CNN interview with Mahathir was meant as a diversion from Daim’s failed China trip

TTF: Dr Mahathir Mohamad told CNN that he inherited a government riddled with corruption and untrustworthy officials.

Of course, the statement triggered frenzy among supporters of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and curiosity among readers of The Third Force.

Many an irritate reader got in touch with me and asked me to issue a sharp rebuke.

Some wanted me to point out that the corruption Mahathir is talking about stems from a culture he himself pervaded the entire administrative strata with back in the eighties and nineties.

Others wanted me to note that the government Mahathir currently leads is akin to “old wine poured into a new bottle,” with key ministerial portfolios currently held by UMNO and PAS rejects who dumped all their filth into Pakatan Harapan.

But that’s precisely what the Prime Minister wants me to do.

He wants me to harp on his interview with the CNN to shift conversations away from Daim’s failed trip to China.

On the 23rd of July 2018, I wrote (in red):

Daim was supposed to seal off a blanket agreement with China’s State Council regarding energy and infrastructure related projects worth some RM200 billion. The deal was supposed to be a sure thing given Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s willingness to venture with China in drilling the western edge of the South China Sea. Everything was going as planned until Dato’ Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull came into the picture. On Monday, the 18th of July 2018, the MACC head got his men to raid two Chinese state-owned entities that were involved with three mega-projects with links to China.

Daim was stumped.

So said The Strait Times Singapore, which added that the CEP elder, who came to know what happened moments before his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “told Beijing that the raids were unfortunate.” An MACC insider who spoke to The Third Force (TTF) on condition of anonymity said more or less the same thing but added that Wang didn’t believe a word Daim said. According to him, the Chinese Foreign Minister warned the CEP elder “never to cross the diplomatic line” and accused Malaysia of intimidating China. A furious Daim called Shukri up moments after the meeting and gave the MACC chief a piece of his mind.

The most poignant of words used by Daim was this:

“Shukri, if you wanted to slap my face, you should have waited for me to come back to Malaysia.”

Then, on Tuesday, I added:

Negotiations are now ongoing between Yinson (Mokhzani Mahathir owned), DRB-Hicom (Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary owned), Melati Pertiwi (also Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary owned) and one or two board members from Gamuda Berhad, Avenue Assets (Mokhzani Mahathir owned) and Sime Darby properties (chaired by Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz) each to effect a multi-channeled cross-holding that involves subsidiaries of these companies.

The share swap arrangement is said to involve energy and infrastructure related projects and was contingent upon Daim Zainuddin’s ability to renegotiate terms associated with the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) and the High-Speed Railway (HSR) projects with Chinse premier Li Keqiang.

But the negotiations have since fallen apart.

It’s the falling apart of these negotiations that brought about the CNN ‘interview’.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that he inherited a government riddled with corruption and untrustworthy officials.

“From outside we saw the damage, but we never expected the damage to be so extensive,” he said in an interview with CNN.

“Most of the top echelon in the Government are corrupt,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also said that he has to work with people who are suspect.

“It’s a very difficult job, if you don’t work with people you trust, you don’t know whether what you want them to do will be done or not,” he was quoted as saying.

The CNN report also touched on succession plans after Dr Mahathir steps down as premier.

Before the 14th General Election, Pakatan Harapan had announced that Dr Mahathir would be premier for two years before handing over the reins to PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“If the condition for us working together is my serving as Prime Minister for two years or three years, for me that is not important.

“I will abide by the wishes of the people,” Dr Mahathir said.

Despite the chequered history between the pair, Dr Mahathir told CNN that his personal opinion about Anwar did not matter.

“I have to trust him – whether I like it or not. I can’t be here all the time,” he said, adding that if people wanted him to serve beyond the time agreed with his coalition partners, he would.

In 1998, Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar from the Cabinet over sodomy charges which triggered the formation of PKR and the Reformasi movement.

Before GE14, Dr Mahathir formed a pact with the Pakatan Harapan coalition which included Anwar’s party to help wrest Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional.

Source: The Star Online

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