The BMF loans scandal is the ‘Scandal of Scandals’ whose full story has not yet been told

Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the official launching of the DAP book on ‘BMF: Scandal of Scandals’ at the DAP PJ Headquarters on Monday, April 28, 1986 at 12 noon.

The BMF loans scandal is the ‘Scandal of Scandals’ whose full story has not yet been told

Despite the 18 Volumes of Reports, Exhibits and Recommendations of the Ahmad Nordin Inquiry Committee on the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) loans scandal, its full story has still to be told.

This is why the Inquiry Committee recommended further investigations in many important areas of the scandal, and why the DAP pressed for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF Scandal to pursue the fresh leads provided by the Inquiry Committee, and get to the bottom of the scandal.

The Government continues to be engaged in a cover-up operation and wants the people to believe that four persons, Lorraine Osman, Hshim Shamsuddin, Rais Saniman and Ibrahim Jaffar, were solely responsible for the biggest theft and fraud of public funds in Malaysia.

Right-thinking Malaysians reject such simplistic answers. If the Government has nothing to hide, it should welcome a Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear once and for all the doubt and suspicions of high-level political involvement in the BMF scandal.

In rejecting out-of-hand the new demand for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BMF Scandal, the Government is drawing further suspicion and doubt about high-level political involvement in the scandal.

If an Inquiry Committee, with limited powers and restricted terms of reference, could throw so much light on the BMF scandal, a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be able to expose the many areas of darkness in the scandal.

One exhibit in the two-volume exhibits which were originally emitted, shows that in 1979 and 1980, Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd. (BBMB) had ‘excessive money’ which it could lend out through foreign exchange and money market operation. In 1980, Petronas was to deposit M$50 million a month with BBMB. This led to the problem of finding ‘an outlet to these excess funds’ and BMF in Hong Kong was selected as a vehicle to channel part of the money to them. And as another BBMB internal memo put it, with the repeated upward revision of the BMF’s lending limit from BBMB head office and branches, BMF “will emerge as a dynamic financial institution”.

The excuse that the BBMB Management in Kuala Lumpur, or the political leadership, were unaware of the BMF scandal strains credibility to the limit. This BBMB internal memo has reinforced suspicion that a considerable part of the BMF money was in fact Malaysia’s petrodollars, which were used by BBMB to finance George Tan’s Carrian operations.

The question that we want to ask is how much of the $2.5 billion in the BMF scandal was actually Petronas money, and in buying over Bank Bumiputra and BMF, was Petronas merely setting of its bad debts with BBMB and BMF?

On 25th March 1986, UMNO National Vice President and Barisan Nasional Secretary-General, Ghaffar Baba, said in Malacca that the opposition should also share the blame for the BMF scandal, for it had failed in its role as a ‘watch-dog’.

I find Ghaffar Baba’s accusation, at a time when the Government wants to impose a mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence for any offence under the Official Secrets Act 1972, the best example of how UMNO and Barisnan leaders are trying to throw red gerrings to distract public attention from their responsibility for the BMF scandal.

All Malaysians, regardless of race or party affiliation, must find the BMF Scandal ‘abominable’ and demand its thorough expose and the punishment of the persons responsible however high their political status.

Malaysians must understand the enormity of the crimes involved and the complete breakdown of the moral values of a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ system in the BMF scandal, if we are to ensure that there would not be a recurrence.

It is for this reason that this book on my three speeches, two in Parliament and one outside, on the BMF Final Report, is published in book-form, in the hope that it would lead to greater public demands for higher standards of public accountability and integrity.

Malaysians must ensure that BMF Scandal does not become the biggest cover-up in Malaysian history

Furthermore, it is to arouse public ousness about the many unanswered questions in the BMF scandal to ensure that it does not become the biggest cover-up in Malaysian history.

With the publication of this book, “BMF – Scandal of Scandals’, the DAP wants to re-open the public debate on the biggest banking and financial scandal in Malaysia.

The Book is entitled ‘Scandal of Scandals’ because the BMF Scandal encompasses within it at least ten separate scandals. There is not only the scandal of the BMF in Hong Kong and the conspiracy with George Tan to defraud and steal $2.5 billion of Malaysian funds, there are also the scandals of the failures, irresponsibility, negligence of Bank Bumiputra, Bank Negara, the Auditors, the Attorney-General, political leadership, Parliament, the murder of Jalil Ibrahim, etc.

The book, which is priced at $4 in English, will be published in Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil. If its publication could help to ensure a more responsible and accountable Government, then its purpose would have been served.