Malaysian banker con­cerned about coun­try's fi­nan­cial fu­ture

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

As Malaysia's govern­ment seeks to shut the door on one fund­ing furor, an­other opens. Rolling scan­dals that have hit the coun­try for seven months have the premier's brother, a se­nior banker, liken­ing the cli­mate to HBO's "Game of Thrones".

The fu­ture for Malaysia "ter­ri­fies" him, Nazir Razak wrote in an In­sta­gram post. That was a day af­ter the Swiss At­tor­ney Gen­eral's of­fice said a probe of debt-rid­den govern­ment in­vest­ment fund 1Malaysia De­vel­op­ment Bhd. re­vealed "se­ri­ous in­di­ca­tions" that about $4 bil­lion may have been mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from state com­pa­nies in the South­east Asian na­tion.

Just last week, Malaysia's at­tor­ney gen­eral cleared Nazir's el­der brother, Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak, of wrong­do­ing in re­ceiv­ing a $681 mil­lion per­sonal do­na­tion from the Saudi royal fam­ily in 2013, as well as funds from a com­pany linked to 1MDB. Of the Saudi funds, $620 mil­lion was later re­turned. Malaysia will co­op­er­ate with Swiss au­thor­i­ties and re­view the find­ings be­fore de­ter­min­ing a course of ac­tion, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mo­hamed Apandi Ali said on the week­end. 1MDB said it hasn't been con­tacted by any for­eign le­gal au­thor­i­ties. Na­jib is "not one of the pub­lic of­fi­cials un­der ac­cu­sa­tion," An­dre Marty, a spokesman for the Swiss at­tor­ney gen­eral's of­fice, said Mon­day in a state­ment. The premier's of­fice de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter or on Nazir's com­ments. The prime min­is­ter said af­ter his ex­on­er­a­tion by Apandi that the Saudi do­na­tions probe was an "un­nec­es­sary dis­trac­tion" for Malaysia.

As some over­seas probes con­tinue into 1MDB -- whose ad­vi­sory board Na­jib chairs -- ques­tions have been raised by op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers and Na­jib's crit­ics over the ro­bust­ness of agen­cies over­see­ing Malaysia's gov­er­nance. The im­broglios have led to calls for Na­jib's ouster from the op­po­si­tion and for­mer premier Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, and re­called Malaysia's decades-long strug­gle with cor­rup­tion and money pol­i­tics.

"The par­al­lels with Game of Thrones con­tinue," wrote Nazir, chair­man of CIMB Group, one of the coun­try's big­gest lenders. "I just can't see how our in­sti­tu­tions can re­cover, how our political at­mos- phere can be­come less toxic, how our in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion can be re­paired." On Mon­day Nazir said he did not wish to com­ment fur­ther. Nazir and Na­jib have been seen in­ter­act­ing at pub­lic events and Nazir posts some of those pic­tures on his In­sta­gram ac­count.

The scan­dals come at a time growth and in­vest­ment are slow­ing. In­vest­ments in man­u­fac­tur­ing, ser­vices and pri­mary sec­tors fell 15 per­cent in the first nine months of 2015 com­pared with the year be­fore. The govern­ment last week trimmed its growth ex­pec­ta­tions for 2016.

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