How can we tell if Pakatan leaders are genuinely committed to reform, and they’re not out to con us? Simple, we observe their reaction to the following: Mahathir and Anwar, the dynamic duo of the 1990s, may have committed serious offenses while in office. This was among the findings of the exhaustive Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the Bank Negara Malaysia forex scandal, which resulted in mind-blowing losses of RM31.5 billion. Care to guess what famously consistent Lim Kit Siang had to say about that?
DAP’s conscience-in-chief spent decades agitating for a formal inquiry into the subject. Why, only a few years ago, Kit Siang was still blasting Mahathir over the scandal. But now that he’s finally gotten his wish, he calls it a distraction. Boy, I didn’t see this coming, did you? Why should we expect his cynical alliance with Mahathir and Anwar to be shaken by credible allegations of wrongdoing? At this point, why should anything?
To the entire Pakatan industrial complex – an incestuous web of politicians, activists, journalists, and opinion writers – winning elections trumps absolutely everything else. We shouldn’t mistake their impassioned ranting about government scandals and wrongdoing as anything more than obligatory, theatrical bullsh*t. As proof, just look at their four most common objections to the RCI findings.
Objection #1: Why now? Why wasn’t the RCI formed 25 years ago? The timing is awfully suspicious.
Ahh, the standard defense of pedophiles and sexual harassers everywhere: ‘Why accuse me now? This is all a crazy plot by my enemies!’ Pakatan seems to be taking cues from Roy Moore, the accused pedophile running to be a US Senator: Blame the timing of well-sourced allegations, call them a distraction, and accuse your opponents of elaborate conspiracy. Rinse and repeat.
Never mind that focusing on the timing of the allegations is itself a distraction from the allegations. Fact: Time has no bearing on whether something is true or not – a concept even schoolchildren understand.
Moreover, it was always silly to expect the RCI to be formed decades ago. Mahathir used dictatorial powers to quash any and all dissent. Just ask Anwar and Kit Siang, who both saw the insides of a jail cell, albeit for different reasons. And even after he left office, Mahathir still exerted a stranglehold on Malaysian politics – thanks to the loyalists he installed at every level of government.
It’s only now that the blinders have come off and people are seeing Mahathir as who he really is. Malaysians are entitled to the truth regardless of its inconvenience to Pakatan leaders and their immediate political ambitions.
Objection #2: The RCI findings are politically motivated.
You’re telling me that Mahathir’s and Kit Siang’s obsession with 1MDB isn’t politically motivated? Does anyone believe that Mahathir would be so gleefully attacking Najib if the latter had kowtowed to him? Does anyone believe that Kit Siang would be so shamelessly protective of Mahathir and his legacy if the latter hadn’t switched sides?
Give me a break. Apparently, we’re expected to give the benefit of the doubt to people who repeatedly condemned Mahathir for the countless scandals that transpired under his watch, but now have no qualms defending him over the same. What changed? Here’s an idea: politics!
Objection #3: So what? The forex scandal isn’t a big deal. It was never as bad as the 1MDB fiasco.
Wrong. Remember that the RM31.5 billion lost through the forex scandal can never be recovered. Say what you want about 1MDB, but the firm remains flush with assets that can be leveraged to pay off debt and perhaps (eventually) turn a profit. Not so with the BNM forex scandal, that lonely child of reckless currency trading. Lim Kit Siang wasn’t exaggerating at all when, in 1994, he called it “the greatest financial and banking scandal in Malaysian history.”