by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Friday, 6.1.1984:
Call on Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to explain why MPs were not given ample time to study and debate 1984 Constitution Amendment Bill
It was reported today that the Government Printer was taking steps to speed up the printing of the 1984 Constitution Amendment Bill, which is to be debated in the special meeting of Parliament on Monday in three days time. A Parliamentary spokesman has also admitted that it is not likely to send the 1984 Constitution Amendment Bill to MPs outside Kuala Lumpur in advance of the Parliamentary sitting.
This is most deplorable and reflects poorly on an administration which prides itself on ‘efficiency’. The Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, should explain why it is not possible to provide MPs from all political parties with the 1984 Constitution Amendment Bill so that they have ample time to study before debating the Bill on 9th January 1984.
The Prime Minister has spoken a lot about the principle of parliamentary supremacy and the will of the people during the Constitutional Crisis, but the government’s adherence to these principles wear very thin indeed if MPs are not given advance notice of the contents of the Bill to study before debating them.
One cannot but wonder whether Dr. Mahathir is talking about the ‘supremacy of Parliament’ or the ‘supremacy of the Prime Minister’.
By not giving MPs the advance notice of the Bills which they are entitled to before a parliamentary debate, the Government is also depriving the MPs their parliamentary right to move amendments to the 1984 Constitution Amendment Bill, which under the Standing
Orders require prior notice to be given to the Speaker.
All MPs, regardless of party affiliation and whether inside or outside the Barisan Nasional, must take a firm stand to require the Government to stop treating Parliament with contempt by providing MPs ample time to study before debating important Bills, for we assume that every MP is a conscientious Parliamentarian, who is not just a rubber-stamp for the ruling party to vote for any Bill which they are ordered by their party bosses to do so, even if they have not understood or read the Bill concerned!
DAP calls on Dr Mahathir to present a Ministerial Statement on the $2.500 BMF scandal in Parliament on Monday.
The seven writs filed by Bumiputra Malaysia Finance against the former Carrian boss, George Tan, in his capacity as guarantor for a total of $317.4 million to companies owned by him or in the Carrian empire has raised even more questions.
The question is how George Tan, on his name alone, could get the BMF and Bank Bumiputra to lend him close to some $2,000 million in loans to a conglomerate of companies with fantastic names like ‘Take Way Ltd.’, ‘Special Profit Ltd.’, ‘Outwid Ldt.’, ‘Gold Come Ltd.’, ‘Home Way Ltd.’. In fact, the names of these companies, the creation of George Tan, should have alerted responsible bankers about the dubious nature of the George Tan phenomenon.
In the writs filed by BMF against George Tan, the BMF said it sent letters dated Nov. 18/demanding repayment of the loans, but the companies concerned either failed or refused to replay. A second BMF reminder of letters on Nov. 24 had the same result. The second question is why the BMF decided to take legal action so late in the day – in December 1983, some two years after the government had official knowledge about the BMF scandal. I call on the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to take the opportunity of the special
meeting of Parliament on Monday, 9.11.1984, to make a Ministerial statement on the $2,500 million BMF scandal.