Mahathir dares Barry Wain
Mahathir dares Barry Wain to prove allegations in his book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir in Turbulent Times.
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has challenged the author to provide documented proof that he had wasted RM100bil during his tenure as PM. Dr Mahathir said he reserved his right to sue author Barry Wain, who is with Singapore think-tank Southeast Asian studies, for libel.
He said the country would have been in deep financial trouble if it had lost such a hefty sum, adding that the government had honoured its financial commitments even during slow economic growth. Highlighting three instances that cost Malaysia a fortune, Dr Mahathir had stressed in his blog that the quantum of losses could not have exceeded RM10bil.
He attributed the losses
- to London Metal Exchange ruling that its tin speculators need not honour contract to sell tin as they did not physically have the produce
- to Bank Negara's trading of foreign currencies, and
- to Bank Bumiputra's losses in Hong Kong.
"Altogether I don't think the amount lost added up to RM10bil even," said Dr Mahathir.
He also pointed out that during his 22 years as the prime minister of Malaysia, Petronas had paid the government RM126 billion. Whereas during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's five-year tenure, Petronas had paid RM270bil as it enjoyed unprecedented profits due to high oil prices.
He also welcomed DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang's proposal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a royal commission to ascertain if he had burnt RM100 billion on grandiose projects and on corruption.
Dr Mahathir said the commission should comprise foreigners and representatives from Transparency International, and that it should also investigate Abdullah's regime to ascertain which projects were financed using Petronas funds and the costs involved.
The commission should also investigate the amount of losses due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and Johor Baru-Padang Besar railway projects.
Dr Mahathir said the proposed commission should be given full access to government documents and accounts for the period between 1981 and 2009, adding there should be no cover up.
"Depending upon the result of the commission, I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and Malaysiakini.com for libel for a sum to be disclosed later," he said. Dr Mahathir also said that Wain would not criticise Singapore leaders as his colleagues who had written such stuff had been found guilty of defamation.
Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times
By Barry Wain
Mahathir Mohamad turned Malaysia into one of the developing worlds most successful economies. He adopted pragmatic economic policies alongside repressive political measures and showed that Islam was compatible with representative government and modernization.
He emerged as a Third World champion and Islamic spokesman by standing up to the West.
About the Author
BARRY WAIN, a former editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, is Writer-in-Residence at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. An Australian journalist who has lived in Asia for 37 years, he is author of The Refused, an account of the refugee outflow from Indochina after the Vietnam War.
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