Najib Razak, Malaysia's prime minister, left, listens to Johari Abdul Ghani, Malaysia's second finance minister, at a Barisan Nasional event in the Titiwangsa area in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Razak warned his ethnic Malay support base that Islam would be threatened and they would be reduced to “beggars” should the opposition take power. Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

‘Not only have you turn a blind eye to 1MDB but you are abetting MO1.’

‘Dear Tun Mahathir’ letter from Johari

Cogito Ergo Sum: It probably was a gamble to play the forex market in 1992-1994. If the gamble had worked, the national coffers would have been all the more enriched. But it failed.

However, 1MDB is theft; not a gamble. No matter how you look at it, the culpability of theft far exceeds that of a bet gone wrong.

By this explanation, the minister is trying to ignore the obvious by highlighting what was a miscalculated and amateurish bet with a premeditated act of theft that has international repercussions.

Sorry sir, we are all not ignorant people, as you and your party would believe.

Anonymous_1371488694: Indeed, while I don’t condone the bad judgement shown by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his cabinet in using Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to speculate on the forex in the 1990s, there is a world of difference between bad decisions and theft.

Democrat: “BNM and the country have since come a long way, particularly in instituting the necessary reforms and check and balance with regard to its foreign exchange forward transaction activities,” said Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani.

This is rubbish. How could BNM allow the 1MDB transactions and transfer of billions into the prime minister’s account?

Anonymous #21828131: Yes, I especially like that part where Johari wrote about how BNM has come a long way ever since the forex losses, particularly in instituting the reforms and changes which, I suppose, resulted in the money laundering that has become the largest kleptocracy in Malaysia as acknowledged by US attorney-general Jeff Sessions at the recent Global Forum on Asset Recovery held earlier this month.

As the second finance minister, how come we were not represented by Johari at this forum, or was he too ashamed to attend?

The least you could have done is to send 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy or 1MDB chairperson Irwan Serigar who can give direct answers with regards to the company’s financial woes.

The rakyat are angry that laundered money estimated at RM2.6 billion landed in Malaysian Official 1’s (MO1) bank account and yet no one is held responsible.

Legit: While it is sickening to the stomach to note the amount of money lost in the forex scandal in the 1990s, we can console ourselves that it was a transaction loss because some stupid fools in BNM were using taxpayers’ money to trade in the forex market for which they should be banned from government service forever.

On the other hand, the huge outflow of money from 2013-2015 was all done under the guise of 1MDB investments abroad whereas in actual fact, it was theft. MO1 and the rest of the alleged criminals should have long been arrested.

Instead, they are allowed by Umno to be leaders and further plunder our nation of its wealth.

Anonymous: The forex probe is just a political ploy to discredit opposition politicians before the general elections (GE14).

If the government has the interests of the people at heart, such inquiries should have been done in the 1980s and not 30 years later.

We do not need to be political scientists to realise the hidden agenda behind the move to condemn Mahathir.

I’m not surprised that these same people were singing his praises during those times when they were benefiting from the system.

Leaders do make mistakes but wholesale fraud to the extent that it is being investigated internationally is not a mistake – it is an intention to defraud.

Oxymoronictendencies: I’m interested to know how Johari defines “independent” in terms of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) “independent team” investigating the report of the recent royal commission of inquiry (RCI), to which he refers in his open letter to Mahathir.

In recent years the perception, if not the reality, is that there is very little done “independently” by PDRM, especially when it comes to something as politically charged and driven as the RCI into the forex losses which appears to have chosen to ignore, or at least omit, key evidence; and was completed with almost indecent haste.

But “thank you” to Johari for his detailed and simple explanation, which sadly leaves me even more confused.

Anticonmen: Any venture which involves the people’s coffers that does not get the approval of Parliament is deemed as criminal breach of trust (CBT) and/or theft.

Indeed, Mahathir and his ilk started the dismantling of constitutional controls, especially the removal of parliamentary controls that resulted in the treatment of BNM funds and other funds as Umno’s personal kitty.

Parliament must reinstate this financial control by ensuring all funds are under the federal budget and nothing can be spent without its approval and scrutiny. There should be no such thing as ‘off-budget’ entities such as Petronas or 1MDB.

But it is indeed true that the leadership and financial controls started to fail under Mahathir.

Mosquitobrain: Malaysia has managed to stand tall over the last two decades despite the forex loses more than 20 years ago.

However, today with the alleged 1MDB money-laundering of RM2.6 billion and SRC International’s RM42 million – money which was found in MO1’s personal bank accounts – these have made Malaysia a laughing stock to the world.

Not only have you chosen to turn a blind eye to this but you are abetting MO1 despite his alleged wrongdoings.

Continue to make hay while the sun still shines. And while you’re at it, Johari, go tell MO1 there are many ways to outdo his mentor. But not through allegedly cheating and stealing public funds.

6th Generation Immigrant: Whether or not it is 1992 or 2017, whether it is Mahathir or PM Najib Razak and whether it was foreign exchange gambling or 1MDB land speculations, does not really matter.

There are two common denominations in all of the above – the rakyat and taxpayers did not have a say at all in all the shenanigans mentioned above, and all the above decisions were proposed and executed by Umno and its leaders of the day.

Whatever said and done, Umno can never come out of 1981-2017 trying to smell like a rose. Ever heard of the adage “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”? Well, this applies equally to Umno under Mahathir and Umno under Najib.

– M’kini