Was RCI into Bank Negara forex losses three decades ago concluded earlier than scheduled to avoid the issue of Najib having to testify why he had opposed my call for an RCI in 1993?

A few hours after I issued a statement describing “the continued hearing on Sept. 18 of the farcical Royal Commission of Inquiry into Bank Negara foreign exchange losses a quarter of a century ago, while there is no RCI on the elephant in the room – the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal which turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy overnight” as the sixth political disaster of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a week, the Sidek RCI into the Bank Negara forex losses concluded earlier than scheduled.

Was the Sidek RCI into Bank Negara forex losses three decades ago concluded earlier than scheduled to avoid the issue why Najib is not testifying at the RCI to explain why he had opposed my call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Bank Negara forex losses in 1993?

In his testimony before the RCI yesterday, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad revealed that Najib was among the ministers in a 1993 cabinet meeting who rejected my proposal at the time to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Bank Negara foreign exchange losses.

I had at the time, some a quarter of a century ago, asked the then Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to refer to the Cabinet to set up a RCI on Bank Negara’s forex losses.

Mahathir confirmed that that my proposal for a RCI for Bank Negara’s forex losses had been discussed in the Cabinet in 1993, and the Cabinet members including Najib, supported the decision not to hold a RCI.

Speaking to reporters after his RCI testimony, Mahathir repeated his call for Najib, who is now prime minister, to appear before the RCI to testify why his administration now supported the move to investigate the matter which took place some 25 years ago.

“In the cabinet meeting then, he was smiling away when the call to hold an RCI was rejected,” he said.

Najib, who was defence minister in 1993, was in Mahathir’s cabinet from 1986 to 2003.

In this connection, I wish to register my protest, shock and concern at the way top civil servants had been treated with utter disregard of their previous high public office, even cruelly treated with utter contempt for their physical condition and health.

I think it is the height of disrespect and cruelty that Tan Sri Ishak Tadin, Auditor-General from 1986-1994, had to be physically dragged to the RCI and his second son Rizal Ishak had to appear before the RCI to plead that his father was unable to testify at the RCI as he had developed a condition in 2008 that affected his memory, and that this cognitive impairment caused his father “trouble recalling past events”.

There were other examples of the utter lack of compassion and respect for old public servants, like the case of Datuk Othman Jusoff yesterday.

There were of course exceptions. Why was the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak not called to testify. Why was former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi, who said in August this year that he knew the truth about Bank Negara’s forex losses, not called before the RCI?

As I said earlier today, I found some of the exchanges between the Chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and other Commissioners of the Royal Commission on the one hand and witnesses like former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir and former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin on the other most shocking and quite unbelievable, especially when they asked questions as to how Mahahtir or Daim did not know about the colossal Bank Negara forex losses when “everyone seems to know”!

Sidek seems to have forgotten that he is himself a case in point – as Chief Secretary of the Government from 3rd September 2006 till 24th June 2012 and thereafter as Petronas Chairman, he seems not to know that the 1MBD scandal has turned Malaysia into a global kleptocracy, which is known by everyone in Malaysia and informed opinion in the world except government politicians and public servants like him. Why is this so?

Sidek has left many loose ends around in declaring the RCI public hearings closed ahead of schedule.

Malaysians were told at the RCI yesterday that Anwar Ibrahim would be recalled to testify at the RCI. Why was this not honoured.

Sidek said he would not withdraw his remark made on the first day of the hearing on August 21, that it could be concluded that BNM had suffered losses of RM31.5 billion because of its foreign exchange trading.

How can Sidek expect the Malaysian public and world opinion to have full respect for the report of the RCI when its chairman had preconceived ideas about the RCI findings and conclusions without taking into account the evidence at the RCI?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah