16 March 2015
I just came back from a forum on 1MBD and my mind is full to bursting.
I find economics and finance very difficult to understand anyway, but when combined with a scandal of obscene proportions, I feel like my brain is going to explode.
I will be the first to admit that the entire 1MDB scandal has whizzed by me. I understand very vaguely what has happened, but can't fathom the details.
Therefore, when I found out about this forum where Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli were going to speak, I simply had to make the time and I am glad I did.
I will not try to provide a detailed summary of what happened here.
What I will say is that I am convinced that there has been serious impropriety. Loans which did not exist and then were transferred to a third party.
Companies created as covers.
The circulation of “investments” that went back to one company. The investments in completely unfeasible projects which failed miserably.
The continued support of failed companies. Extremely dubious legal, accounting and auditing practices. The taking of loans twice the amount needed for the actual investment.
And the list goes on.
So much incompetence and in what appears to be corruption.
And that was without staying to listen to Rafizi (after one and a half hours I thought my brain was going to stop and I had to leave). And all backed up by very convincing evidence such as emails; company reports with documentation that contradict them; and many facts that cannot be denied (like the oilfield which 1MDB invested in and yet is in a part of the world which is in dispute between two countries and, therefore, can’t be exploited anyway).
The trick now is for this shameful waste of public funds to be described in a very simple manner so that anyone can understand it.
This scandal must be understood by people of the country to see how much abuse has occurred.
We must be angry because we are not talking about a few million ringgit here.
Instead, we are talking about billions of ringgit that go into the pockets of a few or are washed down the drain in acts of unbelievable incompetence.
When we think about how they want to impose more taxes on the people, how so many parts of the country are still hopelessly underdeveloped, how so many improvements can be made to our public facilities, this kind of wastage is not only potentially legally wrong, it is also utterly and morally reprehensible.
And we got to this stage because all the checks and balances that are associated with a democratic country - including a free press, independent government agencies, the separation of powers - are not there.
Instead, we have members of a ruling class so used to getting their own way for so long that they think they and their cronies can suck this country dry and still get away with it.
Well, we must make sure they don’t.