Wednesday, June 29, 2022

All part of one family

Secara Rawak

The assertion by Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem that the state government of Sarawak had nothing to do with the 1MDB scandal currently making Malaysia famous around the world is a half-truth.

If semantics are to be played, then yes, technically the Sarawak government is not responsible for the business dealings or management matters of 1MDB. Sarawak in no certain terms had authoritative power to determine the decisions made by the management of 1MDB. And the likes of DAP or PKR may have little if not no ammunition at all to shoot at the incumbent Sarawak government.

This move to distance himself from the scandal affecting Prime Minister Najib Razak is no doubt a ruse to counter the “1 Vote for Adenan, 1 vote for Najib” campaign initiated by the opposition front. A somewhat crude assertion to the fact that in the run up to the state election, Adenan has been apple-polishing Najib to the high heavens.

But if one was to take a larger view of things, Sarawak is party to the shortfall that 1MDB will bring to the country.

Adenan’s statement is in response to 1MDB being declared in default after it failed to pay a US$50.3 million debt payment on billions of dollars in bonds guaranteed by an Abu Dhabi state-owned sovereign wealth fund International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC).

1MDB also admitted that cross defaults have been triggered on the 1MDB RM5 billion Sukuk due 2039 (1MDB Sukuk) and the RM2.4 billion Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd Sukuk due between 2021 and 2024 (BMSB Sukuk).

The 1MDB Sukuk is guaranteed by the government and ultimately by the taxpayers of Malaysia.

If 1MDB is unable to make payments for their debt, it is taxpayers who would have to cover such payments.

In light of this, can Adenan safely say that Sarawakians would not be affected by the 1MDB scandal?

Sarawak contributed 10.1% of the GDP of Malaysia for nine years leading up to 2013, becoming the third largest contributor after Selangor (22.2%) and Kuala Lumpur (13.9%). The GDP of Sarawak has grown from RM 527 million (US$171.3 million) in 1963 to RM 58 billion (US$17.4 billion) in 2013, rising by 110 times.

So, instead of seeing it’s contributions being plowed back to Sarawak, Sarawakians may just see such monies being used to pay of the debt incurred by 1MDB.

Sarawak is not merely the fixed voter bank for Najib’s BN government, but also the cash bank from which to keep afloat his stay in power.

Therefore, the assertion by Adenan Satem that 1MDB had nothing to do with Sarawak is wrong. Ultimately, Sarawak will be used to cover-over and bailout the financial scam that 1MDB is.

Can we allow ourselves, as Sarawakians, to allow our state to be party to the scandal that is 1MDB?

Much like in any family, what affects one member of the family would affect the family as a whole. And the BN family is no different. 1MDB is a scandal birth by the BN federal government of which the Sarawak BN is a party to. Any attempts to distance themselves from 1MDB, is also an attempt to distance themselves from the federal BN. This indeed is a strange conundrum to be in.

Try as they will, they are all part of one family; and no one can deny that 1MDB is essentially a BN problem too. –

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