Forex inquiry a witch hunt: Mahathir

TANJUNG KLING (Melaka) • Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad says he has accepted that he could be in line for a prison term following the launch of a formal inquiry into a multibillion-dollar foreign exchange scandal involving the central bank in the 1990s.

Tun Dr Mahathir was the country's prime minister at that time.

Now the leader of opposition party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), the 92-year-old described the setting up of the royal commission of inquiry as a witch hunt by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government to create reasons to incarcerate opposition leaders ahead of the next general election, reported the New Straits Times (NST).

"This was an issue that had been studied, researched and debated in Parliament at the time and it was found that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the prime minister at the time, which was me," said Dr Mahathir on Sunday, at the PPBM Hari Raya Open House in Melaka.

Dr Mahathir said the inquiry and other similar acts by the BN government showed an aggressive move to derail opposition leaders. "Maybe they think by jailing opposition leaders, it will ease their task of winning the general elections," he said in comments reported by the NST.

"But this will not work because the tide of the people against the government does not depend solely on the opposition leaders. The parties themselves are strong enough to win the elections."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Forex inquiry a witch hunt: Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe