The DAP Member for Kubu, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, has called for the resignation of Tun Abdul Ghani bin Ishak from the Malacca State Executive Council for his involvement in the allocation of 3,300 acres of land in Kuala Sungai Baru to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd.
Speaking at the 1975 Supplementary Supply Bill after his motion asking the State Government to take the 3,300 acres of land allocated to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn Bhd and given them directly to the landless in that area for collective or co-operative land development, Mr. Lim said:
“The people want a State Executive Council which adheres strictly to the laws of the land and the Constitution of the State.
“The admission by Tuan Abdul Ghani just now that he is a director of the Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. When he is also the same time an member of the Executive Council which decided to give 3,300 acres of land to the company, shows a clear conflict of interest involved.
“This is also a direct conflict with Clause 10 of the Malacca Constitution which reads:
“A Member of the Executive Council shall not engage in any trade, business or profession connected with any subject or department for which he is responsible and shall not, so long as he is engaged in any trade, business or profession, to take part in any decision of the Executive Council relating to the trade, business or profession or in any decision likely to affect his pecuniary interest therein.”
The only honourable way for another clause in the Malacca Constitution which states that the State Executive Council is collectively responsible to the State Assembly.
Here I wish to point to another clause in the Malacca Constitution which states that the State Executive Council is collectively responsible to the State Assembly.
For my part, I will be writing to the NBI to ask it to investigate into the improprieties involved in the allocation of 3,300 acres of state land to Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. And I will also write to the Prime Minister, Tun Razak, to ask him to take the necessary action.”
Earlier, in the motion on the Sri Lingga affair, when Tuan Abdul Ghani had stood up to speak on Mr. Lim’s motion after Mr. Lim had named him as one of the six directors of the Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd., Mr. Lim demanded that Tuan Abdul Ghani disclose the extent of his pecuniary interest in the company.
Mr. Lim drew the attention of the Speaker to Rule XX(1) of the Standing Orders which states: “No member may speak on any matter in which he has a direct pecuniary interest without disclosing the extent of that interest.”
Mr. Lim said he was not opposed to Tuan Abdul Ghani speaking, in fact, he wanted him to have an opportunity to defend himself. However, he should first disclose the extent of his pecuniary interest in Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd. And asked how many shares Tuan Abdul Ghani had in the company, and what financial benefits or interests are involved.
When Tuan Abdul Ghani said he had no pecuniary interest to disclose, Mr. Lim again interrupted and asked for a ruling from the Speaker for a specific declaration of the extent of his pecuniary interest by the Member for Kelemak. He also asked the State Legal Adviser’s advice on the point of order raised by him.
The State Legal by the Speaker to disclose the extent of his pecuniary interest, Tuan Abdul Ghani is required to disclose the extent of his pecuniary interest in the matter as provided by the Standing Orders.
When ordered by the Speaker to disclose the extent of his pecuniary interest, Tuan Abdul Ghani said he had derived no financial gain whatsoever from his being a director of Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd.
Mr. Lim again jumped up and asked: “The House wants a straight forward answer about the extent of his pecuniary interest, whether he has received a single cent from Syarikat Sri Lingga Sdn. Bhd., or whether in the future, he would receive a single cent from the company, in his position as director, whether in terms of dividends, allowances or any other form.”
Tuan Abdul Ghani answered that he had not received a single cent from his directorship.
When winding up the debate, Mr. Lim said this was the first time anywhere a director of a company could say he had no pecuniary interest in it, and that he had not and would not receive a single cent from his directorship.
He said that Tun Abdul Ghani should give this matter serious thought, for it his disclosure is untrue, he would have committed the grave offence of lying to the State Assembly.
Replying to charges made by the Chief Minister and other members of the Barisan Nasional who had opposed his motion, Mr. Lim said that his party fully supported any government effort which can genuinely uplift the bumiputra poor.
What he and his party opposed, as in the Syarikat Sri Lingga case, was the making use of public funds and public resources for the creation of a handful of bumiputra rich.
On the Chief Minister’s explanation that the low premium of $10 an acre levied on the 3,300 acres given to Syarikat Sri Lingga, as the lowest permissible by law, Mr. Lim asked whether the Government intend to offer all available state land to the landless Malays at this nominal sum $10 an acre? If not, why this premium of $10 an acre for such a large acreage to only a handful of persons? The motion was defeated.