In an interview with the ICAEW Economia magazine, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Economic Planning Unit, Abdul Wahid Omar said he does not feel the reputation of Malaysia’s government-linked companies has been adversely affected by the 1MDB scandal.
For a start, “There’s a big difference between 1MDB and GLCs,” he said.
“Companies like Maybank, Sime Darby, CIMB, Telekom Malaysia, they’re major public listed companies with the highest standards of corporate governance. 1MDB is the exception rather than the norm,” said Wahid.
But CIMB Chairman Nazir Razak, the prime minister’s brother, told CNBC the Malaysian government needs to improve transparency in the wake of the long-running 1MDB scandal.
Nazir said the 1MDB scandal has been a “very painful number of months in the international media.”
Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday on the sidelines of the world economic forum (WEF) Asean conference in Cambodia, he said: “I think they are trying to complete the financial restructuring of 1MDB, but I think the government still needs to improve in terms of overall transparency and understanding of what exactly transpired.”
Nazir was himself embroiled in the saga but took a voluntarily leave of absence from his bank during CIMB’s investigation into his role in distributing around $7 million in political funds for his brother in the lead up to the 2013 elections.
Nazir was cleared by CIMB’s independent investigation and returned to work about a month later.
He has been vocal about the scandal, to the surprise of many in Malaysia, since he is the younger brother of the Prime Minister.