So many scandals, but all we hear is 1MDB, says Jomo

by: Sean Augustin

KUALA LUMPUR: A prominent economist today criticised Pakatan Harapan for focussing too much on the 1MDB controversy instead of the other scandals plaguing the country.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram said this included the controversy surrounding Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), which he believed was a bigger scandal affecting the people.

In 2012, FGV raised RM10.5 billion through public listing with an initial offer price of RM4.55.

However, Jomo said the share price had plummeted, resulting in the stock price now being less than 40% of the original offer price.

“The opposition seems to think that nobody can focus on other problems and we must have one big scandal at a time.

“There are so many scandals, but all we hear about is 1MDB,” he said at a forum titled “Envisioning the Future: Malaysia Beyond GE14”.

Also present were Amanah strategic director Dzulkefly Ahmad and former Bank Negara Malaysia deputy director Rosli Yaakob.

Jomo referred to several incentives that Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a few months ago to Felda settlers, including debt disposals and a special replanting overdraft debt disposal fund.

Calling it a “kind of bribe”, Jomo said such incentives underlined how sensitive the Felda and FGV issue was to Barisan Nasional.

He also lamented that only PAS had been touching on Felda-related issues.

“We have a situation where the Felda schemes have become especially important in two key states, Pahang and Johor. So, it is important to get through to these people (in Felda-based constituencies).”

Meanwhile, Rosli, who is a PAS member, also agreed that there were issues in the Felda settlements.

“So that is where the battleground will be, in Felda and rural areas.”

In June, Pakatan Harapan organised a two-month road show across the country to ensure the claims made by the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil lawsuits related to 1MDB were made known to the people.

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