The Innocent U-Turn Mahathir

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.

Gut Gemacht

Dato Sri Najib Razak flanked by Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong at the press conference in Germany at 1500UTC on the 28th September 2016
Dato Sri Najib Razak flanked by Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong at the press conference in Germany at 1500UTC (11pm Malaysian time) on the 28th September 2016
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 3-day visit to Germany has been a success.  Starting with a dialogue session with German Business Leaders made up of 24 German renowned companies and four Malaysian companies that have invested in Germany, together with various trade and industrial associations that have operations and investments in Malaysia.  This dialogue session focused on the manufacturing sector as Germany is a renowned high-technology industrial nation that is highly innovative especially in the automotive, machineries, electrical and the electronics sectors.

The objective of this dialogue session was not only to inform the German business community about the two-way trade and investments between the two nations, but also to obtain feedbacks and views from German investors.  With Germany being the largest trading partner from the European Union, with investments in the manufacturing sector reaching USD11.4 billion, it is apt for Malaysia to propose itself to become the host for the 16th German Asia-Pacific Business Conference.  The last time Malaysia played host to this conference was in 2000.

Najib Razak also witnessed and attended MoU signing ceremonies and trade discussions with companies that are involved in the pipeline, semiconductor, aviation, automotive as well as the shipping industries with one company committing to a second wave of investment to set up three competence centers.

The Prime Minister also held a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel discussing international terrorism, the refugee situation as well as the South China Sea disputes.

In another development, Najib Razak says that Malaysia wants to see those involved in the crime of the downing of Flight MH17 to be brought to justice, and would like to see nations involved to hold a discussion to identify the ways forward to fulfill promises made to the victims’ next-of-kin.

It is unfortunate that Mahathir thinks that Malaysia has slid into the abyss of failed states when she continues to enjoy the confidence of foreign businesses and investors and continue to prosper under the stewardship of Najib Razak.