The former PM and two of his finance ministers must be held accountable for the 'missing' billions in compensation paid by the Japanese to Malaysia.
Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as previous finance ministers Anwar Ibrahim and Daim Zainuddin must explain what happened to the RM207 billion in compensation paid by Japan to the Malaysian government, said prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin today.
“Both the finance minister as well as the prime minister must be held accountable for any wrongdoings and transgressions,” said Raja Petra, better known as RPK, in his blog posting.
During World War II, the Japanese had conscripted over 30,000 Malayans as forced labour and used prisoners of war to build the infamous Death Railway to boost its supply route for its forces in Malaya and nearby Asian countries.
The Japanese Embassy revealed that it had paid RM207 billion in compensation to the Malaysian government in the 90s for families of victims.
Raja Petra also supported opposition advisor Lim Kit Siang’s call that Daim, the one-time finance minister, must be held accountable for wrongdoings and transgressions during his watch and that he could not just wash his hands and shift the blame solely to Mahathir.
Kit Siang said: “Anwar Ibrahim, the finance minister from 1991 to 1998, must also be accountable for whatever happened during his watch. Prior to that, from 1984 to 1991, Daim was the finance minister and was reappointed in 1998 after Anwar was sacked.”
Raja Petra said although the ‘missing’ RM207 billion was a good election issue and favourable to the opposition, it could have repercussions on Pakatan Rakyat if the allegations were true.
“If the government were to release information to prove that Anwar had a hand in the matter yet chooses to remain silent, this issue could backfire badly on the opposition,” he said.
Anwar should go public
He said Anwar could easily settle the issue by denying knowledge of the matter, or say that the money was “hijacked” at the behest of Mahathir and that the matter was beyond his (Anwar’s) control.
“From my dealings with the finance ministry since 1977, I’m aware that the ministry has certain autonomy and has been known to override the wishes of the prime minister,” he said.
He explained that the prime minister’s department, finance ministry, and Bank Negara are very protective of their respective turfs and were careful about infringing on each other’s territory.
“The relationship of the prime minister, finance minister, economic adviser to the government, and Bank Negara governor was a complicated relationship and we never knew at each point of time who we should be talking to if we wanted things done,” he said.
“Each was the boss of his own turf. Anwar knows this and hence should go public so that Malaysians can get to the truth of the matter because RM207 billion is a lot of money.
“The truth should not remain hidden,” said RPK.