Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, January 5, 1985 at 11.30am.
DAP calls for the publication of the second and third reports of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee to demonstrate the government’s full acceptance of the principle of accountability
The DAP is not an Opposition for the sake of Opposition, but is prepared to give bouquet to the government when it deserves it as we are guided in our actions by the higher interests of the nation and people, It is for this reason that on behalf of the DAP, I commended the Government for the first time since the $2.5 billion Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal for the government release of the fourth report or brief of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee which named six persons it felt should be prosecuted.
However, the Government and Bank Bumiputera must not bask in the ’commendations‘ and ‘praises’ which had been showered on it in the past few days for the release of the latest Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee report, for there are still many areas in the handling of the BMF scandal which are far below public expectation.
Now that the government had published the interim or first report (minus the appendix) and the fourth report or brief, I call on the Cabinet to make public as well the second and third reports or briefs of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee. There can now be no strong reason for suppressing the second and third reports of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry from public knowledge.
In fact, it was the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, who said in November that he would advise the Cabinet to make public the second report. This public pledge of the Finance Minister cannot be taken lightly, and in the interest of restoring public confidence in the government handling of the BMF loans scandal, the Prime Minister should order the second and third BMF Inquiry reports to be published without any more delay.
Fourth BMF Report a shocking document of lack of public service integrity.
The fourth BM report is a shocking document of the lack of public service integrity, commitment and morality of top Officials who had been entrusted with the charge of public funds. Instead of public service dedication, they abused their positions of trust and responsibility to benefit themselves.
Public funds in the BMF were used as deposits so that BMF Executives could get multi-million dollar loans for themselves, while their wives or children also get substantial sums of money as well as benefits like a HK$128,000 ornamental horse from a Hong Kong Jewellery firm or free air tickets.
But what is even more reprehensible is the refusal of the BMF Directors like Lorraine Esme Osman and Dato Mohd Hashim Shamsuddin to co-operate with the BMP Inquiry Committee, to the extent that in many cases, the Inquiry Committee virtually threw up its hands in despair with the pathetic conclusion that “We, the Committee are unable to proceed further in this respect since we do not have the necessary powers to compel disclosure to us of the relevant information”!
When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamed, in January 1984 announced the formation of a Committee of Inquiry rejecting the public clamour for a Royal Commission of Inquiry, he said that he did not envisage any difficulties in the Inquiry Cammittee’s investigations in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister has been proved wrong, as the key BMF executives have turned hostile. I still remember that when he was asked by the reporters what would be the position if the Inquiry Committee had difficulties in summoning BMF and Bank Bumiputera officials to give evidence, the Prime Minister replied optimistically “We will solve it when we come to it”.
The Cabinet must now give this problem of getting the key BMF executives to co-operate with the Inquiry Committee serious consideration, and it should invoke all the powers at its command to get the former BMF executives to appear before the Inquiry Committee to answer for their role in the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal.
Former Board under Dr. Nawawi Mat Awin negligent and irresponsible
The fourth report of the BMF Inquiry Committee has also shown up the former Bank Bumiputera Boards, whether under the chairmanship of Tan Sri Kamarul Afrffin or Dr. Nawawi Mat Awin, as irresponsible and negligent.
In the case of Kamarul Ariffin, he and the Bank Bumiputera’s Management Committee did nothing to prevent the improper and unauthorised placement of HK$3 million of the BMF’s funds in a company as a ‘quid pro quo’ for the granting of a HK$4.1 million loan to to BMF Director, Dato Hashim Shamssudin, by the company on 24th April 1981, although the Bank’s Management Committee was repeatedly warned about the improper nature of the transaction.
Dr. Nawawi Mat Awin‘s irresponsibility could be seen from the episode of the BMF general manager, Ibrahim Jaffar, getting an overdraft facility of HK$ 1 million from the Bank of Communications Ltd. guaranteed by Carrian Holdings Ltd. When the Asian Wall Street Journal reported on this in the end of January 1983, the Bank Negara Governor suggested in a meeting with Dr. Nawawi on 5th Feb. 1983 that Ibrahim Jaffar should be sacked if the newspaper report is true.
The Bank Bumiputera Board of Directors, at its meeting on Feb 9, 1983, decided that an official investigation should be conducted into the Ibrahim Jaffar affair, and requested Lorraine Esme Osman and Dato Hashim. Shamsuddin to carry out an investigation and report back to the Board. As the BNF Inquiry Committee noted in its fourth report, “no report was ever made to the Board and the Board did not pursue the matter further”.
How irresponsible could the Board of Directors of the biggest bank in Malaysia be?
These scandalous episodes raise the fundamental question as to how to make the Board of Directors of government companies, like Bank Bumiputera, accountable for their actions.
Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Loader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a meeting of Penang DAP Branch officials in Penang on Saturday, 5th Jan. l985 at 8pm.
DAP to prepare for next general elections to be held in nine months’ time.
A few days ago, the Elections Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Kadir Talib, said there was a possibility of the next general elections being held early next year simultaneously for , Parliamentary as well as for Sabah and Sarawak State General elections.
However, the DAP must be prepared for the next general, elections to be held in nine months time, which would mean that the present term of Parliament would have run 3.5 years.
There are many factors pointing to the possibility of early general elections, including the possibility of a new recession in the world economy next year.
The forced settlement of the MCA crisis resulting from the power struggle between the Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koen Swan MCA factions by UMNO is another indicator. I expect the MCA crisis to be settled by the UMNO formua sometime later this month, and the latest by early February.
The DAP has still a long way to go to prepare for the next general elections, and all DAP leaders and members must double up their efforts to get the party’s message across to the people about the fundamental political, economic, educational, cultural and religious issues at stake in the next general elections.
DAP to resume publication of monthly organ, Rocket, this month
With this objective in mind, the DAP will resume the regular publication of our monthly organ, the Rocket, this month;
This is essential and imperative, as in recent days, there have been ominous talk of greater restrictions on the press. The Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, in his interview with the Malaysian Business spoke of the need to impose greater control to limit freedom of the pres; in Malaysia, as if the present restrictions on press freedom is not enough.
DAP suspends the Save Bukit China One-Person One Dollar to Protest Against $2 million guit rent demand
The DAP is a patriotic nationalist party which struggles for the well being of all Malaysians, and not just for a particular section or group. Thus, when we take up any issues, it is not from a narrow racial, religious, cultural angle, but from a national point of view.
This applies to all the issues we have taken up, whether it be the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal, the Papan radioactive waste dump issue or Bukit China.
The DAP sincerely believe that these issues, if not satisfactorily resolved by the government, would seriously undermine national unity and public confidence in the government.
We are aware that in taking up these public issues, we stand the risk of having our motives twisted and distorted, but this is a price we have to pay.
A week ago, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, issued what he called a ‘last warning’ to those whom he said were raising ‘racial issues’.
I believe of the issues he referred to was the Bukit China issue, which undoubtedly, had greatly damaged inter-racial, inter-religious and inter-cultural relations among Malaysians last year.
The DAP will give the Prime Minister full support to prevent Bukit China issue from continuing to méix aggravate racial polarisation in Malaysia. But this could only be done if everyone • recognise the true cause of the Bukit China problem, namely the insensitive attitude of the Malacca State Government to the religious, cultural rights and sensitivities of the various races, religions and cultures in attempting to forcibly dispossess the Chinese community of their ancient cemetery hill, Bukit China of Malacca.
The solution to the Bukit China issue is for the Malacca State Government to fully respect the le legitimate rights of the Bukit China trustees, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, and the Chinese community, over Bukit China’s historic, religious, cultural sensitivities and abandon the State Government’s plan to forcibly develop Bukit China, acquire or forfeit the ancient cemetery hill through the $2 million quit rent demand.
To show the DAP’s sincerity in wanting to fully co-operate with the Prime Minister to remove Bukit China issue as a source of division between the various races, religions and cultures for 1985, the DAP has suspended the One Pers n-One Dollar Protest Campaign against the Malacca State Government’s $2 million quit rent demand.
We hope that the Malacca State Government would also reciprocate and announce the abandonment of all government plans against Bukit China, including acquisition and the $2 million quit rent demand.
DAP calls for the restoration of BM Chinese language periods in Chinese primary schools
With the new school year which opened this week, the Ministry of Education had introduced a new BM curriculum whereby the Chinese language teaching period in Chinese primary schools has been reduced. This is the most serious development since the BM crisis in 1982 as it again threatened to change the character of Chinese primary schools.
The DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional component parties like MCA, Gerakan and others, to put an immediate halt to the reduction in Chinese language teaching periods in Chinese primary schools, and to restore the Chinese language teaching periods as before.
So far, there has been insufficient concern and aware-ness among parents and the Chinese organisations, associations and clans to the latest threat to the character of Chinese primary schools. I call on every concerned organisation and parent to make their voice heard to make the government know that it is the demand of the Chinese community that there should be no reduction in the BM Chinese teaching period in Chinese primary schools or any other administrative steps to change the character of Chinese schools.