Dr M’s lawyer says RCI report on forex losses flawed, no need for action

The RCI found that Bank Negara Malaysia lost RM31.5 billion in foreign exchange trading between 1992 and 1994.

PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer said there is no need to follow up on recommendations in the royal commission of inquiry’s (RCI) report into Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) foreign exchange losses in the 1990s.

Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the RCI report was flawed as it did not contain crucial material supplied by Mahathir.

He told FMT that the RCI was conducted in a way “where the laws of the jungle” and the “rules of the circus” were applied in order to come out with “a pre-kindergarten outcome”.

He was commenting on the statement by Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that the government had a duty to implement the RCI’s recommendations.

“It is important for any government to realise that you cannot use an RCI or any other commission for the purpose of political intent, which is what was done when the government of Najib Razak called for the RCI,” Haniff said.

He said Najib’s government had called for the RCI as part of its strategy to face the 14th general election.

“And of course, it backfired.

“Inadequate and inaccurate findings of any RCI need not be carried out. The government is correct in refusing or not attending to the purported, inadequate and improper recommendations of the RCI report on the forex issue,” he said.

The RCI had recommended, among other things, that Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim be investigated for their roles in the losses as they were then prime minister and finance minister, respectively.

The inquiry found that the central bank lost RM31.5 billion in foreign exchange trading between 1992 and 1994.

It said “excessive” and “speculative” trading amounted to a criminal breach of trust under Sections 406 and 409 of the Penal Code.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said on July 1 that the police report based on the forex RCI had been classified as “no further action” due to a lack of documentary evidence of the alleged misconduct well over 25 years ago.

The original complainant had also retracted the police report, which was lodged on Nov 30, 2017, added Liew in a parliamentary reply.

Haniff said no one could blame Tengku Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li, for making the comment based on the published RCI report.

He said the report was inaccurate and that it did not contain all the necessary materials “to give benefit to any individual reader of the report as to what transpired in the RCI”.

“Without putting in those materials, does it amount to a complete report for any reader such as Ku Li or anyone else to read it years after the report is published? Of course, not.

“It is inadequate, it is incomplete and it’s, in fact, in simple Malay language, ‘cacat dan tidak lengkap’.

“The report failed to include all the material produced for and on behalf of Tun Dr Mahathir during the RCI. So how would Ku Li know what transpired in the RCI if he has no benefit of the 495 pages of material?”

Haniff said material witnesses were not allowed to be completely cross-examined at the RCI.

“Material witnesses were not recalled while other witnesses were not allowed to be called. But, more importantly, the figure of RM30 billion was an estimate. It was not even proven. That is per the evidence which was produced in the RCI,” he said.

Haniff, meanwhile, said his client’s challenge against the RCI had been filed and the matter was pending in court.

Case management had been fixed for Aug 28 at the Court of Appeal, he said.

He also said those who were interested and wanted access to the full forex RCI report, Tengku Razaleigh included, could communicate with his office to get a copy of it for free.

Haniff had previously described the RCI report as “half-baked” for failing to include documents supplied by Mahathir during the hearing.