Dr Mahathir Mohamad is in HUKM recovering from a minor surgery, and I wonder if he won't be in stitches if he'd read about Obama's very un-American, a little Mahathirish, statement against speculators. Read Obama proposes new action on oil speculation.
"We can't afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit," Obama said. "We can't afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick."
Calling for "more cops on the beat to monitor activity in energy markets," Obama also proposed an increase in civil and criminal penalties for illegal energy market manipulation and other activities. As a means of discouraging speculation, he proposed having Congress require that Wall Street traders put more money aside to pay off the bets made on oil contracts. And he called for toughening financial penalties tenfold and imposing penalties for every day a violation occurs.
We still remember the currency crisis of 1998, when Malaysia and its Prime Minister raised eyebrows with incessant attacks on Bersih's George Soros and the currency speculators. The Americans had a description for this blame-the-speculators behavior then: Denial Syndrome.
The US has also been bailing out big businesses that had gone bad, something Dr Mahathir was lynched for doing. They bailed out their financial institutions a couple of years back.
When even the Americans are doing what our Statesman did years ago, that tells us something about the man. Only here we have Malaysians who are too shy to admit that Dr Mahathir has done a great many things so that millions of Malaysian families don't get the short end of the stick, as Obama would put it.
Here's wishing the Tun a full recovery fast.