Mahathir and his boys had a hand in the attack on the Ringgit in 1997 and, yet again, he is attacking the Ringgit in his bid to oust Najib. They want the Ringgit to drop to five to the dollar, hoping that this will result in Najib’s ouster. Since they cannot oust Najib using the 1MDB issue, they are now using the same strategy they used to oust Anwar: attack the Ringgit.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Over the 1990-1996 period, the value of exports from Malaysia had grown by 18% per year. Between June 1997 and January 1998, a financial crisis swept like a brush fire through the “tiger economies” of SE Asian. As the ringgit declined against the US dollar, the Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, gave speeches asserting that the international financier, George Soros, was the arch villain in a conspiracy to impoverish Southeast Asian nations by attacking their currencies.
The Asian Financial Crisis, by Charles W.L.Hill, University of Washington (READ MORE HERE).
Soros, who has funded pro-democracy groups across eastern Europe since before the end of communism a quarter century ago, has been a frequent target of the Hungarian government, which has also accused him of helping stoke the historic wave of refugees that have poured into Europe since last year. “Hungarians and Poles rightly demand more respect,” Orban said in an interview with state-run Kossuth radio on Friday. “Behind the leaders of the Democratic Party we must see George Soros. The mouth is Clinton’s but the voice is of George Soros.” — Bloomberg (READ MORE HERE).
The role of George Soros in destabilising governments in Europe, Asia and the Middle East requires no further discussion. That fact is as established as the fact that Adolf Hitler was anti-Jew and had engineered the ‘Final Solution’, the blueprint for the extermination of all Jews. And the fact that Soros was behind the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 is also a fact that cannot be disputed. But there is one fact that is seldom mentioned. And that fact is regarding Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s role in the attack on the Ringgit.
The collapse of the economy in 1985 was called a recession. The stock market crash of 19th October 1987 was called ‘Black Monday’. But the collapse of the Ringgit in 1997 was called a financial crisis. And the reason 1997 was a financial crisis and not a recession is because the economic fundamentals were still very strong but the collapse of the Ringgit was an attack and not due to weaknesses in the country’s economy.
While Mahathir puts the blame of the 1997 collapse squarely on the shoulders of Soros, what is never mentioned and is not quite widely known (other than by those in the circle) is that Soros was not working alone. Mahathir and his boys were working in concert with Soros.
As we have discussed many times in this column, Mahathir has about RM100 billion parked under trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies while Tun Daim Zainuddin had another RM60 billion under his own set of trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies. No doubt since then Daim was clever enough to take back his RM60 billion and has now parked it overseas in about a dozen banks in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America — while Mahathir was not clever enough to do that (and is now stuck).
What was being whispered back in 1997 in the corridors of power within the financial and banking circles is that certain tycoons known to be Mahathir’s people were playing the currency market. Around 1995, when I decided to become a full time writer, I sold off many of my businesses or shares in companies and closed down those that were not viable. I had to endure a serious ‘haircut’ but still managed to salvage a bit of money, although not in the millions.
I then parked that money in Singapore and invested it in a basket of currencies. My financial adviser from one of the leading banks in Singapore said she will monitor the market and will advise us when to bail out if we do need to bail out. In 1997, I received a call from her and she told us to bail out. We did as advised and shifted the money to unit trusts. No doubt that was a long term investment but at least that ‘nest egg’ allowed us to buy a home here in the UK when we decided to come here 12 years later in 2009.
Anyway, the point is, in 1997 we were advised to bail out and to sell our basket of currencies. And the reason we were advised to bail out is not because of Soros but because Mahathir’s boys were ‘doing something’. I think they used the phrase ‘selling short to bring down the Ringgit’. And the Singapore banks knew about it. One of Daim’s people, a Chinese Datuk, later confirmed this when we discussed the matter in 2010.
Of course, once the Ringgit collapsed all those who sold short would be making tons of money. And the Finance Minister then, Anwar Ibrahim, would be blamed for it. And when Anwar made a deal with the IMF to help bail out Malaysia, Mahathir accused Anwar of being a foreign agent and of collaborating with foreign powers to colonise Malaysia, not militarily but economically.
Mahathir then told the Umno Supreme Council that Anwar committed an act of treason but the only thing they can use to get rid of him was the sodomy allegation. So, Anwar’s crime is treason but the excuse to oust him will be sodomy. That is typical Mahathir and he is doing this again with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak — the excuse is 1MDB but the real reason is Najib refused to help Mukhriz win the party elections.
This has been Mahathir’s modus operandi or SOP for so long. He can be behind something and make his number two look guilty. Musa Hitam wrote that he was blamed for Memali and had to carry the stigma of that tragedy for 30 years when it was actually Mahathir’s ‘baby’. The same with the RM30 billion Forex loss in 1992 — Jaafar Hussein was punished for it when it was actually Mahathir’s ‘operation’, just like how he played the tin market and lost a bundle. And then we have the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Mahathir’s people made piles of money when the currency crashed. And bankers knew in advance what was coming, which was why I, too, was able to bail out and shift my funds to unit trusts. And Anwar was lynched and forced out of office for ‘treason’, although they used the sodomy charge rather than treason against Anwar.
In fact, the allegation that Anwar was working with Soros to crash the Ringgit was nonsense. Anwar had links to the IMF, World Bank and the US power-brokers who were no friend or Soros. Soros has only one friend; money. So Mahathir’s money (and those of his trustees and proxies, which included Daim and gang) became friends with Soros.
Today, Mahathir is again working with Soros to attack the Ringgit. Mahathir has been trying for two years since December 2014 to bring Najib down using the 1MDB issue. But that is not working. So now Mahathir has changed strategy. He is attacking the Ringgit and is hoping that this will finally result in Najib’s ouster. In fact, many are already blaming Najib for the decline in the Ringgit. So to a certain extent it is working. They are talking about the Ringgit finally declining to RM5 to the USD and once that happens Najib will have to pack his bags and leave.
There are those who say that Mahathir is a brilliant Machiavellian politician. That is not quite true. Machiavelli must be turning in his grave and if he were around today he would denounce Mahathir and not regard him as one of this students. Machiavelli actually does have certain principles and he would not do things the way Mahathir does.
For example, Machiavelli would never attack his own economy because in doing so you hurt many of your own people. Machiavelli was actually quite a nationalist and using your own people as collateral damage is treacherous and treasonous. Mahathir, however, has no problem fiddling while Rome burns as long as he gets rid of his enemies.
Machiavelli was a prince so he had dignity and noble attributes. As much as one may want to win, it must not be at the sacrifice of what the Malays would call maruah. Mahathir, however, not being of noble birth like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Tun Hussein One, etc., has no qualms about licking back his own spit, which is what he is doing now.
Of course, the Pakatuns — such as the DAP, PKR and PAN people — see no problem with what Mahathir is doing. Even the Pribumi people are okay with this. But then most of these people are not of noble birth so licking back one’s spit is quite acceptable as long as you gain political power. These Pakatuns are like prostitutes who open their legs for monetary gain.
Another Machiavelli trait is leaders should be loved, respected and feared. Mahathir does not care about all that. As long as you fear him that is good enough. He does not need your love and respect. Najib, on the other hand, is more concerned about the love and respect of the people and that is why he is very careful about how he deals with his adversaries. Mahathir does not care two hoots what you think of him and he has said so.
As Musa Hitam said, Mahathir is actually a very arrogant person who does not take criticism well because he thinks he is superior to others and that the Malays are actually a very stupid race. And that is why he has no qualms about reducing himself to a political pariah, which is what he has become. Mahathir knows that Pakatan Harapan has no problem working with pariahs because most of the Pakatan leaders are pariahs themselves. And this is why Pakatan can accept Mahathir as their leader.
Only a very desperate opposition would accept a person like Mahathir as their leader. When you go to bed with a scorpion that has stung you so many times before it reveals your desperation. Pakatan is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel and they are going to pay a heavy price due to their association with Mahathir. The next general election is going to prove the gross mistake that Pakatan Harapan made in putting ambition above principles.