Press Release by YB Puan Nurul Izzah Anwar (18 November 2009)
In a written answer to my question addressed to the Minister of Finance â€“ â€œWhat is the rationale for Terengganu Investment Authority(TIA) to be taken over by Minister of Finance Inc, become a federal entity known as 1Malaysia Berhad, and reports directly to the Prime Minister?â€ â€“ it was replied that this is done to â€œensure that there will be a boost in economic development and the wealth can be equally distributed to fellow Malaysians regardless of race and ethnicity â€œfor 1Malaysiaâ€.
I take this as an absolute sham and an affront to the commons sense!
Is the PM trying to say that the state and an independent board of directors cannot do the same? Is this an allusion that only the PM can ensure that wealth generated from the fund reaches the people under a fair and equal distribution mechanism?
On the contrary, this is a blatant attempt by the PM to have direct intervention in the management of the wealth fund.
Recall that the initial plan in setting up the Terengganu Investment Authority(TIA), a sovereign wealth fund, in May 2008, was to ensure that the state invest its wealth, especially oil royalty, for its own people, without any political intervention.
It was stated that the TIA would â€œincorporate a triple-tier check and balance system comprising a board of directors who CANNOT hold positions in the government or occupy ANY political positionsâ€. In fact, when the YDP Agong Sultan Terengganu mooted the idea, it was stated that the fund will â€œmanage the stateâ€™s long-term oil royalty revenue to ensure sustainable income for the Terengganu people after oil and gas reserves run outâ€.
Taking over and naming it 1Malaysia Development Berhad is a blatant display of federal BN led control and centralization. This move contradicts the very initial plan it had which was to be free from any political manipulation and marks the end of an independent and professional management of the fund.
It is much feared, especially looking at the current distortion of facts pertaining the royalty issue vis a vis Kelantan, (now that the PM says it was never a royalty, but only a â€˜compassionate paymentâ€™), and the sudden departure of IRDAâ€™s CEO, what assurance do we have that the PM will not use 1Malaysia Development Berhad as another vehicle of patronage to reward a certain class of persons, whereas the true and rightful beneficiaries of the fund â€“ the Terengganu people, are denied from what is essentially theirs.