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PETALING JAYA, Oct 2 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that all governments in the world must similarly accept blame if he were to personally take responsibility for Malaysia’s corruption scandals.
The prime minister was speaking during an interview with British national broadcaster BBC on its HARDtalk programme this morning.
“If I have to accept the blame, then all governments have to do so because corruption is found everywhere to some degree.
“There is no country in the world that can boast it has no corruption at all,” the 93-year-old PM a second time told BBC host Zeinab Badawi.
Dr Mahathir was also asked if he could have set in motion the endemic corrupt practices that has tarnished Malaysia, since he was once the chairman of the Barisan Nasional coalition that ruled for over 60 years and was part of the “system”.
“No, the system will be the same but the man is different.
“That system has had five prime ministers before him but there were no accusation of corruption on that scale against all of them,” he said of the fifth PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir said the system could be abused and Najib had allegedly used his authority to steal money through it.
Meanwhile, responding to a question on several billions of ringgit that allegedly went missing during his first prime minister tenure as claimed by Wall Street Journal’s Barry Wain in the latter’s book titled Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, Dr Mahathir said at that time no one could prove he took any money for himself but acknowledged monies did go missing.
“We did lose money as some of our people got involved in trading currency but I could not take the blame for somebody that was corrupt. It was not me.
“They have seen my house, my lifestyle and they know I do not live lavishly like my predecessor,” he said.