By: Kim Quek - 28.03.2002

Swiss authorities have just rebutted Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's earlier claim that the former had refused to co-operate with Malaysia in the Perwaja Steel scandal investigations.

In a speech in London on 26th February 2002, Mahathir put the blame squarely on the Swiss authorities' non-cooperation for the Anti-Corruption Agency's (ACA) failure to crack the long-standing RM 10 billion Perwaja Steel scandal.  He claimed that the Swiss had refused to reveal a Swiss account, holding RM76 million illegally siphoned
off from Perwaja.

Contradicting the above Mahathir claim, the Swiss Consul in Kuala Lumpur has just disclosed (Malay Mail & Chinese press) that the Swiss Justice Department had not only held discussions with Malaysian officials in Switzerland, but had actually delivered details of two relevant bank accounts in Geneva and Zurich respectively to the Malaysian Government in May 2001.  The Malaysian party visiting Switzerland on 8th May 2001 included the Director General and a senior officer of the ACA and a senior member of the Malaysian Parliament.

However, the Swiss Consul added that ACA has not requested for the freezing of any bank account in Switzerland, in spite of being furnished with the account details.

The Swiss Consul further reiterated that the Swiss Government has responded promptly to Malaysian requests in the past and will continue to do so in the future.  It was only waiting for Malaysia's next move.

Hence, the ball is now in Mahathir's feet.  Did he or did he not lie when he said the Swiss authorities had refused to divulge details of the bank account?  Is it true that ACA is already in possession of the account details?

This is Malaysia's biggest financial scandal, the gravity of which is compounded by the Prime Minister's alleged personal involvement of a criminal nature as charged by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in his Police Report dated 22nd July 1999 (No. 19625/99), and the prolonged feet-dragging by the Government to bring the culprits to book.  The Prime Minister now owes the Nation a prompt response to the latest Swiss revelations.

- Kim Quek

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