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'You won't understand any of this', peeved Rafizi reacts to press questions on Invoke, 'millionaire' status

The PKR number two appears annoyed with questions on his recent asset declaration, and suggests that most in the room would not understand the workings of stocks in a company.

Azzman Abdul Jamal & Teoh Yee Shen
4 minute read
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli speaks at a press conference today.
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli speaks at a press conference today.

A visibly annoyed Rafizi Ramli today took aim at MalaysiaNow while lashing out at critics who posed questions about the PKR-linked Invoke Solutions, as the party deputy president was again grilled for details surrounding his asset declaration which saw him claiming a jump of RM17 million in personal wealth.

Rafizi, who had earlier said he was a self-made millionaire by the age of 30, was asked why, in 2017, he had appealed for public donations to defend himself in a defamation suit by the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).

Rafizi then accused MalaysiaNow of being a mouthpiece for his critics, including his predecessor Mohamed Azmin Ali who defeated him in the contest for the deputy president's post in the 2018 PKR party polls.

"Oh no wonder, it's Azmin Ali's mouthpiece. Sorry, I'm not going to entertain. It's OK, whatever I have to address, I will address on (my) blog and so on, you can Google and take it from there," he said.

Rafizi, who called the press conference over what he said were instances of abuse in the award of a RM2 billion contract by the government, also accused MalaysiaNow of being "a mouthpiece for Latiff Ahmad", a reference to Bersatu's Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad who had been criticising the PKR leader over his latest asset declaration.

He then repeatedly mocked the reporter, suggesting that he was not well-versed in finance.

"That's why I said go back and try to understand finance, because I just explained it just now about share capital. You don't get it, do you? I have already answered your third question. Did you get it? 

"Whatever cash I had has already been put into funding the general election in share capital," he said, in an apparent reference to his injection into Invoke, a data analytics company he set up to help PKR gauge public support in the run-up to the 2018 election.

Rafizi came under scrutiny following his declaration of assets in which he listed RM16.7 million in shares from Invoke as part of a total of RM19.67 million in assets owned.

Latiff, alongside former PKR MP Rashid Hasnon, took Rafizi to task for listing the RM16.7 million worth of shares as his own, and reminded him that none of the staff at Invoke had been allocated shares despite a promise he made five years ago.

Latiff had also questioned the worth of Invoke's shares when the company recorded losses with net assets at minus RM4.7 million as of December last year.

"However, in Rafizi's declaration as of Oct 31, 2022, this value had jumped to RM17 million," he added.

When asked for a response today, Rafizi lashed out at Latiff as "stupid", and repeated his accusation that the former deputy minister had created a shell company to receive RM200 million in government contracts.

"He made a company for RM2, RM10, RM100, that's all the money he put in, then he used his connections to get a project, so it's all easy money."

Rafizi also said he did not want to "waste time" responding to Latiff's incessant statements over his Invoke shares.

"If he continues to do this, he will actually look even more stupid," he added.

Rafizi said he had been injecting capital into Invoke.

"You cannot take it back. You start a company, you put your money. I put progressively over the years, by the time, I think 2017, I had put around RM1 million. This becomes share capital.

"Profit or loss is the result of the operating activities of the company. The two are different things."

Meanwhile, Rafizi also dismissed a question on why Invoke did not allocate shares to its employees whom he once said had "built the company", with a business tycoon and a fellow PKR MP instead made the biggest shareholders alongside him.

"It is amazing how people take interest in petty matters such as this. But I think the whole country is entertained. I'm fine, you know. It is good publicity for Invoke and this is also an opportunity to educate the public out there on how to run a company and raise investments."

Explaining further, he claimed that Invoke had received up to RM12 million in capital within a span of two years, resulting in his own share decreasing to 73%.

"So the discussion then, and the staff were fully aware (of) the discussion, was that if we were to issue shares for free to the staff, it would take a hit to profit and loss."

After a lengthy explanation on the method of raising investments and allocating shares, Rafizi concluded that most people present would "not understand any of these things".

"I don't think most of you guys understand any of it, either. So what I suggest, if you want to understand how stock options work and so on, is go back and read about restricted stock units (RSU), about share options, about how when you issue an RSU it will affect the profit and loss, and if it affects profit and loss, how that will affect valuation and how when you go to listing, how it will affect everything," he said.