Barry Wain, Kit Siang and Malaysiakini.com should ready themselves for a massive lawsuit
Barry Wain launched his book, ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’ conveniently at about the time Anwar Ibrahim made a call to go offensive at the Penang PKR Convention in November last month.
The former editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal had a knack for sensationalism in his book promotion. According to his new book, he claimed Malaysia has squandered an estimated RM100 billion on financial scandals under the 22-year rule of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
PKR were quick to pick up on the book's promotional pitch. In this link here, Din Merican, a former corporate man who made a name in blogosphere as a regular comentator in Bakri Musa's blog but now a Spin Master for Anwar, gave Barry a hand.
Lim Kit Siang had called on Najib for a Royal Commission to probe into the allegations in the book.
Dr Mahathir in his blog today here called his bluff and agreed to the Royal Commission.
Dr Mahathir requested that the commission should not comprise of Government nominees but should include even foreigners and members of Transparency International.
He insisted there be no coverup and Government must give full access to all the documents and accounts of the Government over the period 1981-2009.
Since the allegations links the financial losses to Petronas money, Dr Mahathir went on to demand that the Commision probe into Abdullah Badawi's spending of RM270 billion of Petronas money during his five year term.
This is demand by Dr Mahathir is quite surprising. While the timing of the book release create the suspicion that Anwar has a hand in this book, is Dr Mahathir indirectly accusing Abdullah as having a hand in this sham by implicating him along?
As someone quite meticulous in his work, Dr Mahathir is not someone who could be easily be caught off-guard making decision without proper considerations, procedures and overzealous in his discretionary power.
He is a disciplinarian that cannot neither be found sleeping on the job nor caught in some unnatural sexual act.
It takes someone of extreme confidence to call such bluff. One can be quite sure that Dr Mahathir have read the book and able to identify the weakness of his allegations.
Barry Wain's investigative and reporting methodology will most likely emulate that of his former employer. Asia Wall Street Journal's track record in this region has not been flawless to say the least. They have on many occasions lost in many lawsuits against them.
Dr Mahathir's willingness to be subject himself to such Commission is much applauded.
It would be an opportunity for him to put an end to those tired speculations, tales and conspiracy theories being repeatedly circulating and churned out from pieces of unsubstantiated information and without any shred of evidential value.
Barry Wain must be able to substantiate his allegation with hard documents. Otherwise, Dr Mahathir has forewarned that depending upon the result of the commission, he "reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and Malaysiakini.com for libel for a sum to be disclosed later."
By the confident tone of his posting, Dr Mahathir would be in for a more comfortable retirement at the expense of Kit Siang, Barry Wain and his publisher. He will own Malaysiakini.com by then.
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