Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang,
in Malacca on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 1984 at 11a.m.
Tan Koon Swan must be personally responsible for the three-month long campaign of vilification carried out by the Tan Koon Swan – controlled thrice – weekly Berita Awam
For three months, the thrice – weekly publication, Berita Awam, which is controlled by the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, had been carrying out a vicious and irresponsible campaign of vilification against me because of mt Bukit China stand.
This is reminiscent of 1981 and 1982 when several newspapers carried out a sustained campaign of character – assassination against DAP leaders and in particular on me, especially accusing me of the most unspeakable of motives, like being anti – Chinese educated, wanting to suppress the Chinese educated in the Party in the Chan Teck Chan betrayal of the Party, that I do not have the blood of a Chinese etc.
I am not going to allow what happened in 1981 and 1982 to recur without taking action on my part. Berita Awam has the press freedom to launch a sustained attack on me, for it is finally the readers and the people who must judge the truth or otherwise of the campaign of vilification it is conducting.
I want to publicly declare however that I hold Tan Koon Swan personally responsible for the three – month long campaign of vilification against me by Berita Awam, and I want him to publicly apologise or face the consequences.
2. Call on Bank Negara to ensure that Finance Companies do not violate the Finance Companies Act 1969 resulting in a local BMF scandal
The Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal in Hong Kong shook Malaysia’s banking and financial confidence and reputation to its very roots.
Bank Negara cannot fully escape its responsibility for the BMF scandal, although the Bank Bumiputra finance company subsidiary is a Hong Kong operation.
I want here to call on Bank Negara to ensure the local Finance Companies comply strictly with the statutory requirements and supervise the activities of local Finance Companies to ensure that there could be no local BMF scandal, where finance companies and their management misuse the funds for unlawful ends and purposes either for a few or a group.
I propose to raise in the budget meeting of Parliament the irregularities and even unlawful practices of a Finance Company in Malaysia, which if unchecked, would lead to other unscrupulous practices with awful consequences for the stability and confidence of the public in the financial institutions in Malaysia.
I will be naming names and giving figures in Parliament about this Finance Company’s irregularities and breaches of the Finance Companies Act 1969.
3. Is Koh Tsu Koon prepared to second my motion in Parliament calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF scandal?
Yesterday, the Auditor – General Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin, said that state Governments, off – budget agencies (OBAs) and statutory bodies owe the Federal Government about $ 800 million in loan repayments up to last year. This figure is 58 per cent or $ 300 million more than the $50 million that was outstanding at the end of 1981.
The Auditor – General’s revelations underline the gravity of the for the off – budget agencies (OBAs) to be reined in and brought strict within the ambit of parliamentary and public accountability.
In the final analysis, the OBAs are spending public money and exercising a trust placed on them by the people, and they must be accountable for their actions.
One way to exercise Parliamentary scrutiny and accountability is for the establishment of a Parliamentary Off – Budget Agencies accounts Committee, like the Public Accounts Committee, to scrutinise the accounts of the off – budget agencies.
It is because of the ‘unaccountable’ actions of the Bank Bumiputra and BMF although they are charged with public funds that Malaysia was hit with the $2.5 billion BMF scandal.
I note that the Gerakan General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF scandal. The question that comes to mind is whether this Gerakan resolution is any different from MCA General Assembly resolution which make all sorts of calls but which are never taken up by their Ministers in Cabinet or by their MPs in Parliament.
A good example is the frequent adoption by MCA General Assemblies of the resolution calling for the repeal of Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education act which vests power on the Education Minister to convert Chinese primary schools into national primary schools.
But such MCA General Assembly resolutions year in and year out are treated with contempt by MCA Ministers and MPs who openly oppose in Parliament DAP motions to repeal Clause 21(2) of the Education Act.
Is the Gerakan now learning from the MCA? We can put this to a test immediately.
As I have given notice to move a motion in Parliament calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF loans scandal, I want to know whether the Gerakan MP for Tanjong, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, is prepared to second my motion in Parliament. I hope to hear from him within 24 hours. If the Gerakan MPs are not prepared to back the DAP motion for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, then the people can only conclude that Gerakan General Assembly resolutions are like MCA General Assembly resolutions – just for public consumption but not to be taken seriously whether in Cabinet or in Parliament.