Mudabala Development Company PJSC.

He explained that the announcement at the same time discloses that the “Guaranteed Obligations” provided by IPIC for the two 1MDB bonds amounting to US$3.5 billion, will also be assumed by Mudabala.

It doesn’t say that 1MDB owed US$6.89 billion in debts to IPIC or Mudabala, Pua stressed.

Pua was curious as he claimed it is not the first time ST had misreported on 1MDB.

ST wrote that “Malaysians are shrugging off the 1MDB scandal” on 28 April. It was ST who broke the story on 9 May 2017 that “Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has all but tied up the deal with Dalian Wanda” on the sale of Bandar Malaysia — which turned turkey because the then Malaysian Prime Minister didn’t even walk away with a perfunctory Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

ST even reported in April 2017 that 1MDB would sign a settlement with IPIC, with the former making payments to the latter; and “most of the money would come from the sale of ‘fund units’ from 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky to an undisclosed buyer”. We know of course that this is poppycock, because the Brazen Sky ‘fund units’ was nothing but a fraudulent investment vehicle,” he said.

Pua ended his statement with a terse: “So, what’s up with The Singapore Straits Times on its persistent misreporting on 1MDB?”

Excerpts from:

PETALING JAYA: New information has emerged indicating that debts incurred by scandal-plagued state investment fund 1MDB to International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) could be “more than double” the initial amount believed to be owed to the Abu Dhabi state-owned company.

According to the Straits Times (ST), the information emerged after IPIC announced a plan earlier this month to transfer specific liabilities and financial commitments related to multibillion-dollar bonds issued by 1MDB to its parent entity, Mubadala Development Co PJSC.

The commitments listed in the IPIC statement to the London Stock Exchange amounted to roughly US$6.89 billion (RM28.6 billion) before interest charges, which the ST report said was “more than double the sum Kuala Lumpur believes is owed to Abu Dhabi”.

The Singapore daily said that the bonds listed in the IPIC announcement had no relation to what Putrajaya insists were issued in 2012.

Quoting a senior Malaysian government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, ST reported that the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the finance ministry were aware of the new information in the IPIC statement.

ST also reported that IPIC stated in its statement to the London Stock Exchange on Oct 1 that the financial obligations under its deal with 1MDB involved “six separate bond issues denominated in US dollars, euros and sterling pounds”.

“Furthermore, the notes, which together amount to roughly US$6.89 billion, carry different maturity dates, including one that stretches up to 2041, and varying annual coupon charges,” the daily wrote.

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1 Response to Singapore’s Straits Times and 1MDB reporting: What’s going on?

  1. Doris Looi says:

    Different, county, different, laws

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