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Saturday, December 22, 2012
Anwar drops BOMBSHELL: It is possible for Dr M to have US$ 44 BILLION FORTUNE!
Friday, 21 December 2012 00:41Written by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle
UPDATE 2 Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim dropped a bombshell on Thursday, saying it was not impossible for his former boss Mahathir Mohamad to possess a fortune of as large as US$ 44billion, which would make the latter the world's second wealthiest ex-leader.
"Yes, it is possible. Why not? Look at his family, his cronies. This is why Dr Mahathir should explain," Anwar told a press conference at his party headquarters in Tropicana, Petaling Jaya.
The Wiki page, updated on December 14, had put Mahathir as the second richest ex-leader after Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who it estimated was worth some US$70 billion. However, minutes after the article was published, Mahathir's name mysteriously disappeared from the Wiki list and Indonesia's late president Suharto, in third place with an estimated US$35 billion, was pushed up to replace the former Malaysia premier.
Now 87, Mahathir ruled Malaysia for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. His ham-fisted style and use of racial favoritism to gain the political upper hand have been much criticized and he is reviled rather than cherished by large pockets of the Malaysian populace.
Critics, who describe Mahathir as 'Dr Devil', have through the years speculated on how much money he and his family have made through leveraging on his influence and absolute control of the various government machinery. Some even call him "Mr 10%", in a reference to his alleged abuse of power and corrupt practices such as seeking a cut from every deal he gave the green light to.
Indeed, Mahathir's coterie of cronies include the country's richest and most powerful businessmen. They include lottery king Vincent Tan and Ananda Krishnan, the notorious Maxis boss who is now being probed by the Indian government for purportedly bribing his way into a controlling stake at Aircel.
From 2001 to 2010, US$285 BILLION siphoned out
The speculation on Mahathir's wealth comes hot on the heels of a shocking report from the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, which tracks capital flight and is run by top financial executives including former senior IMF researchers.
GFI said in its latest report that US$RM 197 billion of 'dirty money' had been siphoned out of Malaysia in 2010 compared to RM 93 billion in 2009, an increase of 112 %. Malaysia also has the rather shameful record of being the No. 2 country in the world after China with the highest illicit outflow of dirty money in 2010.
For the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, Malaysia is ranked No. 3 globally after China and Mexico. The total 10-year estimate for Malaysia is US$285 billion (RM871.4 billion), while China is US$2,740 billion, and Mexico, US$476 billion.
In its latest report, GFI minced no words, warning that capital flight in Malaysia is "at a scale seen in few Asian countries".
Anwar also expressed "no confidence" in Prime Minister Najib Razak's political will or ability to probe the GFI report or come up with an action plan to stop the outflow.
He has mooted a roundtable in January 2013 where his Pakatan Rakyat coalition plans to bring together GFI officials, central Bank Negara representatives and government officials to stem the rot.
"He (Najib) is complicit in this. We raised the matter two years ago but not only has nothing been done, the amount of illicit outflows has more than doubled in 2010 compared to 2009. He has not been transparent to the people and has blocked investigations," said Anwar.
"We are talking about mind-boggling crime... This is the same situation as in the Great Indian Robbery where US$500 billion was spirited out of the country over a period of 6 decades."