Speech by Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, at a dinner of DAP MPs held in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, Oct. 22, 1981 at 8 p.m.
Call on Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to sack Mak Hon Kam and other Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are woefully ignorant about the contents of their Ministry’s bill or motion presented to Parliament.
The appointment of the Mahathir-Musa political leadership, with all the fanfare on efficiency, competence and integrity, gave many the impression that in Parliament this time, we can see Ministers, Deputy Ministers, parliamentary Secretaries and Barisan MPs showing greater competence, mastery and knowledge of Ministerial responsibilities and parliamentary affairs.
But the parliamentary meeting last week and this week show that nothing much has changed. In fact, there are Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are skidding backwards and losing grasp of even v=basic knowledge about their Ministry’s responsibilities.
The Minister of Labour, Datuk Richard Ho, for instance, pleaded for notice when asked how many illegal Indonesia immigrants had been found by the Ministry of Labour survey, which was supposed to take one month but ha snow extended to six months.
Yesterday, the Minister of Works and Public Utilities, Datuk Samy Vellu, answering a question, said that the damages to the new Jobor Jerangau Highway in Trengganu was some $20 million. When asked what was the original cost of the Jobor Jerangau Highway, Datuk Samy Vellu proudly declared that he did not know!
But the person who had established his unchallenged ignorance about his Ministry’s affairs is none other than the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Mak Hon Kam.
Last Thursday, the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak, introduced a motion to establish the State Advances Fund under the Financial Procedure Act 1959. According to Datuk Najib, the States Advance Fund was necessary to help states in financial difficulties so as to ensure that developments in the states are speeded up.
The debate on the motion to establish the State Advance Fund took the whole of Friday, and over 10 Barisan MPs competed with each other for more development allocations for their states or even their constituencies, some complaining about inadequate roads, water supplies, others asking for rail connections, air services, and a whole variety requests for development.
When the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Najib, replied on Monday when winding up the debate on the State Advance Fund, he dismissed all the requests y the Barisan MPs for more development funds for their states or constituencies as irrelevant, for the State Advance Fund was to help deficit states like Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan which had inadequate funds fir their operating expenses, and had absolutely noting to do with development.
This means that what the some ten Barisan MPs were talking about last Friday, occupying own whole day of Parliament, were completely out of point and irrelevant. Datuk Najib was not in Parliament last Friday, but his other colleague, Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Mak Hon Kam, was in the House taking charge of the motion on Datuk Najib’s behalf.
Why didn’t Datuk Mak Hon Kam stand in Parliament early on Friday to explain that the Barisan MPs were barking up the wrong tree, and gave the House a clear explanation as to the intent and contents of the motion to establish the States Advances Fund?
In allowing Parliament and some 10 Barisan MPs to spend one day to talk on completely irrelevant things is a clear abdication of responsibility of Mak Hon Kam Parliament.
It is clear that although he is Deputy Finance Minister, and was charge of the motion on Friday, Datuk Mak was completely ignorant himself about the intent and purpose of the State Advance Fund. This explain why he was taking voluminous notes when every Barisan MP was asking for this development or tat development, ot knowing that they were completely irrelevant to motion.
Datuk Mak is not fit to be Deputy Finance Minister if he does not understand hiss own Ministry’s Bill or motion. I call on he Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to sack Mak Hom Kam and other Ministers and Deputy Ministers who seem to be woefully ignorant about their own Ministry’s Bill, motions or responsibilities, so that more competent and efficient tea, of Ministers and Deputy Ministers dan preside over the people’s welfare and the country’s destiny.
Why such vast differences in the two versions about the MCA Youth’s meeting with the Prime Minister?
After the meeting of the MCA Youth and the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the MCA Youth Leader, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, gave his version of what transpired. But Datuk Lee’s version is vastly different from the version given by the Prime Minister’s Political Secretary, Megat Juid bin Megat Ayub.
For instance, Datuk Lee said the Prime Minister discussed for two hours with the MCA Youth about its proposal for a Second MCA Deputy Prime Minister. This was contradicted by Megat Junid, who gave the impression that the Prime Minister dismissed the MCA Youth’s call out of hand, by repeating what he said at the MCA General Assembly that certain matters were ‘non-starters’, refusing even to discuss it.
Again Datuk Lee claimed that the Prime Minister promised to ‘rectify’ the ‘rojak announcements’ of Radio programmes, but the Prime Minister’s Political Secretary said the Prime Minister merely said he would bring the matter up with the Information Minister.
Datuk Lee Kim Sai also led a delegation of the MCA Youth to see the former Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, and clearly the MCA Youth had not ant progress since then. What the people wanto know is what the MCA Deputy Information Minister, Dr. Ling Liong Sik, is doing about rectifying the ‘rojak announcements’ of RTM Chinese programmes, instead of calling on one Prime Minister after another.
Datuk Lee said that the Prime Minister promised to overcome the problems rased by the MCA Youth like the appointment of more Chinese District Officers and Deputy District Officers, citizenship problems of about 100,000 non-Malays, the plight of foreign wives and the illegal immigration problem. But Megat Junid again denied, saying that the Prime Minister merely ‘took note’ of these issues.
Why is there such a vast difference between the two versions by Datuk Lee Kim Sai and the Prime Minister’s spokesman on the same meeting. Who is trying to bluff the public? I suggest that the MCA Youth send to the Prime Minister a memorandum of what transpired at the meeting, seeking the Prime Minister’s confirmation, and then release the jointly-agreed version for the public’s information. Otherwise, Datuk Lee’s claims about any matter must henceforth be suspect!