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Sunday, November 11, 2012
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It's my remark, not Amartya's

Muhith now claims; audio record tells otherwise; Yunus terms the diatribe unfortunate

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday denied that he had quoted Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as saying that Bangladesh's achievements were not highlighted on the world stage because of Prof Muhammad Yunus.

However, The Daily Star has the recorded proof that the finance minister on Thursday told reporters: "Prof Amartya said that so many good things are happening in this country but they are not projected anywhere in the world only because of Prof Yunus."

Muhith told reporters at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka yesterday, “Amartya Sen did not make any such comment about Prof Yunus. It was my comment."

When asked whether he made any comment involving the highly acclaimed Indian economist and the Grameen Bank founder, the minister said: "I did not make such comments."

After inaugurating the "International Inter-Ministerial Conference on Evidence for Action: South-South Collaboration" yesterday, Muhith said: "I had told [reporters] that Amartya said the country is doing so well but it is not being highlighted by the press. He is sad about this."

"I am very sorry that Amartya has been linked with it. How can Amartya speak against Yunus? Is it possible?"

Later, a statement, sent to The Daily Star by his senior information officer Md Shahedur Rahman, said: "In his comments on November 8, the minister said Prof Yunus's negative stance and campaign is an obstacle to wooing foreign direct investment into Bangladesh, and there is no complete truth in his campaign."

The statement said Prof Yunus has been relentlessly expressing his concerns about the future of Grameen Bank for the last two years and saying that the government wants to destroy the bank.

"The campaign is out of touch with reality and harmful for the country. It is the personal opinion of the finance minister and he has not discussed with anybody on the issue," said the statement.

However, Muhith at the hotel yesterday said, "Yunus is a respected person and my friend."

The statement sent to The Daily Star said Amartya had not made any comment about Prof Yunus, and his comments were focused on speedy development of Bangladesh.

"Some have linked the two things together intentionally or unintentionally and published distorted and baseless news about it. The whole statement has been filmed and was properly aired in electronic media and published in many newspapers."

"Some have unnecessarily added the name of Prof Yunus with the comments about Prof Amartya," claimed the statement.

The statement also said the minister was extremely saddened for the unnecessary inclusion of the name of Prof Yunus in the statement of Amartya admiring Bangladesh's economy.

"He [the minister] apologises to Amartya Sen for the distorted news published in the Bangladeshi media. The finance minister thinks Amartya Sen has the highest regards for Bangladesh and has always projected Bangladesh's achievement on the world stage enthusiastically," said the statement.

The comments from Muhith surprised Amartya, who teaches economics at Harvard University in the US.

In a reply to a query from The Daily Star on Thursday, Amartya said, “I am particularly surprised--indeed astonished--to see his [Muhith] attributing to me a view that is not mine."

"Indeed, the alleged utterance is not close to anything I told Muhith when we met briefly at the VIP lounge at the Bangkok airport last month,” the statement added urging Muhith to withdraw his comments.

The Nobel laureate added that he was not at all accusing Yunus of preventing the recognition and praise that Bangladesh deserves.

Meanwhile, Dhaka-based Yunus Centre, which promotes microcredit and social business ideas of the Banker to the Poor, said Prof Yunus has strongly protested the minister's comments linking him with Amartya.

"The allegation of negatively campaigning against Bangladesh has been brought against him [Yunus] in the statement without any evidence and proof."

“Prof Yunus thinks this type of untrue, baseless and fabricated statement from an important minister of the country is undesirable and unfortunate. He requests the minister to refrain from making such confusing comments in future," said a Yunus Centre statement.

Muhith’s full statement on foreign investment and Dr Yunus

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One Muhith against two Nobel Laureates. Who do we believe, with an incriminating audio? What a shame!

: niloufar sarker

Dear Sir, who is the liar? Dr Yunus or Muhit.



  • neutral
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:57 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Thanks to The DS for presenting the audio to further falsify the finance minister. I have learnt few things to make journalism more effective and factual.

    These are: a. Informal approach to talk to politicians, which means, no sir or madam business with very few exception as situation demands and sounds appropriate be used.

    b. The journalist did not pose any serious supplementary to go to the bottom of FM remark on Dr Sen remark on Dr Yunus. It appears to me that the FM had no control on the issue to put up his comments in right order and he just off the cuff mentioned about Dr Sen's remark as he was describing his talk to Dr Sen on development issues and awareness outside world.

    Bangladesh is a part of global village, journalist especially young journalist needs to learn how to handle senior politicians without missing his or her own responsibility and personality, very important aspect of journalism. Personality means high degree of professional knowledge, fact based questions on the subject and application of the same.

    I have no wish to be a mentor of journalist or the politicians, i like creditable journalism and freedom in the approach and news gathering.

  • Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 01:32 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    I think the minister should take some responsibilities by this time and we all are waiting to hear a smooth exit which will save our face both internationally and domestically.

  • naabaj
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 01:52 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Minister Muhith should not continue in any public position.

  • Miller
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 01:56 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    This minister should resign immediately in order to further not escalate this issue, which is harmful for the country as well as his own reputation. It is a shame; even a child speaks better carefully than him. From the time of removing Prof. Yunus, he has been speaking against Prof. Yunus and also went on to say that he is the founder of Grameen Bank, not Prof. Yunus. But now he says Prof. Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank.

  • Dr. Ahsan Habib
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 02:12 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Muhith has shown many instances of favouritism or inefficiency in his tenure. I remember the most recent Hall-Mark scandal. Among many unwelcome statements at that time he said the arrest or prosecution of Hall-Mark leaders is delayed because that will help him to recover the money. Well, arrest was delayed, but how many dollars has Muhith been able to recover? So, why he delayed to process similar to delay in investigation of the persons of interest in share market scandal. In both cases, the country got nothing, criminal amassed huge wealth.

  • Ferdous Jalil
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 02:14 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Muhith would have first apologized to the nation and then to Dr. Yunus and Dr. Sen!

  • barkat
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 02:35 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    If Muhith have little integrity left than he must resign. Or else, he is a real threat for Bangladesh economy.

  • Shafqat Anwar
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 02:57 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Muhith must resign. There is no other option for him!

  • shahid ul Hoq
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 03:01 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    He simply should relinquish his job go into hiding from public. No wonder why all these financial scams are all let loose these days in Bangladesh.

  • SHAH
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 03:04 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    This incident shows that our ministers do not do any homework before commenting on any particular issues before the public. Unfortunately by ignoring the worldwide popularity and acceptance of Dr. Yunus, Muhith and his party people just wasting time and demeaning themselves.

  • Ahmed Kamal
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 03:45 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    We need to study the full statement of Prof. Sen and the recorded statement of our respected FM. It follows that a full discussion was held about achievements of Bangladesh in various socio-economic fields to which both agreed, and as to why BD was getting inadequate international attention. It is conceivable that Prof. Sen nodded yes to our FM -saying what he said, captured live.

  • Zahir Raihan
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 03:56 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    In any other country with a functional legal system, self respecting politician's and true democracy, this comment would lead to resignation, disgrace and litigation.....but we do not consider such blatant lying by a high public office bearer anything more than a daily dose of political spice. Is there a low point when we can say enough is enough!

  • Roni Rahman
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 04:53 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Is Muhit/BD govt now targeting all the noble winners? How ridiculous and lame does Muhith now look in the eyes of the world? These people do not have any idea what a stature of a minister can/should say and what weight, implication and consequences a govt statement can have. They are so driven by their rage and power that they are blind to the minimum senses of rights and wrongs.

  • Ishrat Chowdhury
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 05:17 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    How come he changes his words?

  • Mufassil Islam
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 05:27 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    We must not be surprised at all as most of our politicians are liars or deniers of truth.

  • Mofi
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 06:51 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Our country's economy cannot be safe in this person's hand. He needs rest.

  • Abir Rahman
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 07:00 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    When are these senior citizens going to retire .They are unfit to represent Bangladesh on a global scale.

  • Nafis Ahmed
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 07:49 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Thanks to the digital age: Our characterless politicians now can be held responsible for their comments some of the time.

  • Hemayet
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:20 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Dr Yunus may not be involved but the fact remains that investments in Bangladesh has been affected due to negative reactions from his powerful international friends. He could have rise above his Grameen Bank issue and request his friends to forgive the Bangladeshi politicians and help develop Bangladesh. That could have proved that he is above our narrow-minded politicians.

  • MR
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 08:24 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Bad mouthing is probably one of the noted characters of the Bengali. No matter the person is the head of the sate, head of the opposition, head of a govt. agency, head of an institution, the educated, the elite, the religious personalities, big business icon, small business owner, landlord, woman personality, village leader, home maker, even the beggars except a very few all are highly enthusiastic in bad mouthing. Whenever I go to a party of the 40s and up, I mostly hear nothing but bad mouthing.

  • salim
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 08:58 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Hope the FM along with all politicians realise how difficult it is to fight against truth.

  • Dr. Mahfuzul H Chowdhury
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 09:11 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    What a disgrace? It looks like people who are running the country have gone crazy. Muhith of all the persons in the present government was considered to be the most rational man, but I think he has done his best to prove that he has lost his mind. He is behaving and speaking like a loser. This is very unfortunate for the whole nation, not only for the AL govt., not only for himself alone.

  • Shabbir A Bashar
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 09:28 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    I have heard the voice recording. It is not obvious that Mihith was quoting Mr Sen. I put it down to journalism eager to make a big issue out of nothing by trying to entangle a foreigner into what is clearly a domestic affair. Muhith's dislike for Yunus is well known. So what? People are entitled to like or dislike whoever they want; Muhith must now provide evidence that Yunus is the major cause behind lack of FDI. Frankly, I think neither Yunus nor Muhith are so powerful that they can sway foreign investment so much.

  • Tirtho Mahmud
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:05 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    It is a sign that Bangladesh does need a new trend in politics and quite a new generation of politicians to run the show. Muhith, despite his training as a successful finance guru and his role as a loyal politician, is less than suitable to take part in future economic adventure that will require much more sophistication. It is possible that his remark was just a personal slip of the tongue, but damage is already done, as it was done before.

  • ra
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:04 PM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    He better go for retirement.

  • Altamas
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:47 PM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    This is a classic case of shooting at one's own foot. From the beginning AL unnecessarily started to demean our only Nobel Laureate; this is the latest example but probably not the last of that saga.

  • Md. Zahedul Islam. Chittagong
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:55 PM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    I am not having appropriate words to disclose my opinion. I did watch this interview from our finance Minister. What shameful nation we are! We do not know how to evaluate good thing. All the time we use to criticise others this is the reason we are lagging behind day by day. What our Finance Minister told about Professor Younus is really unexpected. I really do condemn about this remark. If this condition goes, whenever we will think about the development for our beloved country. My humble urge to our Finance Minister please stop from this sort of remark about Noble laureate legend like Dr Younnus.

  • Khan
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 02:03 PM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    The old Muhit should resign from the ministry. It is he who did not attract FOREIGN INVESTMENT in Bangladesh.

  • Adil Khan
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 05:47 PM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Thanks to Daily Star's posting of Muhit's taped conversations -his u-turn does not erase the fact that in order to tarnish further the image of Yunus and to cover up the failures of this government Mr. Muhit went so far as to implicate, falsely, another Nobel Laureate Prof Amartya Sen - this is utterly disgusting.

  • M H Uddin
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:14 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    It is quite unclear about FM's motive. He is a powerful minister and also well known person, he does not need popularity but unfortunately he is more popular than any person in the subcontinent for his flip-flop character! He did the same kind of childish act earlier and later he made a statement that Prof Yunus is a respected man and for time being, now he is reiterating the same story after making himself a funny character!

  • Ehsan
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:23 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Muhith keeps forgetting things lately. This is not the first time he is facing this problem in last one year or so. He keeps making embarrassing comments on many issues including Sonali Bank scam, journalists, etc. He himself acknowledged that he is getting older. He should consider his retirement now. As per govt. rules, if Yunus is too old to lead Grameen Bank, what about Muhith being the Finance Minister at this age.

  • Mostafa.K
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:59 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    Muhith has lost all the credibility to remain as Finance Minister.





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