By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Friday, 26.9.1986:
DAP has no confidence in the six-man advisory committee for the high-powered government committed on the 24 co-operatives and calls for various rescue proposals for the 24 co-ops to be made public to the 540,000 depositors.
The 540,000 depositors were led by MCA and Gerakan leaders to believe that Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, would yesterday announce details of the government plan to protect the $1.6 billion deposits of the 540,000 depositors in the 24 co-operatives, but instead, Ghaffar Baba merely announced the setting up of another government committee to study the problem.
This is most disappointing, for the Government, and all the relevant departments, namely the Co-operative Development Department, the Treasury and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, should have had enough meetings among themselves to discuss ways to solve the co-op crisis in the past 50 days. I would like to ask the Bank Negera, the Co-op department, the Treasury and Attorney-General’s chamber what they had been doing in these past 50 days?
The Advisory Committee of the government co-op committee is also a disappointment, and not calculated to generate confidence among the 540,000 depositors that their interests will be safeguarded.
Datuk Kee Yong Wee, a member of the six-man advisory committee for instance, has still to clarify public queries about the transaction whereby Koperasi Pembangunan Ekonomi Pemuda Malaysia Bhd. (KOMUDA) bought 20 million shares of Malaysian Resources at 90 cents per share, when the market price was less than 50 cents per share. Datuk Kee is chairman of Komuda and Malaysian Resources was his listed company vehicle.
Before Datuk Kee can have confidence of the 540,000 depositors, he should give a full public explanation of this matter, or the question the 540,000 directors would ask is whether the Advisory Committee is to protect the interest of the Co-operative Directors or the depositors.
Datuk Kee should answer the following questions:
(i) When did the Board of Directors of Komuda decide to buy 20 million shares of Malaysian Resources?
(ii) What was the market price of Malaysian Resources when the decision was made, what was the price the Board decide on buying, and the reason for the difference in price.
(iii) Were the Board members aware that there could be conflict-of-interest questions for Komuda , under the chairmanship of Kee Yong wee, to buy 20 million shares of Malaysian resources;
(iv) How much had Komuda paid Malaysian Resources for these 20 million shares, and whether the transaction had the approval of the Director-General of Co-operatives;
(v) Whether the Komuda Board is prepared to rescind this decision, and to get the agreement of Malaysian Resources to treat the transaction as null and void.
Another member of the advisory board is Datuk Wong Tok Chai, the Vice President of the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Malacca people will be most familiar with Datuk Wong, for he was one of these who early in the day, came out in support of Malacca Chief Mninster, Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik’s proposal to dig out the Bukit China graves for development of the ancient cemetery hill. I do not think he could command general confidence of the 540,000 depositors.
The DSAP wants to declare that it has no confidence in the six-man advisory committee, as we are not convinced that they have the credentials to give paramount priority interests to the protection of the $1.6 billion depositors of the 540,000 depositors.
I call on the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba; to give the Government Co-operative Committee one week to present a final rescue plan whereby the deposits of the 540,000 depositors would be fully protected and guaranteed by government.
The Government should realize that there are tens of thousands of housewives, workers, hawkers and petty businessmen who are in desperate need of withdrawing their life-savings from the co-operative branches need of withdrawing their life-savings from the co-operative branches which had been frozen by Bank Negara on August 8, and every day of delay in lifting the freeze is a day of hardship to them.
I call on the Cabinet to immediately work out a scheme whereby cases of hardships in this category could be overcome, whereby portions of the depositors could be paid out to needy depositors.
Finally, I call on the Government to make public the various rescue packages for the 24 co-operatives and 540,000 depositors so that the depositors and the public have the right to give their views and ideas.