Why Chan Teck Chan treated Lee Kaw as a sworn enemy and bit the hand that fed him

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at a political talk at the Kluang DAP Branch in Kluang, Johore, on Saturday, 9th May 1981 at 7.30 p.m.

Why Chan Teck Chan treated Lee Kaw as a sworn enemy and bit the hand that fed him

In my 15 years of political experience, I have come across many types of political characters. There are those who, like Chan Teck Chan, has some talents but because of some fundamental character defect or personality flaw, could not keep to the straight and narrow path of dedication, commitment and service of the people, party and country.

It is not use having talents if one does not know how to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and lies, and does not know the meaning of honour, integrity and self-respect.

I had said that in political rearing up Chan Teck Chan, giving him all the opportunities of political advancement even to the extent of leaving the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat for him to contest to ensure his entry into Parliament, I felt greatly betrayed by Chan Teck Chan’s treachery in seeking to destroy the DAP and me in particular.

I had used the Chinese saying, ‘you know the person, you know the face but you do not know the heart’ to describe Chan Teck Chan’s heinous deeds.

There is only one other person who probably felt as I felt, and that is Lee Kaw, our National Treasurer and MP for Kluang.

For it was Lee Kaw who, in 1971, brought Chan Teck Chan into the party and helped him in his early days in the Party to make his (Chan’s) way upwards, leading to his becoming both MP and State Assemblyman

But for the whole of last year, Chan Teck Chan treated Lee Kaw as a sworn enemy, biting the hand that fed him, seeking to undermine Lee Kaw’s position in the party, particularly in Johore, where Chan Teck Chan was assigned special duties.

Why did Chan Teck Chan behave so, in ‘paying vengeance for good deeds’ in his relationship with Lee Kaw?

This was because after Chan Teck Chan’s return after his first trip to Taiwan around April 1980, Lee Kaw has asked Teck Chan after a Johore State Committee meeting in Kluang whether there was any truth in rumours that he was involved in a land and housing scheme approved by the Malacca State Government.

Lee Kaw heard this rumour from a non-party source in Johore. After Lee Kaw’s question to Chan Teck Chan out of his concern for him, Chan Teck Chan treated Lee Kaw as a sworn enemy and set out to undermine Lee Kaw’s position in the Party, particularly in Johore.

In fact, until very recently, Chan Teck Chan has even maintained that final approval for the 31.25 acres of housing scheme for Waton Sdn. Bhd., where his wife was one of the four original subscriber-director, had not been given.

But at the recent Malacca State Assembly meeting on April 28 and 29, the entire story of the Waton Sdn. Bhd. could not be hidden any longer.

On the first day, Chan Teck Chan tried to get the Malacca Chief Minister, Adib Adam, to cover-up for him and that was why the next day, some newspapers carried headlines that Chan Teck Chan and wife were not involved in any land or housing deal in Malacca.

But facts must eventually come out, and it was established both by official records in the Registry of Company and by the Malacca Chief Minister’s answer that Chan Teck Chan was lying when he said that his wife has resigned from Waton Sdn. Bhd. long before approval of 31.25 acres of housing scheme by the Malacca State Development Corporation.

Thus, Waton Sdn. Bhd. which was incorporated on 8th August 1979 with an initial share capital of $100,000, and which had its authorised share capital increased to $2 million two months later on 27th November 1979, applied for the 31.25 acres of government land for housing scheme in Malim Jaya, Malacca.

The Malacca State Development Corporation approved the application on March 12, 1980. On March 22, 1980, the Waton Sdn. Bhd. Board of Directors held a meeting and appointed Chan Teck Chan’s wife as managing director!

At first the DAP knew nothing about the Waton Sdn. Bhd. Transaction. It was only after UMNO and MCA officials, who were jealous that they could not get the 31.25 acres of housing scheme while company involving the wife of a DAP MP and State Assemblyman could get, that news of the deal became public knowledge.

It was only after the news became very rife in Malacca, spreading to outside Malacca (as in the case of Lee Kaw), that Chan Teck Chan’s wife resigned as managing director on May 27, 1980.

It is significant that Chan Teck Chan could not explain in the Malacca State Assembly why his wife gave a false address in the Registry of Company records.

We in the DAP believe that the above facts which even Chan Teck Chan could not deny now, speak for themselves.

It was ludicrous that Chan Teck Chan tried to smear the names of DAP Assemblymen, alleging them and their wives of getting land from the government, mentioning in particular DAP State Assemblyman for Bandar Hilir, Bernard Sta Maria. But when Bernard Sta Maria challenged Chan Teck Chan to repeat his allegations outside the State Assembly so that he could not hide under the privilege in the Chamber, and invited him to join him to go outside the Chamber for him to repeat his allegations, Chan Teck Chan dared not accept the challenge to repeat his charges outside the State Assembly.

Before he accepted nomination as a DAP candidate, Chan Teck Chan took a solemn written oath and swore that should he for any reason resign or be expelled from the Party, he would immediately resign both his Parliamentary and State Assembly seat.

It speaks volumes as to how much to trust a person’s honesty, honour and truthfulness when he would not even honour what he was sworn he would do.

I understand why Chan Teck Chan dare not resign his Parliamentary and State Assembly seats, because he would definitely be rejected by the electorate in the by-elections.

Chan Teck Chan’s fear to resign and recontest show that whatever his bravado, he realises that he had no chance of winning in the event of by-election. In fact, he has now also realised that probably he is not that great to be able to become Mohd Nasir No.2 to split and divide the DAP’s votes in the next general elections to the benefits of Barisan. The only way left is for him to join one of the component parties of Barisan, which he has sworn not to join.