Press Conference Statement (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, 28.12.1985 at 12 noon
DAP urges the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee to accept the challenge of Anwar Ibrahim by making their final report public and pledge the support of all Malaysians to defend the committee members for any legal consequences
The UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has come out with a most extraordinary proposal- that the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee should make public its final report on its own, and that the Committee be responsible for its contents.
As Anwar Ibrahim had been criticised for backing out of his original stand in demanding the publication of the BMF Inquiry Committee report, his latest proposal is just an attempt to camouflage his reversal of stand, because Anwar feels that Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee is most unlikely to make public its final report.
Anwar Ibrahim’s proposal goes against the repeated assurances of the Prime MINISTER And the Finance Minister that the Government would make public the BMF report. Even after the completion of final report of the BMF Inquiry Committee, Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, pledged that the government will make public the final report if no part of the report is in breach of banking secrecy.
But now Anwar is creating conditions for the government to renege on this public pledge, and considering Anwar’s background and his crusade in ABIM days for a clean, honest and accountable government, this is most shocking.
By making this proposal that the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee should make public its own report and be responsible for its contents, is Anwar indicating that the Government has decided to ‘wash its hands’ of the final report.
In this connection, I want to ask Anwar whether he made this proposal after reading the final report of the BMF loans scandal, and if so, whether he is the only Minister who has read the report- for other Ministers seem to be competing with each other to let the public know that they have not read the report yet.
Anwar Ibrahim should remember that it was the Cabinet which studied the first interim report of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee and directed its full publication on 31st Oct.1984. Why is Anwar now suggesting that the Cabinet should ignore and disregard the BMF final report, instead of calling for an emergency meeting of Cabinet to study the final report so that it could be made public without any further delay?
Anwar said he made this suggestion because the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman and Bank Bumiputra, the parent company of BMF, were unwilling to make the report public. Is Anwar saying that the Bank Bumiputra has taken a policy decision that the BMF final report should be suppressed? Even if Bank Bumiputra has taken such a decision, why is Anwar allowing the Cabinet’s final prerogative to decide on the final report’s publication to be overridden?
In suggesting that the Ahmad Nordin Inquiry Committee should be responsible for its contents, Anwar Ibrahim is hoping that the Committee will not dare to do so because of fear of legal consequences which the committee members may have to bear as the committee does not enjoy any legal immunity or privilege.
This is most unbecoming of Anwar Ibrahim. This was in fact the very reason why the DAP and all concerned Malaysians wanted to have a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF scandal.
In my motion in Parliament on Oct.18,1984, demanding a Royal Commission of Inquiry, the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabarrudin Cik, 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 Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee should have no fear about having no legal immunity or privilege, as Bank Bumiputra would ‘indemnify’ the committee if necessary and accept full responsibility for all consequences.
Now Anwar Ibrahim is suggesting that the Inquiry Committee members bear their own personal responsibility for their report. I can only say that Anwar Ibrahim’s stand on the BMF scandal is becoming ‘curiouser and curiouser’!
The DAP urges the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee to take up Anwar Ibrahim’s challenge, and surprise him by making public the BMF final report, as well as all other previous reports and briefs. The Malaysian people, who want to know the whole story of the $2.5 billion BMF scandal, will give full backing and support to the three Inquiry Committee members should they face any legal consequences and proceedings arising from the publication.
The DAP pledges to work with all other like-minded organizations to raise the necessary public funds and engage the best legal expertise to defend the BMF Inquiry Committee members from whatever legal suits that could arise from their publication of the BMF final report.
I can assure the BMF Inquiry Committee members that for their public service to the country, they would not be required to have to spend a single cent to face whatever legal suits or proceedings that may arise from their BMF reports. I am confident that Malaysians will come forward to show their appreciation and defend the Inquiry Committee members to the hilt.
The UMNO Youth Leader and the Barisan Nasional Government leaders must be thoroughly ashamed of themselves that they have showed themselves to be people who do not honour their word, whose promise could not be trusted, and who have clearly a lot of things to hide from the Malaysian public in the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal.
It is for this reason that the DAP is launching a nation-wide protest campaign against the government’s failure to make public the BMF final report, starting with protest ceremahs in Petaling Jaya on Monday and in Penang on Tuesday. I hope members of the public in these two places would attend these BMF protest ceramahs to demonstrate their support for the campaign to get the government to be fully accountable to the people on the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal.
DAP fully supports the Penang Chinese Martial Arts Association’s boycott for Pesta lion and dragon display on 30.12 and Chingay process on Christmas Day
The DAP fully supports the principled and courageous stand taken by the Penang Chinese Martial Arts Association to boycott the PESTA Lion and Dragon Display on 30.12 and the Chingay procession on Christamas Day, to regain racial and cultural dignity, honour and self-respect.
The exclusion of the Association from the 1985 Pesta Committee is an intolerable insult to the Association, while the unreasonable restrictions placed on the performances of the lion troupes, confining them on lorries, is an even bigger insult to Chinese culture.
Despite their previous promises to get the restrictions on the lion dance performances removed, both Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Khor Gark Kim have not kept their word.
I am not surprised that in the fight for our rights, principles and cultural heritage, there are ‘spoilers’ who try to disrupt the solidarity and unity of the people. This happened during the national campaign to save Bukit China in Malacca from being desecrated, the graves excavated and thrown into the sea, as it is now happening in Penang in the battle to restore respect, honour and dignity for the Penang Chinese Martial Arts Associations and Chinese culture.
I want to warn those who are spreading the rumours that if the boycott of the Pesta lion and dragon display is not cancelled, the lion dance troupes would not be permitted during the Chinese New Year not to play with fire.
These irresponsible persons should be forewarned that if they get the police or the government to place any additional restrictions on Chinese New Year lion dance troupes, or put a ban, then this Chinese New Year’s Mandarin orange protest will repeat itself.
For the Malaysian Chinese, Mandarin oranges is an inseparable part of the Chinese New Year. But for an important principle, the Chinese have demonstrated that they are prepared to forego the Mandarin oranges to redeem their self-respect, honour and dignity.
Similarly, the lion dance is another inseparable part of the Chinese New Year festivity. But for the sake of racial and cultural self-respect, dignity and honour, the Malaysian Chinese are similarly prepared to forego the lion dance in the same way as they were prepared to forego the Mandarin oranges in this Chinese New Year.
In actual fact, I do not expect any trouble at all for lion dance troupes for the coming Chinese New Year. As the general elections is around the corner, I am sure the authorities will go out of their way to make everything smooth sailing for lion dance troupes to come out in the Chinese New Year. I cannot say however that there would not be problems after the general elections, however! But the important principle is that the people must be prepared to stand up for their rights and show that they cannot be easily intimidated or bullied, and who will not take the constant erosion of their rights meekly and lying down.