PUTRAJAYA: The Finance Ministry (MoF) has never given any public funds to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to help settle its debt, says Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani.
Johari said however that he did not know if 1MDB would seek help from the MoF if it were to run into problems in the future.
“But so far they have not come (to us) and asked for help. In the future, it will be a different story,” he said when commenting on speculation that a public fund was being used to resolve 1MDB’s debt.
Johari was speaking to reporters after attending the 2018 Budget Focus Group Meeting: “Increasing Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Contribution”, here yesterday.
He declined to confirm however if Abu Dhabi has given 1MDB until Aug 31 to make a US$603 million (RM2.58 billion) debt settlement payment that was due yesterday.
Johari said he was not privy to the information as the issue was being discussed and dealt with by the boards of 1MDB and Abu Dhabi state fund International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
“This is a company matter.
“So, I cannot exaggerate too much at this stage, but one thing I want to stress… that we (MoF) certainly want 1MDB to look into this matter seriously so that it will not affect the image of the country,” he added.
1MDB had previously written to IPIC to inform them that the payment, originally due on July 31, 2017, would be paid in August 2017 instead as it awaited the necessary funds.
It was reported that the payment was part of a settlement over a debt dispute.
On the 2018 Budget Focus Group Meeting with the SMEs yesterday, Johari said various issues were brought up, including low productivity, low adoption of information and communication technology, difficulties in obtaining loans, lack of a skilled workforce, and the high cost of doing business.
“MoF takes note of the comments and will work closely with SME Corporation Malaysia, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and the international trade and industry ministry to address the issues,” he added. – Bernama