Daim: Joining government led to great financial loss

Joining the government from 1984 to 2001 led to a great financial loss to former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and his family, said the man who filed a judicial review against the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission for the witch hunt.

MACC seized Daim’s Ilham Tower last month.

He revealed that he was directed to liquidate his investments in public listed companies and United Malaysian Banking Corporation (UMBC) in 1985.

“At that point, my liquid assets stood at over RM750 million. If I had put that amount into an S&P 500 index fund in 1984, the value today would be over RM42 billion,” said the former finance minister in his affidavit to support a judicial review application.

“If I had stayed in business and done nothing to actively grow these assets, the value of my liquid stock holdings alone would be worth over RM50 billion today. That is my personal cost today in my decision to join the government.

“As the numbers above show, my decision to join the government and serve my country came at great financial loss to myself and my family,” said Daim without revealing his current net worth,” he said, reported The Edge.

The amount of RM50 billion equivalent to US$ 10.7 billion would have made Daim the richest man in Malaysia since Malaysia’s richest man Tan Sri Robert Kuok is US$10.4 billion, according to Forbes.

Daim was finance minister since 1984 until 1991, minister with special functions in 1998 and returned to the finance portfolio in 1999 until 2001.

Property developer and legal practice

Daim also delved into his wealth in bits and pieces without revealing his net worth, in the court documents.

He founded property development company Syarikat Maluri Sdn Bhd which developed Taman Maluri and Taman Bukit Maluri and the one square mile land is worth over RM26 billion.

He owned the Malaysian French Bank and UMBC which is now part of RHB Bank Bhd.

“I also had controlling or substantial interests in many public listed companies, such as Sime UEP (now the Sime Darby group), Guthrie, TV3, Maybank, Consplant, Cold Storage and Nestlé Malaysia, to name a few. My 10% stake in Nestlé Malaysia is today worth approximately RM3 billion,” he said.

He pointed out that he had assets and properties from legitimate businesses, overseas since 1970s.

Daim began his career practising law as president of the Sessions Court in Muar, Johor befor joining the Attorney General’s Chambers as a deputy public prosecutor.

He later quit AGC and established his own legal firm, now known as Daim & Gamany.

Judicial review application

The other application in this judicial review are his family members – wife Toh Puan Na’imah Abdul Khalid, their four children, namely Asnida, Md Wira Dani, Muhammed Amir Zainuddin, Muhammed Amin Zainuddin, as well as the Ilham Tower.

They named the MACC and deputy public prosecutor as respondents.

Daim, his family and Ilham Tower are seeking a declaration that the agency has no reasonable cause to investigate them for an offence under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

They are also seeking a declaration that any charges brought by the public prosecutor against them would be unconstitutional and void. They claimed that they would not receive a fair trial, following the delay of some 22 years in instituting any charges, which infringes on their right to personal liberty under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

MACC have revealed in February last year that they are investigating Daim based on the expose from the Pandora Papers.

Daim in return called the probe “nothing short of a political witch-hunt”.

He also claimed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim perceived him as a political foe.