Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, l6.7.l985:
Tan Tiong Hong’s reply on additional Empat Ekor draw most ‘unsatisfactory’
The reply by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Tan Tiong Hong, in Parliament to questions as to why the government approved an additional weekly draw on Thursday for Magnum Corporation’s Empat Nombar Ekor from twice to thrice weekly is most unsatisfactory.
It was most unfortunate that my DAP comrades and I were not given the opportunity to put supplementary questions to Datuk Dr. Tan to expose the hollowness of his reasons.
Datuk Dr. Tan told Parliament that the additional weekly Thursday draw was to reduce or
check the illegal Empat Ekor syndicates. This is utter rubbish, for what the government
has done is the opposite, in encouraging the increase in activities of illegal Empat Ekor
syndicates from twice a week to three times a week. The other reason give by Datuk Dr. Tan
that the increase was to give the people more opportunities to have the chance to buy Empat Ekor
to ‘strike’ the numbers they want is even more ridiculous, for by this reasoning, there should be
Empat Ekor draw every day, or even better, twice a day to give the people more chance to
‘pursue’ the number they want. Datuk Dr. Tan and the Barisan Nasional government had
completely ignored the fact that at a period of great economic hardship, when money
is tight, the additional Empat Ekor draw a week would have the adverse effect of wiping out
the hard-earned money of the people. No wonder shopkeepers and businessmen are finding times unbearably hard. The only beneficiary is Magnum Corporation, and its parent company, the
Multi-Purpose Holdings whose share price yesterday was the all-time low of 84% cents when it was
one time boosted as worth $9 or $10 a share! Is this the MPH’s secret weapon to try to jack up its price?
Datuk Dr. Tan should tell Malaysians how much revenue the Government expects to get from the additional Empat Ekor draw a week, and what is the expected additional profits to
Magnum Corporation and Multi-Purpose Holdings from such additional draw. Has the Malaysian economy become so bad that the government must encourage the people to gamble in order to
get more revenue?
All the monies gained by the government and Magnum Corporation and Multi-Purpose Corporation
will be at the expense and hardship of the people, and clearly is not only against the national interest,
but directly against the whole spirit of the government’s Islamisation programme to instil moral values
in our society.
The MCA is becoming the gamblers’ party, whose leaders are not only gambling away the
people’s rights and interest, but want the people to gamble away their money as well.
It is significant that both Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan MCA factions have not dared to
take a public stand to call on government to cancel the additional Thursday draw for Empat Ekor,
which shows that both factions are no different when it comes to the peoples basic issues!
Labuan as a bunkering station for US naval vessels and as possible replacement for US base at Subic Bay in Phlippines?
I wish to clarify some newspaper reports that the Deputy Defence Minister, Datuk Abang Abu Bakar had, in his reply to my supplementary question, denied that Labuan would become a bunkering station
for US vessels and possible replacement for Subic Bay in Phillipines for US navy in future.
I had asked whether the proposed submarine-building programme of Sabah Shipyard Sdn Bhd
had any connection with the proposal to convert Pulau Kraman in Labuan as a bunkering station
for US Navy, and as a possible replacement for the US Naval base in Subic Bay in the Philippines
should the US had to withdraw from the Philippines. All that Datuk Abang Abu Bakar said was ‘the question does not arise’ – which could mean either there is truth or no truth in the connection.
The Defence Ministry should come out with a clear-cut statement on this question!