Dec 25, 2009

Tun Mahathir dares Barry Wain to prove allegations

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has challenged author of "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" to provide documented proof that he had burnt RM100bil during his tenure as prime minister.

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.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that during his 22-year tenure as the prime minister, Petronas had paid the government RM126bil.

Whereas during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s five-year tenure, Petronas had paid RM270bil as it enjoyed unprecedented profits due to high oil price.

The former premier 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 RM100bil 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, he added.

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 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.

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