The revelation by former cabinet minister,Chua Jiu Meng that the Japanese government had paid $207 billion as compensation for the families of the victims of the ‘Death Railway' project in the 1940s is both shocking and mind boggling.
This astronomical sum of $207 billion was purportedly paid by the Japanese government in the 1990s during the tenure of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The money was for the compensation of the families of 30,000 Malaysians who were forcefully recruited to help build the Thai-Burma railway.
And by way of distribution, each family would have been entitled to receive about RM3 million.
However, none of this money has ever reached the families of the victims and to this date the whereabouts of the $207 billion have been shrouded in mystery.
In view of this astounding revelation by a former cabinet minister who served in Mahathir's cabinet, there is an imperative necessity for the present government to explain the fate of this money and to trace the whereabouts of this astronomical sum of money.
And after establishing its existence, it should transparently revealed why after 20 years, this money was never distributed to the intended recipient.
If it was in a fixed deposit account the money would now have been more than doubled its original sum.
If the present government is unwilling to proceed with any of its revelation of this compensation money, then the opposition members should first seek confirmation from the Japanese embassy whether this money was indeed paid.
Information as to how, who is entitled when and the quantum should be determined so that in future investiagations the money trail can be traced to the recipient.
Three persons who were central to this episode namely, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former finance minister Daim Zainuddin and former minister of rural development Annuar Musa should be asked to explain whether there was any truth to the existence of this compensation money.
But what defies logic is the fact that the government has remain silent on this allegation.
Surely a responsible government which has no knowledge of such a payment would react vehemently to deny such a ridiculous allegation.
But the sheer lack of rebuttals and elegant silence have lent some degree of credence that there is indeed some element of truth in the existence of the $207 billion compensation money.