Dr Mahathir Mohamad keeps shifting the goalpost to divert people’s attention from his many blunders.
When he first announced the scrapping of China-backed projects to help the Government of Malaysia (GoM) reduce its debt, he never once pointed his finger at Jho Low or accused the Penang born billionaire of contributing to that debt.
But the minute Moody’s rubbished his 80.3 percent Debt-to-GDP ratio claim, Low quickly became the scapegoat and was accused of manipulating deals Najib entered with the Chinese government.
I am told, Mahathir even insisted that the charges (brought against Najib recently) be timed to coincide with Equanimity’s arrival at port Klang to rub in the idea that “the purchase of the yacht had something to do with money stolen from 1MDB.”
THE THIRD FORCE
Dr Mahathir Mohamad returned as Prime Minister of Malaysia on the 10th of May 2018. The very next day, he announced that the national debt had exceeded RM1 trillion due to corruption by the Najib administration. The weeks that followed saw him plucking incomprehensible debt-to-GDP ratios from out of thin air to impress upon investors that our economy was going bust. He then announced the scrapping of China-backed projects to help the Government of Malaysia (GoM) reduce its debt.
Low was never once in the picture.
The only time you would ever hear Mahathir speak his name was when reporters posed questions regarding his whereabouts. Mahathir repeatedly gave the impression that Jho Low was a fugitive on the run that the authorities in China, Switzerland and the United States (US) were trying to trace. But not only was Low free to criss-cross these nations, a quick check by The Third Force revealed that Malaysia never once made formal requests to the authorities of these nations to trace the Penang born billionaire’s whereabouts.
As a matter of fact, the GoM even confirmed that Low had communicated with Malaysian authorities and agreed to extend his full cooperation. Not once was the billionaire accused of contributing to the nation’s debt or manipulating Najib’s dealings with China. The only excuse Mahathir would ever use for wanting to scrap China backed projects was that the projects were overpriced and lopsided in favour of the Chinese government. Malaysians were led to believe that the projects contributed heavily to the national debt and soared our Debt-to-GDP ratio to proportions that nearly bankrupted our country.
But analysts disagreed.
A 13th of June 2018 report by the internationally acclaimed Moody’s Investors Service maintained that the ratio was 50.8 percent and refuted claims by Mahathir that the national debt exceeded the RM1 trillion mark. Several other analysts questioned the GoM’s motives in provoking China and noted that a significant number of Chinese-backed projects did not construe as debts, but investment.
The heat was on Mahathir.
So intense, he decided to drag Low into the picture by linking the billionaire with deals Najib signed with China. Mahathir raised suspicion that Low helped negotiate those deals though the kitchen door with the Chinese government on behalf of Najib. He then sent Daim Zainuddin to meet Low in China in hopes that the billionaire would help float the story that “Najib wanted the Chinese government to repay 1MDB debts.” Daim was supposed to use that story to convince Chinese premier Li Keqiang that Malaysia needed to renegotiate deals “just to be sure everything was proper.”
But things hit a snag.
Moments before Daim’s scheduled meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, the MACC was instructed by its head, Dato’ Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, to conduct two raids on offices linked to a Chinese state-owned firm that the DAP’s Tony Pua informed Shukri was linked to 1MDB. The raids told Wang that the GoM was not there to “put things in order” but to intimidate China into a state of submission. Bitter and aghast, he warned Daim “never to cross the diplomatic line again” and triggered a temporary ban on the signing of new deals with Malaysia.
Wang’s fit of fury sept through the internet like a tornado and forced Mahathir to scramble into damage control mode. It is highly likely that he arranged for Najib to be charged under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001 to shift conversations away from Daim’s China trip. I am told, Mahathir insisted that the charges be timed to coincide with Equanimity’s arrival at port Klang to rub in the idea that “the purchase of the yacht had something to do with money stolen from 1MDB.”
But he failed to heed the 48 hour notice I gave him to prove that Equanimity was purchased using 1MDB money
What this means, is that Mahathir is going to shift the goalpost yet again and is likely to throw more charges at Najib in the coming days…