DAP offers its co-operative to Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to help resolve the grave national problems like racial polarization, crisis of confidence and nation-building

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General, MP for Tanjong and Assemblyman for kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 15.8.1986

DAP offers its co-operative to Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to help resolve the grave national problems like racial polarization, crisis of confidence and nation-building

Yesterday, at the launching of the National Youth Day and Cultural Month, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said that the Government will continue with its present policies and not change them just because several groups want a change.

Dr. Mahathir should realize that the August 3 general elections results, where only 55 per cent of total national votes were cast for the Barisan Nasional, cannot be dismissed as the demand of ‘several groups’ for change.

As a government of all Malaysians, and not just 55 per cent of the electorates, the government must be in the vanguard of change, and be sensitive to the deep yearnings of half of the population for greater equality, justice and freedom in Malaysia.

The Prime Minister yesterday hit out at ‘intellectual critics’ on whom he blamed the failure of government policies, like the Look East Policy. He said these intellectuals possess a ‘slave mentality’ and have failed to contribute positively to the development of the nation. Dr. Mahathir is being most unfair and unkind to the critics and the intellectuals in Malaysia.

The failure of the Look East Policy is not the result of the criticisms of the intellectuals, or the refusal of the Malaysians to work hard. The root cause lies in the failure of the government itself to understand the secret of the Japanese success, how it could in a short period, emerge from the ashes of atomic bomb catastrophe to become a super economic power.

Japan’s most important secret of success lies in the intense Japanese nationalism-or Japanese-ness-possessed by all Japanese. What have the Malaysian Government done to instill in all Malaysians that single-minded national sense of Malaysian-ness?

In Japan, for instance, there is no division of Japanese into bumiputera and non-bumiputeras to cause a polarization of the Japanese society. In Malaysia, however, racial polarization-aggravated by the classification of Malaysians into different groups-have become more and more acute over the years.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister launched the National Youth Day and the Culture Month. But to the overwhelming majority of Malaysian youths and citizens, the National Youth Day and Culture Month seemed to have nothing to do with them, but gala event of a small section of people.

The deep rift indicated by the general elections results on August 3 is not created by the 1986 general elections campaign, but merely reflect the deep rift in the Malaysian society as a result of 29 years of nationhood, which must urgently be healed!

The general elections is over, and the people have spoken loud and clear about their political wishes, hopes and aspirations in the verdict of August 3, 1986.

The time has come for all political parties and national leaders to heal the deep rift in the Malaysian nation, as reflected by the August 3 results, and this can only be done by coming to terms with the aspirations of the people as expressed in the polls. Nobody stands to benefit by pretending that racial polarization over the years has not become a grave national problem now.

It is for this reason that the DAP offers its hand of co-operation to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and the Barisan Nasional Government, both at Federal and State level, to help resolve the grave national problems like racial polarization, crisis of confidence and national-building.

The DAP offers its co-operation to Dr. Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional Government because we should all be first and last, Malaysians who are prepared to work together for the common good of all Malaysians and the country.

Although we are in the Opposition, we believe we have a duty to work with the Government (in the same way that the government has a duty to work with the Opposition), as well as other Opposition groups, if this is for the benefit of all Malaysians. DAP’s preparedness to co-operate with Dr. Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional for the common good does not mean the DAP’s compromise of our political principles or our joining the Barisan Nasional.

It is for this reason that immediately after the August 3 general elections results, I announced my intention to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the election, and I am still waiting for word from the Prime Minister’s Office as to when, or whether, the Prime Minister could see me.

Three steps to prevent a run on the co-operatives

Co-operative College Director, Haji Ahmad Ghazi Abdul Hamid, yesterday asked the public not to panic and not to stary a run on the 23 co-operatives when they resume business after the Bank Negara completes its investigations.

I agree with Haji Ahmad Ghazi that if there is such a panic and run, the co-operatives would collapse and nobody would gain from it.

However, a mere statement by the Co-operative College Director or even from Bank Negara or Ministry of Finance is not going to instill public confidence among the depositors of the 23 co-operative under the Bank Negara investigations.

Having had a fright of their lives about the safety of their deposits, they need more than mere statements by any government official that they should not start a run once the 23 co-operatives are allowed to resume business.

Bank Negara and the Ministry of Finance, having frozen the assets of the 23 co-operatives, must immediately allow co-operatives which are not guilty if fraud, breach of trust and misuse of authority to resume operation under conditions whereby public confidence in the co-operatives could be engendered where there would be no panic or run on the co-operatives.

I suggest three steps whereby such public confidence could be engendered and public anxiety dispelled:

Firstly, public release of the investigations into all the 23 co-operatives, to let the public know that everything is above-board; or where there had been fraud, abuse of authority and breach of trust, criminal actions would be instituted;

Secondly, holding of extraordinary general meetings of the 23 co-operatives for the members to satisfy themselves that their co-operative is properly run. co-operative members should be able to make use of the public reports of the Bank Negara investigations into the 23 co-operatives at the extraordinary general meetings to seek further clarification from their Co-operatives Directors. At these extraordinary general meeting, Co-operative Directors should also be prepared to give fullest clarifications on any query about their operations. For instance, KOMUDA has still to clarify whether it is true that recently it bought 20 million shares of Malaysian Resources at 90 cents per share when the market price was at 50 cent a share, whether this purchase was with approval of the Board and the Director-General of co-operatives, etc.

Thirdly, Government guarantee to back the 23 co-operatives to the hilt and that depositors need not worry about the safety of their depositors.

The DAP on its part is prepared to do anything within our ability to help restore public confidence in the co-operatives, provided that we are ourselves satisfied about the proper conduct of the co-operatives concerned.