“Ada aku kisah?”
The government will not look into claims by an international organisation that Malaysia had suffered illicit financial outflows in excess of US$291 billion (RM888 billion) due to corruption and mismanagement between 2000 and 2008.
International Trade and Industry deputy minister Mukhriz Mahathir said he does not see the relevance of the figures quoted in a recent Global Financial Integrity report.
The financial watchdog had listed Malaysia as the fifth-highest of countries that have lost public monies due to bad governance.
“We do not see the need to look into it. If you go through the report, they have made quite a few bizarre claims against several countries,” he told a press conference after the launch of Google Malaysia’s new office in Kuala Lumpur today.
“Going by Bank Negara’s figures, we know how much exactly is going out so you can hardly consider those figures (from GFI) as factual.”
This is only the second time the government has responded to the allegations outlined in the GFI report since the information was released last week.
Mukhriz’s answer however contradicts the announcement made by deputy Finance Minister Donald Lim, who said yesterday that Bank Negara are conducting a thorough probe into GFI’s claims and that the public can expect a reply soon.
Lim nevertheless also questioned the veracity of the report, raising doubts over the international financial watchdog’s reasons for releasing their information only now despite having monitored the situation since 2000.
“It was such a long, long time ago. If they were to state this information and ask back in 2005, then okay. But now?,” Lim said.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak had earlier declined to comment when asked about the GFI report last Friday, leaving it to Bank Negara to respond with “more specific comments” to the allegations.
Mukhriz’ reaction ‘bizarre’, says Lim
In an immediate reaction, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said it was “bizarre” that a lowly-ranked deputy minister like Mukhriz could openly contradict the prime minister’s open directive to Bank Negara last Friday to explain the capital flight.
“How could Mukhriz publicly contradict the prime minister and deputy finance minister’s statements, even countermanding them by dismissing the GFI report as ‘bizarre’ and declaring that the government would not look into the GFI claims?” asked Lim (left).
“Is Mukhriz’ ‘bizarre’ dismissal of the GFI report … a pre-emptive strike by (Mukhriz’ father) Dr Mahathir Mohamad to forestall full inquiry into corruption and financial scandals under Mahathir’s premiership?
Lim said that Barry Wain in his book ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’ argued that the former prime minister had squandered up to RM100 billion on grandiose projects and corruption in his 22 years as PM.
“A full-fledged inquiry into GFI revelation of RM888 billion illicit capital outflows from 2000 to 2008 because of corruption and bad governance must involve re-opening investigations into the many corruption and financial scandals of the Mahathir era,” said Lim.