Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s apology to the country’s constitutional monarch for removing the need for a royal assent to enforce new statute will not be enough to cleanse away all his “sins” to the nation.
Former Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) president Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim said Dr Mahathir dragged the royal institution through the filth, mud and dirt without any ceremony when he was the prime minister.
He said Mahathir made up so much stories of scandals tainted with falsehoods to cause public disaffection and apprehension against the Malay Rulers.
“His disparagement against the rulers was sufficient to charge Mahathir for treason,” Tunku Abdul Aziz, a former special adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told Malaysia Outlook.
“Now he apologises? It’s too little too late.”
Tunku Abdul Aziz indeed demanded Dr Mahathir to applogise to the entire nation for all his alleged wrongdoings, financial scandals and undemocratic abuses that took place during his 22-year premiership tenure.
He said Dr Mahathir should acknowledge and concede that most of the country’s problems today were attributable to his mismanagement and misdemeanor for decades.
He said Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar was spot on to tell off Mahathir that: “He is the root cause of the present problems in the country.”
Tunku Abdul Aziz said even an open apology to the monarch and the people however, would not make amends for Mahathir’s iniquities as damages done to the country were irreversible.
Mahathir yesterday apologised for amending the Federal Constitution by removing the need for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s signature and approval in lawmaking.
Tunku Abdul Aziz reminded Mahathir that he abused his power and even breached the laws to gamble public funds in various financial speculations that had cost the nation billions.
Tunku Abdul Aziz cited the billions lost in the foreign exchange and international tin market, through the Maminco scandal, had caused colossal damage to the country.
In the 1990s, Bank Negara is said to have lost billions for speculating on other currencies such as British pound sterling.Then Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim told the Parliament that it was merely a “paper loss.”
In the Maminco scandal in early 1980s, the country lost an estimated RM1.6 billon.
Then federal government at Mahathir’s behest, attempted to corner the tin market through Maminco Sdn Bhd, a dummy company set up to buy tin futures and physical tin to push up prices on the London Tin Market.
It hiked up the tin price, but at the same time riled up other tin producers, who increased their production while the US government released its tin stockpile.
As a result, the price collapsed, costing Malaysia billions and wrecking the country’s tin industry.
Rather than acknowledging the losses in the tin speculation, Mahathir went to set up another dummy company called Makuwasa Sdn Bhd, creating new shares supposedly reserved for ethnic Malays which were allocated to the Employee Provident Fund, the country’s retirement fund for private and public workers.
The plan was to sell these cheaply acquired shares at market price for a profit to cover Maminco’s losses and to repay loans to Bank Bumiputra.
Tunku Abdul Aziz cited loss of billions in BMF and Perwaja Steel scandals as other reprehensible examples of Mahathir’s mismanagement of the country finances.
He said Mahathir destroyed democratic institutions and system in the country to consolidate his position, strengthen his premier power and protect his vested interests.
He cited the sacking of then Lord President Salleh Abas in 1988 as an iconic example of Mahathir’s hardline administration.
“Mahathir should apologise to the entire nation for all these sins to the country and the people, and more,” said Tunku Abdul Aziz.
“A public apology is long overdue from him.”