DAP extremely disappointed by the Prime Minister’s winding-up reply on the BMF Scandal and the Sabah crisis in Parliament yesterday

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, March 20, 1986 at 12.30 p.m.

DAP extremely disappointed by the Prime Minister’s winding-up reply on the BMF Scandal and the Sabah crisis in Parliament yesterday

The DAP is extremely disappointed by the Prime Minister’s winding-up speech in Parliament yesterday on the BMF Scandal and the Sabah crisis.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had evaded my repeated question as to why Bank Bumiputra had not officially lodged the three Special Briefs with the Police for the police to commence investigations. His final explanation that the Inquiry Committee’s Report is voluminous, that the bank’s lawyers are studying it carefully before taking any action, is not acceptable.

This is because Special Brief Part One was submitted to Bank Bumiputra and the authorities on 7/5/85, over 10 months ago, with the recommendation that it be handed over to the Kuala Lumpur police for actions to be taken.

Where is the much-vaunted ‘efficiency’ if the Mahathir Administration when Bank Bumiputra’s panel of lawyers could not act after over 10 months of study? The BMF Inquiry Committee took less than two years to complete the three Special Briefs. Is the Bank Bumiputra to enquire more than two years before it could act on the Briefs?

Special Briefs Part II and Part III were submitted to Bank Bumiputra and the authorities on 20/11/85 and 9/12/85 respectively. The excuse that the Bank Bumiputra lawyers need time to study the reports is becoming weaker and weaker, unless the Bank’s panel of lawyers constitute the country’s slowest-working lawyers.

Is it for political reason that the Bank Bumiputra has not acted on the recommendation of the Inquiry Committee to lodge police reports against Dr. Nawawi Mat Awin and other BBMB Directors for ‘conspiracy to defraud the shareholders of BBMB’ and ‘breach of their fiduciary duties’ as stated in Paragraph 28.8 of the Special Brief Part III?

Bank Bumiputra is responsible for the most colossal financial loss of the country since Independence by any single institution. It cannot be trusted to make the final decision as to whether to lodge the police reports with the Police as recommended by the Inquiry Committee, for it has vested interest to cover-up the BMF scandal.

Just as it was the Government which directed Bank Bumiputra to set up the Inquiry Committee, deciding for Bank Bumiputra the members and terms of the Inquiry Committee, similarly the Government must now direct the Bank Bumiputra to act on the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee to officially lodge police reports on the basis of the three Special Briefs.

If the government no leaves the final decision and responsibility of what to do with the Inquiry Committee recommendations to Bank Bumiputra, then the Government would have failed in duty – as it had failed in every step of the $2.5 billion BMF scandal.

The DAP is not interested in a ‘witch-hunt’, but we, and the people of Malaysia, demand that those responsible for the BMF Scandal must be brought to book and punished if we are not to face more BMF scandals in future. It is clear from the BMF Inquiry Committee Final Report that the full and entire story of the BMF scandal, as to who are the masterminds, have not been exposed. The people and nation have the right to demand that the investigations be pursued, by way of Royal Commission of Inquiry, to get to the very bottom of the scandal.

I will visit Kota Kinabalu tomorrow to get first-hand information about the conditions

The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament on the Sabah situation is completely unsatisfactory. The Prime Minister’s statement that the Federal Government would restore peace in Sabah cannot satisfy Sabahans who see law and order, peace and harmony, being deliberately and defiantly challenged without any firm action by the police and Federal Government for one whole week.

There could be no doubt that if the police and the Federal Government had taken firm action to nip in the bud the campaign to create fear, insecurity, tension and violence, the Sabah situation would not have reached the position where a riot broke out in Kota Kinabalu, five people killed since the week-long demonstrations, explosions, arsons, closure of schools, offices and businesses.

The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament that “although it was worried the developments in Sabah, it had to be cautions in its actions because politics was also involved and not just security” is most shocking.

Does this mean that the Federal Government is prepared to compromise law and order, life and property, just because ‘politics’ is involved?

I had in the past few days received numerous calls from Sabahans, in particular from people of Kota Kinabalu, who sound both angry and in despair. They are angry because despite assurance by the Prime Minister and the IGP that the situation in Sabah was under control, the authorities allowed a day-by-day escalation of agitation, demonstration, unrest and violence without making any attempts to put a halt to the organised campaign.

They are in despair for they feel that they had been abandoned by the authorities responsible for security for ‘political consideration’.

The issue in Kota Kinabalu and Sabah now is a straightforward question of protection of life and property, and nothing whatsoever to do with politics. If the Federal Government is not prepared to take strong and firm measures against those who are prepared to shed blood, kill, maim, damage property, for whatever ‘political’ objectives, then the Federal Government would stand accused in the eyes of Malaysians and the world as condoning such incidents.

I want to stress that there is nothing more important in Sabah now than to protect life and property, and no ‘politics’ from any quarter should stand in the way of the Federal Government to carry out this most elementary duty to the people of Sabah.

At the request of some Sabahans, I have decided to visit Kota Kinabalu with the DAP MP for Sandakan, Sdr. Fung Ket Wing, tomorrow to get first-hand information about the conditions in the Sabah capital. It is most unfortunate that the Prime Minister has not seen it fit to make an immediate visit to Sabah to assure all Sabahans that the protection of life and property would be the Federal Government’s paramount commitment in Sabah and to immediately restore normalcy to the entire Sabah state.

I have not made any appointments, but I hope to be able to meet the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the Sabah Commissioner of Police.

Without proclaiming emergency and Federal rule, the Federal Government has sufficient power and authority to end the escalation of fear, unrest, violence and to begin the process of restoration of normalcy. What is the Federal Government waiting for?