By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 28.8.1985
Is the present or former Minister responsible for MARA prepared to resign for the $27.8 million unsettled MARA loans to 80 per cent of borrowers?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, rightly hit out at the irresponsible conduct of MARA loan defaulters when speaking to reporters at a Hari Raya Haji function in Tunjang, Kedah yesterday (NST).
According to a MARA spokesman, 80 per cent of those who borrowed money from MARA under its special scheme have yet to settle their loans amounting to $27.8 million. About 23,000 borrowers could not be traced out of the 26,400 borrowers under the scheme which was launched in 1981.
I am particularly attracted by the Prime Minister’s call on leaders to set a good leadership example and develop high moral values. Dr. Mahathir said it was the willingness of the Japanese to make sacrifices for the make Japan one of the advanced nations reflected by the voluntary resignation of one of its planes crashed recently.
Dr. Mahathir said that the JAL president was not thinking of his own interest even though he was not to be blamed for the accident, as it is a responsibility they must bear.
I welcome the Prime Minister’s statement if it reflected a new realisation that leaders like Ministers for instance must accept a full responsibility for their areas of charge.
On the Prime Minister’ s example, is the present or former Cabinet Minister responsb1e for MARA prepared to resign from the Cabinet for the $27.8 million unsettled MARA loans to 80 per cent of the borrowers?
There is a urgent need to re—introduce the principle of individual Ministerial responsibility for the conduct of his Ministry, apart from the collective responsibility of Ministers for all major government policies.
In Malaysia, we have not come across a single Minister who had resigned from his Cabinet post to assume full responsibility for scandals in his Ministry, whether it be the loss of mass lives or vast sums of public monies. Although the Minister concerned may not be personally responsible for the specific scandal, as overall Minister concerned ,he must assume full Ministerial responsibility if there is a scandalous episode in his Ministry.
Such a strict application of individual Ministerial responsibility for whatever happened in his Ministry would ensure greater Ministerial competence and accountability.
It is because in Malaysia, such a principle of individual Ministerial responsibility had been overlooked that we have Ministers who are in name only, and are puppets of Ministry officials than masters of their own Ministry.
If the slogans of ‘Leadership by Example’, and calls for greater efficiency and productivity are to have meaning, then the Prime Minister should make clear to all Cabinet Ministers and the whole country that under his premiership, Ministers would be strictly bound not only to the principle of collective responsibility to all major government policies, but also to individual Ministerial responsibility for each Minister’s specific responsibilities.