December 24, 2009
Sue Me Now: Kit Siang to Mahathir
DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang has challenged former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to sue him with immediate effect. The opposition politician, who is currently in Tokyo, stated this in a posting on his Twitter page and promied to disclose more on his blog soon.
“Why Mahathir don’t sue me now if I had libelled him calling for a RCI (royal commission of inquiry) into Barry Wain’s RM100 billion allegation in his book?
“Why is his suit conditional on the outcome of the RCI into Wain’s allegation when M (Mahathir) will do his utmost to block the RCI though claiming to support it publicly,” he added.
On Tuesday, Mahathir threatened to sue Lim, Wain and Malaysiakini over the matter. He also welcomed the suggestion by Lim who called on the government to set up a RCI to probe if the former strongman had ‘burned’ RM100 billion on corruption and grandiose projects during his 22-year reign as suggested by Wain in his book, titled ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times‘.
“Depending upon the result of the commission, I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and Malaysiakini.com for libel for a sum to be disclosed later,” he had said.
Mahathir also called for the book, which is being reviewed by the Home Ministry, to be released for sale.”I am not in need of government protection,” he had stressed.
Is Najib or Hisham the culprit? Commenting on this, Lim said: “Mahathir wants Wain’s book to be released. Who really believes Mahathir?”
“Or is (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) or Hisham (Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein) the culprit blocking Maverick M’s release?” he added.
In his book, Wain, the former managing editor of Asian Wall Street Journal, wrote that most of the scams, which included a government attempt to manipulate the international tin price and gambling by Bank Negara on global currency markets, occurred in the go-go years of the 1980s.
According to him, direct financial losses amounted to about RM50 billion. This doubled once the invisible costs, such as unrecorded write-offs, were taken into account.
However, some analysts have put the figure even higher.Time magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asian economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore, as saying that Malaysia might have lost “as much as US$100 billion” (RM340 billion) during the Mahathir years.
In a recent email communique to Malaysiakini, Wain said he was not perturbed by Mahathir’s threat to sue him and welcomed the former premier’s support for the immediate release of the book.
“If the 800 copies of the “Maverick” book being held by the government are cleared for sale, Malaysians can judge for themselves my 363-page assessment of Mahathir’s political career,” he added.