Prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed's recent interview with an American news magazine has raised questions whether he was being influenced by certain foreign individuals.
In the interview with Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), a news magazine published by an American think-tank headed by one Lyndon H. LaRouche (left), Mahathir said Malaysia "would have gone bankrupt" if it were to wait for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to curb currency trading that had devastated key Asian economies.
Commenting on this, Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said on Feb.23 that Mahathir should avoid making statements which "can only create a lot of unease, locally and internationally", about prudent financial and economic management in Malaysia.
Lim also said Mahathir's statement "raised eyebrows not only in what he said, but also in the choice of the publication he said it", describing LaRouche as an "eccentric" who spun elaborate conspiracy theories. During the Parliamentary debate on the 1998 Budget in October 1997, Kit Siang had asked whether it was true that Mahathir had been influenced by EIR as it had been noted that some of the Prime Minister's comments were almost verbatim from the EIR.
"It would appear that LaRouche's influence on Mahathir has grown in the past 16 months and the Malaysian Prime Minister is probably the only Prime Minister in the world to give an interview to EIR," said Kit Siang.
LaRouche who had run many times as a presidential candidate in the United States had been convicted in 1989 for financial crimes. One political analyst said it was a well known fact that Mahathir and his close associate Daim Zainuddin based their economic policies on the ideas of LaRouche, whom he described "a maverick 75 year old".
Among others, LaRouche advocates a closing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to be replaced by his own system of currency controls. He spreads his ideas by having meetings with election candidates outside the US, providing these candidates financial assistance to further their campaigns so that they pursue LaRouche's ideas in Parliament when they win.
While LaRouche is a strong supporter of US President Bill Clinton - the pro-Israeli president who had admitted to committing adultery last year - his magazine EIR propagates things such as the "Jewish lobby of world economic interests". It has even accused the Prime Minister of Thailand Chuan Leekpai and Indonesian president B J Habibie of being a "Jewish tool". LaRouche is also not liked by America's African-American community for his anti-black stance.
Recently he condemned the impeachment proceeding against Clinton and said it was a British-engineered "coup" against the Presidency.
"The world is on the verge of going to hell. We are now in the process of the systemic disintegration of the world financial system. The real intent of the British-steered coup against the Presidency is to destroy the possibility, once and for all, that the President of the United States can take steps to overcome the financial crisis and the Depression," he said.
LaRouche had also accused the senate hearings as a conspiracy by the British and their "Confederate allies in the House and the Senate" to turn the United States into a British-style parliamentary system and revert to a British colony. Last year, he had even appealed to Clinton to immediately appoint him as the Economic Advisor.
Another of LaRouche's mind-boggling ideas is his claim that the world economic market is being controlled by a group of British Freemasons headed by 78-year old Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II. This so-called group is made up of English dukes and nobles and supposedly operates in the United Kingdom and Australia. According to LaRouche, the British government of prime minister Tony Blair and that of his predecessor John Major were under the control of Prince Philip, who determines government policy in the UK.
In a comment posted over the Internet recently, one reader in London has been explicit in his view about LaRouche: "Lyndon LaRouche is as crazy as a mad-hatter, and any of his pupils must be as crazy as him."
Meanwhile, Kit Siang also regretted Mahathir's claim that Malaysia would have gone bankrupt "if not for the capital control measures" introduced on Sept. 1 last year.
"If this is true, then Singapore, our nearest neighbour, which did not introduce capital control measures should be facing a grave financial crisis if not already on the verge of bankruptcy!," he said.
- ARK 27.08.2001