Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman’s Open Letter to the NY Times Editor
COMMENT: Thomas Fuller’s article and interview with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad which appeared in the New York Times ( June 17, 2015) have received a response from Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman.
It is a reasonable reaction. Minister Aman is expressing concern about the effects of the article and Dr. Mahathir’s interview on Malaysia’s image and Prime Minister’s reputation at home and abroad. As usual, our government’s response has come a little too late.
Furthermore, the Foreign Minister’s Open letter has not added any new material to what is already in the public domain. He merely rehashed them and attacked the former Prime Minister for raising valid issues about the 1MDB scandal.
Damage done to the Prime Minister in the eyes of Malaysians at home and the international community except for his loyal friend, US President Barack Obama, is irreversible. 1MDB scandal has gone out of control because the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, its Chairman Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and Directors, and its Chief Executive Officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy failed to respond clearly and honestly when the matter came to light.
In stead, the Malaysian public were given a merry-go-round with misleading and contradictory answers about the financial affairs of this sovereign fund. In their arrogance, they assume that we can accept their version as the gospel truth and that we are timid and stupid.What happened to the RM42 billion loan remains answered.
Our attention is being diverted to the politics of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee headed by MP Nur Jazlan and the Opposition, and the antics and tactics of Mr. Arul and his associates, the Auditor-General, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Inspector-General of Police with occasional interventions by the Prime Minister, his Deputy Prime Minister and senior ministers in his Cabinet.
In order to put Foreign Minister’s Open Letter in the right context, please read this:
We may disagree with the Tun’s approach, but in fairness to our former Prime Minister, he had raised them with the Prime Minister in private meetings but he never received any satisfactory response. Tun Dr. Mahathir is consummate politician, no doubt; but in this matter many Malaysians share his concern about 1MDB’s huge debt in the event of a taxpayer or GLC funded bailout or loan default with macro implications on the national economy and our financial and banking system.–Din Merican
The Foreign Minister’s Open Letter as reproduced from : http://www.nst.com.my/node/88855
It is regrettable to see Tun Mahathir seeking to undermine his own country in the international media as part of a personal political vendetta.
It is irresponsible of any citizen, let alone a former Prime Minister, to spread lies and distortions about state owned companies – saying for example that RM42 bn is missing from 1MDB to create public anxiety, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billion in assets. These reckless claims have affected market sentiment towards Malaysia.
Furthermore, it is telling that he continues to mount his attacks, rather than wait for the findings of the enquiries currently being undertaken by Malaysia’s central bank, Auditor General, and parliament’s bipartisan Public Accounts Committee. This shows that Tun Mahathir is not interested in answers from the appropriate lawful authorities. Rather, he is just using 1MDB as an excuse to topple the serving prime minister, Najib Tun Razak.
And all because his personal demands, as Tun Mahathir himself has acknowledged, are not being met. Prime Minister Najib, as Malaysia’s democratically elected leader, will do what he thinks is right for the nation, and will not allow rule by proxy.
Tun Mahathir told the New York Times that UMNO “lacks vision and talented people”, that it “has become a repository of patronage-seeking politicians”, and that members “try to keep out people who are more intelligent than themselves”. But it is Tun Mahathir who led the party for 22 years.
It was he that, during his time, worked to cultivate ‘yes men’ and entrench his position – even introducing a quota system for the UMNO presidency to prevent challengers – rather than bringing in talent and strengthening the party. It is Prime Minister Najib who democratised the party constitution to make it far easier to challenge him for his job.
For Tun Mahathir to accuse Prime Minister Najib of acts “verging on criminal” is simply outrageous, and entirely false. It is a measure of the reforms put in place under Prime Minister Najib’s administration that Tun Mahathir has the freedom to be so vocally critical of the party and government he once led.
But Tun Mahathir is abusing that freedom, and his privileged standing as a former Prime Minister, to indulge in reckless and baseless personal smears against Prime Minister Najib and his family. Most Malaysians would rather see Tun Mahathir retire gracefully than continue to damage the standing of his own country for personal political gain.
Y.B. Dato’ Sri Anifah bin Haji AmanMinister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia