It’s difficult to decide whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak or former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was the bigger liar. The jury may still be out on this. The first is intelligent enough to lie for a purpose, the other lies for the sake of lying, politics and cheap entertainment in that order.
We are also told that there are pathological liars – people who believe in their own lies – and congenital liars. The second category sounds like a tall tale among the cynical.
Monies are missing is Mahathir’s standard line when slandering someone or getting into libel for no rhyme or reason.
In 1994, he told the whole world that RM4 billion was found missing from Sabah Foundation after Jeffrey Kitingan stepped down as its Director. An audit by Price Waterhouse, instructed by Mahathir himself and not the Sabah Government, found that the RM4 billion was in fact the difference between spot prices for timber and longterm contract prices which were always at a good discount on the spot prices.
Mahathir never apologized – “I think that I am perfect. I don’t remember making any mistakes” – even after the international audit of Sabah Foundation but kept repeating the lie and annoying Jeffrey no end. Many people think that Jeffrey has the RM4 billion with him, salted away overseas. The fact that Jeffrey was never brought to Court for the so-called missing RM4 billion seems to have escaped them. All they remember is Mahathir slandering Jeffrey.
Mahathir’s latest lie in relation to the Rohingya issue in Myanmar, and no doubt he’s keeping in mind his repeated justifications on why illegal immigrants in Sabah were issued with ICs during his time, is that Tunku Abdul Rahman issued citizenships to Indians and Chinese who were not eligible. He previously mentioned only the Chinese and indicated that two million of them were accepted as citizens although they couldn’t speak a word of Malay unlike the illegals in Sabah.
The fact is that Indians, Chinese and the Malays too, unlike the illegals in Sabah, were eligible for citizenship under theFederation of Malaya Independence Act 1957, a follow up to the Federation of Malaya Agreement of 1948. Malays too had to apply for citizenship, not just Indians and Chinese. Mahathir’s family itself hails from Kerala, southwest India.
Mahathir wants Myanmar to keep the Rohingya and not kick them out “just as Malaya did not kick out the Indians and Chinese in 1957”. Alternatively, he wants Myanmar to be kicked out from Asean when he was the one who kept the country in the organisation over the objections of a majority of the members.
Myanmar is not kicking out the Rohingya but the complaint is that they, as Muslims, refuse to integrate with other Myanmarese and the human traffickers have entered the picture.
If Myanmar wanted to kick out the Rohingya it could have done the same thing to Indians in 1948. The Indians not only controlled the economy of Myanmar then but the chettiars owned three-quarters of the land in the country. The Indians are still in Myanmar despite many leaving on their own when the country chose the path of socialism and military dictatorships. Until they were separated, Myanmar and Penang nearer home were even parts of British India.
Now, Mahathir has been claiming for several months that RM42 billion was missing from 1MDB. The government-owned strategic investment and development company started with a RM1 million grant from the Ministry of Finance.
The reason that Najib has not fallen so far, as expected by Mahathir, was simply because most people are taking the former Prime Minister’s statements on the scandal-ridden skim cepat kaya (quick money making scheme) 1MDB with more than a pinch of salt. His past, in that sense, has caught up with him to haunt his future.
Najib, of course, has been caught lying on 1MDB far too many times and has registered more than his fair share of lies for several lifetimes.
He’s notorious for being in “big business” for himself – generally getting into speculation and under the table deals as theskim cepat kaya figures show – wielding the position of Prime Minister and Finance Minister to influence, manipulate and support.
But that doesn’t mean that many people are eager to entertain Mahathir’s thoughts on the scandal. The truth, they say, is always somewhere in between. They fear that if they fall for Mahathir’s tricks, as in the past, they would be caught with their pants down for the umpteenth time and be viewed as gluttons for punishment.
The difference between the two creatures who are currently annoying Malaysians no end is that poor Najib is a bad liar, all analysts will agree, while Mahathir doesn’t get caught even when he’s clearly lying through his white false teeth. Bad liars get caught with their pants down. Good liars like Mahathir live on to fight another day, repeating the same old lies.
Najib’s lies have been well documented and it would be boring to repeat them. His lies are all over the place and are being recycled in the social media. The Prime Minister himself referred to these when he said that the lies – other people lying – have created a perception problem for him. Many, led by the Opposition and Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Chairman P. Waythamoorthy, would beg to disagree on Najib implying that he doesn’t lie.
Mahathir, lamented Najib nevertheless, did not face perception problems while he was Prime Minister because the social media did not exist back then and the controversies that he (Mahathir) was responsible for would take at least three weeks to surface. By that time, the controversies were ready to fizzle out.
In any case, Mahathir repeating old lies in recent days needs public scrutiny before we rush to judgment on 1MDB based on his statements alone which are appearing from different angles in his blog virtually on a daily basis.
It’s not the truth – whatever that may be – that matters to Mahathir but what the people will believe.
The Malays for example are highly vulnerable people, and Mahathir knowing that, has consistently traded on this mother of all their weaknesses, to lead them up the garden path time and again. When he failed to deliver the goods – meaning why are the Malays so far behind the Chinese despite all the many promises -- Mahathir turned around and blamed the Malays. Mahathir, as western journalists have observed, can do about turns like no one else can.
He literally spewed venom on the Malays as a people who were too lazy to read their books besides being generally lazy, think that money was only good for spending and not for saving and investing, and having no sense of shame like the Japanese for example who would not hesitate to commit hara kiri if they brought shame to the community, company and the nation etc etc
IMahathir was caught lying on the Malays time and again, and therefore is it any wonder that he’s crying that he’s all alone in facing Najib in getting him to step down?
It was this same Najib that Mahathir hailed as “the shining star of Umno” when he was hounding then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi day and night as a loser and not fit to hold his post. Until then, Badawi was “Mr Clean”.
Mahathir even openly lied that in fact Badawi, the Umno Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister, was not his first choice but Najib to be his successor.