Najib says inappropriate to respond to 1MDB questions now

Former prime minister says he will address the issues at a relevant forum if necessary as investigations into the matter are in progress.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak today said he has been advised that it would be inappropriate to respond to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s questions regarding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)

He said this was because the authorities had stated that investigations on the matter were ongoing.

In a two-paragraph statement, Najib said in this limited context he did not see any benefit in engaging in a public discourse with Lim on the issues.

“I will, when and if necessary, address the issues at the relevant forum,” he said, referring to Lim’s statement released by the finance ministry yesterday.

Lim had said that Najib, who was also finance minister in the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government, must be held responsible and accountable for the 1MDB corruption scandal.

He had raised more questions on investments worth US$8.33 billion (RM33.18 at the present exchange rate) made by 1MDB between 2009 and 2013 and asked the former prime minister to account for several transactions.

On May 26, Najib had refuted Lim’s earlier allegation that the finance ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia and Khazanah Nasional Bhd had to “bail out” 1MDB’s debts.

He said although Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc) under the ministry had taken over the assets, 1MDB’s debt or liabilities remained with the company itself.

“Accordingly, the arrangement, as I can confirm, is for MoF Inc to service 1MDB debts, but in return for taking over the assets,” Najib had said.

“Put another way, had those assets remained in 1MDB, (the company) could have developed and sold the assets on its own, and used the proceeds to pay its debt.”

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