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The US and hedge funds are still a problem

Malaysian elder statesman urges more Asian dialogue, less overdevelopment

Mahathir Mohamad (Photo by Hiroyuki Kobayashi)

TOKYO When the Asian financial crisis gripped the region in 1997, then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad blamed "evil" hedge funds that were willing to sacrifice emerging economies in the pursuit of profits.

Two decades on, the elder statesman, still robust at 91, has not lost his distrust of hedge funds or the countries that created them. In a recent interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, Mahathir said currency traders still wield a lot of power and could wreak havoc on weak economies. To avoid repeating the past, he said Asian nations need to have more dialogue with each other -- and leave the U.S. out of it.

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