Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mahathir and the World Bank

It was very amusing to read that Mahathir Mohamed had challenged Anwar Ibrahim to furnish evidence that the former had sought help from the World Bank during the 1999 financial crisis. Of course, that is to be expected, right? Mahathir will always deny everything. But wait, he again challenged Anwar to swear on the Quran that he had, in fact, written a letter to the World Bank asking for funds (Sunday Star, December 18, 2011, p 14).

I give it to Mahathir – he has balls! Can you remember that he had drummed into our heads that he was the savior of the country in 1999? And that he was very proud to have spurned the World Bank’s offer of financial help because he didn’t want the country to become its slave if Malaysia were to borrow money from it? At that point in time, Malaysians believed him. At that time, we didn’t know any better. At that time, a majority of Malaysians still thought he was a good prime minister.

Let me ask you a question. If you are someone who is crooked and corrupted and you state flatly that you are ready to go to a house of worship and then swear on the holy book that you are clean – would anybody in his or her right mind believe you? Look – if you are already capable of commiting crimes, I am sure it will amount to nothing if you swear by the Quran in order to change the people’s perception of you. No big deal for you, kan?

And another thing. If Mahathir swears and so does Anwar – where does that leave us? Who do we believe? Obviously one is lying and the other speaks the truth – but swearing will not give us the answer. We will still be none the wiser. After all, the guilty person will have no compunction about swearing anyway and he or she can surely hide his or her guilt very well behind a supposedly pious facade. And if he or she is already a sinner – what is adding one more sin to his or her collection of sins?

Besides, if you do carry out this oath-taking, you are belittling that religion. You are using (or is it misusing?) religion as a camouflage for your misdeed(s).

But thankfully, there is no need to insult Islam. PKR yesterday refuted Mahathir’s claims when they produced online records of loans – made between May 18, 1982 to Malaysia’s post-financial crisis period of March 30, 1999 – by the global financial body during the latter’s tenure as prime minister. This includes three loans for projects inked six months after Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister in September 1998.

A $300 million (RM953.10 million) loan package, titled “Economic Recovery and Social Sector Loan Project’ was signed on June 18, 1998 – according to the World Bank website – and this was followed by an Education Sector Support Project ($244 million); Year 2000 Technical Assistance Project ($100 million); and Social Sector Support Project ($60 million) that were subsequently inked on March 30, 1999 (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pkr-shows-world-bank-records-claims-proof-dr-m-received-aid/
, published December 18, 2011).

A PKR statement said: “If seen carefully, this is clear proof of the World Bank’s commitment to Malaysia during Mahathir’s administration”. The statement further added that the records furnished showed that Mahathir’s allegations against Anwar were false. Now, if Mahathir had indeed frivolously sworn on the Quran, the religion would have been tarred, tainted and tarnished unnecessarily!

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