Debunking Our Denials

Our Prime Minister has been recently caught in some very serious allegations. In response, he has issued an official statement denying such claims and pointing the finger elsewhere instead. Unfortunately for him, his spin masters aren’t very good at their job. The denials aren’t based on fact but spin. Let’s take a look.

Missing Monies

Tun then created a crisis when he recklessly claimed that RM42 billion was missing from 1MDB, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billion audited assets.

This is the tactic of denying the side accusation without addressing the actual issue at hand.

The actual issue is the mismanagement of 1MDB funds. Everyone wants to know if the monies were mishandled, siphoned or abused. While it may be true that 1MDB holds more assets than liabilites on paper, this does not mean that the funds weren’t abused or misused. Even if 1MDB made a profit on its ventures, it still doesn’t mean that the funds weren’t abused or misused.

When Tun asks where the money has gone missing, he doesn’t mean that the entire RM42billion is lost. In fact, Tun did a very simple calculation to show that there are monies that are known but that there are also monies that are not known where they have gone, potentially due to mismanagement of funds.

As an example, we would like to know why hasn’t the Finance Minister been charged for lying to parliament. It is evidently clear that the so-called 1MDB money redeemed from the Cayman Islands turned from cash into units of some kind. There are just so many discrepencies in the story of 1MDB that it would make an excellent Hollywood film later.

The fact that they were audited doesn’t help when 1MDB changed so many auditors in so few years and has delayed its audited accounts too. 1MDB must have one of the highest turnaround rates – 3 CEOs, 3 auditors and 2 chairmen in 5 years. Something must be seriously amiss since nobody seems to want to stick around even when they are amply compensated.

Using this argument of having more assets than liabilities is very weak when everyone knows that a large portion of those assets are merely inflated due to the prices of the land banks being revaluated. So, 1MDB spent a small sum of RM194million to buy TRX land, which it then revalued to RM7billion. then, it spent another RM1.69billion to buy land that was revalued to RM11billion.

If we merely consider the capital appreciation gained from these two pieces of property, then the assets of 1MDB should be significantly more than RM51billion. Anyone who knows basic finance knows that there are questions to be asked. There are a lot more loopholes in the 1MDB denial that has been reported all over.

So, trying to shut down accusations by claiming that the accounts were audited and that there are more assets than liabilities, isn’t the right way to go. Just completely open up 1MDB’s books for the public to consume if you truly want to convince the people that 1MDB was not mismanaged or misused in any way.

Personal Funds

The latest allegation is that I have taken state-linked funds for personal gain. I believe Tun, working hand in glove with foreign nationals, including the now discredited political attack blog Sarawak Report, is behind this latest lie.

This is the tactic of making up an accusation yourself and then denying it yourself.

Thing is, nobody has claimed that the monies was for personal gain. Sarawak report asked if the bulk of the funds – US$680million – was used as an election fund. (One should actually read the whole article before writing your denial.) This piece of denial is not denying the real allegation but merely denying a made up allegation.

Also, it is clear that Sarawak Report is not the only media making serious allegations about the monies. While nobody will take  Sarawak Report (an admitted blog) as the golden standard of journalism and reporting, the Wall Street Journal is quite another matter entirely.

The WSJ has also reportedly seen documents that traced the funds into our PM’s accounts. This is far more serious because people actually take the WSJ seriously. I doubt that their journalists would make such an allegation without seriously credible evidence in their hands. This is why the WSJ article is the one being quoted by other international news agencies and not Sarawak Report.

I don’t see the PM making the same discredited claim against WSJ even though they were both reporting on the same thing as a primary source. While the Tun may have some influence in Malaysia, I don’t really think that he has much influence over the WSJ or any other major international news outlet.

So, the PM should immediately demand for a retraction from WSJ and issue a stern warning of taking further legal action against them instead of trying to punch holes in their report by making false denials.

Doctored Documents

As we now know, a number of the documents on which recent allegations have been based were reportedly doctored. The person who was leaking these documents is under investigation by authorities overseas for attempting to extort and blackmail his former employer. This says a lot about the reliability of the documents, and those who are using them to damage our government and our country.

The trouble is that, the documents were never reported as being doctored. They are merely reported as being tampered with. There is a big difference between being tampered and being doctored. The choice of words used in the denial is quite telling. I think that someone is trying to spin it the wrong way.

Doctored is defined as, “change the content or appearance of (a document or picture) in order to deceive; falsify”, while tampered is defined as, “interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations.”

These two words have very different meanings. The documents were merely reported as being tampered with. In fact, Sarawak Report has admitted that these documents were tampered with and has stood behind their reporting by claiming that the documents are still true as the tampering did not alter the content of the document, with evidence of the chain of edits to the document.

Now, the trouble is that according to a deputy minister, even the claims of tampering are questionable as these were made based on logical conclusion and not a clear factual assertion. In fact, a report claimed that the party that has originally made such a claim has refused to entertain any sort of confirmation that they had indeed made such a claim, which brings to question the veracity of the entire claim itself.

Furthermore, one should realise that blackmail and extortion only works if the documents are authentic. No blackmail would work if the documents are false, period. You cannot blackmail anyone with a claim that is patently false since such allegations cannot be proven and can be easily disproved. So, if this Justo guy was indeed trying to blackmail PetroSaudi, then there must be some truth in the documents.

So, they should actually release the real documents from 1MDB to show what are the actual details of the PetroSaudi deals. Let us have the real contracts to see if the deal was lopsided or if it was above board.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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