Ku Li wants recommendations implemented but Dr Mahathir’s lawyer says Forex RCI followed law of the jungle and the government is right to reject them.
Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who acted for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the royal commission of inquiry into forex losses suffered by the country in the 1990s, said the government made the right decision to disregard the commission’s findings.
He said this in response to Umno’s Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s push for Putrajaya to take up the RCI’s recommendations even though the commission’s secretary Yusof Ismail has retracted his police report for criminal breach of trust and the case since been categorised as ‘No Further Action’.
“It is a serious matter as it incurred RM30 billion in losses for the government due to forex trading which we shouldn’t have become involved in the first place,” said the Umno veteran, who is popularly known as Ku Li.
“Whatever is recommended by the RCI should be considered and implemented, this fair isn’t it? Otherwise, why have RCI?” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
In a parliamentary written reply yesterday, de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong categorising the case as ‘No Further Action’ was due to a lack of documentary evidence of the alleged misconduct. Also, the original complainant – the RCI’s secretary Yusof Ismail – had retracted the police report lodged in 2017.
In a 528-page report tabled in Parliament on Nov 30, 2017, the RCI claimed that the finance minister at the time had misled the cabinet.
The commission also believed that the prime minister at the time had given the green light for the finance minister’s misleading statements.
The finance minister at the time was Anwar Ibrahim while the prime minister was Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The forex RCI had come in the wake of Mahathir’s incessant assault of then premier Najib Abdul Razak over the 1MDB scandal.
“It is right for the government of the day to reject the RCI’s recommendations as they are unfair. An RCI or special task force should not be set up with a political agenda as was done during then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s time.
“Najib did it as a pre-election move and it backfired. Any government that is just and fair should not abuse an RCI for political purposes,” he said.
The RCI alleged that Bank Negara lost RM31.5 billion through “excessive” and “speculative” trading between 1992 and 1994 and recommended a breach of trust investigation.
Haniff claimed the forex losses RCI report was defective as it had allegedly omitted important information.
“It did not contain written applications and challenges as well as transcripts and oral testimonies submitted on behalf or given by Mahathir nor did it include arguments made by lawyers on behalf of Mahathir.
“The material came up to no less than 495 pages. How can one read the RCI report without these 495 pages?
“The forex losses RCI was conducted in accordance with the law of the jungle, using methods suited for the circus and producing a pre-school outcome,” he said.
He also claimed that the RCI did not allow for witnesses to be properly cross-examined or recalled. “Some witnesses were not even allowed to be called,” he said.
Haniff said the challenge against the validity of the RCI report was still pending in the Court of Appeal and case management had been set for Aug 28.
He also invited Tengku Razaleigh to his office to view the documents he claimed were omitted by the forex losses RCI report. – Malaysiakini