KUALA LUMPUR — September 19, 2017: Many Malaysians are upset with the claim by former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that he was not aware of the gravity of the forex losses by the central bank during his time in office.
“I may not fully comprehend all the science behind forex business but I do find it hilarious when our former minister of finance and prime minister feigned ignorance on most of the money flow in and out during their time,” commented Manal Ismail Al-Masry at Facebook.
Mahathir yesterday told the Royal Commission of Inquiry probing the matter that he did not know personally or in detail anything about the losses and profits of forex trading by Bank Negara in the early 90s.
He even said that he did not have any knowledge or reason to believe that Bank Negara’s activities on this went against banking laws.
The amount lost is said to be about RM31 billion but a Bank Negara annual report for one of the years in questioned put it at only RM5.7 billion.
Another Facebooker, Amir Hashim also expressed disbelieve about Mahathir’s claim of ignorance.
“It’s hilariously sad that some people actually believe it. Ridiculous!” he wrote.
“Mahathir, Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) and Daim (Tun Daim Zainuddin), a Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Deputy Finance Minister respectfully all claimed they don’t know about the losses? Even a three year old boy won’t believe this,” wrote Hock Lim.
On a report that Mahathir looked normal when told of the losses, Kistina Kawiem wrote, “It’s not his money, why does he have to care?”
The Facebooker speculated that Mahathir possibly knew about the losses.
“If you tell me that the Prime Minister (at that time) had no idea that his central bank was losing ten billion ringgit every year (or about 33 per cent of your country’s entire forex reserves) for three years straight, then this is gross incompetence,” she added.
“He (Mahathir) said he wasn’t involved in the Memali case and now he claims he is not aware of the forex scandal, meaning he was a prime minister who didn’t do his job. All he did was eat, sleep and repeat without responsibilities,” wrote Kazamatsuri Sho in the comment section of a news portal that also reported what Mahathir had told the RCI yesterday.
“RM30,000,000,000 loss and he doesn’t know, but Anwar’s sodomy case he knows. Go figure,” wrote another commentator, Mahmoud Al-Fiftithri.