KUALA LUMPUR – Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said that board members of the controversial state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), should be sacked immediately.
“I told the Prime Minister, sack all the guys, board of 1MDB. Throw them away! They are the ones that have burdened the Prime Minister with this,” he said in a speech at an Umno training camp last week.
Footage of the speech at the closed-door event, in which he lambasted the staggering debts accumulated by 1MDB, went viral after it was posted on a blog, APANAMA, and uploaded to YouTube.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin said he had asked Prime Minister Najib Razak how to resolve the problem, adding that the government had to operate in a transparent manner as people viewed the 1MDB scandal seriously.
“This is a real problem… How, in such a short time, did a government-owned company become burdened with liabilities of RM42 billion (S$15.5 billion)?” he said in the speech.
“If the company was mine, and I woke up to reports of such an extraordinary event, with the CEO making an issue by borrowing up to RM10 billion, then every month I have to pay interest of RM100 million to RM200 million…
“I never thought such a company in the world could have such a burden, but it is happening in Malaysia,” he told the packed audience, which included Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan and Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.
“What do you do? Remove lah. The CEO, remove. And not just remove, call the police to investigate, take action.
“Take action so the people can see, and only then view the government leadership as a responsible figure that takes serious action.
“If not, this is the burden that will drag us down. We have to take action. We cannot have the ‘never mind, give it some time’ attitude – we cannot!” he said.
1MDB is owned by the Finance Ministry. Datuk Seri Najib is also Finance Minister and heads the state investment agency’s advisory board.
Mr Muhyiddin also dismissed rumours of an alleged plot between himself, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed, Tourism Minister Nazri Aziz and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin to topple the leadership.
“Don’t trust easily what you see on social media,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister yesterday tried to downplay his remarks at the meeting, dismissing them as “nothing new”.
“I have mentioned it openly before,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
When asked if Mr Najib had responded, Mr Muhyiddin shrugged and flashed a grin.
“Nothing. I was just making a statement,” he said.
Mr Muhyiddin has previously said that the government should not bail out 1MDB and should investigate the company.
But he had not, in the past, called for the immediate sacking of its board members.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK