Lim Kit Siang to suggest to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed tomorrow how the Government could publish the BMF final report without having to bear responsibility for any litigation arising therefrom

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Sunday, January 5, 1986:

Lim Kit Siang to suggest to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed tomorrow how the Government could publish the BMF final report without having to bear responsibility for any litigation arising therefrom

I have an appointment with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in the Prime Minister’s Office tomorrow over the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal and the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee final report.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the government was not against a full disclosure of the final report of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, but is not prepared to take the responsibility for any litigations arising therefrom.

He said if somebody accepted that responsibility, the Government would publish the report. He said the BMF final report was ‘an incomplete one and contained allegations of misdemeanors ofother institutions and individuals’, which included politicians and businessmen, suggesting that further investigations be carried out.

The Prime Minister’s latest position is contrary to the government pledge in Parliament given by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabarrudin Cik, in Oct. 1984 during my motion demanding a Royal Commission of Inquiry, that the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee should have no worries about its having no privileges or immunities, as the government and Bank Bumiputra would fully ‘indemnify’ the Committee members for all legal consequences.

Can the Prime Minister explain this further change of government stand on the BMF loans scandal and its inquiry?

When I meet the Prime Minister tomorrow, I will suggest to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed of a way whereby the full BMF final report could be released by the government, without the government having to bear responsibility for any litigation arising therefrom.

If the government persists in its refusal to make public the full contents of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee final report, then there are only two other avenue left.

Firstly, it is for the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee to make public the final report itself, and in this connection, the UMNO Youth Leader, and Agriculture Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, had agreed with me when I met him on Friday that the government should extend the life and expand the scope of the terms of reference of the Inquiry Committee to enable it to do so.

After the Prime Minister’s press conference yesterday, Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin told the press that he would be meeting with the other two BMF Inquiry Committee members, Chooi Mun Sou and Ramli Ibrahim, next week to consider taking responsibility for publishing the report. If the Ahmad Nordin Committee decides to make public to final report, the DAP pledges the people’s fuel support and our commitment to launch a nature-wide campaign to raise fund and engage the best legal expertise for defend the Committee members from any legal consequences.

The other alternative is for somebody else to publish the BMF final report. I am prepared seriously to consider taking on the responsibility of publishing the BMF final report for the national interest, and bear the consequences of its publication, if the Prime Minister is prepared to let me have a copy of the BMF Inquiry final report, or of the BMF Inquiry Committee finds that it is unable to make public the report because, for instance, it had ‘ceased to exist’ in the words of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.
BCA Ministerial re-shuffle highlights the new MCA leadership’s weakness and ineffectiveness

The reshuffle of MCA Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial appointments by the Prime Minister yesterday highlight the week and ineffective position of the new MCA leadership

First, that is takes over 40 days after the MCA party elections on Nov. 24 before the MCA Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial changes are made demonstrate the new MCA leadership has no influence, weight or power in the Barisan Nasional. Such changes should have taken place within a week after the party elections.

Secondly, Tan Koon Swan’s omission from the Cabinet line-up. Although Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir said that Tan Koon Swan had asked not to be in the Cabinet for the moment as he wanted to devote his time to strengthen the MCA party, everybody knows that since his election as MCA President, he has had no time for the MCA. All his available time is devoted to the Pan El crisis and his attempt to save his own financial empire. Yesterday’s Singapore press reported that Tan Koon Swan had been given another deadline in the Pan El crisis by the Pan El receivers, Price Waterhouse. Tan Koon Swan das been told by Price Waterhouse by provide Pan El with a further S$8 million by early next wee, failing which the entire Pan El crisis will again blow apart and the Pan El rescue package giving Tan Koon Swan six months in the next few days, Tan Koon Swan would have to meet another deadline by before end of March to pay another S$12 million to the Pan El receivers.

Thirdly, the retention of Mak Hong Kam as Minister, and Tan Tiong Hong and Rosemary Chong as Deputy Ministers is not because of the ‘magnanimity’ of the new MCA leadership, but because of their ‘impotence’, because they would not prevail upon the Prime Minister to dismiss them. The first MCA Cabinet appointments demonstrate that it is the Prime Minister and not the MCA leadership who have the final say as to who from MCA should be Minister or Deputy Minister.

Fourthly, the new MCA Cabinet line-up is one of the weakest in MCA history- and clearly, even junior UMNO Deputy Ministers and government would not have much respect for the new MCA Ministers, especially the new Housing Minister, Datuk Chan Siang Sun.
Chinese Telephone Directory: Resolved because of DAP pressure

It is clear that the DAP pressure was led to the resolution of the Chinese Telephone Directory controversy, with the Minister of Energy, Posts and Telecommunications, Leo Moggie, announcing yesterday that it would continue to be published.

If not for the DAP, the Chinese Telephone Directory would have been stopped for good. It is because the MCA and Gerakan realize the great pressure of the DAP that this matter had been resolved for the moment.

I note Leo Moggie’s statement that MCA Youth leaders, Kee Yong Wee and Ng Cheng Kai, told him that there is still a necessity among the Chinese, particularly the business community, for the Chinese Telephone Directory to continue to be published. This would indicate that this approval is temporary, and Chinese.

Telephone Directory would be banned once the Ministry thinks that there is no more necessity. The DAP cannot accept this MCA compromise. The publication of the Chinese Telephone Directory is not because it is ‘convenient and still a necessity’, but a constitutional right which could not be taken away. Based on constitutional right, the Chinese Telephone Directory should be as permanent feature as the life of Malaysian nation. I am shocked that the new MCA Youth leadership had so early in their term compromised the fundamental position of Chinese language in Malaysia.