Tun Tan Siew Sin, Finance Minister failures

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the Sungei Way DAP Public Rally on Saturday, 21st September 1968 at 8.30 p.m.

Before he left for London to attend the Commonwealth Economic Consultative Council yesterday (Friday, September 20), the Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, announced that the Cabinet has set up a committee to cut down wasteful and unnecessary government expenditure.

We seem to be hearing this every time Tun Tan is interviewed at the airport before leaving for some foreign conference. If we look back the old files and Hansards, we will find that this is exactly the thing which the Finance Minister and had been saying for the last ten years.

The very fact that Tun Tan had to continue to repeat this intention of the Alliance government to cut down waste for ten years is proof that he has failed to do precisely this for ten years. What guarantee is there that Tun Tan will succeed now where he had failed for ten years? Nothing at all. Everything points to his continued failure.

The Alliance continues to squander away public funds on white elephants like the Sungei Way Golf Course and the Angkasapuri. Even today, the government is going round the country distributing money for various projects to buy votes for the next elections for the Alliance. One such projects is the $10 million contribution to the MCA College. In Batu Pahat, the government gives away $5,000 to build a temple, which houses a MCA office.

Ministers continue to go round the world, instead of looking after their special responsibilities. One Minister who seem more often outside the country than include is Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, who is currently off to Mexico for the Olympic Games.

In his over four-year term as Minister of Local Government and Housing, Mr. Khaw has failed completely to tackle the problem of housing the homeless in Malaysia. In the Federal Capital, all that he has to show is the few blocks of multi-storeyed buildings at Jalan Circular.

Mr. Khaw builds so few houses that he felt necessary to advertise every building he has built. For instance, scrawled on the Circular Road buildings are the words “Another Alliance Government Low Cost Housing Scheme” in four languages.

This is a blatant and unashamed attempt by the Alliance Party to make use of government money and resources to advertise itself to win votes at the next elections.

What is noteworthy is that the advertisement is in four languages. The Alliance is opposed to multi-lingualism, but when it comes to advertising the Party, it uses four languages. What hypocrisy!

If the government is to really cut down waste, then Ministers must set the example, by letting it be known through action and deeds that they do not tolerate wasteful expenditure, like throwing away public funds for party purposes. I do not see this happening. If Tun Tan remains Finance Minister for the next ten years, I expect to hear in the next ten years exactly the same statement he made before leaving last Friday. Our job is to ensure that he does not remain as Finance Minister.

Tun Tan has failed Malaysia. Under his Finance Ministry, Malaysia was reduced from a rich and prosperous nation to a nation of debtors. Malaysia went into the red, introduced deficit budgeting, and joined the league of international beggars with persistent begging bowls in their hands. This is what Tun Tan will be remembered for.

Audited on 2021-04-28.