Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, to the Petaling DAP Liaison Committee meeting held at Serdang Bahru DAP Branch on Thursday, 28th May 1981 at 8.30 p.m.
Call on Tengku Razaleigh to spare a few minutes from his campaigning for UMNO Deputy Presidency to honour and release the $600,000 he had promised the three Chinese primary schools during Pengkalan Kota by-election
During the Pengkalan Kota by-election in Penang last November, the Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh, announced during his visit to the constituency on-the-spot grants of $600,000 to three Chinese primary schools in the area, namely Sum Ming primary school ($450,000), Beng Teik primary school ($50,000) and Eng Chuan primary school ($100,000). That was on Nov. 8, 1981.
Five days later, on Nov. 13, the Minister for Housing, Datuk Neo Yee Pan, in a big ceremony, handed over to representatives of the three schools Treasury warrants for the respective amounts.
But till this day, after six months, the three schools, despite repeated reminders to the authorities and the MCA leaders concerned, have not yet received a single cent from the $600,000 promised by no less a person than the Finance Minister himself.
Penang MCA leaders have told representatives of the three schools that the $600,000 must now await the outcome of Tengku Razaleigh’s contest for the UMNO Deputy Presidency.
This is most shocking as if suggesting that should Tengku Razaleigh lose to Datuk Musa in the contest for UMNO Deputy Presidency, and presumably for the Deputy Prime Ministership, then the $600,000 promised to the three Chinese primary schools would also be lost.
Having misled the Pengkalan Kota voters in the by-election, the MCA is now getting ready to perpetrate a greater deception on the people.
Regardless of whether Tengku Razaleigh wins or loses in his contest for UMNO Deputy President with Datuk Musa Hitam, the DAP and the people hold the Barisan Nasional government to the $600,000 to Sum Min, Beng Teik and Eng Chuan primary schools, especially as Treasury warrants for the money had been presented by Datuk Neo Yee Pan on the eve of the by-election.
With the issue of the Treasury warrants, the $600,000 should have been released last December itself, and I believe this is the only instance where an official ceremony was held to present Treasury warrants of government funds without a single-cent of backing!
The Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh, has a reputation of competence and efficiency. But the failure of the Finance Ministry to follow-up the Treasury warrants of $600,000 to the three Chinese primary schools have tarnished Tengku Razaleigh’s reputation of efficiency and competence.
I call on the Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh, to spare a few minutes from his hectic campaigning for the UMNO Deputy President’s post to honour and release the $600,000 to the San Min, Beng Teik and Eng Chuan primary schools. Unless the money is released to the three Chinese primary schools in the next few days, I will communicate with the Finance Minister to remind him of his by-election pledge, as the MCA leaders in Penang and nationally are incapable of ensuring prompt delivery of government pledges.
May be the MCA in Penang are hoping that the $600,000 to the three Chinese primary schools in Pengkalan Kota would be delayed until the next general elections expected next year, so that this could again be used to get votes for the MCA.