Malaysian firms can invest in offshore accounts
By TASNIM LOKMAN AND ROBIN AUGUSTIN - 19 November 2014 @ 8:15 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: It is not against Malaysian law for companies to keep funds in offshore accounts.
Malaysian Companies (SSM) acting chief executive officer Zahrah Abd Wahab Fenner said it was not unusual for companies to keep their funds in offshore accounts. She said this when commenting on 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investments in the Cayman Islands. Zahrah said it was a company’s business decision to invest their money where they wanted.
“It is totally up to them where they want to place their money. They might be doing so as an investment strategy because of the returns or tax incentives provided by the country.
“I am sure the company would have carried out a comprehensive study on the feasibility of the investment before proceeding.”
Zahrah said any company could do so as long as they followed the terms and conditions set by SSM and the respective country.
She said SSM only red-flaggd companies that breached the Companies Act 1965 in relation to corporate governance. There are about 200 Malaysian companies with offshore accounts in that region and most of which are investment companies, but could not divulge more details.
Zahrah also said that there were numerous other offshore banking facilities around the world, including Labuan Financial Services Authority and those in Singapore, Macau and the Mediterranean.
It was reported yesterday that 1MDB had made a profit from its investments in the Caribbean tax haven island.
1MDB chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin had explained that initially 1MDB made a profit of US$488 million (RM 1.75 billion) from its initial investment of US$ 1.8 billion (RM 6 billion) in Murabaha notes.
He said the fund was then transferred to 1MDB’s wholly-owned subsidiary in the Cayman Islands and invested in regulated funds from which it earned US$267 million (RM961 million) in dividends.
He said almost 60 per cent, or RM4 billion, of the fund had been liquidated to settle 1MDB’s financial commitments and the balance will be liquidated before the end of the year.
Lodin had also said that numerous blue chip companies around the world had invested funds in the Cayman Islands, which is recognised as a world-class financial centre.