PM Must Tell Whole Truth on Perwaja
Statement by PRM President
PM MUST TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH ON PERWAJA STEEL (Read: STEAL)
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad must come out clean on the Perwaja scandal. Suspicion is now rife that he has not been telling the truth.
On 26th February 2002, when responding to a question raised, after addressing a group of Malaysian students in London, Dr Mahathir alleged that the Malaysian government was not getting the co-operation from the Swiss authorities regarding certain accounts in Swiss banks. Owing to this, Malaysia was unable to pursue the necessary investigations on Perwaja.
Now it has come to light that four days after Dr Mahathir made his remarks, the Swiss government through the spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Justice Department, Folco Galli, claimed that the department had provided information to the Malaysian authorities on two bank accounts in Geneva and Zurich. A German-language paper reported this claim on 1st March 2002. None of the Malaysian media picked up this report, of course.
Yesterday Malaysiakini reported Consul Ulrich Sclaesli from the Swiss Embassy that he was “astonished” with a report in the Straits Times that the Swiss authorities refused to reveal the identities of the account holders, although they had knowledge on them. Apparently the Swiss Justice Ministry officials were very co-operative when Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) senior officials, Zulkipli Mat Nor and the late Nur ‘Aini Zulkiflee, met with them in Zurich in May 2001.
As is very well known already, around the middle of last year, Director-General Datuk Mohd Zaki Hussein announced that ACA was making encouraging breakthrough in its foreign investigations regarding the Perwaja scandal. He must have been referring to the information obtained from Switzerland. But not long after that he was practically removed by the PM from his position in the ACA and replaced by a senior police officer.
Under the stewardship of Tan Sri Eric Chia, whom Dr Mahathir had handpicked in 1988 to head the corporation, Perwaja was in the red by about RM10 billion. Eric Chia was also alleged to have approved payment of RM76.4 million to NKK Corporation through Frisham Enterprise, a company in Hongkong that apparently did not exist.
I wish to repeat emphatically that Dr Mahathir must tell the truth on everything relating to the Perwaja scandal. Otherwise he will only confirm the growing suspicion that he is resorting to all means and methods possible in order to protect not so much Perwaja, but one of his well-known cronies.
Dr Syed Husin Ali
29th March 2002
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