Advice to Deputy Fianance Minister, Datuk Sabbaruddin Cik, not to communalise the BMF loans scandal

Press Conference (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang in Penang on Monday, Dec. 10, 1984 at 11 am

Advice to Deputy Fianance Minister, Datuk Sabbaruddin Cik, not to communalise the BMF loans scandal

I would advise the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabbaruddin Cik, not to communalise the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal in order to counter the ever-growing public demand for a full accounting of the biggest financial and banking scandal in Malaysian history.

I am indeed shocked that the Deputy Finance Minister had hit out at the DAP at a Menglembu UMNO Youth division meeting that the DAP was “constantly trying to make things difficult for Bank Bumiputra through all sorts of pretexts.” Datuk Sabarrudin Cik said it was up to the Government and the Malays to defend Bank Bumiputra’s position and viability.

This is a most irresponsible, mischievous and racist statement, as Datuk Sabarrudin Cik is trying to imply that the non-Malays are trying to destroy Bank Bumiputra, and that non-Malay citizens do not have a right to demand a full public accounting of the BMF loans scandal.

Let me remind Datuk Sabbaruddin Cik that the $2.5 billion involved in the BMF loans scandal belong to Malaysians of all races, and we will not allow the Deputy Finance Minister to create a red herring by trying to communalise the scandal, which has no racial overtones but it strictly a question of integrity, trustworthiness and responsibility of all those charged with the stewardship of public funds.

Secondly, if anyone had tried to destroy Bank Bumiputra, it is not those who are now insisting that there must be a full accounting of the BMF loans scandal, but those BMF and Bank scandal, shattering national and international confidence in Bank Bumiputra as well as in Malaysia’s financial integrity and credibility.

I would advice Datuk Sabarrudin Cik not to behave like a petty, racist politician, giving a communal twist to non-racial issues, for it is the right of every Malaysian, regardless of whether he is Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban, to demand that corruption, misuse of public funds, breach of trust – or what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed had himself described as a ‘heinous crime’ – should be fully exposed to prevent a recurrence.

Nobody wants to destroy the Bank Bumiputra – and we in the DAP are not exception. But we will not allow the government to ‘cover up’ the BMF loans scandal and let those responsible for the $2.5 billion scandal go scot-free! Nor we will permit the government to commit illegal acts to avoid fuller public and Parliamentary accountability of the BMF loans scandal.

This is why the DAP Central Executive Committee decided on Dec. 3, in the public interest of all Malaysians, that the Petronas take-over of Bank Bumiputra and the $2.5 billion bad debts of BMF should be challenged in the courts as to its legality.

This is not an act to destroy Bank Bumiputra, for the government had already publicly pledged full support to Bank Bumiputra with the people’s fund.

The Petronas court case is not DAP vs Government of Malaysia, but the People of Malaysia vs the Government to test and uphold the Rule of Law.

This is why when DAP legal adviser K.C. Cheah filed the Petronas action last Saturday, he made it very clear that he was acting not for any political party, but for all Malaysians regardless of party affiliation – for believe that even in the component Barisan Nasional parties, there are leaders and members who want to uphold the Rule of Law.

May be, Datuk Sabbarudein Cik is trying to create some among UMNO branches that if the government loses the Petronan case, the Bank Bumiputra will collapse. This is utterly irresponsible nonsense.

Should the Court uphold the argument that the Petronas takeover of Bank Bumiputra and the $2.5 billion bad debts are illegal and ultra vires of the Petronas’ statutory duties set out by Parliament in the Petroleum Development Act 1974, all it means is that the Petronas take-over is rescinded, and the Government will have to ask Parliament for money to bail out Bank Bumiputra. But the government would have to give Parliamentary accounting of the BMF scandal in Parliamentary bail-out of Bank Bumiputra, is happened in the previous Bank Rakyat case when Parliamentary involved $2.5 billion to bail out the co-operative bank.

I did say, as Datuk Sabbarudin told on lembu UMNO Youth yesterday, that DAP MPs would take every opportunity to rise the BMF scandal in Parliament, because the government was trying its utmost to ‘cover up’ the scandal. Barisan MPs right from the beginning had been attacking DAP MPs for wasting parliamentary time in raising the BMF issue. It was to tell Barisan MPs that DAP Mps would not to intimidated by their attacks to shut up on the BMF loans scandal. I have nothing to be ashamed or to be apologetic about this statement, which I made publicly in Parliament – but I concern any attempt by anyone to try to distort that statement as proof that I wanted to destroy Bank Bumiputra.

If Sabbarudin should be brave enough to statement openly that I wanted to destroy Bank Bumiputra and the economic position of the Malays by insisting on a full parliamentary and public accounting of the BMF scandal, I would not hesitate to sue the Deputy Finance Minister for defamation of character and to demand damages from him.

Call on Prime Minister to heed the protest and abandon the radioactive waste dump project

Yesterday, over 2,000 residents in Papan staged a historic one-day hunger strike and to protest against the government’s decision to go ahead with the plan to locate the radioactive waste dump near the town.

The Papan protestors also called for protest of Mitsubishi products because of the firm’s involvement in the Asian Rare Earth Sdn. Bhd. (Mitsubishi Chemicals are 35 per cent shares) hich produce the radioactive waste, by thorium hydroxide.

I call on the Prime Minister to heed the protest if the people Papan and abandon the radioactive waste dump project, especially as neither the government’s experts not the exports of the Japan Action Group are of the view that Papan is the suitable site for such radioactive waste.

The DAP will give gull support to the Papan residents in their campaign against the siting of the radioactive waste dump in their area, which threaten health and life, not only of the present residents, but future generations well.

The DAP calls on the Japanese Government and the Mitsubishi to heed the people’s protest and ensure that the economic prosperity of Japan will not be built on the sufferings of Malaysians – especially as this type of economic activity is banned in Japan as being dangerous to human and environment.

The DAP is prepared to give full support to the Papan people’s call for boycott of the entire range of Mitsubishi products in Malaysia if the views of the people of Papan are completely disregarded.

The DAP will form a National Committee to Support Papan Residents in National Boycott of Mitsubishi Products.

I am prepared to meet Japanese Government officials, the Japanese Embassy people, and Mitsubishi officials, to urge them to respect the views of the people of Papan and Malaysia, for great damage could be caused in the relationship between the two countries if Mitsubishi in stubborn enough in wanting to continue with its radioactive into dump project in utter disregard of the views, health and riches of ordinary Malaysians.