Is Attorney-General preparing the ground for government refusal to honour its promise to make public the BMF Inquiry Final Report?

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Thursday, 12.12.1985at 12 noon

Is Attorney-General preparing the ground for government refusal to honour its promise to make public the BMF Inquiry Final Report?

I find the ‘personal opinion’ of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, that the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee’s final report on the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal should not be made public most disturbing.

Is the Attorney-General preparing the ground for the government’s refusal to honour its promise to make public the BMF Inquiry Committee final report?

In making his ‘personal opinion’ that the BMF Inquiry final report should not be made public, did Tan Sri Abu Talib ‘personally’ get the clearance of the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister to give his personal opinions?

What is even more shocking is that Tan Sri Abu Talib gave his ‘personal opinion’ before reading the Ahmad Nordin Committee’s final report. Why couldn’t Tan Sri Abu Talib wait until he had read the final report before giving his personal opinion. Is his motive to create doubt about the wisdom and propriety of releasing the BMF final report to the public, to make it easier for a governmental suppression of the report.

I am really baffled why the top leaders in the country are behaving so strangely about the BMF final report. I get the impression that they are competing with each other as to who will be the last to read the BMF final report, when in the public interest, they should demonstrate who is the first to read the final report.

Tan Sri Abu Talib said the release of the BMF final report by the Ahmad Nordin Inquiry Committee “would likely prejudice the prosecution of the two former top BMF officials whom the Hong Kong authorities were trying to extradite from London”, referring clearly to former BMF Chairman, Lorrain Esme Osman and former BMF director Datuk Hashim Shamsuddin. I find the Attorney-General’s reason odd and surprising, for normally, it would be the accused who would object to the public release of such a report as likely to prejudice their having a fair trial.

When announcing the completion of the BMF final report on Sunday, Tan Sri Ahamd Nordin told the press that the Hong Kong Attorney-General, Michael Thomas, had informed the Inquiry Committee in writing that he has no objection if the final report was published in Malaysia.

Why is the Malaysian Attorney-General objecting to the final report’s public release, even without reading it, when the Hong Kong Attorney-General has no objections? How could Tan Sri Abu Talib expect public confidence in his statement that the government was not involved in a ‘cover-up’ in the BMF scandal?

What the Malaysian people want to know is not just the role of Lorraine Esme Osman, Hashim Shamsuddin and other BMF officials in the BMF scandal, but whether and who are the political leaders involved who gave the approval for such a colossal sum of public funds to be lent to three Hong Kong speculator leading to the loss of $2.5 billion.

The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib , has compromised his office , duties and powers in rushing out his ‘personal opinion’ that the BMF final report should not be made public, when he should know that the Government is likely to ask for his legal advice and opinion.

How could the Malaysian public expect Tan Sri Abu Talib to proffer legal advice on the question of the publication of the BMF final report, when even before reading it, he had already taken a stand opposing its publication?

In some countries, an Attorney-General who had compromised his office, duties and powers in this fashion would have tendered his resignation.

The dap calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, not to dishounour their pledge to release publicly the BMF final report.

If this solemn government promise to publicly release the BMF final is broken, the DAP will launch a nation-wide campaign to reach into every town, new village, estate and kampong to demand public support for the call for the release of the BMF final report.

DAP commends Australia n government for being flexible in dealing with problems of Malaysian students pursuing higher studies in Australia

The DAP commends the Australian government for being fair and flexible in dealing with problems of Malaysian students pursuing higher studies in Australia.

The reversal of the Pre-selection exercise by the Office of Overseas Students(OSO) for the next intake of Malaysians students for higher studies in Australia next year whereby the over 300 students who had been rejected will also be considered on the basis of their matriculation examination results is most welcome.

I would suggest to the OSO that if it intends to implement the pre-selection exercise for 1987, based on the English test and the SPM or STP, then it should bring ahead the processing of students so that intending would be informed by latest April 1986whether they stand a chance to pursue higher studies in Australia the following year.

Under the present system where selection is based on English test and matriculation results, a student would only know the outcome of his application after the release of matriculation exam results in January- about six weeks before the beginning of university in March.

If the pre-selection test to be implemented for 1987 batch depend on the SPM or STPM results and the English test, then the Australian authorities should be able to hold the English test sometime in January or February 1986, and with release of the SPM or STPM in March, inform students by latest April 1986 whether they would be considered for tertiary places for 1987. This would enable the unsuccessful ones to make alternative plans for higher studies elsewhere, instead of wasting one whole year preparing for the Australian matriculation on examination to be told later sometime in November that they don’t qualify.

Now that the Australian government has made modification to its regulation on the selection of Malaysian students for higher studies in Australia next year, the Malaysian Government should also make modification by releasing places in Australia reserved for the government scholars for the private Malaysian students. The government should not compete with private Malaysian students for university places overseas.

I also welcome the Australian government’s decision that foreign students studying in Australian university will not be required to pay full fees as announced earlier this year. Considerable credit must go to the various Malaysian student organisations in Australian which had campaigned against full-fee imposition.

In recognition of the important contribution of the Overseas Students Programme to Australia’s relations with its neighbours, I would call on the Australian government to review the whole question of full-fee decision for university studies so as not to create hardship for the children of the poor and low-income.

DAP reiterates call for an Independent Commission of Inquiry into Baling Incident

After yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Rais Yatim, said the government would screen on TV soon the video recording of the baling incident, and table a White Paper in Parliament.

Firstly, when will the White Paper be tabled in Parliament, and would the government allow a debate on it.

Secondly, is the government aware that there can be no substitute for an Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Baling Incident, for a Government White Paper would regarded in certain quarter a mere UMNO White Paper.

Thirdly, has the government changed its mind about bringing the160-odd persons arrested in the Baling Incident to trail on a variety of criminal charges, and decided to detain them indefinitely without trial? And if so, why.

Fourthly, is the government making use of the Baling Incident to curb the legitimate political activities of Opposition parties, as in the ban on ceramahs in Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Penang. When will the ban on the ceramahs be lifted.

Fifthly, the double standards applied by the government in the Baling Incident, whereby it bans all publication on the tragedy, while it continues to disseminate its version, including the video recording by policemen, would tend to undermine the credibility of the government version.

This is why the DAP reiterates its call for an Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Baling Incident, Comprising eminent Malaysians who would commond the confidence and respect for all sections of Malaysians about their integrity and honesty, to report on the Baling Incident.