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Have Malaysians been deceived over the RM 170 billion Chinese investment?
Who arranged this old trick of deception?
The controversy of the RM170 billion investment issue still continues with an MP Johari Ghani (Titiwangsa BN) asking about the validity of the claim, in parliament.
On April 1, the prime minister Anwar Ibrahim witnessed the signing of 19 MOUs, which were claimed to bring RM 170 billion investment to Malaysia. Johari during question asked if the ministry of investment, trade, and industry (MITI), and the Malaysian Industry Development Authority (MIDA) had undertaken what sort of screening process of the MOUs, before they were signed in front of the prime minister.
In reply, the deputy minister for investment, trade, and industry Liew Chin Tong (Iskander Puteri PH) said the all companies had gone through stringent screening processes, with MIDA conducting the necessary back ground checks.
On a copy of the press release provided before the MOU signings, providing details of the agreements and companies involved, there are many details missing under the ‘Brief Description of MOUs’ column. This hints that these MOUs were hastily arranged so as to appear as a major coup for the prime minister. It looks by the lack of what details are given, that little or no due diligence actually took place.
If these MOUs were under the responsibility of MIDA, then the chairman Dr Sulaiman Mahbob, appointed back on Sept 2, 2022 must account for this issue, and explain what due diligence actually took place, and why no details were provided to the press, if all the information of each MOU had been previously vetted.
Memorandums of understanding are non-binding notes of mutual intention.
The minister for Sabah and Sarawak affairs (PMO) Armizan Mohd Ali said the trips (overseas) resulted in an estimated RM 184.73 billion in potential investments.
The minister for MITI, Tengku Zafrul Aziz confirms his deputy minister, and the minister in charge of Sabah and Sarawak affairs in a Youtube video he released, saying these MOUs are fully vetted. The press release leaves this in question.
Who is telling the truth here?
The biggest lie is that there are no such processes required for an MOU signing. Any business is free to sign an MOU with another business. The Malaysian government will only carry out due diligence when an actual investment application is made by the JV company.
This is a scandal of deceit of monumental proportions. This appears to be an attempt to deceive Malaysians into believing the government is performing well in gaining investment, and as a justification for the reported RM 18.6 million spent on overseas travel.
Malaysians have been lied to about the MOUs being true investments. Tengku Zafrul himself admits that, only in the last few hours. MIDA chairman, Dr Sulaiman must be held responsible for this lapse in due diligence and replaced with someone who can do the job.
Reporting MOUs as investments has been an old trick played on the public over decades. Politicians, ministries, agencies, and universities, have historically organized sham MOUs to give a positive appearance to the public. Its sad to see that the Madani government, which should be based upon trust would also stoop down to such low practices.
Very few MOUs actually materialize into on the ground projects.