The issue is not just about Bank Negara losing US$10 billion. The issue is Mahathir was the reason they lost US$10 billion. And the issue is Mahathir is pretending he knows very little about the matter. And the issue is Mahathir is pretending it is normal to lose money gambling on the forex market. And the issue is Mahathir is trying to make us believe the losses were all due to gambling and nothing was stolen or syphoned out. And the issue is his family is filthy rich and worth billions not because they are clever but because they stole billions from Bank Negara.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
For years Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been keeping mum about the US$10 billion that Bank Negara lost gambling on the forex market over four years from 1988 to 1992 — which today is worth about RM99 billion. Mahathir distanced himself from the whole thing and even appointed Anwar Ibrahim the new Finance Minister to replace Tun Daim Zainuddin in 1991 so that they both could insulate themselves from the disaster.
When the then Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang, raised the matter in Parliament, Mahathir kept quiet and did not utter a word. He made Anwar lie to Parliament by saying that the rumour regarding Bank Negara losing a lot of money gambling on the forex market was a lie.
By the following year they could no longer cover it up and Anwar was forced to admit to Parliament that Bank Negara did, in fact, lose money gambling on the forex market. But the amount was small and not as large as rumoured, and it was only a paper loss and not a physical or actual loss, Anwar told Parliament.
In all this while Mahathir kept quiet and did not utter a word, even when they lied to the Cabinet regarding both the nature and the amount of loss. Anwar told the Cabinet that it was ‘deferred expenditure’ and unrealised losses and that the figure was only RM5.7 billion. Mahathir not only pretended he was not involved in the matter but also pretended he was never informed about what was happening and knows nothing about it.
More on the matter can be read here: Mahathir And Daim Lied About The Forex Losses
In all this while, for the last 24 years, Mahathir never said a word. He asked Anwar to do all the talking and he told Anwar what lies to tell. Suddenly, now that the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) is about to get to the bottom of things and the truth is about to surface, Mahathir wants to start talking and knows so much about what happened 24 years ago.
But then, as usual, Mahathir is not only economical with the truth but, as usual, is giving his version of the truth. And how much he tells and what he tells fits in to what he wants the world to believe. And the story, as usual, makes him look innocent and makes others look guilty. That is typical Mahathir and his trademark. Mahathir should write one last book before he dies titled ‘The truth as I see it’ or ‘The truth lies in the eyes of the beholder’.
Anyway, you can read what Mahathir said, as reported by Malaysiakini, below. The key points to what Mahathir said are:
- Bank Negara’s forex losses were due to the bank’s failure to foresee the impact of the Maastricht Treaty.
- Trading in currency is a very profitable business but it also carries a risk.
- And Bank Negara lost in their betting. How they lost? Mahathir does not know.
- Bank Negara subsequently submitted a report to Parliament on how much it had lost. That is all the government knows.
- Bank Negara opened an office in London and Mahathir was invited to open that trading room. But other than that Mahathir does not know anything.
- Mahathir cannot remember the exact amount of losses but was informed it was around RM10 billion.
And that is Mahathir’s explanation and defence regarding how and why Bank Negara lost money gambling on the forex market, the amount which comes to US$10 billion but which Mahathir said he does not really know what the real figure is.
When Mahathir first became Prime Minister he called the Datuk Bandar to his office and told him to drive all over Kuala Lumpur with him. Mahathir then pointed out which trees to cut, where to plant new trees and flowers, where to put a fountain and so on. When they were renovating Subang Airport, Mahathir called in the architect and told him how the airport is to be designed, where to put the walkalators, what counter tops to use and from which country to order them, and so on.
So, if Mahathir is telling us he is blur and knows very little about what happened from 1988 to 1992 and how much and why Bank Negara lost so much money then, as usual, he is suffering from a serious case of SMS (Selective Memory Syndrome).