DAP calls for a commission of inquiry into financial affairs of Cabinet Ministers

Speech by DAP Serdang State by-election candidates, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, and DAP Organising Secretary, at a DAP Serdang by-election public rally at Sungei Way New Village on Sunday, December 22, 1968 at 8 p.m.

DAP calls for a commission of inquiry into financial affairs of Cabinet Ministers

Corruption in the Malaysian public service have increased over the years. Despite the repeated statements and speeches by Alliance Ministers on anti-corruption measures, however, the Malaysian public are not convinced that the Alliance government is capable of stamping out corruption in the country.

This is because the Alliance political leadership, from the Ministers downwards, have failed to impress the nation as men who are determined warriors against corruption and graft. On the other hand, the Alliance political leadership, including the Ministers, encourage the belief that they are very at home in a corruption and graft-ridden administration.

A good case in point is the Abdul Rahman Talib case. When the High Court adjudged the late Abdul Rahman Talib, then Minister of Education, as corrupt, the first reaction of the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was not to call for the resignation of Abdul Rahman Talib, but to cast aspersion on the integrity of the Court.

In fact, even after Abdul Rahman Talib’s resignation as Education Minister, he was rewarded subsequently with the Ambassadorship to the United Arab Republic.

This is clear proof that the Alliance Cabinet does not demand men of undoubted moral and political integrity. It is immaterial to the Alliance Cabinet whether its Ministers have improper relationship with private firms and businesses, even in cases where there could be a conflict of interest between the Minister’s public duty and his private interests.

It is probably because Alliance Cabinet Ministers could not stand up to public examination as to their sources of income that the Alliance government has persistently refused to agree to the DAP proposal that all public office holders, including Cabinet Ministers, Mentri2 Besar and State Executive Councillors, should declare publicly their wealth and income annually, and those of their next of kin – to satisfy the public that there had not been improper and corrupt practices.

This is also why the Alliance had rejected the DAP proposal for a law prohibiting Ministers, Parliamentary and Political Secretaries, Mentri2 Besar and State Executive Councillors from taking part in business of any form.

Unless the Alliance Cabinet can dispel the strongly and widely-held nation-wide belief that the Alliance Cabinet Ministers are not themselves models for political, moral and financial integrity, then the public cannot be blamed for being skeptical about the government’s anti-corruption measures, particularly with the approach of general elections.

If the Alliance Cabinet Ministers have nothing hide, and are clearly beyond reproach, then I call for the institution of an all-party commission of inquiry, to inquire into the financial affairs of Cabinet Ministers. Cabinet Ministers should welcome such an inquiry because this will give them an opportunity to clear away the national suspicion about their political integrity. If the Alliance Cabinet refuses to hold such an inquiry, it will only strengthen the belief that the Alliance Cabinet is unable to stand up to public examination about their personal financial dealings.

If there is such a commission of inquiry, I will be able to testify to at least one instance where there had been an improper relationship between a Minister and private business, where there has been a clear conflict of public duty and personal interests.

Audited by: Joyce T. and Faiz M.