I see many adverse reactions to the exposé of the BMF scandal that has implicated to a certain extent U-Turn Mahathir.
Even the man in question has gone on record declaring that he was not the CEO of Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) or Bank Bumiputera Malaysia Berhad (BBMB) when the whole affair began.
First and foremost, we must understand the structure of BBMB and BMF to understand the scandal.
BBMB was formed through monies from Petronas (RM50 million per month) with the aim to assist the Bumiputera agenda. BMF was formed as a subsidiary to invest in properties in Hong Kong using the monies received by BBMB.
A series of loans totalling RM2.5 billion were given by BMF to the Carrian Group beginning 1979 to invest in Hong Kong’s booming property industry.
As BBMB was a GLC, any investment abroad would naturally come under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).
In 1979, MITI was already under the stewardship of none other than U-Turn Mahathir, who was also the Deputy Prime Minister since Tun Razak’s passing in 1976.
Obviously Mr U-Turn would have had to okay any form of investment to be made by BBMB’s subsidiary.
In fact, according to his old new friend Anwar Ibrahim, when the whole deal turned sour about three to four years later, U-Turn Mahathir who was then the Prime Minister even okayed for more money to be thrown into the venture to contain the damage!
In the end, BBMB had had to be rescued using taxpayers money twice, amounting to USD600 million in today’s terms.
There was never a Royal Commission of Inquiry set to investigate the causes of the losses.
After being pressured, U-Turn Mahathir in the end reluctantly formed a three-man commission led by the late Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin (then Datuk Wira) to investigate the case.
This commission had no real powers and in 1986 concluded that what was going on in BMF was just “the tip of the iceberg” and implied that bigger hands were at play.
The commission’s report was never tabled in Parliament and had limited public release (2,000 copies only at RM250 each said the Malaysian Bar).
Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin was accused of working with the Opposition and was ostracised by the Mahathir administration.
That, my friends, was how innocent U-Turn Mahathir was.
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