Statement by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a press conference at DAP KL Branch, 63-D Jalan Sultan, on Saturday, 15th March 1969 at 11.30a.m.
A week ago, on 8th March 1969, at a public rally at Gemas Bahru, Segamat, Johore, I asked the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and the Director of Anti-Corruption Agency, Inche Harun bin Hashim, whether it was proper for a Cabinet Minister to be one and the same time a director of a private firm.
Since, then, the Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency, Inche Harun bin Hashim, has said that the legal position was very clear and that no Cabinet Minister can be a director of a private firm at the same time.
Inche Harun also said that his Agency would investigate into any such instance, and would not allow anybody, including the Cabinet, to interfere with its duties and responsibilities.
I have called this press conference to disclose an instance of a Cabinet Minister who was for about three years also a director of a private firm.
The Minister concerned is Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, minister for Local Government and Housing.
Mr. Khaw Khai Boh was made Minister without Portfolio in 1962, and from June 1964 till today, he has been Minister of Local Government and Housing.
But from 1962 to 1965, spanning the years when he was Minister without Portfolio and Minister of Local Government and Housing, Mr. Khaw was also a director of the firm, Metalex (M) Co. which is a manufactures’ representative for iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, construction materials, tin plates, etc.
This is clearly an improper relationship, particularly when Mr. Khaw Khai Boh became Housing Minister, his holding of a director’s post in a firm dealing with construction materials present a clear conflict of interest.
We will like to know from Tunku Abdul Rahman and the Cabinet whether Mr. Khaw Khai Boh remained a director of Metalex for three years when he was a Minister, with the knowledge and consent of the Prime Minister, or without his knowledge.
Whichever the case, Mr. Khaw’s relationship with Metalex (M) Co. Ltd. From 1962 to 1965 was morally wrong and legally, according Inche Harun bin Hashim, Director of Anti-Corruption Agency, wrong as well.
Now that I have disclosed this particular instance, I hope Inche Harun bin Hashim will get his Agency to investigate into this case.
But we in the DAP would firstly call for the resignation of Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, as a Minister of Local Government and Housing for he has compromised his high public Ministerial duty with private interest as a director of a private firm.
Secondly, we demand a public inquiry into the relationship of Mr. Khaw Khai Boh with the Metalex (M) Co., to investigate whether there had been improper practices.
As one Cabinet Minister had remained a director of a private firm after assuming public office, it is not impossible that there are other instances. We will like each Cabinet Minister to declare whether he is or had been a director of a private firm when serving at the same time as a Minister. We also want a policy statement from Tunku Abdul Rahman as to the public standard he expect and demands from his Ministerial colleagues.