KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today blamed Jews for “creating problems for us,” and pointed out that while his economic policies may have been interpreted as anti-Semitic it was actually to help develop Malaysia.
This morning, former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Sanusi Junid said Dr Mahathir’s policies when he was prime minister were inspired by Germany’s past policy of limiting Jewish financial influence to help the Malays but they were later thwarted by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Sanusi told a Malay economic forum that Dr Mahathir and former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin were hoping that Malays would control the economy but when they saw progress was slow, they decided to follow the German example of not granting banking licences to Jews, in their treatment of Chinese interests.
“The problem is that they (Jews) were the ones who created problems for us and the world because they disobeyed international law and got away with it,” Dr M said in a press conference this afternoon.
He also pointed out that he won the general election in 1999 because non-Malays supported him, while Malays refused to since they thought his treatment of Anwar was unfair.
Sanusi said earlier that Dr Mahathir’s plan failed when Anwar became finance minister and approved two banking licences to non-Malay banking groups — Alliance Bank and Hong Leong Bank.
Malaysia’s banking system was formerly largely controlled by the Chinese but many were taken over by or forced to merge with government-controlled entities.
The loss of Chinese-founded banking institutions is widely perceived by the Chinese community as of one of the ways they have been discriminated against under the guise of helping the Bumiputera community.
The Umno-led Barisan Nasional government, however, had previously maintained that direct intervention was required to uplift the Bumiputeras and that mergers would help create stronger banks that could withstand globalisation.
The Najib administration has said, however, that it will gradually liberalise the financial sector and any banking mergers should now be based on market forces.
Dr Mahathir is known for his strident remarks about global Jewish interests.
In 2003, he urged Muslims to unite against Jews who, he says, rule the world by “proxy”.
His blistering attack on Jews drew headlines and a swift condemnation from Israel.
He named Israel as “the enemy allied with most powerful nations,” and said Jews ruled the world and got others to fight and die for them, but added that they would not be able to defeat the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims.