"If I Had Stayed In Business, My Assets Would Be Worth Over RM50 Billion Today" — Daim

He claimed that his choice to join the government and serve the country had come at a significant personal cost, entailing substantial financial sacrifice for both him and his family.

Cover image via Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

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Under investigation for graft, former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin today, 12 January, claimed that he faced great financial loss due to his decision to join the government and serve the country

According to Daim, if he had stayed in business and had actively developed his assets, the value of his liquid stock holdings alone would have been worth over RM50 billion today, reported Harian Metro.

In a statement, he said, "My choice to join the government and serve the country came at a significant personal cost, entailing substantial financial sacrifice for both myself and my family."

He and his family have filed a legal action to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) investigation against them concerning the information provided in the Pandora Papers.

These papers consist of millions of leaked documents put together by an international consortium of investigative journalists, which were made public in October 2021.

Daim argued that his current wealth, despite relinquishing his riches upon entering politics, was is largely generated from the business ventures he began before entering politics, and not through corruption.

He painted a hypothetical scenario where if he had invested in a US index fund, he would be worth far more than the alleged discrepancies

How much?

According to Daim, the value of his RM750 million assets, which he was ordered by the government to liquidate, would be worth more than RM42 billion if he had invested in an S&P 500 index fund in 1984.

His affidavit paints a picture of a seasoned businessman: co-founding a property empire that's worth over RM26 billion today, owning banks, and holding stakes in giants like Nestlé. The twist? He said he relinquished these riches upon entering politics, and was forced to liquidate assets at a fraction of their current value.

Image via Bernama

Daim also highlighted discrepancies in treatment compared to other figures named in the Pandora Papers, who did not face MACC scrutiny

According to Daim, despite having provided a statement to MACC in February 2023, he only heard back from the anti-graft agency three months later in June last year.

He stated that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Investment, Trade, and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz were also named in the Pandora Papers, but the two were not investigated by the MACC, and no action was taken against them.

He also said that the absence of specific charges and information surrounding the "Undisclosed Complaints" was proof of bias and a potentially flawed investigation by the MACC.

Daim said freezing his accounts and demanding asset details without clear accusations violated his constitutional right to a fair trial and personal liberty.

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