Malaysian PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad revealed a damaging fact to the New York Times: The Najib regime did the ultimate act of shredding documents that could contain evidence of their wrongdoing.
In the interview with the Times, Dr Mahathir said they found oversized garbage bags filled with shredded documents and a “snowstorm” of loose papers on the floor in the corridors of power.
This was discovered by the new government after Barisan Nasional (BN) was ousted from Putrajaya.
That was not the only setback in taking over the helm from Najib. Mahathir said vital files were accessible only to a single person: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who had also served as Finance Minister.
But the computers were locked and the officers logged-out of the system.
The euphoria surrounding a historic democratic transition has given way to a more sobering reality in Malaysia, said the U.S. daily.
The article highlighted how Dr Mahathir and his aides stumbled on the alarming sight upon entering the government offices.
“There was even half-consumed food left by former occupants in a hurry to get out.
“At the Finance Ministry down the street, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng found computers in which even the highest-ranking bureaucrats were locked out of certain accounts.”
“The more we look into the previous administration, the more bad things we find,” said Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir also told NYT that the new government had found the country was in worse financial shape than what the Pakatan Harapan thought.
He said the government managed to consolidate accounts and numbers from various departments within two weeks and found that the national debt was well above RM1 trillion.
“That is 80 percent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product.
“Any organisation that had money, the previous government found the means to take the money,” he said, adding this included “theft from national coffers extending beyond 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), to an astonishing array of government-funded initiatives, from a rural development programme and a plan for religious pilgrims to a provident fund and a coal mine in Mongolia.”
“All have been raped by the previous government,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.
The NYT also quoted Lim as saying that he was having nightmares piecing the puzzle together.
“They were just robbing the country blind.
“I’m having nightmares practically every day, wondering what land mines will I tread on the following day.”
Dr Mahathir was also quoted as saying that he acknowledged that cleansing a political machine riddled with corruption had been taxing.
“We have asked so many people to resign we are left with a skeleton,” he said.
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