BUTTERWORTH, Dec 17 – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today challenged Opposition chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to show a letter purportedly written by him to the World Bank for funds during the financial crisis in 1999.
Dr Mahathir said on the contrary he was the one who had refused the World Bank funds.
"I know that if we had accepted the World Bank funds, we will become its slave. Hence, we did not do so," he said after opening the third Multaqa Wehdatul Ummah here today.
Dr Mahathir was commenting on Anwar's allegation that the former prime minister had written to the World Bank for funds during the financial crisis in 1999.
"If Anwar's allegation is true, please show me the letter. I challenge him to swear by the Quran in a mosque and I'm willing to do so if needed," said Dr Mahathir.
He said Anwar was known for advocating measures introduced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in tackling the financial crisis at that time.
"I used to tell him (Anwar), if we were to take the World Bank funds, we will not have enough money to pay the salaries of our officers. But he was bent on advocating the World Bank measures to the extend that it clouded his thinking," said Dr Mahathir.
Meanwhile, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who was present, said he could vouch for Dr Mahathir that the former prime minister had rejected the World Bank funds.
Nor Mohamed said he could still remember that a World Bank representative came to see Dr Mahathir to discuss on how Malaysia could avoid the financial crisis in 1999.
"The World Bank representative had proposed to Dr Mahathir to increase housing loan interest rates and restrict government's spending while Bank Negara should withdraw all loans to avoid economic crisis.
"But Dr Mahathir told him that the proposals would cause bloodshed in the streets and he said let it be bloods in the streets, much to Dr Mahathir's chagrin," Nor Mohamed said, adding that Dr Mahathir told him off and told him to leave the office.