SINGAPORE: Malaysia will take a tougher stance to recover more funds from Goldman Sachs if the US investment bank continues to refrain from engaging with Putrajaya about repatriating funds stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister said the money must be returned for people's education, public healthcare and basic amenities.
"We are not some banana republic that you can plunder and leave.
"I will be in the United States next week and we hope to find an amicable solution to this issue," he said during a talk during the 10th Annual Asia Summit here on Wednesday (Sept 13).
He said that the investment community was aware how the scandal has caused the Malaysian economy to suffer.
Anwar said that the scandal would not have happened without the complicity of international financial institutions, particularly Goldman Sachs.
"You cannot say that this issue is over because it was agreed by my predecessor. I have issues to raise.
"Why can't they engage and discuss. We do not want to prolong this," he said, adding that Goldman Sachs has not been forthcoming over the matter.
When asked how much Malaysia had recovered so far and how much more the country hoped to get, Anwar said he could not disclose the sum received so far.
"However, we hope to get as much as possible," he said, adding that so far, there were no plans for him to meet with Goldman Sachs during his visit to the United States.
Anwar also said Malaysia was willing to go "all the way" if Goldman Sachs refused to negotiate, including taking them to court.
He said that he had not set a timeline to settle the issue as it has been going on for many years.
Goldman Sachs agreed to pay US$2.5bil (RM11.62bil) in cash and return US$1.4bil (RM6.5bil) in assets in a settlement during former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's administration.
According to past reports, Goldman Sachs had helped 1MDB raise US$6.5bil (RM30.22bil) in two bond offerings that netted the bank US$600mil (RM2.7bil) in fees.
In March, ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng was found guilty in a US court for helping to embezzle billions from 1MDB.
In Singapore, Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, participated in two special sessions at the Milken Institute Asia Summit 2023.
The first one-hour session, 'A Conversation with the Prime Minister of Malaysia' was moderated by Bloomberg's anchor and chief international correspondent for South-East Asia, Haslinda Amin.
It was then followed by another 45-minute session, 'Malaysia's Investment Outlook: A Conversation between the Prime Minister and Global Investors', which was moderated by Milken Institute's chair of Asia, Robin Hu.
California-headquartered think tank Milken Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank focused on accelerating measurable progress on the path to a meaningful life.
Anwar also met with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.