Tony Pua versus Wee Ka Siong…

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23 April 2019

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 36 minutes ago

Good of Pua to ‘agree’ 1MDB not all doom and gloom

Wee Ka Siong  |  Published:   |  Modified: 

MP SPEAKS | Damansara MP Tony Pua asked if “kleptocracy” is okay if the country can repay our debts. It seems that Pua has a reading problem, as he does not understand my original statement.

My original statement called for Pakatan Harapan to no longer use 1MDB as an excuse not to fulfil their manifesto promises, or to continue their propaganda that the state investment firm will make Malaysia bankrupt and burden future generations to come.

I am glad that Pua finally agreed that Malaysia can afford to pay back the 1MDB debt. Therefore, Harapan should follow Pua’s advice not to use 1MDB as an excuse.

For the record, I have never said theft of any kind, including 1MDB, is okay and have always supported a full investigation. I was one of the MPs who voted yes for the Public Accounts Committee to reopen the investigations into 1MDB.
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Now we go back to Pua’s answers, one by one.

Answer to question 1

Pua alleged that the BN government had in 2017 and early 2018 secretly paid RM6.77 billion of 1MDB’s debt, while the Harapan government had to further pay RM1.16 billion of the firm’s debt in 2018.

How can this be a secret? As Pua and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng confirmed, the assets of 1MDB had been transferred over to the Finance Ministry.

As any student of accounting knows, you cannot simply transfer assets out without taking into account the loans associated with those assets.

Since the Finance Ministry took the assets, then it should then pay for loans. This is basic accounting and logic.

Pua said the loans remain at RM39 billion because 1MDB now owes RM7 billion to the Finance Ministry.

Conversely, he should also answer on how much the Finance Ministry owes 1MDB for taking over the valuable TRX and Bandar Malaysia assets?

Answers to questions 2, 3, and 4

Thank you for confirming that the national debt had increased RM95.1 billion (including RM7.3 billion samurai bonds) since the end of 2017, as well as the RM82 billion that the Pakatan Harapan government is taking from Petronas.

Added together, that is a total of RM177.1 billion taken by Harapan through increased national debt and raided the RM170 billion cash reserves of Petronas left behind by BN.

By saying that the Harapan government is running a bigger budget deficit than that of BN, Pua has also confirmed that the national debt had increased significantly and at a faster rate.

Basically, Pua has proven that the prime minister and the finance minister were wrong in saying the national debt has reduced when it has increased substantially instead.

To paraphrase Pua, How much of this RM171 billion had been taken by the Harapan government?

RM177.1 billion is enough to pretty much wipe out the entire National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) borrowings of around RM40 billion, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd’s debt of RM31 billion as at end-2018, 1MDB’s debt of RM39 billion, and still have RM60 billion remaining.

However, not a sen of those debts had been reduced under the Harapan government despite taking so much money.

Answer to question 5

Pua said he is eager to school me on how gross development value can be used to pay debts.

No problem. Firstly, 1MDB still owns 40 percent of the RM180 billion Bandar Malaysia project, and the majority of the RM40 billion TRX project, including 40 percent of the Lifestyle quarter development in TRX.

1MDB is also owed roughly RM7.4 billion payment by the purchaser of the Bandar Malaysia project.

As both projects develop, economic activity will take place. The government will collect its taxes and duties from these activities from the companies, workers, suppliers and buyers of properties in the project.

The government will collect sales tax, corporate tax, personal income stamp duties and also the profits from 1MDB’s 40 percent share in Bandar Malaysia and its majority stake in the TRX project.

These revenues can, of course, be used to pay off debts. Do you understand now?

Answer to question 6

Pua says he is not the Almighty nor the All-Knowing, and cannot answer what is the total value of the two projects’ economic impact to our country.

That is fantastic news, as it seems Harapan does not do any economic impact or feasibility studies whenever they approve projects worth tens of billions! Unbelievable.

Answers to questions 7 and 8

Then Pua and I are in agreement that both of these 1MDB projects are immensely beneficial to the country and our economy.

Pua finally agrees that 1MDB is not all doom and gloom, but has its benefits as well. Therefore, my original statement stands.

Harapan must no longer use 1MDB as an excuse not to fulfil their manifesto promises, or to continue their propaganda that 1MDB will make Malaysia bankrupt and will be a burden on future generations.


WEE KA SIONG is the MCA president and Ayer Hitam MP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/473454

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MP SPEAKS | MCA president Wee Ka Siong should answer the question as to whether 1MDB is the scandal which made Malaysia the kleptocratic capital of the world where tens of billions of ringgit was stolen, instead of attempting to divert attention to other unrelated issues.

Wee was caught with his pants down giving valiant support to former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 1MDB, claiming that the fund was “beneficial and played an important role in the development of the country”.

When he could not reply to my critique yesterday, asking him even if the above were true, and the world knows it is not true, does it in any way justify the massive embezzlement which has taken place in 1MDB?

Is Wee arguing that it is perfectly alright to be the world capital of kleptocracy, as long as Malaysia owns sufficient assets to repay what was stolen by its leaders?

The MCA president avoided the question like a plague and attempted to divert the attention of the media and audience with half-truths and irrelevant questions.

Unlike Wee, I will answer his questions, one by one below. However, let me repeat my question to him again – will the MCA president denounce Najib for embezzling, misappropriating and abusing tens of billions of ringgit which 1MDB borrowed with government guarantees, causing immeasurable loss to the reputation and tax-payers of Malaysia?

Better still, will Wee apologise for his complicity in Najib’s cabinet for the scandal which rocked the world, and ironically caused BN’s historic loss in the last general election, while making Wee the sole representative for MCA in Parliament?

Wee’s disingenuity

Before I get to the questions, let me also address the diversionary snide remark Wee made in his attempt to discredit me. He tried to imply that I, “the person who said that SST will lower the price of goods”, had no locus “to school” him.

Firstly, I never used the term “school” in my previous statement against Wee. That was the editorial headline used by The Malay Mail. I would not have used the term because some are just beyond “schooling”.

Secondly and more importantly, like his Umno comrades, Wee relied on lies and half-truths to cast negative aspersions against their critics.

In this case, he alleged that I had said that “SST will lower the price of goods” by intentionally failing to quote my speech in Parliament fully, when I argued that “the impact of SST on the price of goods will be lower than the impact of GST”.

Would Wee like to argue that the price impact of GST is less than that of the SST?

Wee’s eight questions

Now, let me address Wee’s pretentious questions one by one:

1. What is 1MDB’s debt? Is it RM30 billion or RM39 billion?

This question tells you why Wee was part of an incompetent cabinet complicit in allowing Najib to run 1MDB to the ground. He doesn’t even know what is 1MDB’s debt.

As at Dec 31 2018, 1MDB’s debt amounted to RM39 billion.

Perhaps, Wee was confused by the fact that RM31 billion was accounted in the government’s committed contingent liability because the BN gGovernment had in 2017 and early 2018, secretly paid RM6.77 billion of 1MDB’s debt while the Pakatan Harapan government had to further pay RM1.16 billion of 1MDB’s debt in 2018.

However, 1MDB’s debt remains at RM39 billion because in the company’s balance sheet, the amount RM7.93 billion remains and is now due to the government of Malaysia.

(Question 2 and 3 are answered together)

2. Is RM30 billion higher or lower than the RM87.8 billion additional borrowing in sukuk since the end of 2017 – not including the additional RM7.3 billion in Samurai Bonds already issued plus the RM82 billion that the Pakatan Harapan government is taking from Petronas?

3. If RM30 billion is lower than those other figures I quoted then how can 1MDB continue to be the main reason why Harapan cannot deliver its manifesto promises or be the main cause of our future generation being burdened in debt?

For Wee’s information, the government runs a budget deficit, a deficit the BN government has been running for the past 20 years.

When the government is in deficit, it means the government will regularly issue bonds to raise funds to finance the deficit.

The funds raised from these government bonds are used to finance the construction of schools, roads, hospitals and other development projects.

So, the question is, what is Wee trying to imply here? He should perhaps stop beating about the bush and come straight to his point – that is losing RM30 billion to theft, in his opinion is immaterial and insignificant, and doesn’t affect government finances, since the government regularly issues bonds to finance its deficit anyway?

It should also be pointed out to Wee that the actual ‘insignificant’ loss to the government from 1MDB is much higher at nearly RM40 billion as these losses has already been paid covered up by the Government (see answer to Question 1).

How much is this RM40 billion? RM40 billion is enough to pretty much wipe out the entire PTPTN borrowings of around RM40 billion or Prasarana Malaysia Berhad’s debt of RM31 billion as at end-2018.

4. Can Pua confirm if the quantum of increase in national debt in 2018 and also so far in 2019 to date (RM36 billion) is higher than what had occurred under BN in the past?

Yes, government direct debt has increased as expected as per the 3.7 percent fiscal deficit in 2018, and will increase per the 3.4 percent budgeted deficit in 2019.

As explained by the Finance Minister in his Budget 2019 speech, unlike BN which hid its billions of debts off balance sheet in vehicles such as PFI Sdn Bhd, we are transparent and have them properly reflected in the books.

Despite the increase in projected deficit, international rating agencies – Moody’s, S&P and Fitch, concurred with the move by reaffirming Malaysia’s single-A rating due to significantly increased transparency.

The question again to Wee, are you criticising Harapan’s transparency while continuing to show support for the previous administration’s opaque attempt to hide debts off-balance sheet and to embezzle, misappropriate and abuse funds via entities such as 1MDB, Tabung Haji and Felda?

Or perhaps you were so clueless that you didn’t know all the embezzlement, misappropriation, abuse and wastage were taking place in broad daylight while you were happily sitting as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department with Najib?

5. When did I say that the entire RM180 billion is direct profit? How much is the land sale of Bandar Malaysia? What is the amount of taxes collected from these two projects with a GDV of RM180 billion over the course of its development?

Let me quote Wee, so that he doesn’t accuse me of “spinning”.

He pointed that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stated that Bandar Malaysia has a gross development value (GDV) of RM140 billion, while Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had earlier said the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project has a GDV of RM40 billion.

He then argued, “when both are combined, the total is RM180 billion. It is more than enough to foot the RM30 billion (1MDB) debt.”

He is using the RM180 billion to deduct the 1MDB debt. That can only be possible if the RM180 billion is income to the government, which can only arise as the ‘profits’ of the two projects attributable to the government. How else will Wee’s sentence and allegation make sense?

I eagerly await Wee’s attempt to school me on how GDV can be used to pay debts.

6. What is the total value of the two projects’ economic impact to our country?

A country’s GDP is measured by the sum of all expenditure, or more technically, the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.

I must be pretty much an Almighty and All-Knowing to be able to give you an answer on this. Unfortunately, I’m not. However, perhaps you should direct this question to Najib?

(Question 7 and 8 answered together)

7. And if those projects are not beneficial, then why continue them?

8. Is Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng also wrong to say that the RM40 billion TRX project is one of our country’s best asset or that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also wrong to say that the Bandar Malaysia project will contribute immensely to our country’s economic development?

Again, Wee is trying to be disingenuous and put words in our mouths. We never said the two projects are not beneficial.

We are saying that firstly, because of the 1MDB scandal – the two projects were stuck and could not in any way reach their full potential.

However, with the change of government and detoxification of these projects from being tainted by 1MDB, we can now work towards fully realising the value of these two projects.

Secondly, while these two projects would certainly bring revenue to the government, 1MDB cannot claim credit for them because the government had sold these two parcels of land to 1MDB for a song, and hardly developed them when in their ownership (read my earlier statement).

Thirdly, by right, the revenue for these two projects should be added to government coffers and be used to further develop the country.

However, because of the 1MDB scandal and RM39 billion of debt incurred, the likely proceeds from these two projects are nowhere near enough to repay 1MDB’s debts (also in my earlier statement).

Final note

You have accused numerous times in the past that the true cost of the ECRL project is only RM29 billion and that the BN government had inflated the cost to RM55 billion.

Wee has the cheek to even raise this question. BN signed the contract for RM66 billion. With our hands tied behind our back in our negotiations with China, after the BN government has already paid the Chinese companies nearly RM20 billion, we had successfully reduced the cost by a-third to RM44 billion.

This is an achievement no other country in the world has done with China.

Instead of hanging his head in complete shame for having approved the contract at RM66 billion, Wee is trying to win political brownie points by criticising the new government for saving ‘only’ RM22 billion.

Enough said.


TONY PUA is the MP for Damansara and political secretary to the finance minister.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/473409

22 April 2019

MP SPEAKS | Tony Pua, the person who said that SST will lower the price of goods, wants to school me?

Let me ask him a few questions and see if he is smart enough to school me.

1. What is 1MDB’s debt? Is it RM30 billion or RM39 billion?

2. Is RM30 billion higher or lower than the RM87.8 billion additional borrowing in sukuk since the end of 2017 – not including the additional RM7.3 billion in Samurai Bonds already issued plus the RM82 bilion that the Pakatan Harapan government is taking from Petronas?

3. If RM30 billion is lower than those other figures I quoted then how can 1MDB continue to be the main reason why Harapan cannot deliver its manifesto promises or be the main cause of our future generation being burdened in debt?

4. Can Pua confirm if the quantum of increase in national debt in 2018 and also so far in 2019 to date (RM36 billion) is higher than what had occurred under BN in the past?

5. When did I say that the entire RM180 billion is direct profit? How much is the land sale of Bandar Malaysia? What is the amount of taxes collected from these two projects with a GDV of RM180 billion over the course of its development?

Please note that it was the Harapan leaders who alleged the country might go bankrupt due to the debts of1MDB amounting to RM30 billion without taking into consideration the assets owned by 1MDB including land for TRX and Bandar Malaysia which can generate much higher GDV if developed as well as the income to the government and the positive economic impact to the people.

6. What is the total value of the two projects’ economic impact to our country?

7. And if those projects are not beneficial, then why continue them?

8. Is Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng also wrong to say that the RM40 billion TRX project is one of our country’s best asset or that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also wrong to say that the Bandar Malaysia project will contribute immensely to our country’s economic development?

On a final note: You have accused numerous times in the past that the true cost of the ECRL project is only RM29 billion and that the BN government had inflated the cost to RM55 bilion.

The Harapan government have now stated the ECRL project now cost RM44 billion despite cost reductions of more than RM10 billion from avoiding the costly tunnelling works along the mountain range and thus dropping the Bentong and Gombak stations.

Are you prepared to issue a statement of apology now or do you still stick with your stand that ECRL’s true cost is still RM29 billion and that the PH government had inflated the price to RM44 billion?

Wee concocts absurd defence of 1MDB and Najib


WEE KA SIONG is the MCA president and Ayer Hitam MP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/473279

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