Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad is adamant that he did not abuse his powers or was engaged in any corrupt practices in his 22-year tenure.
In fact, he said, his successors checked if he had pocketed any money and came up with naught.
“I know for a fact that both (fifth PM) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) investigated fully records of the government to find out if I had stolen money. There was none,” he told Channel News Asia in an interview.
Now an ardent critic of the government, he said there are some trying to compare the BMF scandal and foreign exchange scandal which happened in his time to the 1MDB case but they hardly hold a candle.
For both those scandals, he said, full investigations were carried out and papers presented to Parliament for debate.
“At no time did Parliament say I was guilty of anything, so how can you compare that with what Najib is doing now?” he asked.
He added that everything that he did during his tenure was by the book, including the mass arrests of dissidents under the now-defunct Internal Security Act.
“Show me where I haven’t abided by the law. You may not like what I did but it was according to the law, he said.
Is ex-PM Dr Mahathir, described by some as an authoritarian, really one to call out the current PM for corruption & abuse of power? #1MDB pic.twitter.com/9nDJmoOjfl
— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) June 19, 2017
Mahathir has been accused of ruling with an iron fist, with many opposition leaders bearing the brunt of his crackdowns.
Those on the receiving end included PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu – all of whom have buried the hatchet to accept Mahathir’s party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) into the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
However, there still appears to be resistance in allowing Mahathir much power in the coalition with Anwar seeking to limit executive powers granted to his former nemesis, even if Mahathir is appointed Harapan chairperson.
Others in the opposition, like former de facto law minister and now DAP member Zaid Ibrahim, however, believe Mahathir is a shoo-in for the PM post in a Harapan cabinet line-up.
Anwar, who was PM candidate for Harapan’s predecessor Pakatan Rakyat, is serving a five-year sentence for sodomy – a charge he continues to deny as a political conspiracy. He was jailed in February 2015.