KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has raised a question mark over why Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not sue a former Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editor who claimed that the former prime minister had squandered vast sums of money during his rule.
“According to ex-WSJ editor Barry Wain, Dr Mahathir had squandered an estimated RM100 billion during his 22-year rule,” said the Communications and Multimedia Minister.
Writing on his blog sskeruak.blogspot.com, he said that amount, say in 1990, was worth RM225 billion today.
Salleh said that in the book, ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’, Wain wrote that when Dr Mahathir took office in 1981, his administration was almost immediately embroiled in financial scandals that “exploded with startling regularity”.
This despite the administration’s slogan of “clean, efficient, trustworthy”.
Salleh noted that according to Wain, by the early 1990s, cynics remarked that it had been “a good decade for bad behaviour, or a bad decade for good behaviour”.
“Dr Mahathir never sued Wain so the allegations remain. And because Dr Mahathir did not sue Wain, does this mean the allegations are true?” he pondered.
The minister drew a parallel between the situation of Dr Mahathir and the one faced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against whom WSJ had made certain allegations.
Salleh said the argument was that if the allegations were not true, Najib should sue WSJ, and that if the prime minister refused to sue, then that could only mean the allegations were true and Najib was therefore guilty.
“If Najib refuses to sue the WSJ, Dr Mahathir says that can only mean the allegations are true,” he said, alluding to what appears to be hypocrisy on Dr Mahathir’s part.