SEREMBAN, Aug 1, 2015:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the government had a plan to reduce the debt burden of 1Malaysia Development Berhad and needed six months to turn around the government investment company.

He said he had held discussions with the Finance Ministry on the matter and the plan to turn the company around was being implemented.

“We have a programme to reduce the debts of 1MDB and the programme is viable. We have to give it time. I would say we need about six months.

“We are not saying that we want to settle the debts today, (or) we can do so tomorrow, no. But we have a plan,” he said when opening the Seremban Umno Division delegates meeting in Paroi here.

Najib said several foreign parties had expressed interest to invest in 1MDB projects, indicating value of the company’s assets.

He said the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al-Thani, whom he met yesterday, had indicated interest, the Qatar Investment Authority was keen to view 1MDB assets and purchase land in the Bandar Malaysia project and China’s Ambassador to Malaysia had also expressed his country’s interest. Najib also urged all quarters to wait for the Auditor-General to complete the probe and prepare a report on the 1MDB issue that would be submitted to the Public Accounts Committee. He said that after the investigation, stern legal action would be taken against anyone found to have been at fault. “I say let’s wait for the Auditor-General’s report. The interim report is out, and soon the final report. If any offence has been committed, we will take action and will not protect anyone,” he said. The prime minister also referred to the purchase of 1MDB land at the Tun Razak Exchange by the Pilgrims Management and Fund Board which he said was done at the current market value and would have benefited the board. However, he said, the board had to sell off the land after the purchase was linked to the 1MDB issue. When it became an issue, he said, he told board to sell the land because perception had overcome reality. Najib said the negative perception over the purchase of the land had forced the board to sell it. “The TRX land is in the middle of the city (Kuala Lumpur) and below it will emerge the biggest MRT station in Kuala Lumpur. “Any development that has MRT beneath it will see the value of the land rise high,” he said.

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