Call on Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Datuk Mahathir Mohamed, to direct the Barisan Nasional MPs to act responsibly to uphold the dignity of Parliament

Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Slang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 19th July l985:

Call on Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Datuk Mahathir Mohamed, to direct the Barisan Nasional MPs to act responsibly to uphold the dignity of Parliament.

The Dewan Rakyat spent over one day to debate the one-paragraph amendment to the Federal Roads (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday and Thursday, with, Barisan Nasional MPs clearly wasting away Parliamentary time with irrelevancies with one common objective:
to deny my motion calling for a Parliamentary Select Committee on New Economic Policy inequalities and injustices as a preparation for the Fifth Malaysia Plan formulation from having time for debate.

My colleague, Sdr. Sim Kwang Yang, DAP MP for Kuching and I myself stood up at least
10 times yesterday to draw the attention of the Deputy Speaker, Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanteh,
to Standing Order 36(1) prohibiting MPs from talking on irrelevant subjects, but to no avail.

The Barisan Nasional assistant whip, Datuk K. Pathmanaban, told New Straits Times in
today’s press report that he decided not to restrain Government MPs who wished to speak
on the Federal Roads (Amendment) Bill because, the mass media, especially newspapers,
had already devoted hundreds of pages of newsprint to the problem relating to roads in the country.

This is a very lame excuse. If the subject matter of the Bill is about the state of the roads of
the country, then it is a different story. But the one-paragraph Federal Roads (Amendment) Bill introduced by the Minister for Works, Datuk Samy Velu, merely changed the law to provide that
it is no more the Transport Minister, but the Minister entrusted with the functions of looking
after the road system, who will be responsible for making the declaration of roads in States into
Federal roads!

Strictly speaking, the one-paragraph Bill is merely about which Federal Minister should be
responsible for declaring roads in States as Federal roads, whether the Transport Minister
as provided by the colonial legislation or by the Minister for Works, who is entrusted with roads portforlio in the Cabinet.

Important legislation, involving the welfare of the people and country, are disposed off summarily
in one or two hours or even less time, as in the Civil Law Amendment Bill debate, amendments to the Malaysian Constitution, or the recent retrospective legislation to legalise the illegal take-over of
Bank Bumiputra and the $2.5 billion BMF bad loans by Petronas. But in a one-paragraph
amendment to decide on a change of Ministerial duty on declaring Federal roads, Barisan Nasional diligently queue up to debate for over one day!

That the Barisan Nasional MPs had been talking irrelevancies during the debate could be seen
from the press coverage for yesterday’s whole day debate on the one-paragraph Bill,
The New Straits Times did not even give the whole day’s debate one paragraph of coverage,
and this is typical of most press coverage!

I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to direct Barisan Nasional
MPs to act responsibly to uphold the dignity of Parliament, so that Parliament would not lose public regard because of the abuses of accepted parliamentary conventions and practices. Barisan Nasional
MPs must recognise the fact that Parliamentary business is not just government business,
but includes Opposition business, like Opposition motions, as well.

During this Parliamentary meeting, Barisan Nasional MPs had again resorted to ‘sabotage’
tricks to deny DAP MPs the chance to make adjournment speeches, to raise the people’s
problems and grievances. This shows that although the or Barisan Nasional Commands an
overwhelming majority in Parliament – Close to fourth-fifth – such a majority could be very
irresponsible and very tyrannical. I would urge the Prime Minister to direct the Barisan MPS
to act fully in conformity with the spirit of a responsible Parliamentary majority instead
of using the majority to disrupt and sabotage parliamentary proceedings.

DAP calls for special legislation to appoint a Special Prosecutor to conduct all criminal
inquiries and prosecutions in connection with the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal.

The statement by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, yesterday that no politician
so far has been implicated in the police and Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigations
into the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal, or in the reports of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, raises a very interesting and pertinent question.

This is whether the Attorney-General now sees it as his job to exonerate political leaders from involvement in the $2.5 billion BMF scandal. I call on Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman to state whether
it is not true that in one of the BMF Inquiry Committee’s reports, one company of a top political
leader was named, while in another report, there was mention of monies from Hong Kong coming
to one of the political parties in Malaysia.

In any event, can the Attorney-General make a categorical statement that no politician is involved in the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal. If not, what is the meaning or worth of his statement yesterday?

The Attorney-General’s call to politicians and others to allow the authorities to carry out their
investigations in accordance with the law and without interference is completely uncalled for and
shows a failure of the AG to understand that if not for continuous public pressure for accounting on the BMF scandal, the entire scandal would have been swept under the carpet. In any event, how could politicians interfere with such investigation except to block it? Has the AG’s Chambers been diligent in its duties? For instance, why did the Attorney-General do nothing about the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal until police reports were lodged in November l984, more than two years after the eruption of
the scandal?

I appreciate that as Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman is inevitably subject to political
pressure inside the Government. For this reason, the DAP calls for special legislation to appoint a Special Prosecutor entrusted with all responsibilities in conducting criminal inquiry and prosecution of the BMF ‘culprits’, including recommending new legislation to bring within Malaysian jurisdiction those who outside it.

It should be his Sole decision to decide on whether or who to prosecute.

Such appointments would only be a development of Section 379 of the Criminal Procedure Code
which provides for the employment of an advocate to conduct any criminal prosecution or inquiry on behalf of the government, and be paid from public funds.

Such a Special Prosecutor for the BMF loans scandal should be an experienced criminal lawyer who would not have to worry about political pressures or directions.