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Thursday, August 3, 2017

PM Najib experiencing streak of bad luck



Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak seems to be experiencing an extended streak of bad luck. With the 14th general elections looming ever closer, that Najib is now frantic, is an understatement.
In good faith, l tweeted on the morning of July 31, asking the question:
"Mampukah M'sia bayar RM2.86bilion ke IPIC hari ini PM @NajibRazak? Dari mana dana ituada lagi ke 'Investment Fund Units' 1MDB yg disebut2 tu?" (Can Malaysia afford to pay RM2.86 billion to IPIC today PM @NajibRazak? Where is the fund from, do the much talked about 'Investment Fund Units' still exist?)
So are we to conclude that the much avowed “units" in "investment portfolio" in the PetroSaudi deal, via its notorious Cayman Island account, is truly a "grandmother's story"? And by extension, all the rationalisation programmes equally incapable of preventing 1MDB from defaulting?
Now it is known to the entire world that 1MDB is unable to pay and graciously given an extension until the 5th August. My guess is 1MDB and even MOF (Ministry of Finance) will still default.
No one has a clue of what this default really means to Malaysia and the Malaysian ringgit? Will Najib now do the obvious, ie resort to Petronas' coffers or EPF's savings?
Incidentally, the BNM website had this yesterday: Government Investment Issues -GII (Murabahah Notes) for RM2.5billion tender code number 201700001701 with an opening date on August 1 and issue date on August 4. Very strangely, it coincided with the five-day extension given by IPIC to 1MDB. The quantum is arguably smaller.
Hot on the heels of the bad news of Dalian Wanda's inability to be the master developer for Bandar Malaysia, this default is surely adding salt to injury. Could any other of the Fortune 500 companies fit the bill in the new RFP (Request for Proposal)? Perhaps Mitsui Group and Daiwa of Japan or will IWH-CREC (Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China state-owned China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC)join the fray again?
To make it a lot worse, it has been bandied around that China’s President Xi Jinping has pulled out of an earlier agreement to visit Malaysia in September, planned by Najib to pave the way for an early October election.

As if these spate of bad luck weren't sufficient to put Najib in a tailspin of sorts, the untimely legal proceeding of the alleged Scorpene corruption in the French court, and the indictment of Abdul Razak Baginda, Najib's one-time political analyst, and by implication making the boss complicit, could not have come at a worst time.
Will PM Najib survive this ordeal and turn around his fortunes? Will he be able to harness his vast resources to work, as to do the proverbial save his skin, and his administration? Or is the noose tightening?

DZULKEFLY AHMAD is strategy director of Parti Amanah Negara. - Mkini

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