Lawmaker assures proposed PH wealth fund ‘won’t go in the way of 1MDB’

After a bill proposing the creation of a sovereign wealth fund was met with widespread criticism, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives assured that this would not go the way of the controversial 1MDB scandal that led to the conviction of disgraced ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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Albay 5th District Rep. Joey Salceda, also a former presidential economic adviser, assuaged doubts on the proposed wealth fund, dubbed the Maharlika Investment Fund, forwarded by House Speaker Martin Romualdez and was named after a term former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. had popularized during the Marcos regime.

With lawmakers eyeing as much as PHP250 billion (US$4.5 billion) for the state-run investment fund, Salceda argued in a television interview that the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund was equipped with “enough safeguards against any 1MDB scenario for the Maharlika Investment Fund.”

The Maharlika fund seeks to secure the following funds from these institutions:

  • PHP125 billion from Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)
  • PHP50 billion from Social Security System (SSS)
  • PHP50 billion from Land Bank of the Philippines
  • PHP25 billion from the Development Bank of the Philippines 
  • PHP25 billion from the National Treasury

Salceda said that Malaysia’s 1MDB had a different structure than that of the proposed fund that allowed for oversight.

Meanwhile, the proposed Maharlika fund would incorporate four layers of good corporate governance to the IMF — including a board of directors, advisory body, risk management unit, and the congressional oversight committee.

Yet economic experts and the public have remained doubtful about the proposed funds, including the fact that the government would have such access to a pool of resources.

Some also questioned the idea of funds coming from the GSIS and SSS amid pensioner woes such as contribution hikes.



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