Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, 5.7.l985:
Ten Questions on the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance loans scandal in Hong Kong.
The call by Tun Hussein Onn to the government to be more open and forthright in the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) loans scandal in Hong Kong has brought to the fore the widespread and deep-seated disaffection of the people of Malaysia at the BMF scandal, its inquiry and public accountability.
Tun Hussein Onn is right when he said that Malaysians should not expect the
Hong Kong authorities to be as ‘keen’ as us to get to the bottom of the BMF
loans scandal, for after all, it is not their affair and not their money. But from
what had happened in the last three years, it would appear that the Malaysian
authorities are in fact less keen than the Hong Kong authorities to
get to the bottom of the BMF scandal.
With the passage of time, Malaysian have more and more questions about the BMF
loans scandal, the inquiry and the question of public accountability.
I have ten questions about the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal which cry out for
answer or clarification:
l. Is the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers not aware of the axiom that
‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ and that the longer it takes for a full accounting
of the BMF loans scandal, the greater the injustice that is committed to the right
of the people to expect the highest standards of probity integrity and efficiency
in the stewardship of Public funds. Shouldn’t the Prime Minister and the Cabinet
Ministers hold an emergency Cabinet meeting to consider ways of ensuring
that ‘Justicee Delayed is Justice Denied’ does not occur in the BMF loans scandal
2. Why has the Prime Minister gone back on his word that the government has
‘nothing to hide’ in the BMF loans scandal, by making public all the reports and
briefs of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee? In fact, the Finance Minister,
Daim Zainuddin, publicly stated in the press on 20th Nov. l984 that he would
advise the Cabinet to make public the BMF Inquiry Committee’s
second report. Why was Daim’s recommendation rejected by the Cabinet or the
Finance Minister subsequently had a change of mind? Now that the former
Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, has also called for a full publication of all reports
and briefs of the BMF Inquiry Committee, is the Prime Minister prepared to
release all these reports and briefs to the public? If Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir is not
prepared to listen to the DAP, he should at least have more respect for his former political ‘boss’.
3. When will the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee submit its final report on the BMF
scandal. Last December, Datuk Musa Hitam as Acting Prime Minister, said that the final
report of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee would be made public in two or three
months time. This deadline is now long past, and from all indications, the BMF Inquiry Committee
would probably not be able to submit its final report until many years later after the
George Tan trials in Hong Kong.
4. Why has the Attorney-General, Tan Seri Abu Talib Othman, taken so long to decide
whether to arrest and prosecute the BMF ‘culprits’ although the police investigations into the first
Bank Bumiputra reports lodged in November last year had been completed in February. If the
Attorney-General has decided not to arrest and initiate criminal prosecutions on the BMF
loans scandal, he should let the public know of his decision as well as his reasons.
5. Why did the Bank Bumiputra take over six months to act on the recommendation
of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee that it should lodge reports with the
Hong Kong police with regard to the crimes committed in the BMF loans scandal?
Is this another example of the ‘foot-dragging’ of the Malaysian authorities to delay the
swiftest full accounting and bringing to book of the BMF culprits?
6. Why had the Attorney General and the Anti-Corruption Agency been so fruitless
with regard to corruption offences in the BMF loans scandal? In fact, the Ahmad
Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee named one of its reports as ‘Brief on Prima Facie Cases
of Corruption’ on Dec 198? and made recommendations that corruption offences should
be taken against the ‘BMF Six’. Is the ACA in Malaysia a toothless tiger?
7. When last month, Tun Hussein Onn suggested that the BMF culprits should be brought
to Malaysia for trial as it is ‘frustrating’ to wait for the Hong Kong courts to bring them
to book, The Attorney-General’s Office reacted by saying that this is not possible
because the offences were committed outside Malaysia in Hong Kong. The Attorney-General’s
Office seemed to have overlooked Section 27 of the Prevention of Corruption Act l96l
which provided that offences of corruption committed by Malaysians outside the country
could be tried locally. Can the Attorney-General explain why he is not invoking the
extra-territoria provision in Section 27 of the Prevention of Corruption Act l96l against the
8. Tun Hussein Onn had also suggested the amendment of legislation, if necessary,
to bring the BMF culprits to book, including retrospective legislation. The DAP is
on record as opposed to retrospective legislation, but we are surprised that the Attorney-General’s
Office is not in favour of retrospective legislation to bring the BMF culprits to book although
it had been responsible for retrospective legislation which violated the constitutional and human
rights of Malaysians. Why this double standards?
9. George Tan, in one of his affidavits, had mentioned that nine influential Malaysians
had been responsible in the Carrian-BMF link up leading to the BMF’s colossal losses.
It is believed that these ‘Nine influential Malaysians’ do not refer to the ‘BMF Six’ mentioned
by the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee interim report. Who are these ‘Nine influential Malaysians’ who played key roles in constructiing the BMF-Carrian connection? And who are the
eight Malaysians mentioned in the latest brief of the BMF Inquiry Committee?
10. Who is investigating into the ‘political dimension’ of the BMF loans scandal,
which is the most important aspect far-outweighing specific fraudulent or irresponsible loans.
Nobody believes that the BMF Inquiry Committee would have the power to look into
the ‘political dimension’ of the BMF scandal. Is this important aspect going to be swept under