1MDB is more than just about stolen money

July 24, 2016

1MDB is more than just about stolen money

by TK Chua


La Maison de Vincent a Arles, by Vincent Van Gogh.

This painting by Vincent van Gogh belongs to Malaysia


So many countries are now investigating 1Malaysia Development Berhad: in the course of them doing that, I hope some are not subtly holding this country to ransom. Given our endless predicaments, it is important to ensure that our sovereignty and vital interests are not compromised when dealing with others.

It is important to keep vigilant of treaties signed, concessions made, and foreign policies promulgated during this difficult time.

How could we raise so much money through bonds and then use the proceeds for unimaginable wayward indulgences? Are reputable investment bankers and sophisticated bond investors blind or are they part of the conspiracy?

It is just too convenient to push the responsibility to the Malaysian government (present and future) and the Malaysian taxpayer. It is time investment bankers are held accountable and bond-holders take a “haircut”. I don’t care, maybe we should just default on the bonds and damn the sovereignty ratings: there is not much reputation left to protect in the first place.



Institutional failure is now pervasive. These institutions were set up under our constitution and system of government. They draw salaries and perks from our coffers; they are expected to perform specific functions and entrusted responsibility. But look at them now, none of them work.

There are investigations which lead to no outcome. They are enquiries and audits, but the results are hidden. They have the inherent power to “make a difference” but somehow they have chosen to remain silent.

How do we feel as Malaysians now? While we exchange jokes about the baloney, I think the indignation, despair and uncertainty in each of us is very real. We feel that those entrusted to govern have failed us completely. Our democratic rights are being denied and our economic wellbeing threatened.

I hope we can all see the double jeopardy here: even if we Malaysians are prepared to lose the money in 1MDB, it will not buy us the country we used to have, having now become so parochial, archaic, hypocritical, corrupt, and incompetent.

1MDB is an eye opener to many things we take for granted. We can’t assume that national leaders will do the right and proper things. We can’t assume we are a democracy simply because we hold elections every five years. We can’t assume institutions will perform their roles and protect the people. We are all very capable of indulging in fake democracy and false pretences.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.


Justice Dept. Rejects Account of How Malaysia’s Leader Acquired Millions (NYT), Change Log


By RICHARD C. PADDOCK | First archived on July 22, 2016, 8:23 a.m.

19 thoughts on “1MDB is more than just about stolen money

  1. Correction ole chap!

    The Van Gogh belongs to IPIC. Understand the details because that is where the devil is.
    IPIC or 1mdb. Does it matter? IPIC could be just a vehicle used by JLo.–Din Merican.

  2. All Najib has done really is take lessons he learned from Mahathir and take it further, extreme, and bigger. As Mahathir is against, and regrets whether he admits it or not, what he started, so what Najib has done will be regretted much worst – and that is not the worst problem. The worst problem is that whereas Mahathir lived and tried to do something about what has gone wrong, Najib is never likely to admit, do or even be able to change what he has already wrought to us.

    As Mahathirism has come full circle to our regret, Najib is will bring disaster we cannot imagine now.

  3. The investment bankers and the bond buyers are only interested in the credit worthiness of Malaysia and the returns promised. They couldn’t care less what 1MDB do with the funds raised as their investments are guaranteed by the government of Malaysia. Furthermore they have no say in how 1MDB spend the monies as long as they get paid. The onus is on the shareholders and management of 1MDB to invest the money to generate good returns to pay the bond holders and in this case the management have been lackadaisical and failed in their fiduciary duties in allowing large sum of monies to be channeled to dubious entities. The BoD and management should be held responsible and accountable.

  4. ‘It is just too convenient to push the responsibility to the Malaysian government (present and future) and the Malaysian taxpayer. It is time investment bankers are held accountable and bond-holders take a “haircut”. I don’t care, maybe we should just default on the bonds and damn the sovereignty ratings: there is not much reputation left to protect in the first place’


    Each time it was the Political Masters who were blamed as they are the ones who helped to bail our the ‘robbers’. ALL FORGOT THAT POLITICIANS IN POWER ARE INDEBTED TO THE WALL STREET FINANCIERS AND CORPORATE BARONS AS IT IS THEY WHO FINANCED THE POLITICIANS IN POSITIONS OF POWER.

    As many countries aspire to achieve ‘developed’ country status it is most likely that they will follow the USA model and the result can be predicable. The only difference may be that in some cases the methods may have been refined to ensure that the advisers especially the financial professionals are not directly blamed.


  5. I dare thinking malaysian of stature to lead a crowdfund public intest litigation to revover 42b . People vs govt of malaysia and 1mdb board. Otherwise we just write blog rant till cow comes home

  6. Quote:- “How do we feel as Malaysians now?”

    Perhaps this question should be answered by Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyidin bin Haji Mohammad Yassin.

    If anyone here requires reminding, the abovenamed said not too long ago that he was Malay first and Malaysian second. In case we also forget, not too long ago he was the Deputy UMNO Baru President and Deputy Prime Minister but was sacked from both august positions because he was publicly unhappy that his ex-boss the UMNO Baru president and prime minister did not confide in him that he, the latter, had RM2.6b in his private bank account. Muhyidin was unhappy not because the RM2.6b was tainted with corrupt illegality but that he was not expeditiously informed, and perhaps this unforgivable misstep by the pm was not promptly remedied with some “sweeteners”, sweet enough to keep his mouth shut.

    From all publicly available accounts now, it seem that our said Ex-UMNO Baru deputy president and Ex-deputy prime minister is now a born-again Malaysian, (if he ever was once)

    On second thoughts perhaps this is not the right time to ask him this inconvenient question because there is no telling that in some not too distant future when his political environment is more pleasant and secured his suppressed “Malayness” may not atavistically undergo a convenient reincarnation.

    BTW TK Chua, we have heard your succinct but illuminating dissection of the country’s dire straits, now can we hear something equally illuminating about what solutions you would offer while the rest of us are inebriately indulging in “fake democracy and false pretences”?

  7. “Let’s see if UK will seize JhoLow’s investment…”
    @katasayang July 24, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I believe this is not possible until JhoLow is charged and convicted. Presently, US DoJ has only seized assets traceable to have been acquired with funds originated from 1MDB. (You will noted London assets seized are those of JhoLow’s other accomplices.) And presently none of JhoLow’s London investments are traceable to funds originated from 1MDB.

    JhoLow is not involved until he attempts to claim back the seized assets; he will need to prove where/how he the funds used to acquire the assets in Court. This, of course, he will never do as it would open the ‘can of worms’; instead, he will cut his losses.

  8. 42 Bln will be well spend if HSR can be extended from KL to Bukit Kayu Hitam or beyond north. Kunming maybe? The trail is so damming guys

  9. @orang Malaya. Speaking of which, looking at the results, Jho Low’s investment isn’t all that bad. Investment in London, art, and film. All profitable. Yet, we are clearly not talking about profitability here. Say, MO1 suggests it is ethical for money to be placed in his/her acaccot to ensure political stability of the nation to guarantee that 1MDB would never default. But, that would not make it right for him/her to do so, even if the money was placed in UMNOb’s account instead of MO1’s personal account.

    You are right that Institutional Investors would and should have already factor in all of the political risk involved, e.g. buying sufficient CDS to cover possible credit loss from 1MDB, it does not cover the fault of complacency of the public to ignore the cost of to exclude the ethical aspect of such investment. The public would include fiduciary duty of such investment institution.

    As individuals, rich or poor, we are complacent in not asking our institution, including EPF and Khazanah to take a more responsible stand. This is about speaking out our conscience as we live responsibly.

    @HTLow Part of me wish Jho Low and those who he employs read Dato Din’s blog. Of course, we know he would be thrilled in playing “catch me if you can”. At the same time, we would love to read about how his already wealthy taiwanese singer would hang out with other more promising man, as Jho Low lives out a Pokémon lifestyle.

    Personally, the calmness within KLSE speaks a lot. Rent seekers are still very comfortable, despite negative news from DOJ’s announcement. Sad news for the next generation. Layu layu Melayu.

    Come on, guys. The big white elephant project is still being known as Razak Exchange.

    HSR is nice to have. But another tall building? Are we trying to compensate for some shortcoming in other area in our life? Hang Kebun said it well.. it is damnning!

  10. 1MDB is more than stolen money , yes definitely ! Even if people do not believe in the Scriptures, and corrupt the Nation , it says : to the effect ” you devour flames and consume Fire ” in the final judgement ” (even if one gets away with impunity in this life ) –

    Btw, this ‘ hudud ‘ thing which is the highest punishment is the Prerogative of the Lord , and its no more in the ‘jurisdiction ‘ ( or prerogative ) of Man )

  11. ( With apologies if I bore you….) –

    This punishment (of hudud, the severest ) which is the Lord’s sole prerogative, is in the form of allegories or ‘ imageries ‘ described in the Scriptures ( of Hell-fire , and consuming ‘flames ‘ ) –

    AND YET, it is still the Attributes of Mercy of the Lord that he Warns of Man’s self-created ‘ hell ‘ for himself. There’s this short verse :

    ” Verily your deeds will be brought back to you , as if you yourself were the creator of your own punishment …..”

    How come ? – these are two couplets in the Revelation as to creation :

    1. ” Behold I created Man of the highest mould , and sent him to the lowest of
    the low……” (and )

    2. ” Lo ! I made Man higher than the angels , nay POTENTIALLY lower than
    the beast…..”

    Wow ……’ beast ‘ in parallel to Pythagoras’ Metem-Psychosis postulates . But in Hinduism/ Buddhism too, on the eternal or never-ending cycle of life, death and rebirth ( ‘ your deeds will be brought back to you over & over again….if Man does not find the apocalypse…..to salvation ) –

    ( there’s is sense or utmost Urgency to avoid the animal kingdom ….. ( hell-fire ” ? )

  12. It is not important now for the British or other authorities to seize the UK properties of Jho Low or Riza or anyone else involved right now because no one will dare buy them even at bargain prices. The properties will remain in their or their nominees name. Sooner or later, especially when the US court cases commence, the whole jimbang story will surface. Time is now on our side. That is why the US announcement is so crucial.

    Everyone, both good and bad guys, is now put on notice. Jho Low and Riza Aziz, and their underlings now hiding in the US and elsewhere are de facto persona non gratia and all their properties, whether bought with 1MDB money or not, are tainted and therefore not marketable.

    These are the first installment of punishments. More will follow because such things, like a rolling snowball, tend to acquire a life of its own once started.

    • Nothing may happen and the whole ongoing may be just another comedy or sendiwara.
      Can compare with the ‘comedy’ which was played wheb Wall Street barons destroyed the financial lfe of millions of ordinary USA citizens yet all suspected experts/professionals continued to live in luxury while many of their victims dtill continue to suffer.

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