Dr M defends himself

By Leslie Lau, The Malaysian Insider

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has hit back at Barry Wain, the writer of a recently published book about the former prime minister, and denied charges that his administration squandered nearly RM100 billion through corruption and grandiose projects.

In a posting on his blog yesterday, Dr Mahathir made a point for point defence against the accusations leveled against him, and once again implied that Tun Abdullah Badawi wasted more public funds.

Wain, the former managing editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, recently released his book “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times,” in which he accuses Dr Mahathir of wasting RM100 billion in public funds during his tenure as PM.

Dr Mahathir had on Tuesday said he welcomed Lim Kit Siang’s call for the government to set up a royal commission to probe whether he “burned” RM100 billion.

In his latest blog posting, he directly references Wain’s accusations in the book.

“In Barry Wain’s book I was accused of losing Government money over the purchase of tin being sold by speculators. When the time came for them to deliver the tin, they could not deliver as they had no physical tin. But the London Metal Exchange ruled that the speculators need not honour the contract to sell to us.

“We lost money but not in billions of ringgit as alleged.”

He also acknowledged that Bank Negara had traded foreign currencies and lost money, but he denied that it was in the amount Wain imputed.

The third case in which Dr Mahathir defended himself was over losses made by Bank Bumiputera in Hong Kong in the 1980s.

“Altogether I don’t think the amount lost added up to RM10 billion even. If we had lost 100 billion ringgit the government would be in deep trouble. But although we did have poor growth during certain years, the government had never failed to meet all financial commitments including the servicing of loans. In fact we had enough money to prepay loans.

“The projects of course cost a lot of money. But the projects can be seen by the people.”

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