Business

Singapore central bank disclosure becomes hot news

KUALA LUMPUR – June 9, 2016: The latest disclosure by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on the 1MDB controversy has sparked a heated discussion in cyberspace.

The Singapore’s central bank, in response to media queries, had yesterday said that no banks in that country had ever received the US$3 billion wire transfer from Goldman Sachs, which had arranged bond issuance for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The one-line statement was issued after Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the bond proceeds had ended up in the country’s branch of a Swiss bank.

The revelation was cheered by those who were supportive of 1MDB and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Several of them who were prominent bloggers are of the opinion that the disclosure substantiate their argument that reports on 1MDB by WSJ are flawed.

Journalist blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan in a posting pointed out that it was indeed rare for MAS to issue a statement in relation to a specific banking transaction, but it did in the case of WSJ’s report on 1MDB.

“The point of the article remains that the WSJ’s report was erroneous.

“Additionally, the error must have been severe enough or the MAS wouldn’t have come out to issue that rare one-paragraph statement it did,” the blogger added.

Ahirudin, who goes by the moniker Rocky Bru, also noted the issuance of correction by the newspaper, saying that the bond sale proceeds were transferred to 1MDB’s account at BSI in Switzerland, instead of Singapore.

“Well, I’m sure some of us can’t tell the difference between Singapore and Switzerland, too.

“In view of this awkward moment, the WSJ would now wish the source that helped it with the earlier, erroneous article be referred as ‘a person actually-not-too-familiar with the matter’,” he added.

Anonymous pro-Najib blogger known as ‘A Voice’, who blogs at ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, wrote that the WSJ had merely reported “presumptions” on 1MDB, although investigations on the state fund are still ongoing.

“Truly professional international investigation agencies of repute will not divulge or leak any information out.

“So all this while, WSJ may have got away with their so-called source from insiders or foreign investigators,” the blogger wrote.

The blogger when contacted also said, the Singapore’s central bank had eventually helped to refute the presumptions made by the WSJ against the prime minister and 1MDB.

Anonymous political commentator Lim Sian See in a Facebook posting also cheered the announcement by MAS.

“Oh well, back to the drawing board for the pro-Tun team,” she wrote, referring to Najib’s staunch critic, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Lim added, “The MAS said, none of the banks in Singapore had received the stated amount of money, so, WSJ, please report accurately.”

Other Facebookers also expressed satisfaction with the disclosure by MAS.

Farouk Khan commented, “They can try and try again to demean the PM or 1DMB. In the meantime, WSJ’s credibility has gone down the drain. A bad mistake for an allegedly ‘credible’ media company.”

Hanif Tahir wrote, “WSJ must have been confused. It is even confusing as to why the media company keeps on scrutinising 1MDB and Najib.”

Meanwhile, those who opposed Najib commented that it was too early for anyone to conclude that the issue should be closed following the disclosure by MAS.

Prominent blogger Syed Akbar Ali told The Mole that the statement by MAS was too brief and incomplete, hence,  it is too early for one to draw a conclusion on the matter.

“We have read the details again of what the WSJ had published, but I don’t know whether the WSJ is referring to any specific bank and amount.

“The statement issued by MAS is rather brief, so, I really have to wait for more information. I was told that clarification will be coming out soon, so let’s just wait and see,” he added.

Netizens who are pessimistic against the revelation had nonetheless taken it out to Facebook and expressed their disapproval.

Wy Leong wrote, “Of course none had received the US$3 bil, but did anyone received ‘part of it’?”

“Haven’t you heard?” Muhammad Hamzah commented, “Well, Najib had bought over Singapore PM and MAS.”

1MDB is at the centre of worldwide probes into allegations of money laundering and embezzlement, but has since consistently denied wrongdoing.

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About the author

Amira Nutfah Zulkifli

Amira Nutfah Zulkifli

A budding journalist. Aside of struggling to understand Malaysian political scenario, she is inspired to study and fight for women's emancipation. Above the rest; she simply loves her nation.