Sunday 3 June 2012

Dr M worried about skeletons in closet, says Kit Siang

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is concerned that questions over multi-billion ringgit financial scandals during his rule will resurface if Barisan Nasional (BN) loses to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the next general election, Lim Kit Siang said today.

The DAP adviser accused the country’s longest-serving prime minister of making baseless claims about the opposition in order to delay polls.

“The real reason why Mahathir is... making so many wild and preposterous statements is because the former prime minister is worried that the truth will be out about all the financial scandals during his 22-year premiership if PR forms the national government in next polls,” Lim said in a statement today.

The veteran opposition leader cited the 1992 foreign exchange (forex) market scandal as an example, estimating that Bank Negara Malaysia may have lost RM30 billion in the episode.

He said the central bank’s former deputy governor, Dr Rosli Yaakop, yesterday alleged in a Penang forum that Dr Mahathir was one of four individuals responsible for the losses.

Rosli had reportedly said that the three others were former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, former Bank Negara governor the late Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein, and current Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Economic Planning Unit Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

“The order to go and make money in the forex market was from Daim with Dr Mahathir’s blessing,” Rosli was quoted as saying by Lim.

However, Rosli implicated Nor Mohamed for the losses arising from speculating in the foreign exchange market.

Lim said that Bank Negara had gambled on the British currency, but “when the pound was devalued, Bank Negara lost US$5.5. billion... (and) then claimed it was only paper loss of RM9.3 billion.”

The Ipoh Timor MP added that “Rosli said experts estimated Bank Negara’s exposure for having lost that much was US$ 27 to US$ 33 billion, which was five times more than its foreign reserves and its entire assets of US$20.7 billion in 1992.”

“Bank Negara claimed RM10.1 billion loss in 1992 and RM5.7 billion in 1993,” said Lim, which Rosli had said is “schematically understated.”

Rosli had said that losses could be hidden through revaluation of Bank Negara’s gold holding and quoted investment.

According to Lim, Rosli had said there were criminal elements of negligence, overstepping of power, falsification of accounts, creative accounting, misinformation, breach of trust and corruption.

If PR wins the upcoming election, Lim said, “there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the RM30 billion Bank Negara forex losses scandal in 1992... (and) other financial scandals during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership.”

Among Dr Mahathir’s recent remarks was a claim on his blog last Friday that the recent Bersih rallies for electoral reforms were “preparation to reject the results of the 13th general election should the opposition fail to win it.”

“Their defeat will be followed by violent demonstrations that will go on and on so that the election results are rejected and a new government is put in place, that is approved by the opposition,” Dr Mahathir wrote.

The still influential Dr Mahathir had also said this week that BN is still weak because of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s tenure as prime minister, which Lim claims is a recurring theme used by the former premier to stall polls.

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