WHEN GHAFAR ALMOST BECAME THE FIFTH PM OF MALAYSIA
Ghafar almost became the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1992 because Mahathir had bankrupted Bank Negara. And no Prime Minister in the world would be allowed to remain in office had the country’s central bank gone bankrupt. But then Mahathir hid this fact from the public and lied to Parliament. So, while Daim resigned as Finance Minister, Mahathir stayed on another 11 years.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Most political analysts talk about how Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah almost became the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1987 had Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad not cheated in the party elections. What no one talks about, and let Malaysia Today be the first to talk about it, is how Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba almost became the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia five years after that in 1992.
Mahathir would have had to resign from office in 1992 and Ghafar would have taken over had Malaysians known that Bank Negara had gone bankrupt
Since 1989, the foreign media had been talking about how Bank Negara was the biggest FOREX gambler in the world and how the amount they traded ran into billions and how Malaysia was being exposed to more than RM270 billion at any one time and how the US had warned Malaysia to ‘cool it’ and so on. (READ OUR PREVIOUS REPORTS IN THE LINKS BELOW).
On 16th September 1992, Bank Negara’s folly was proven when George Soros attacked the market with US$8 billion of borrowed funds and in just a few days walked away with a profit of US$1.2 billion while Malaysia lost its pants. Of course, Mahathir blames Soros for Malaysia’s loss (he refuses to acknowledge that it was his fault because everything is not his fault).
What Mahathir did not explain is how could Malaysia have lost so much money playing the FOREX market if Bank Negara was not gambling on the market in the first place? I mean you cannot lose money gambling if you were not gambling but was sitting at home watching TV. So why blame Genting for your losses when the job of Genting is to make money from gamblers and if you were not gambling in Genting it is impossible to lose money?
Anyway the question is, how much did Malaysia really lose? Was it RM30 billion, US$30 billion or more than RM150 billion? No one knows because when Lim Kit Siang raised this matter in Parliament in 1993 and 1994 Anwar Ibrahim lied. Furthermore, the government did a lot of what accountants would call ‘creative accounting’ to cover up the real extent of the loss.
Mahathir and Daim appointed Anwar the new Finance Minister in 1991 to help cover up Bank Negara’s bankruptcy
In other words, you do not pick up those losses in that year but defer them to the next year and you revalue certain assets and investments and you do asset-stripping at hugely inflated values and treat certain losses as ‘something else’ and so on (which we are going to talk about in the next article). There are many ways to do creative accounting to turn losses into profits or huge losses into small losses and this is what the government did to cover up and hide Bank Negara’s FOREX losses.
People like Lim Kit Siang and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad argue that losing money is part of doing business and is not a crime. That may be true, and which is the case with 1MDB. But then denying those losses, hiding the losses, doing creating accounting to reduce those losses, not declaring those losses, lying to Parliament, and so on, are crimes. We are not saying that losing money is a crime. We are saying that lying about losing money is a crime, especially lying to Parliament, which can get you impeached.
The fact that Tun Daim Zainuddin asked Mahathir to replace him with Anwar Ibrahim as Finance Minister as early as 1991 was already an indication that the crime involving covering up Bank Negara’s FOREX losses was premeditated. It was not until two years later in 1993 that Kit Siang got wind of the crime and raised it in Parliament. Of course, Parliament was not told the truth and the following year in 1994 Kit Siang again raised the matter in Parliament and accused Anwar of lying.
Technically, Bank Negara had gone bankrupt and Mahathir and Daim did not want the world to know. However, the world already knew, which was why Kit Siang also knew and raised it in Parliament. And this was the reason for the lies and the cover up.
You can read the 1994 Parliament Hansard, starting from page 70, here: Hansard 1994
Kit Siang pointed out that Anwar lied to Parliament in 1993 by saying Bank Negara suffered a ‘small paper loss’ whereas the loss was actually RM30 billion. Kit Siang also revealed that Bank Negara’s exposure was RM270 billion or five times Malaysia’s GDP. You should read the Hansard, which is very detailed and reveals a lot. And we have to thank Kit Siang for this revelation or else none of us would have known about it.
Murad came out recently to reveal that Bank Negara was technically bankrupt in 1992 due to losses of US$10 billion
In short, what Kit Siang said is they lied and covered up the truth. The losses Bank Negara suffered, whether it was RM30 billion like Kit Siang said, or US$10 billion like Murad Ahmad revealed recently, or actually more than RM150 billion if you take everything into consideration, is not the issue and is not the crime we are talking about. The crime is in the cover-up and the lying, especially lying to Parliament, and not revealing that Bank Negara was technically bankrupt.
Now, what would have happened had Daim not handed over the post of Finance Minister to Anwar in 1991, and had Anwar not lied to Parliament in 1993 and 1994 like instructed, and had Parliament been told the truth about what happened over 1989 to 1992, and had it been revealed that Bank Negara was technically bankrupt?
Well, simple, Mahathir would have had to resign as Prime Minister and Ghafar would have taken over as Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister. Kit Siang had already revealed the truth (even though he was wrong about the 30 billion being in Malaysian Ringgit when it was actually in US Dollars). If Anwar had not lied and had told the truth then Daim and Mahathir would have both been made to answer for this. Daim had already resigned as Finance Minister so Mahathir would have had to join him and resign as Prime Minister.
Because of that Malaysia ended up with Mahathir as Prime Minister for another 11 years until 2003 instead of Ghafar as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1992. So that is the crime we are talking about. Bank Negara’s bankruptcy is not the issue. Lying about it is. And because of this lie Mahathir was not made to pay for what he did. And because he stayed as Prime Minister 11 years longer than he should he caused more damage along the way.
And not only did Mahathir cause more damage from 1992 to 2003, he also created damage after he resigned in 2003 by ousting Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and is creating damage now by trying to oust Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak so that his son, Mukhriz can take over.
Kit Siang no longer wants Mahathir punished for Bank Negara’s bankruptcy since he is going to be Deputy Prime Minister to Mukhriz
So now the truth is known because recently Murad revealed the truth. But then Kit Siang who had been barking and foaming at the mouth for more than 20 years since 1993 is saying nothing (when he talked so much in 1994, as the Parliament Hansard shows, which you can read here: Hansard 1994).
So why has Kit Siang suddenly gone quiet? Why is Kit Siang now defending Mahathir and telling us that no crime has been committed even though Bank Negara lost so much money to the point of going bankrupt, which we still do not know how much, and that there was a cover-up and Parliament was lied to?
Simple, because if Mahathir can oust Najib and Mukhriz takes over as Prime Minister, then Kit Siang is going to become the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. And, as the English would say, that is worth more than all the tea in China. So what is RM100 billion or so of taxpayers’ money if Kit Siang can become the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister?