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Friday, May 29, 2015

Shahrir defends meeting 1MDB’s Arul, says it is to understand issues

BN Backbenchers Club president Tan Sri Shahrir Samad (left) is seen in a meeting with 1MDB group president and executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy (partly hidden, right) and public relations consultant Paul Stadlen (white shirt) at a hotel near KL Sentral on Wednesday night, in this picture made available to The Malaysian Insider. – May 29, 2015.BN Backbenchers Club president Tan Sri Shahrir Samad (left) is seen in a meeting with 1MDB group president and executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy (partly hidden, right) and public relations consultant Paul Stadlen (white shirt) at a hotel near KL Sentral on Wednesday night, in this picture made available to The Malaysian Insider. – May 29, 2015.Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chief Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said today he met with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)'s president Arul Kanda Kandasamy and that the meeting was for him to understand in depth the issues faced by the debt-laden firm.
According to a report by portal BNBBC.my, the Johor Baru MP said as a Barisan Nasional federal lawmaker and president of the club, he had to understand all important issues in a comprehensive manner and this does not solely include 1MDB only.
"It means the support and stand of BN parliamentarians are based on fact and correct information, and it is not merely on loyalty towards party," he was quoted as saying about the meeting.
He revealed that his three-hour meeting with Arul Kanda on Wednesday night in a Kuala Lumpur hotel was also attended by Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
He said prior to meeting Arul, he also met with Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah to discuss the state investment vehicle's current status and its future plans.
The Umno veteran leader said that in both meetings, he gave his views that the company and the Finance Ministry take appropriate steps to inject more funds into the company, in line with its liability without depending on public funds or new loans.
"I feel 1MDB has valuable assets but it has not been appropriately financed," he was quoted as saying in the BNBBC portal.
The Malaysian Insider had reported earlier this morning that Shahrir and Arul Kanda met on Wednesday night at a hotel near KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, and the meeting went on till the wee hours.
A source, who refused to be named, questioned why Arul was unable to attend the PAC hearing, yet had no problem meeting Shahrir.
“PAC summoned the 1MDB president, but he did not attend because he says he is overseas for an important matter.
“But he was able to meet the BNBBC president last night. Has BNBBC taken over PAC’s duties?” asked the Umno source.
Arul Kanda (pic, left) had confirmed the meeting when asked by The Malaysian Insider but stressed that it only took place after his return to Malaysia.
He, together with former 1MDB's CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi,  were supposed to attend Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiry into the debt-laden company on Tuesday but was unable to due to work commitments overseas.
“Yes, I met with Shahrir, but that was on Wednesday. I wasn’t available for the PAC hearing as I was only back in the country on Tuesday night,” Arul told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.
“I’ve got nothing to hide. It was a pleasant conversation and he is a very intelligent, articulate man," he said of his meeting with Shahrir.
Criticism has been mounting over the Finance Ministry's wholly-owned investment vehicle, established in 2009, which has chalked up debts of up to RM42 billion, backed by Putrajaya.
The auditor-general is currently looking through 1MDB's books, with a preliminary report expected to be submitted to the Parliament in June, while PAC started its investigation into the company on May 19.
- TMI

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