Wednesday, 27 September 2023

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Article alleging PM Lee’s complicity in 1MDB scandal “fake news” and “libellous”: Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur

The High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Kuala Lumpur has censured an article published by The Coverage, a controversial “social news network” alleging the involvement of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the scandal-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In response to queries from Malaysian reporters, the High Commission announced in a statement that it “would like to categorically state that” the particular article, dated 7 Nov 2018, “is fake news and clearly libellous.”

The article, titled “Breaking News: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong Becomes 1MDB’s Key Investigation Target — Najib Signed Several Unfair Agreements with Hsien Loong In Exchange for Money Laundering,” was originally sourced from an article dated 5 Nov this year on the equally controversial States Times Review, which was linked on The Coverage as “Straights Review”.

The article on The Coverage alleged that “Najib Razak [former Malaysian PM] signed several unfair agreements with Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong,” which include “building the Singapore-Malaysia High Speed Rail when the country was in a trillion RM debt” and “a grossly under-priced water sale agreement, in exchange for Singapore banks’ assistance in money laundering 1MDB’s billions.”

It was further stated in the article that “If found guilty, Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore may be sanctioned internationally.”

Among other allegations made in the article were that “the Singapore government was immediately summoned for questioning in Kuala Lumpur” shortly after Pakatan Harapan took over Malaysia’s governance, and that “Lee Hsien Loong refused to be personally interviewed” as a result.

It added that “the new Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been keeping his distance away from Lee Hsien Loong after his election, as “the Malaysian PM rejected Lee Hsien Loong’s invite for a holiday retreat and called for a bilateral discussion to increase water price.”

Singapore was the first country to take legal action in relation to entities involved in the 1MDB scandal, having fined eight banks and jailed four people since investigations commenced three years ago.

A Singapore court had also ordered the return of some S$15.3 million that was grafted from 1MDB to the Malaysian government two months ago.

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