Why is the government afraid in allowing for a debate? Is there is anything that the government wants to protect?

By P Ramasamy

COMMENT

Malaysia is perhaps one of the few countries that engages in excessive politics to the point where the public has little or no confidence in the government of the day.

Financial and other scandals have been so politicised that the public pays little attention to the reports or findings of these scandals.

The RCI Report on forex trading incurred that hefty financial losses in the 1990s is a fine example of a major political exercise by the government in power to discredit the principal opposition leaders like Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim.

The government was not really interested in investigating the losses suffered to the tune of RM31.5 billion but more keen on putting the blame on Mahathir and Anwar, who were then the prime minister and minister of finance.

In other words, the BN government was more keen to discredit the opposition from gaining votes in the coming next general election.

There is no such thing as a time bar in investigating and exposing financial scandals or other wrong doings.

But why investigate a scandal that occurred in the 1990s but leave alone other equally serious scandals that have happened a few years ago, for example, the 1MDB financial fiasco that cost the Malaysian taxpayers around RM50 billion.

I would agree that RCI was needed for the forex losses, but I would also agree that we need another one for the 1MDB colossal fiasco.

While the BN government was quick to announce the RCI for the Bank Negara forex scandal, it refuses to appoint one for the “mother” of all scandals, the 1MDB!

I am not saying that Mahathir, Anwar or Mohammed Nor Yakop are innocent just because the “crime” might have taken place 18 years ago.

But surely, Najib is equally tainted with the 1MDB fiasco, having being named as the principal person behind the scandal by none other than the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The RCI was set up for political reasons. So that the BN government could face the general election scheduled soon with a weakened opposition.

After the RCI rReport was presented in the parliament, a police report was lodged by the secretary to allow for police investigations to proceed.

It is strange that a report on a major financial scandal that occurred in the early 19990s that caused a major financial blow to the nation could be exempted from being debated.

Why is the BN government afraid in allowing for a debate? Is there is anything that the government wants to protect?

While Lim Kit Siang, DAP’s opposite leader, feels vindicated that the financial losses suffered due to forex trading amounting to RM31.5 billion came close to his own calculation about 18 years ago.

There are others who think that the actual financial forex “adventurism” could be probably be less given the ringgit depreciation in relation to the US dollar in the early 1990s.

In the initial phase of trading, the value of the ringgit to the US dollar was around 2.4, but within one or two years, the value dropped to 2.8.

Given this, it is estimated that the losses could be less, certainly not the figure announced by the RCI report.

The question arises why did not the report consider currency depreciation in estimating the value of the losses? Was this an oversight or deliberate?

Was this a deliberate act to embarrass certain leaders in the opposition that the losses suffered as result of their own irresponsibility were nearly equal to the looses suffered due to the 1MDB scandal?

In more simplistic terms, was there a deliberate attempt to bring the losses suffered as result of forex trading to nearer to the RM50 billion mark (losses suffered under the 1MDB scandal).

As long as the top leaders of the country are not clean or corrupted, there is nothing good is going to result from appointing commissions or committees to investigate financial and other forms of scandals.

P Ramasamy is Penang Deputy Chief Minister 2

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