THE findings of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into Bank Negara Malaysia’s forex trading losses will not stop the opposition from wresting Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional, because none of the money that the bank lost went into Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s pockets, said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) leaders yesterday.
Bersatu deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir said everyone knew the RCI was politically motivated, and as such the findings would not diminish the people’s support for opposition pact Pakatan Harapan, or its leader Dr Mahathir.
“Everyone knows it is political. It has nothing to do with whether Bank Negara lost money or not. It is just politics,” he said.
He had earlier noted the probe’s unusual sequencing of events.
“It is rather strange that they should do the RCI first and then go to the police for investigation. The RCI should be the highest level of investigation. Tun (Dr) Mahathir’s statement was also omitted or deleted altogether from the report. I don’t think he has anything to hide,” said Mukhriz after attending a Bersatu roadshow in Tambun, Perak, last night.
RCI secretary Yusof Ismail lodged a report five days ago at Putrajaya’s police headquarters to enable the police to carry out an official investigation into criminal breach of trust, cheating and other offences that might have been committed by parties named in the commission’s report.
The RCI report had named the then-prime minister and then-finance minister, along with several government agencies and departments as parties responsible for the losses or for attempts to conceal the losses from Cabinet and Parliament.
The RCI was set up to probe the foreign exchange losses BNM sustained in the 1990s.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, in a speech to about 300 supporters in Tambun last night, said the RCI was hastily assembled by the government who was afraid of Dr Mahathir.
“They fear Dr Mahathir and this was the only way to put pressure and blame on him. It (BNM’s forex trading) was 30 years ago. I don’t think many here can remember what happened 30 years ago. Everything was done hastily and was quickly completed to prove Dr Mahathir committed an offence. It is clearly politically motivated,” said Muhyiddin.
He said the RCI report was also incomplete as it was produced without the 400-page statement of Dr Mahathir defending himself.
“We feel injustice has been done. The RCI demonstrates that when the government wants to do something, it can be done. However, when it comes to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue, which has caused great problems for Malaysia, nothing has been done,” he said.
Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun told reporters on Saturday that police would have to study the RCI report to identify the witnesses to be called in connection with the case.
Fuzi said the case was classified under Section 409 for criminal breach of trust (CBT).
Fuzi had earlier revealed that a special team, headed by Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh Ishar Singh, has been set up to investigate the findings of the RCI report
The RCI, in a 528-page report tabled in Parliament last week, said it believed that Anwar, the finance minister at the time, had misled the government and concealed the actual losses sustained by BNM speculating on the foreign exchange.
The RCI also reported it believed that Dr Mahathir, the prime minister then, had approved Anwar’s “misleading statements”.
The report revealed that the central bank’s losses over a period of three years came up to RM31.5 billion, far larger than the RM5.7 billion it reported.