Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 1985:
DAP Central Working Committee to hold emergency meeting this weekend to finalise plans for nation-wide protest campaign against non-publication of Ahamd Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee final report, including the holding of 100 protest meetings in January and February
I am glad the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamed, has publicly admitted that it is the Government’s prerogative, duty and responsibility t decide on the publication of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee’s final report on the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance loans scandal in Hong Kong.
I would call on the Prime Minister to further admit that he had made a public promise to make public the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee’s final report, which he had to honour, and that the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin had also repeatedly told Parliament that the government would make public the BMF loans scandal final report barring secretary provisions of the Banking Act.
The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, had clearly been misleading the Malaysian public when he wanted the people to believe that it is the prerogative of Bank Bumiputra to decide on the publication of the BMF loans scandal final report, and I hope he would stop misleading the public and cease his role as the foremost campaigner against the publication of the BMF final report.
The Attorney-General had been throwing wet blankets on the BMF Inquiry Committee final report without even reading it, which tantamonts to a gross dereliction of duty on his part.
Tan Sri Abu Talib even dismissed the BMF loans scandal final report, which he had not read, stating that it could not be used as the basis for investigations.
This is most shocking, for clearly Tan Sri Abu Talib has either forgotten or had chosen to disregard what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamed, said, when announcing the establishment of the BMF Inquiry Committee on January 11, 1984.
The Prime Minister had then made it clear that although the three-man Committee was appointed by the Bank Bumiputra, the three members had been chosen by the Government, and that ‘the findings and recommendations of the Committee would form the basis for determining whether any civil or criminal proceedings should be initiated against those involved.
But now, the Attorney-General is virtually saying the Prime Minister does not know what he was talking about as the final report to him is worthless or determining civil or criminal proceedings!
Surely, the Attorney-General must have played a leading role in the framing of the terms of reference of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, and the purpose for which its findings and recommendations would be used.
Why is the Attorney-General now setting himself against the public statements, pledges and promises of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of the BMF Inquiry Committee’s reports?
Or did the Government completely disregarded the Attorney-General has deciding on the formation of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, Composition, terms of reference and the use its findings and recommendations put?
I am very shocked that today voices are being raised against the publication of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee final report on the ground that the Committee was an in-house and was not properly stasituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act – and that it therefore did enjoy any privilege. (NST Dec. 17, 1985, p2)
This was precisely my objection when I protested against the restricted powers and terms of reference of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, and my consistent demand for a Roay Commission of Inquiry into the BMF loans scandal instead.
In my motion in parliament on Oct. 18, 1984 demanding the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF loans scandal, this was one of my arguments, but the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabaruddin Cik, in replying for the Government, said the Government would give full backing to the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee to get to the root of the loans scandal, and that the Inquiry Committee should not fear about having no legal immunity or privilege, as the Bank Bumiputra would ‘indemnify’ the committee if necessary and accept full responsibility for all consequences.
Now, my very objection to the restricted powers and terms of reference of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee is being used by those in power and authority for not favouring a publication of the BMF final report. This must be condemned as a most irresponsible and anti-national attitude.
All the Malaysian Ministers should realise that they bear the responsibility of honouring the repeated government pledge to release the BMF Inquiry Committee final report without any delay. The Ministers are undergoing a notional test as t whether they are prepared to honour pledge of a ‘honest, efficient and trustworthy’ government.
Asked yesterday whether the BMF final report would be presented to Cabinet, the Prime Minister said that he ‘supposed members of the Cabinet might be interested’.
I find his reply most shocking. It is the duty and responsibility of the Cabinet Ministers to decide on the report’s publication, and not to find it ‘interesting’ or not. As it was the Cabinet which scrutinised and decided on the full publication of the first interim report of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee on 31st Oct. 1984, why is the Cabinet shying away from its responsibility over the BMF Inquiry Committee’s final report?
Yesterday, the Bank Bumiputra Chairman, Tan Sri Haji Bashir Ismail, presented a paper at the Batu Pahat UMNO Economic Seminar, but he has not yet had time to read the BMF Inquiry Committee final report.
I would remind Tan Sri Haji Bashir that his first duty to the Malaysian people is the Bank Bumiputra, the BMF loans scandal, and the final report of the BMF Inquiry Committee which had been submitted to him. He may or may not be an UMNO member, but he should give his priority to read and submit the final report to the government, instead of going round the country attending UMNO economic seminars while protesting that he had no time yet to read the BMF final report. The Malaysian taxpayers expect a higher standard and sense of responsibility from the new team which had been appointed to take over the running of Bank Bumiputra’s affaris, and Tan Sri Bashir Ismail must not let the people down!
I had said last weekend that if by this Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet does not give any indication of its preparedness to honour the various government pledges to make public the BMF Inquiry Committee final report, the DAP will begin preparing a nation-wide protest campaign against the non-disclosure of the BMF Inquiry Committee final report. For this purpose, the DAP Central Working Committee will hold an emergency meeting this weekend to finalise the details of the protest actions, which would include the holding of 100 protest meetings in January and February.