The ISA versus the RCI

Mahathir says the RCI on the Bank Negara forex scandal is being held in bad faith (mala fide) and not in good faith (bona fide). Mahathir says he is being subjected to persecution and intimidation and that the RCI is politically motivated — just like how he used the ISA against his critics and to stifle dissent in the past. Mahathir knows the end is near and it frightens him.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The story making its rounds back in 1997 is that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had a falling out with Anwar Ibrahim over how to handle the Asian Financial Crisis. Anwar invited Michel Camdessus of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Malaysia to meet Mahathir to discuss how the IMF could help bail out Malaysia like it did many other Asian countries.

IMF’s terms, however, were too stringent. They would not allow the money to be used to bail out Mahathir’s sons and cronies. And there would have to be major reforms introduced to Malaysia. Mahathir did not agree and told Anwar that Malaysia does need the IMF when they have the EPF. Mahathir will use EPF funds instead.

In September 1998, Anwar revealed this secret about the IMF meeting and how Mahathir bailed out his sons and cronies using taxpayers’ money. Anwar told the crowd of thousands that Mahathir asked Petronas to buy Mirzan’s shipping company for RM2 billion when it was worth only worth half that.

Mahathir was so angry that these secrets, some involving his sons, were revealed that he ordered the IGP to detain Anwar under the Internal Security Act (ISA). The US State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc., came out with report after report, every year, accusing Mahathir of using the ISA to silence his critics and to stifle dissent. The ISA was Mahathir’s personal weapon to punish those who disagreed with him.

Mahathir says Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is using the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to silence his critics and to stifle dissent. That is what they used to say about Mahathir and now Mahathir is alleging this same thing about Najib. Is Mahathir saying the RCI is another form of ISA?

But then it is Lim Kit Siang who since 1993 has been asking for the RCI on the Bank Negara RM31.5 billion forex scandal. And Kit Siang says he has never changed his stand and still wants the RCI to be held. So why does Mahathir not talk to Kit Siang instead and ask that Chinaman to announce he no longer wants the RCI to be held? Why blame Najib for something that Kit Siang wants?

Mahathir tried many times to block the RCI from being held. He even went to court and tried to get it blocked through legal means. But he failed. And now that the RCI has revealed many secrets we can understand why Mahathir is so scared about what the RCI will uncover. And now Mahathir is saying that the RCI is being held in bad faith (mala fide) and not in good faith (bona fide).

It does not matter whether it is mala fide or bona fide. As Deng Xiaoping said, “Never mind whether it is a black cat or a white cat just as long as it catches a mouse.” So in this case never mind if the RCI is mala fide or bona fide just as long as it flushes all the rats out. And for sure all the rats are being flushed out.

Back in 1998 Mahathir boasted that while all the other countries needed the help of the IMF, Malaysia managed to solve its financial problems without any bailouts. Now we know that is not true. Mahathir secretly used the EPF to bail out the many companies in trouble. And he got very angry when Anwar revealed this — and Mahathir used the ISA against Anwar.

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