Tengku Razaleigh to be questioned on first day of Parliament on July 25 on the billion dollar bad loans of Bumiputera Malaysia Finances in Hong Kong.

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Perak DAP State Seminar for DAP officials held in Ipoh on Sunday, 10th July 1983 at 10 a.m.

Tengku Razaleigh to be questioned on first day of Parliament on July 25 on the billion dollar bad loans of Bumiputera Malaysia Finances in Hong Kong.

We read in the press that in Singapore, the monetary authorities are petitioning the High Court to wind up a Finance Company, the Overseas Union Finance Company, because its major shareholder and former managing director, Seah Say Yoong, had been convicted of an offence for authorizing an unsecured loan of $720,000 to the estate of his late brother. Although this led to a run on the Finance Company, the OUF’ had total assets of $60 million to meet the $30 million owed depositors.

I mentioned this because in Malaysia, we have the scandal of the Bumiputera Finance Malaysia, a wholly- owned Hong Kong subsidiary of Bank Bumiputera, which had over a billion- dollar bad loans to three Hong Kong companies, and which despite promises inside Parliament and outside that a full picture of the BMF would be given at the Bank Bumiputera annual general meeting, is still wrapped up in mystery and secrecy.

The Malaysian authorities have failed to give the Malaysian people an accounting of the BMF loans especially as the loans to its three largest horrowers, Eda Investments, Carrian Holdings and Kevin Hsu exceed the parent Bank Bumiputera’s $644 million in paid- up capital and reserves as at the end of 1982. Form what I understand, a substantial portion of these massive loans are unsecured.

This probably explains why the Bank Bumiputera is increasing its shareholders’ funds by $600 million to $ 1,220 million.

The Malaysian public has a right to expect a high degree of propriety and integrity by its banks and financial institutions, and a greater accountability by the Finance Ministry and the Bank Negara in safeguarding the financial and economic interests of the country.

I have therefore given notice to ask on the first day of Parliament on July 25 the Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh, to report to Parliament on the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance affair.

My question to Tengku Razaleigh is as follows:

“To ask the Minister of Finance to state the total amount of loans advanced separately by Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) to the Carrian Group, the Eda Group and Hong Kong developer Kevin Hsu; the amount of losses which the BMF would incur from each of the three borrowers; the reasons and persons responsible for the BMF bending some $2,000 million beyond the bounds of normal banking prudence, and what action had been taken against BMF and Bank Bumiputera officials responsible for such a massive loss of public funds.”

I hope that the Finance Minister would give Parliamnet a full accounting on the BMF, and end the hide- and- seek of Bank Bumiputera officials who, for instance, from the Bank Chairman to all Board Members disappeared from the post- AGM Bank Bumiputera Press Conference last on 27th June 1983, leaving behind three junior Bank Bumiputera to declare they knew nothing about the BMF loans.

Limited educational opportunities for Malaysians abroad will become even more restrictive in future

A news report two days ago from Australia shows that the limited higher education opportunities for Malaysians abroad will become even more restrictive in future.

Thus, the report said that the Australian government has decided to cut down the number of foreign students entering Australia next year. The 1984 intake will be 2,000 secondary students ( as compared to 2,500 for 1983) and 1,500 tertiary students (as compared to 2,000 in 1983). Malaysians will be the hardest hit by the new Australian regulations, for there are more Malaysian students than any other nationality in Australia.

The real answer to the problem of fulfilling the higher education aspirations of Malaysians is to expand greatly higher education places in the country. This year for instance, out of 25,000 applicants for university places, 17,000 were rejected. Together with the 50,00 Malaysian students who are overseas in various disciplines of higher education, Malaysia could save every year about $1,000 million in foreign exchange if the government allows private colleges and universities to be established in line with the government’s new call for ‘Malaysia Inc.’ and ‘privatisation’ concept, as well as by increasing the number of five local/ universities to eight.

The problem of equal opportunities for higher education is a very basic and long- standing problem in Malaysia, and I call on the Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to give this problem urgent priority to seek a satisfactory solution under the present mid-term review of the Fourth Malaysia Plan.