KUALA LUMPUR: The Edge Media Group executive chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong says a telephone conversation log suggesting that he had manipulated former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to drive down the ringgit was fake.
In a statement on Monday, Tong said he would let the authorities investigate the claim which was made on the blog malaysianexpose.wordpress.com.
“As for the fake phone chat log, I invite the relevant authorities to investigate. I suspect such records can be obtained from the telecommunication company for verification. It is also clear that the last two digits of the phone number are missing from the screen grab posted. Why blank it out if it is genuine?
“Anyone who knows me will confirm that many of the words used, such as ‘Friendlies’ and ‘Jugular’ are not part of my vocabulary,” Tong said.
Tong’s statement followed the one he issued on Sunday, in which he denied the blog’s claim that he had taken a US$1.4 billion (RM5.1 billion) short position on the ringgit via a proxy.
He said on Sunday that Bank Negara Malaysia would have been aware if such a crime had ever been committed. But he said Bank Negara had not contacted him on such matters and that he would cooperate with the central bank if the regulator needed his assistance.
On Monday, Tong said claims that he had capitalised on his media arm to “irresponsibly” paint Malaysia in a negative light was untrue.
He said media companies communicated with society by presenting facts, analysis and commentaries on important matters happening around them. He said editorial content could sometimes be positive and critical, and other times, not.
“We believe readers want all the facts and views, and they are smart and savvy enough to make up their own mind using the information given to them. We doubt that they can be manipulated, said Tong.
“Over the past 20 years, The Edge has contributed positively to the country by promoting social and economic inclusion. It has the highest level of editorial credibility and it is successful because of this. Our views and reporting are done in the open. We do not hide behind blogs who do not reveal themselves,” Tong said.
He added that the person behind all these baseless attacks is clearly acting out of desperation and was also behind two other blogs that have been attacking Dr Mahathir.
“After attacking Tun Mahathir in his other blogs (politikukus.wordpress.com and kronismemahathir.wordpress.com), he now fabricates a story that Tun Mahathir could be manipulated by me. Tun Mahathir deserves a lot more credit and respect than that.”
“Calling Tun Mahathir senile and listing 10 reasons why Tun Mahathir should be jailed (kronismemahathir.wordpress.com, Oct 1, 2014 and Aug 25, 2014) is disrespectful and vicious,” said Tong.
“It shows how fearful this person is of the criticisms and issues our former PM has raised in recent times, and the reporting of The Edge Media Group,” Tong said.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 4, 2015.