|The Malaysian Insider|
It used to be professional courtesy among editors to NOT name a rival publication or station when the rival is accused of being unprofessional, like misreporting or slander, unless it has already become a court case. Not anymore, judging by how the three major online portals reported on 1MDB's displeasure witih The Star. And I think this - calling a spade a spade - is refreshing, for a change.
In the good old days, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister, there was no room for sloppy reporting. Not because editors back then were better or were more afraid of the PM but because they would be kept in the loop by the authorities all the time. During the double crises of 98 (Anwar Ibrahim's sacking and the Asian financial crisis), for example, Dr M personally conducted briefings for editors thorughout the crises in order to ensure that everyone was on the same page as he.
Today, it would seem, the Press are left to their own devices. Well, most of them, that is. And that is not always good.
The 1MDB's statement on The Star:
Poor Reporting by The Star
1MDB notes with concern a number of articles relating to 1MDB published in The Star newspaper today. In particular, The Star has made a number of assertions based on the opinions of an unnamed "investigator", with reference to certain transactions undertaken by 1MDB.
1MDB is concerned that a regulated and licensed newspaper such as The Star is presenting such unsubstantiated opinions as fact in its reporting. Further, it is a well known fact that a number of lawful authorities are conducting investigations on 1MDB and no final determination has yet to be made.
For example, The Star states that “Even assets that are being held for sale cannot be easily liquidated”. This is clearly wrong as the notes to the 30.03.2014 financial statements of 1MDB, as audited without qualification by Deloitte, describes how USD1.22 billion (approx. RM 4.6 billion) of these assets had in fact been liquidated and cash proceeds utilised.
The Star further states that "there was no document related to the existence of assets and valuation of PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman)". This is blatantly incorrect. There was a valuation report prepared when the investment was made and 1MDB has in fact submitted the same report to the lawful authorities for their review.
Such sloppy reporting by The Star, a regulated and licensed newspaper, is disappointing. In fact, in relation to the interim report on 1MDB presented on 9 July to the Public Accounts committee (PAC) by the National Audit Department, the PAC Chairman has clearly stated that "there is nothing suspicious in the interim report". It is, therefore, clear there is no truth to allegations that "RM 42 billion" or "RM 16 billion" is missing, an allegation that has been repeated by various parties.
A number of lawful authorities are currently conducting investigations into 1MDB. 1MDB is fully cooperating with these investigations. We trust that appropriate measures will be taken by the lawful authorities to ensure the integrity of such investigations.