Before watching clash of mentor Mahathir and protégé Anwar, watch how it all started first

AS the court case between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) and his former mentor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad unfolds, suddenly the film Anwar: The Untold Story springs into the spotlight again.

It makes one wonder if this is a case of the ghost from Anwar: The Untold Story returning to haunt Dr Mahathir. It is not about retaliation as PMX claimed he has forgiven his enemies who put him in jail.

Never once has he brought up the name of former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Nor who bashed him up in the lock-up. The court case is part of a new episode in Malaysian history.

With the upcoming court case Dr Mahathir vs Anwar, the `Untold Story’ may well have been titled the “Unfinished Story” as the producer Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaque a.k.a. Zunar may work on the next production.

Zunar shared that his objectives of producing the film are two-fold.

“We want people to know that Anwar was and is still serious with his anti-graft campaign,” he told FocusM. “Anwar has paid a hefty price for it and if not for the royal pardon, he would have spent a total of 10 years in prison. It also allows Anwar an opportunity to tell his side of the story.”

Sources say that the film may see its last weekend on the big screen by this Sunday (June 18) unless there is a sudden surge in sale of tickets.

Now that there is a reversal in role with Anwar in office as PM and Dr Mahathir now just an ordinary citizen, it appears that the greatest fears that we saw displayed in Dr Mahathir and his cronies in the movie, are now returning to haunt them.

In the next few years, the battle in court may go all the way to the apex court but one thing is for sure: this ‘Mother of Court Cases’ may bring to light the truths behind the numerous scandals worth billions of ringgit involving the nonagenarian.

Having access to the archives, the PMX has a vantage point over Dr Mahathir. The court case was not even initiated by PMX but brought upon by Dr Mahathir himself.

The PMX had made certain statements at the PKR Special National Congress in March this year about the wealth allegedly amassed by Dr Mahathir’s family which he claimed were made in response to his nemesis’ unceasing personal attacks on himself and the unity government he is now leading.

A number of these corruption and financial scandals which Anwar was fully aware of in his capacity as deputy prime minister between 1994 and 1998 has now once again become public knowledge.

Although PMX had personally forgiven Dr Mahathir for the way he had been mishandled since falling out with the latter, Anwar sees it as a matter of national interest to go after the corrupt and recover as much of the public funds squandered by corrupt politicians and their cronies.

Among the scandals allegedly involving Dr Mahathir highlighted during the movie are now stated in Anwar’s statement of claim: The Bumiputra Malaysia Finance Ltd (BMF) scandal which involved two botched loan deal of nearly US$1 bil (S$1.4 bil) and the brutal murder of a young Malaysian Bank Bumi auditor.

The truths of the foreign exchange (forex) scandal which caused Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to lose a total of about RM30 bil between 1988 and 1992 will also be told to the court.

Facts about the controversial bail-out by PETRONAS and Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) of Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd (KPB) owned by Tan Sri Mirzan Mahathir during the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 will put in perspective the scene of Dr Mahathir seen summoning Anwar to his office to discuss the possibility of devising a special scheme for the purpose of injecting approximately RM2 bil from the treasury to assist KPB and his son, Mirzan.

Elsewhere, Opcom Cables Sdn Bhd, owned by Dr Mahathir’s daughter-in-law and wife of Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Norzieta Zakaria (majority shareholder) and Mirzan was awarded a contract worth a total of RM214.2 mil by Telekom Malaysia Bhd through direct negotiations.

During Dr Mahathir’s second term in office, Telekom had on May 14, 2018 also awarded Opcom Cables a contract worth RM11.157 mil. This was hardly heard of in the media.

All the facts during the Asian Financial crisis in 1998 will come under the spotlight when they are brought before the judge alongside the Maminco Tin Scandal, the Perwaja Group scandal and the privatisation of North-South Expressway (PLUS) which caused the country to lose billions of ringgit.

“At any material time,” the statement of claim read, “there were no sincere efforts by the Plaintiff (Dr Mahathir) and/or his administration to investigate and deal with public concerns that there were misappropriation and/or abuse of public funds.”

For the uninitiated, Dr Mahathir had filed a RM150 mil defamation lawsuit against Anwar and yesterday (June 15), Anwar’s lawyers submitted the statement of defence, alleging that Anwar’s statements were not defamatory as they were “true in substance or in fact”.

RECONCILIATION THAT NEVER BE: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left) and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

The statement filed through the legal firm Messrs Thomas Philip on June 14 pointed out that Dr Mahathir’s claim against Anwar is defective.

Dr Mahathir had claimed that the present administration is weak and that the Malays in the country are losing their political power. All this is happening despite the unity government comprising mainly Malay Muslim leaders and Anwar would not compromise on the four key tenets of the federal constitution.

Anwar also cited the defence of qualified privilege as he has the legal and moral duty to publish the impugned statements and also have a legal duty to respond to Dr Mahathir’s racial and religious attack to protect his administration.

Meanwhile, when the Titans clash, the country’s ordinary folks continue on with their daily activities to revive the country’s economy post-pandemic. – June 16, 2023

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