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Mahathir unfazed by threat of another RCI

 | August 23, 2017

'It will only show the world that the government is desperate to paint a negative picture of its opponents.'

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mahathirPUTRAJAYA: Pakatan Harapan chairman Mahathir Mohamad has belittled the latest threat to his integrity as prime minister for 22 years, saying it will only show the world that the government is desperate to paint a negative picture of its opponents.

Commenting on the prospect of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) being set up to investigate the 1985 Memali tragedy, he said “we can have a lot of RCIs” because the Putrajaya administration was keen to show that its critics were in the wrong.

“Lots of things happened during my time,” he said in an interview with FMT. “I think they should investigate everything. The people who were working with me should also be investigated.”

In a recent Twitter message, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government was “ready to consider setting up an RCI on Memali if any individual, body or political party requests or proposes it in the interest of the victims of the incident.”

The incident at Kampung Memali in Baling, Kedah, saw a confrontation between police and supporters of religious teacher Ibrahim Libya. It resulted in the death of 14 villagers and four policemen.

There is already an RCI investigating another scandal that Mahathir’s administration has been associated with. It involves the loss of billions of ringgit through foreign exchange trading conducted by Bank Negara in the early 1990s.

Mahathir said the inquiry was just one of many attempts by Prime Minister Najib Razak to pressure his critics into silence.

Such moves were also apparent in Najib’s speeches, he added. He gave the example of Najib’s statement that he “did nothing” during his 22 years in power.

“For 22 years I sat in the chair doing nothing. So then there must be proof. Show pictures of me sitting in the chair and doing nothing. But of course, all these are political.”

He took a jab at Najib for his administration’s rejection of calls by opposition leaders that an RCI be formed to investigate losses suffered by 1MDB and allegations of embezzlement from the state-owned firm.

“They must not set up a commission to investigate the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s accounts, or where the 1MDB money has disappeared to,” he said.

“We want to know where the money is, but that you must not investigate, because the attorney-general said Najib has done no wrong. When the attorney-general says that, it means Najib has done no wrong.”

Ivy Chong contributed to the story.

 


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