Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP PJ Headquarters on Thursday, Dec. 13, 1984 at 12 noon
Cabinet decision not to release second and third reports of Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee tantamounts to breach of Prime Minister’s promise that there would be no curbs on the BMF probe
The rating of the two post-Cabinet meeting announcements by the Acting Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam yesterday is one plus and one minus – plus for the Papan announcement that he will personally try to resolve the radioactive waste dump issue; while a minus for the BMF denial that there is a second and third reports of the BMF Inquiry Committee which tantamounts to breaches of the promise given by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed that there would be no curbs on the BMF probe by the Ahmad Nordin Inquiry Committee.
Call on Finance Minister to explain why he reneged on his repeated public assurance that he would advise Cabinet to make public second BMF report
It was none other than the new Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, himself who on Nov. 19 confirmed that he had received the second report from the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, when speaking to newsmen after the opening of the Second National Seminar on Taxation in Kuala Lumpur.
Daim Zainuddin said that he would advise the Government to make public the committee of inquiry’s second report on the BMF loans scandal after it had been studied by the Attorney-General. Daim Zainuddin reiterated that there would be no cover-up as there was nothing to cover up in the BMF loans scandal.
Again ten dy days later, on Nov. 29, in Parliament House, Daim Zainuddin told reporters that he would be b tabling the second report on the BMF loans scandal to the Cabinet with the recommendation that it be made public.
But yesterday’s Cabinet decided not only to suppress the second report of the BMF Inquiry Committee, the Cabinet decided to deny that there is such a thing as a second report or a third report, which had also been submitted to the authorities by the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee.
The Finance Minister owes the people a full explanation as to what had actually happened to his repeated public assurances that he would advise the Cabinet to make public the second report of the Ahamd Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee.
Did he change his mind after all, and advised the Cabinet to suppress the second BMF report and even to deny that there is such a thing as a second or third report?
Or did he honour his public assurances, advise the Cabinet to make public the second report, but was vetoed by the Cabinet?
I cannot imagine which Cabinet Minister would have the guts to speak up against the Finance Minister’s advice in a subject which is directly under the Finance Minister’s responsibility and if there is anyone who could oppose the Finance Minister’s advice, it is only the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister. If the Finance Minister’s advice had been overruled by the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister, then the people has the right to know why!
Nobody will accept Datuk Musa Hitam’s lame explanation that there is no second or third, reports on the BMF. The only question now is why the Cabinet has refused to release them to the public.
Datuk Musa said the so-called second or third reports were actually reports on cases of specific loans submitted by the Committee of Inquiry to Bank Bumiputra, involving a $40 million loan and a $7 million loan, and that the government could not make public the reports because they contained allegations about certain people and it had not been confirmed that these people were responsible for the alleged acts. Datuk Musa said it was unfair for a report containing allegations against certain people to be made public until the authorities were satisfied that the person or persons named were really guilty.
Datuk Musa’s explanation is mind-boggling. Firstly, he is resorting to semantics to deny that there is a second and third report. Whether they are about specific loans or otherwise, they remain the second and third reports of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee carried out completely within the terms of reference of the inquiry.
When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, announced the formation of the inquiry committee on 11th January 1984, he said that the findings are recommendations of the committee would form the basis for determining whether any civil or criminal proceedings should be initiated against those involved.
It would appear that the status of the BMF Inquiry Committee had since then be further downgraded, and its reports and findings would not be the basis for determining any civil or criminal proceedings, or Datuk Musa would not talk about “it was unfair for a report containing allegations against certain people to be made public until the authorities were satisfied that the person or persons named were really guilty.” Surely the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee’s findings should not be equated with ‘unsubstantiated allegations’” which had still to be invested into? Otherwise, the BMF Inquiry Committee’s work is purely redundant.
In trying to deny that the specific loan reports of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee are second and third reports on the BMF loans scandal, the Cabinet has in fact broken the promise given by the Prime Minister when announcing the formation of the inquiry committee in January this year that there would be no curbs or restrictions on the probe by the committee.
In disallowing the BMF Committee the right to issue a series of reports, and confining it to only an interim and a final report, the Cabinet had interfered with the Committee’s findings.
A week ago, a local press reported that the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee is gathering materials and documents for at least a dozen more reports in connection with the BMF loans scandal, and it is clearly to pre-empt and spike such series of reports by the Ahmad Nordin committee that Cabinet has taken the policy decision that the Inquiry Committee is only allowed an interim and an a final report.
The people of Malaysia want to know why the Government is so afraid of a series of separate BMF reports by the Inquiry Committee, especially as not all available facts and materials would be available at any one time, considering the Carrian trial going on in Hong Kong! A Cabinet which is serious in wanting to expose all financial irregularities, frauds and conspiracy in the BMF loans scandal would welcome a series of reports so that there could be early release of specific instances of criminal wrongdoings or irregularities when inquiry had completed in each particular transaction, instead of waiting for a long time when the whole report is completed.
Datuk Musa said that the final report of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee would be made public in two or three months’ time. I am quite skeptical about this statement, bearing in mind the long string of broken government promises on the BMF loans scandal.
The government promised to make public the BMF interim report without any censorship, but when the interim BMF report was released, it was not the full report.
The DAP calls on the Cabinet not to interfere or place curbs or restrictions on the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, and to allow the Committee the freedom to decide whether it wants to issue a dozen reports before its final report. What the Cabinet must do is to live up to its promise to release every such BMF report to the public without any attempt to hide or cover up the wrongdoings in the BMF loans scandal.
In September, the Bank Bumiputra Chairman, Dr. Nanawi Mat Awin, had said that the bank would not hesitate to take action ‘not only in Hong Kong but in this country and anywhere else, against anyone who may be shown to have committed any wrongdoing in the BMF loans scandal.’ But the Bank Bumiputra is hesitating about lodging police reports in Hong Kong although this is recommended by the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee’s second report so as to speed up investigations and legal actions.
Can Dr. Nanawi Mat Awin and Datuk Musa Hitam enlighten the Malaysian public the refusal of Bank Bumiputra’s to act on the recommendation of the BMF Inquiry Committee?
DAP to suspend its national boycott of whole range of Mitsubishi products in support of Papan residents until outcome of Datuk Musa’s personal intervention
The DAP welcomes the personal intervention of Datuk Musa Hitam in the Papan radioactive waste dump issue to resolve the controversy. This is a positive step by the Government, and I hope that the legitimate views and rights of the people of Papan would be fully taken into account this time before the Government make a final decision on the Papan radioactive waste dump site.
In view of Datuk Musa’s personal intervention, we in the DAP will suspend our preparations to launch a nation-wide public boycott of the whole range of Mitsubishi products in support of the struggle of the people of Papan against the siting of the radioactive waste dump in the area.
The DAP had intended to announce the formation and officials of a National Committee for a Nation-Wide Public Boycott of Mitsubishi products to support Papan Residents, but this announcement would now be suspended to enable the Acting Prime Minister to try to resolve the issue first.
The people of Papan had been proved right about the unsafe and sub-standard construction of the waste dump trenches. There was no need to bring in international experts just to ascertain that he trenches are unsafe and sub-standard. This could have been done by local engineers and experts.
The radioactive experts from abroad should have been asked to study the suitability of the Papan radioactive wastedump site, and not the safety of the trenches. Unfortunately, the government experts werd not given this particular term of reference, which made the visit of the government experts quite a waste of time and public funds.
The Bhopal disaster in India where over 2,500 people were killed and over 120,000 injured from the worst chemical gas incident must be sober reminder to all Malaysians that government officials and experts could also make mistake – and that it is the innocent public, particularly the children, who suffer from such bureaucratic mistakes!
So as to enable the Acting Prime Minister to find a solution to the Papan issue, Datuk Musa should ensure that there would be no further work in the radioactive waste dump site or the trenches, and that the Asian Rare Earth Sdn. Bhd. Which produces the radioactive waste should stop its production immediately, and to remove the thoria waste which are now stored at the factory site constituting a serious hazard to humans and the environment around the factory.
MCA and Gerakan Ministers have failed in their public trust in not bringing up the Bukit China issue at the Cabinet
As significant as the two post-Cabinet announcements by Datuk Musa on BMF and Papan yesterday, was the lack of announcement on the Bukit China issue.
This is because of the failure of MCA and Gerakan Ministers to raise in the Cabinet the Bukit China issue, especially as the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, had defied the directive of the Prime Minister that he should observe the spirit of the Cheng Hoon Teng (Incorporation) Ordinance 1949 in handling the Bukit China issue.
Any attempt to deprive Cheng Hoon Teng of its ownership right over Bukit China, whether by acquisition, forfeiture through the scandalous $2 million quit rent demand or ultimatum, or any other method, will be a violation of the spirit of Cheng Hoon Teng Ordinance 1949 which dedicate Bukit China for burial and religious purpose.
At this critical juncture when the Malacca State Government is trying to intimidate the Cheng Hoon Teng Committee to surrender to the Chief Minister’s Bukit China plans through the $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum, MCA Ministers are taking the opportunity to go overseas on leave. Tan Koon Swan is also doing the same thing.
Lee Kim Sai said in today’s press that Neo Yee Pan and I should make representations to the Malacca Chief Minister asking for exemption of the $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum for Bukit China. He should stop thinking that the people are three-year-olds, who do not know that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction representative, Lim Soo Kiang, sits in the Malacca State Executive Council and supported the Malacca Chief Minister in the $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum. Lee Kim Sai;s crocodile tears are now too well-known for people to be duped by this political trickeries again.
In allowing Lim Soo Kiang in the Malacca State Executive Council to support the Malacca Chief Minister’s $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum over Bukit China, Lee Kim Sai and Tan Koon Swan have also become the supporters of this $2 million quit rent action.
In these circumstances, Lim Kim Sai must explain why the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, through Lim Soo Kiang in Malacca, had supported the Malacca Chief Minister’s $2 million Bukit China quit rent demand and ultimatum.
Democratic Action Party
Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP PJ Hqrs on Tuesday, December 18, 1984 at 11:30 a.m.
Proposal for the Formation of a Council for Civil and Human Rights to uphold the rule of law and protect the people and country from unlawful and unconstitutional acts of governments
The Datuk Harris Salleh case has highlighted the need for avenues whereby the civil and human rights of Malaysians could be protected from unlawful and unconstitutional acts of government leaders.
I am of the view that the time has come for a Council for Civil and Human Rights to be established which will have as its aim the defence of Malaysians from unlawful and unconstitutional acts og government.
The DAP has taken up several public interest issues to court, not for the sake of the party itself, but for the sake of the country, but we have been hampered from taking up more public interest litigation matters because of the prohibitive costs involved. There was one case where the DAP had to pay costs exceeding $30,000 and it took the DAP a long time to recover – which explain the DAP’s prolonged abstinence from public interest litigation during one period!
I believe that the taking up of public interest litigation, the defence of civil and human rights of Malaysians from unlawful and unconstitutional acts of governments, is not merely the responsibility of the DAP, but of all Malaysians who cherish the rule of law.
I am therefore formally proposing the formation of a Council for Civil and Human Rights in Malaysia, which would operate a trust fund to enable the Council to take up public interest litigation, and I call on public-spirited lawyers to support this Council with their donations and contributions.
Whatever costs or compensation I receive in my suit against Datuk Harris Salleh would be contributed towards this trust fund for the Council for Civil and Human Rights in Malaysia. This Council for Civil and Human Rights is not a DAP Council, but a Council for all Malaysians, and I hope that lawyers and the Malaysian public, regardless of political affiliation, could come together in this Council to provide a bulwark against unconstitutional and unlawful acts of government.
I will visit the various States to talk to lawyers as well as laymen on this idea of Council for Civil and Human Rights in Malaysia and I hope that this Council could be established in 1985.
The choice of an alternative radioactive waste dump site ‘not very far from Papan’ would not resolve the controversy
Senior State Executive Council of Perak, Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ahmad, said yesterday that the Perak State Government had earmarked an alternative site for the radioactive waste dump which would not ‘not be very far from Papan’.
The Perak State Government must be warned in advance that the choice of an alternative waste dump ‘not very far from Papan’ would not resolve the controversy. The State Government should not lightly gamble with the life of Malaysians and future generations and the quality of environment in the radioactive waste dump issue.
The Federal and Perak State Government should at this juncture, when a review is being made on the Papan radioactive waste dump issue following the personal intervention of the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, make a radical study and explain to Malaysians why the rare earth industry as represented by the Asian Rare Earth Sdn. Bhd. is necessary for Malaysia and whether in the balance of considerations, it is not better for such a factory to be closed down altogether.
Before the Perak State Government looks for alternative radioactive waste dump site, the DAP calls on the Cabinet to take a decision to abandon the radioactive waste dump project altogether.
The Mitsubishi Corporation general manager, T. Kitihara, said in today’s press that it was unfair to call for a general boycott of Mitsubishi products when only one Mitsubishi company is involved in Asian Rare Earth Sdn. Bhd. which produces the radioactive waste, thorium hydroxide.
Everyone knows that in a multi-national corporation of Mitsubishi’s magnitude, every subsidiary or associated company is but a digit in the entire Mitsubishi chessboard to plough in profits.
It would appear that it is fair for Mitsubishi to export its dangerous industries which are banned in Japan to Malaysia, but it is unfair for Malaysians to protest against such irresponsible Mitsubishi behaviour.
Although Mitsubishi is here, as Kitihara claims, to help develop Malaysia in line with the government’s policy of industrialisation, the people of Malaysia cannot allow Mitsubishi to use this as an excuse to bring in dangerous industries which pose a serious harzard ro human beings and the environment as the production of radioactive waste, thorium hydroxide, in the Papan case.
For the information of Mitsubh Mitsubihsi, the DAP’s intention to give full support to the struggle of the people of Papan by launching a nation-wide public boycott of the entire range of Mitsubishi products remain unchanged if the Papan radioactive waste dump issue is not resolved satisfactory.
DAP calls for general elections and the use of ‘Sarawak formula’ for Barisan Nasional component parties to resolve the present political chaos in Barisan as well as the many political problems in country
In the uproar in the wake of Datuk Musa’s advice to the MCA to leave Barisan Nasional temporarily until it has resolved its nine-month old crisis, the important question as to whether MCA and other component parties had the same right to tell UMNO to leave Barisan Nasional temporarily until its power struggle had been settled had not been asked by any MCA leaders.
That no MCA leader dare to raise this question shows the subservient and lowly position of MCA in the Barisan Nasional scheme of things.
The political situation in the country is most confused and chaotic, with conflicting claims among competing Barisan component parties, as well as competing factions in each component Barisan party with regard to legitimate political representation and rights.
The country is also facing an unprecedented number of major national issues like the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal, the Bukit China issue, the Papan radioactive waste dump issue, etc.
One way out of this political confusion is for the dissolution of Parliament and the State Assemblies for the people to make a judgement on the political issues plaguing the country.
For the Barisan Nasional in Peninsular Malaysia, the former Sarawak formula could be used, where the component Barisan perties have a ‘free for all’ with each party fighting under its own banner, and the winner claiming the seat in the name of Barisan.
Gerakan had asked for this ‘free for all’ in the next general elections in its fight with MCA. In such a Sarawak ‘formula’, not only Gerakan and MCA could field their candidates in the same constituency, the Neo Yee Pan MCA faction and the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction should be free to field respective candidates as well.
Such an early general elections would also proved the people with an opportunity to decide the contest between UMNO and PAS.
Such an early general elections would also provide an answer to the respective claims of the Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan MCA faction that they are the legitimate champions of the five million Malaysian Chinese.
Are both the Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan MCA factions brave enough to suggest to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, immediately dissolution of Parliament and State Assemblies to end the protracted political crisis in MCA as well as in Malaysia?