Thursday 1 March 2012

Daim first, Kit Siang says of Dr M’s ‘all Tuns’ audit, including sons and grandsons of Tuns

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — A royal commission of inquiry (RCI) should look into Tun Daim Zainuddin’s role in allegedly losing billions of ringgit during the Mahathir administration, Lim Kit Siang said today.

The DAP parliamentary leader agreed with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that “all Tuns” should be audited, especially his successor Tun Abdullah Badawi, and said former finance minister Daim must not be left out.

“The other Tun I can think of is Tun Daim Zainuddin, who was Mahathir’s finance minister twice and played a key role in many of the financial scandals in the Mahathir era,” Lim said in a statement today.

Dr Mahathir, prime minister from 1981 to 2003, said today he would accept an audit on his administration after Lim claimed taxpayers lost RM100 billion in financial scandals during the former’s 22-year tenure.

“But all Tuns must be audited. The sons and grandsons of Tuns as well,” he said in an apparent reference to his successor, Abdullah.

Dr Mahathir has repeatedly criticised Abdullah since 2005, accusing the latter of nepotism by allowing son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin to wield power in the prime minister’s office and encouraging corruption.

Lim also said today the RCI would help determine if the Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MAS) “double bailout” was triggered by the RM30 billion 1992/93 Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) forex scandal, among others.

He added that it was up to Dr Mahathir to clarify if the proposed full audit and accounting into losses caused by alleged financial scandals should also be extended to cover Abdullah’s five-year premiership.

Lim last week called on Putrajaya to perform a full review on the billions in losses it incurred from financial scandals during Dr Mahathir’s tenure.

The Ipoh Timur MP said such scrutiny was needed as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared not to have learned lessons from the scandals, which he asserted had cost the nation some RM100 billion.

He cited Putrajaya’s move to settle out-of-court with Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli as an example of how the federal bailouts of companies have not abated under Najib.

Tajudin was recently freed from a RM580 million debt resulting from the loan he had taken to purchase MAS in 1994, after agreeing to an out-of-court settlement initiated by the government.

But in his court affidavits earlier, the former MAS chairman claimed it was Dr Mahathir, then prime minister, who had made him purchase the controlling stake in MAS at the time.

According to Tajudin, this was to help bail out BNM after the central bank suffered massive foreign exchange losses, due partly to speculation in foreign currency markets.

Describing this as “national service”, Tajudin also claimed the airline purchase had come with an “overriding agreement” that indemnified him against any losses suffered.

But Dr Mahathir in his autobiography published last March denied that he had forced Tajudin to purchase MAS in 1994 for RM1.8 billion, claiming instead the latter was “elated” over his purchase.

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