World Bank row: Najib backs Dr M

Mahathir would not have surrendered the country to the controls of the IMF, says the prime minister.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today dismissed as “nonsense” accusations that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had sought loans from the World Bank.

He said it was Mahathir’s leadership that steered Malaysia out of the 1998 financial crisis, adding that he was also known for his distrust towards the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Any accusation that he (Mahathir) had written a letter (requesting aid from the World Bank) is nonsense,” Najib said in his speech at a gala dinner honouring the former premier here.

“Tun Dr Mahathir saved the economy in 1999… he would not have surrendered the country to the controls of the IMF under any circumstances,” he added.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had tried to turn the table against his archrival, claiming that Mahathir had personally asked for aid from the World Bank and produced documents to back his claims.

Anwar had always been portrayed as a “Western agent” by the former prime minister who justified his allegation by pointing to the former’s alleged request for IMF aid.

Mahathir retaliated by demanding that Anwar produce the supposed letter. PKR responded by furnishing World Bank records showing the Mahathir administration accepting financial aid from May 18, 1982 to the post-financial crisis period of March 30, 1999.

This included three loans for projects inked six months after Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister in September 1998.

Mahathir stands by his version

In his blog posting today, Mahathir maintained that he had never written any letter requesting for loan from the World Bank.

He said Malaysia had been taking loans from the World Bank since 1958, with the last being in 1997.

The funds, however, were only disbursed in 1999, which explained the records produced by PKR.

Mahathir reiterated his allegation that Anwar had favoured IMF policies which he said were detrimental to Malaysia’s sovereignty.