Those billions which EPF helped Bank Negara make should have gone to those EPF depositors. Instead it went to Bank Negara to cover the bank’s losses. And because of that EPF had to pay its depositors a smaller dividend. And people were left wondering why EPF’s dividend payout was getting smaller and smaller. Well, that was because EPF was helping Bank Negara hide RM25.8 billion in losses by transferring EPF’s profits to Bank Negara.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Last Thursday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer, Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla, issued a statement saying that Anwar Ibrahim did not lie to the Cabinet back in 1994. But then Mahathir said he does not know what happened because the Bank Negara Governor and not him was in charge. So how would Mahathir’s lawyer know that Anwar did not lie to the Cabinet back in 1994? If you do not know what happened then you would not know whether Anwar did or did not lie.
The problem is in 1993 Anwar lied to Parliament by saying Bank Negara did not lose any money gambling on the forex market and that the rumours were lies. Then, in 1994, Anwar admitted to Parliament that Bank Negara did, in fact, lose money from 1988 to 1992 but then the losses were small and only ‘paper losses’.
Anwar then told the Cabinet something else — that Bank Negara lost only RM5.7 billion but it was ‘deferred expenditure’ and ‘unrealised losses’.
Lim Kit Siang, however, disputed this and said Anwar lied and that Bank Negara’s losses were actually RM30 billion. And for more than 20 years since 1994 Kit Siang has been repeating this mantra and has been asking for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be set up to establish the truth.
Mahathir’s statement yesterday, issued through his lawyer, that the Cabinet was told the truth back in 1994 was a serious mistake. His lawyer should have advised Mahathir to not issue this statement. Only a stupid lawyer would issue such a statement and end up digging an even deeper hole, which this time Mahathir may find difficulty getting out of.
The suggestion that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should have testified at the RCI is also stupid. All the RCI needs to do is to review the Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting and the Parliament Hansards to see what was said in 1994. You can even read the Parliament Hansards on the Internet. What Parliament and the Cabinet were told are all on record.
When lawyers issue a statement on behalf of their client it is always at the behest of the client. Lawyers would never commit themselves to anything unless they first refer to the client and take instructions from the client. Therefore the statement that Mahathir’s lawyer issued yesterday is at his behest and based on his instructions.
Mahathir’s lawyer should have advised him to stop talking and not make any statement that damages things even further. As it is the ‘official’ figure that Bank Negara lost gambling on the forex market is RM5.7 billion. But then Bank Negara lost RM31.5 billion. So about RM25.8 billion is unaccounted for or is ‘missing in action’.
The fact that Bank Negara ‘officially’ lost RM5.7 billion is one thing. More importantly is what happened to another RM25.8 billion and why has this loss not been declared? And if the loss, as Mahathir said, is ‘normal’ (because when you gamble sometimes you win and sometimes you lose) then why the need to hide this loss? Why not declare it?
This is a more important point. It is not about the RM5.7 billion declared loss but the RM25.8 billion undeclared loss. And if the undeclared loss of RM25.8 billion was not lost gambling on the forex market then it must have been lost in ‘other ways’. And what ‘other way’ was this RM25.8 billion lost?