By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Friday, January 31, 1986:
Why Tan Koon Swan’s counsel did not object in both occasions to the $20 million bail for the Pan El CBT charges
Tan Koon Swan has been arraigned with another nine new charges, bringing to a total 15 charges which he had to stand trial in Singapore in connection with the Pan El crisis, covering breach of trust offences, fraud and cheating.
Tan Koon Swan was required to furnish another $20 million for the additional charges, breaking his own world record last Thursday when he had to post $20 million for the first six charges-bringing a total of $40 million bail.
When last Thursday, on 23rd January, Tan Koon Swan was charged with six counts of criminal breach of trust offences amounting to $5.6 million, there was surprise and shock that such a sum of $20 million bail was required.
Similarly, when yesterday, a total of 15 charges involving more than $29 million was read out against Tan Koon Swan, there was also surprise and shock a total bail of $40 million was required.
But what is even more surprising and shocking is why Tan Koon Swan’s lawyers had not raised any objection to the gigantic bail in both instances, whether last Thursday when the initial $20 million bail was imposed, or yesterday, when a total of $40 million bail was called for.
Are both instances indicative of the agreement of Tan Koon Swan and his lawyers to the $40 million bail? Do they have information which the general public do not have.
I agree that the $40 million is over0excessive considering that the total amount involved in the 15 charges is only about $30 million. Probably, Tan Koon Swan’s lawyers could explain to the public ailence, implied agreement.
In Alor Star yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, denied allegations that the detention of MCA president Tan Koon Swan by the Singapore authorities was with the prior approval of the Malaysian Government. He accused those responsible for the rumours of attempting to exploit Mr.Tan’s predicament to drive a wedge between UMNO and MCA.
I myself heard these rumours the second day of Tan Koon Swan’s arrest, and there is no dount that these rumours emanate from MCA sources themselves. If Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mahamed went to trade the rumour-starter and rumour-managerer, should lock for them in the MCA, and should not try to look for scapegoats.
In fact, when I was told of this rumour on the second day of Tan koon Swan’s arrest, I expressed my disbelief, for the simple reason that if the Singapore authorities had decided toarrest Tan Koon Swan or anyone for that matter, there is nothing the Malaysian government could do, and vice verse, if the Malaysian government decided to arrest an prominent Singaporean for offences against Malaysia’s corporate less, there is nothing the Singapore government could do about it. And it would be most unwise and embarrassing for either government in such circumstances even to try to persuade its counterpart to change its mind.
The Prime Minister had been going round the country attacking rumour-managers out to discredit him, his leadership and government. He should look into his own party in UMNO and the Barisan Nasional, for it is probably there where the most rumour-managers are to be found.
With the Tan Koon Swan trial fixed for May 5 to 20, this would further affect Dr.Mahathir’s election dates, for it is clearly impossible to hold general elections from May 5-10. The earliest election date should therefore be May 3, 1986, unless the polls are pushed back to August or even a full term till early 1987.