KUALA LUMPUR: The president and chief executive officer of scandal-plagued state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is considering legal action against Malaysia's new finance minister Lim Guan Eng over a statement he alleged had put him in a "bad light".
On Wednesday (May 23), Lim described Arul Kanda as "irresponsibly clueless" and "utterly dishonest and untrustworthy" over how he answered questions on debt-ridden 1MDB's multimillion-dollar investments during a meeting.
Lim also asked for Kanda's position as president of 1MDB to be reviewed.
In a statement responding to this on Thursday, Kanda said he answered questions "the best I could, truthfully and to the best of my knowledge".
He added: "I was asked many questions, to which I answered truthfully and to the best of my recollection, but without the benefit of having any supporting documents with me at the moment.
"I therefore answered all the questions as best I could, truthfully and to the best of my knowledge, based on my recollection of company records, my personal knowledge (or lack thereof), and my recollection of information provided by officers in the company.
"In my opinion, it is unfair of the minister to issue a public statement, which did not fully and accurately represent how the questions were put and answered.
"The circumstances I was in and the context of my answers were conveniently left out such that it produces a false impression and put me in a bad light."
Kanda said he is seeking legal advice on his options in his personal capacity, strongly denying "the potentially defamatory and personal attacks" against him by the finance minister.
On Wednesday, Lim said the 1MDB board admitted it was insolvent and unable to repay debts.
In a previous statement on Tuesday, Lim said 1MDB had an interest pay-out of RM143.75 million (US$36 million) due on May 30.
"Another RM810.21 million worth of interest is due between the months of September and November," Lim said.
Kanda was appointed 1MDB's CEO in January 2015, after the previous management had amassed debts, he said. His contract with the institution expires at the end of June.
Additional reporting by Sumisha Naidu and Melissa Goh.