Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Seremban on Wednesday, 18.12.1985
Call on Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, to clarify report that the central figure of $2.5 billion BMF scandal, Lorraine Esme Osman, had returned openly to Malaysia several times in 1985 without government action
When former Bumiputra Malaysia Finance Directors, Lorrain Esme Osman and Datuk Hashim Shamsuddin, were arrested in London on Dec.16, 1985, and held on remand on a warrant from the Hong Kong government, the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, claimed credit that this was the result of the close co-operation between between him and his Hong Kong counterpart.
The latest issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review (19th December 1985) however gave the shocking disclosure that Lorraine Osman had been openly coming and going from Malaysia during the entire tow-year long investigations into the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal, and that he returned to Malaysia several times in 1985 to try to divest assets – without any government hindrance or action.
The Far Eastern Economic Review reported that the government took no action against Lorraine when he returned to Malaysia several times because the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib, had so far taken the view that the Ahmad Nordin BMF reports could not form the basis of criminal action inside Malaysia.
I call on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib, to clarify this Far Eastern Economic Review Report, for if it is true that Lorraine Othman had been allowed to openly come and go away from Malaysia when he is the most wanted man in the country and the whole wide world in connection with the biggest financial and banking scandal in Malaysia history, then a lot of explanation is warranted.
Surely, the Attorney-General is aware that police reports in connection with the BMF scandal had been lodge locally against Lorraine Othman, as advised by the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, and that the Prevention of Corruption Act provided the Malaysian courts wit extra-territorial power and jurisdiction to try and punish Malaysia who had committed corruption offences outside Malaysia.
On Monday, Lorraine Osman was refused bail by the London Bow Street magistrate’s court pending extradition proceedings t Hong Kong. The London court was told that Lorraine had a number of travel documents, including a Protuguese passport in the name of C.T. Chong Toong Fat. The passport, which bore Lorrain’s photograph, showed that it had been used for a number of movements in and out of United Kingdom.
Is the Malaysian government completely ignorant of Lorainne’s possession of a number of travel documents, which itself is sufficient for action to be taken against him when he was in Malaysia in his several return trips to Malaysia.
I call on the Immigration authorities to explain the number of times Lorraine Osman returned to Malaysia in 1983, 1984 and 1985, and why they did not detain his passport so that he could be in the country to answer t the Ahamd Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee about his role in the BMF loans scandal.
It would be a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the authorities if it had allowed Lorraine Osman freedom to enter the country several times, knowing fully well that Lorraine Osman had repeatedly refused to appear before the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee.
Is UMNO Youth weakening in its demand for the public release of the Ahmad Nordin BMF final report?
Utusan Malaysia reported today that the UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has urged that the government should be given time to study the final report of the Ahmad Nordin Inquiry Committee into the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal.
I want to ask Anwar Ibrahim whether the UMNO Youth is weakening from its earlier demand for the public release of the Ahmad Nordin BMF final report?
Could Anwar Ibrahim explain why the Cabinet Minister have not yet received a copy of the BMF final report of the Ahmad Nordin inquiry Committee 10 days after its submission, if the Cabinet Ministers are serious and sincere in their concern about the BMF loans scandal.
It is significant that neither MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, nor Gerakan President, Dr Lim Keng Yaik, had dared to speak up openly to ask the Prime Minster, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamed, to honour his pledge to make the report public.
Tan Koon Swan is probably the weakest MCA President in MCA history. How could Tan Koon Swan put pressure on the Prime Minister or the UMNO to have the BMF Inquiry Committee report made public to reveal to the people the whole story of the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal, when Tan Koon Swan himself dare not disclose to the Malaysian people to whole story of the Pan-El crisis which led to the suspension of the Singapore and Kuala Lumpur stock exchanges, and the $10.8 billion wipe-out of total share values in the Kuala Lumpur stock market on the re-opening of the KLSE?
Dr Lim Keng Yaik is equally vulnerable, for his intention is to replace MCA in UMNO’s favours, as witnessed by his shocking statement on his return from the China trip warning Malaysian Chinese that to ’strong over-react’ to China’s open-door economic policy would arouse Malay fears. If Dr Lim is prepared to make such a statement, clearly he would not confront Dr Mahathir with the demand that the BMF Inquiry Committee report should be published.
What both Tan Koon Swan and Dr Lim Keng Yaik would do would be to get their juniors and subordiates to issue innocuous statements in the press about hoping to see the BMF final report being made public, but their Ministers in Cabinet and MPs in Parliament would not be pressing this issue at all.
MCA has become a true ‘Phantom Party’
The MCA, which scandalised Malaysians with its ‘phantom members’, has become a true Phantom Party, with phantom leaders to lead its phantom members. The new MCA President is a ‘phantom’ president, for he has spent more time and energy on the Pan El crisis than on MCA since his election as MCA President on Nov. 24. In fact, Tan Koon Swan has himself admitted that the Pan El crisis is a bigger crisis to him than the 22-month MCA crisis!
As a result, the MCA has got ‘phantom’ Ministers in the Cabinet, who do not really represent the new MCA leadership, but which it dare not demand for complete removal – for it has only ‘phantom’ influence over the Prime Minster.
The announcement of the various MCA State Committee showed that the MCA is now so used to ‘phantom leaders’ that it is becoming the practice to appoint ‘phantom’ State Vice Chairman – where the MCA Constitution had made no such provision. In Perak, there are as many as nine State Vice Chairmen, six in Selangor and in the Federal Territory, two Deputy Chairmen.
It would appear that the new MCA leadership has rendered its party constitution a ‘phantom constitution!