Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Ceramah at Petaling Jaya MPPJ Civic Centre on Saturday, June 14, 1986 at 9 pm
DAP motion in July Parliamentary meeting for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into widespread allegations of corruption, nepotism and improper activities involving Cabinet and non-Cabinet leaders of Barisan Nasional
I cannot think of another time in Malaysia’s 29-year history when the country had been flooded with so widespread talk and allegation about rampant corruption, nepotism and improper activities involving conflict of interest in high political places.
This is most ironic and even tragic, for the Mahathir government had campaigned on the slogan of ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ administration in the 1982 general elections, and yet within four years, it is regarded as less ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ than the previous governments of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Hussein Onn.
If these widespread talk, allegation and belief of rampant corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places are not dispelled, they will deepen the crisis of confidence inside the country and undermine international confidence in the credibility and honour of Malaysian.
It is for this reason, to restore the confidence of Malaysians and the world in the integrity of our leaders and our government, that I will move a motion on behalf of the DAP in the coming meeting of Parliament, beginning on July 14, asking for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into all the allegations of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest involving Cabinet as well as non-Cabinet leaders of Barisan Nasional.
It is not that the Barisan Nasional leadership is unaware of the damage that is being done by the widespread talk, allegation and belief of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places, as otherwise, a defence of Daim Zainuddin, Finance Minister, to rebut some of these allegations would not have been published in the New Straits Times on May 21, 1986 and inn the Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and Sin Min Jit Poh the next day. I understand that this article, entitled ‘Daim – the Target?’ originated from the highest political quarter in the country.
The article, however, failed dismally to answer the many ethical, legal and political questions raised in connection with the two UMBC transactions involving Daim Zainuddin’s family companies in 1984 and 1985 resulting in 51% majority control of the third largest bank in the country. On the contrary, the article succeeded in bringing to the national centre-stage the issue of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places in government.
The article, reflecting official government opinion, alleged that there were ‘deliberate and calculated’ attempt to ‘blacken the name of Encik Daim’, adding: “As Encik Daim is the Finance Minister of Malaysia, the credibility and honour of the Government of Malaysia must also be involved/ A Government that has an ‘obviously’ corrupt Finance Minister will not be credit-worthy in the eyes of international bankers”.
The DAP, as a nationalist Malaysian party of patriotic Malaysians, is as concerned as anyone about the reputation, credibility and honour of Malaysia, inside the country or internationally. For this reason, allegations of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places must be publicly disproved so as to remove even the shadow of a doubt about the veracity of such allegations.
But the Government is not acting as if it is keen to disprove and dispel such allegations.
Firstly, the Government has refused to answer the ethical, legal and political questions raised in various issues which had come to public light, as in the UMBC, EPF Investment, and the $1 billion mysterious tin-buying operation in 1981 – not to mention the $2.5 billion BMF scandal.
When the government evades a clear and specific answer to various ethical, political and legal questions involving possible conflict of interest or impropriety of top government leaders, it is not only dishonouring the principle of public accountability, it is fanning public suspicion that the government has no defence, rebuttal or answer to such allegations. As a result, such allegations gain greater credibility!
During the DAP Ceramah in Klang last Saturday, 7th June 1986, I asked Daim Zainuddin seven questions about the two UMBC transactions involving his family companies, but there has been deafening silence from him, the Prime Minister or any Government spokesman.
Secondly, since May 21, I had asked for an appointment with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamed, to discuss with him the ethical, legal and political issues raised by the two UMBC transactions and to convey to him the growing national concern about the widespread nature of allegations of corruption in high places.
I had previously no difficulty in wanting to see the Prime Minister, whether on the question of the publication of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee Final Report or over the last-minute plea for clemency for Sim Kie Chong to be spared from the hangman’s rope, but this time, the Prime Minister does not seem to be keen at all to see me to discuss the UMBC transactions and widespread allegations of corruption and conflict of interest in high political places. The Malaysian people can draw their own conclusions.
Since then, other scandals have been publicised – like the EPF Investment scandal where the five million EPF contributors lost $10 million given away as a ‘gift’ to a $2 shell company, MAKUWASA, and the $1 billion mysterious tin-buying scandal in London in 1981 involving another $2 shell company, MAMINCO. But just like the UMBC transactions, the government has resorted to ‘silence’, behaving like ostriches hiding their heads in the sand, hoping that the questions would just go away.
$100 million EPF losses for 1985 shares investment and has EPF invested tens of millions of dollars of EPF contributors’ money in Raleigh, which is controlled by the Daim’ family companies
I have been getting disturbing reports about the manner the EPF Investment Panel had been managing the captive EPF funds of the five million contributors.
Firstly, I understand that when the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, said in Parliament in March that the EPF suffered a total paper loss of $36.8 million up to Dec. 31 last year because of decline in share prices, he was not giving a total and complete picture. The $36.8 million loss only concerned the $205.5 million investment by the EPF’s portforlio managers, but did not include the losses of the investments on public quoted companies made by the EPF Investment Panel.
In understand that as at the end of 1985, three per cent of the EPF’s total assets of $24 billion, which is about $750 million, were invested in shares. If the total losses of the entire EPF investment in shares as end of 1985 were taken into account, the losses is in the $100 million region.
Secondly, I understand that the EPF has invested in tens of millions of dollars in Raleigh, which controlled by Daim’s family companies.
Thirdly, I had asked on May 20 about the establishment of a secret and high-powered Investment Co-ordinating Committee in the Finance Ministry using funds from EPF, SOCSO and Bank Simpanan Nasional to invest in speculative stocks, including companies which are associated with prominent political personalities in the government.
Although silence does not mean guilt per se, continued silence in the face of so many disturbing questions could only reinforce suspicion and even belief that there is something rotten in the heart of government in the country.
This is why a Royal Commission of Inquiry to inquire into all the allegations of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places will provide a good opportunity to clear the name not only of the country but of the leaders concerned.
In fact, my first three questions for the July Parliamentary meeting are on the UMBC, EPF and Maminco scandals.
One way to avoid a public accounting anf reply on the UMBC, EPF and MAMINCA scandals is to dissolve Parliament before July 14 and call general elections. If the Barisan Nasional leadership resorts to such a step to avoid the DAP motion for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into widespread allegations of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places, and avoid the DAP questions on the UMBC, EPF and MAMINCO scandals, then it has only itself to blame if the people give such widespread allegations greater credibility and belief.