There were oversized garbage bags filled with shredded documents and a “snowstorm” of loose papers on the floor in the corridors of power discovered by the new government after Barisan Nasional (BN) was ousted from Putrajaya.
This was revealed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in an interview with the New York Times (NYT), published yesterday.
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.
“In some cases, vital files were accessible only to a single person: (former prime minister Datuk Seri) Najib Razak, who had also served as Finance Minister.”
Dr Mahathir also told NYT that the new government had found the country was in worse financial shape than than he and his allies had feared.
He said that 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.
“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.
The prime minister was also quoted as saying that the government had already accumulated enough evidence to charge Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.