DAP offers its co-operation to Government to resolve the deepening crisis of confidence which is impeding economic recovery, undermining national unity and destroying public confidence in Malaysia’s future

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address on Wednesday, Oct 8, 1986

DAP offers its co-operation to Government to resolve the deepening crisis of confidence which is impeding economic recovery, undermining national unity and destroying public confidence in Malaysia’s future.

Malaysia held its seventh parliamentary general elections on August 3, and as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said in his UMNO Presidential Address on 19th Sept. 1986, it was UMNO’s “past-ever” election success since UMNO was established and the country gained Independence. UMNO won 34 out of 35 seats in 1995, winning 97 per cent of the seats contested while in 1986, UMNO won 83 out of the 84 seats, winning nearly 99 per cent of the seats it contested.

Dr. Mahathir admitted in his UMNO Presidential Address that the 1986 general elections was held in the midst of an unprecedented crisis of confidence. As Dr. Mahathir put it: “To wipe out allegations that the Government does not have the people’s support and that its polities were not accepted by the people, the Government held an election.”

With the UMNO winning about 99 per cent of the seats it contested, resulting in the Barisan Nasional winning fourth-fifth of the parliamentary seats, the crisis of confidence in the government in Malaysia should have been dispelled the instant the general elections results were announced.

But in the more than two months since the August 3, 1986 general elections, the crisis of confidence which had dogged the Malaysian government for over two years had not only refused to go away, it had deepened and intensified.

This was why very soon after the four-fifth parliamentary majority win by the Barisan Nasional, rumours spread strong and fast about the impending stepping down Dr. Mahathir Mohamed as Prime Minister.

I want to make it clear that the DAP is not involved in any way with these rumours, despite the irresponsible statement by the Education Minister and UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, in trying blame the Opposition.

In fact, these rumours about the impending stepping down of Dr. Mahathir, giving the ‘terminal’ dates for his rime Ministership, had been spread well before the August 3 general elections, and I had always dismissed them as without basis when asked about it by members of the public.

But the pertinent question is why after such a self-proclaimed great lection victory by the Barisan Nasional in the general elections, such rumours could be so easily believed!

There can only be one answer – that the government suffers from a great credibility gap and crisis of confidence, despite its proclamation of a great victory in the August 3 general elections.

It is imperative that we find out why the fourth-fifth parliamentary majority win of the Barisan Nasional had failed to dispel the crisis of confidence in the government, and why in the past two months, this crisis of confidence had deepened and intensified.

The first reason is that the August 3, 1986 general election was the most unfair and undemocratic general elections in Malaysia history because:

• The government disregarded all pretence that the Elections Commission is an independent and impartial body by directing it to amend the Elections regulations to provide for a legal minimum of seven days for election campaign period between Nomination and Polling; as well as increasing Parliamentary candidate deposits five times from $1,000 to $5,000, while State Assembly candidate deposits were increased six times from $500 to $3,000;

• The Politics of Blackmail where the Prime Minister himself issued threats of May 13 and denial of development funds if Opposition wins;

• The Politics of Money and Abuse by Barisan Nasional leaders and candidates; where government resources were used for election purposes, and the mass media monopolized by the Barisan Nasional particularly in their tendentious and scurrilous cartoon attack on the Opposition;

There is no doubt that if the election campaign period had been fair, with another few more days instead of the nin-day period, the DAP would have won another ten parliamentary seats, and would have knocked out two Ministers, two Deputy Ministers and one Parliamentary Secretary in the Bruas, Sungai Siput, Kelang, and Teluk Intan seats!

The second reason why the August 3 general elections failed to dispel the crisis of confidence is because a detailed study of the elections results would show that it was not a popular vote of confidence in the Barisan Nasional Government, but really a vote of no confidence.

The fourth-fifth parliamentary majority win of the Barisan Nasional cannot hide the fact that it had fallen far short of the two-third popular vote in the general elections. In fact, the Barisan Nasional managed to secure only 55.8% of the total parliamentary votes, with DAP winning 20.39 per cent, PAS 15.15%.

If the 1986 general elections is UMNO’s “best-ever” election success, it is the “worst-ever” for the other Barisan Nasional component parties, particularly the MCA and Gerakan in Penisular Malaysia. MCA lost 15 out of the 32 seats it contested, which represents 47% failure rate; while Gerakan lost four of the nine seats it contested, or 45%.

The failure of the Barisan Nasional Government to win the hearts and minds of Malaysians is best seen from the voting figures, rather than the seats won.

Order the parties having the greatest electoral support in the 1986 general elections are as follow:

1. UMNO – 1,474,063 votes – 31.06% of total votes cast
2. DAP – 968,009 votes – 20.30% of total votes cast
3. PAS – 718,891 votes – 15.15% of total votes cast
4. MCA – 589,289 votes – 12.42% of total votes cast
5. Gerakan – 149,644 votes – 3.15% of total votes cast
6. MIC – 104,701 votes – 2.2% of total votes cast

From the above elections results, it is clear that the DAP has emerged as the second largest political party in Malaysia in terms of popular vote, and the DAP’s votes is more than of MCA, Gerakan and MIC added together!

Compared to the 1982 general elections results, the DAP would have increased its total votes from 748,209 to 968,009, an increase of 219,800 votes or 22.71 per cent; while UMNO increased by only 10.18%, MCA decreased by 13.11%, Gerakan increased by 2%, although MIC increased by 23.76%.

The injustice and inequity of the democratic system in Malaysia is seen when we compare the popular votes with the seats won by the parties. UMNO, for instance, with 1.5 million votes secures 83 seats, while the DAP with close to a million votes, had only 24 seats – when we should have 56 MPs there is a meaningful one-man, one-vote system.

PAS also suffered unfairly where with half UMNO’s total popular votes, it had only one MP as compared to UMNO’s 83.

Under these circumstances, Barisan Nasional and in particular UMNO, should be very humble about their very undemocratic win, instead of talking about their ‘best-ever’ election victory.

There is another important reason why the barisan Nasional, and in particular UMNO, should be very humble by the 1986 general elections results, for from a very rough estimate, we can say that the Barisan Nasional has succeeded in getting some 70 per cent Malay popular support while only about 25 per cent non-Malay support.

Dr. Mahathir cannot be more wrong when he said on the morning of the election results that he was satisfied with the Barisan Nasional’s election performance, and that the rakyat’s confidence showed that there was nothing wrong with the policies of the Government as alleged by the critics. This is because not only a sizable section of Rural Malaysia had voiced their discontentment with Barisan Nasional policies, but the overwhelming majority of Urban Malaysia had clearly voted against the Barisan Nasional policies.

With the election victory, Dr. Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional government had the opportunity to arrest the slide in public confidence in the government, and embark on the task of national reconciliation and restoration of confidence.

The last two months since the general elections were missed opportunities to resolve the crisis of confidence in the government in Malaysia and what is worse, the Government allowed the crisis of reconciliation and restoration of confidence.

The last two months since the general elections were missed opportunities to resolve the crisis of confidence in the government in Malaysia and what is worse, the Government allowed the crisis of confidence to be deepened and intensified.

Malaysia, so resource-rich and full of potential in its human talents, is now lost and forlorn, because it had lost confidence in itself. Malaysia’s dishonour at the Asian Game in Korea, where for the first time in 12 years we did not win a Gold Medal, best typifies our national malaise.

For the past five years, Dr. Mahathir had been exhorting Malaysians to looke East, to emulate the Japanese and the Koreans, Korea has surged from 18 gold medals in 1978 Asian Games to 28 Golds in 1982 and to the present crop of 93 Golds, just one short of China’s 94. Malaysia, however, has been going backwards, and if not for the plucky performance of two individuals, and in particular of 14-year-old swimmer, Nurul Huda Abdullah, our performance would be even more dismal. I do not think there was an international Zionist conspiracy to sabotage our Asian Games performance in Korea! Our debacle in the Asian Games in Seoul is an eloquent statement that something is very wrong about Malaysia – our organization, motivation, leadership: in short, that the nation is in the throes of a national crisis of confidence!

I now come to the third reason why after its fourth-fifth parliamentary majority win in the general elections, the Barisan Nasional government failed not only to dispel the crisis of confidence, but deepened and intensified the crisis of confidence.

The Singapore speech by UMNO MP for Kok Lanas and former Deputy Minister, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, the backing by top UMNO leaders, and the speeches by UMNO President, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, and other UMNO leaders and delegates at the UMNO General Assemblies, must rank as an important factor which took the crisis of confidence in the government and country to a high point.

Datuk Abdullah’s Singapore speech that the Malaysian Chinese would be ‘playing with fire’ if they do not accept the present political system in Malaysia in seeking greater political equality and democracy, is highly provocative, tendentious and seditious.

Datuk Abdullah’s Singapore speech is unimportant if it reflected his own views, but from the way it was given full verbatim coverage in the Bahasa Malaysia and English newspaper, it is clear that his speech had the approval of the highest political quarters as the treatment he received from the newspaper is reserved to the Prime Minister himself.

Datuk Abdullah’s thesis, that Malaysian politics is founded on Malay political dominance, was supported by top UMNO Ministers like the Minister for Trade and Industry, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and UMNO Youth Leader and Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, who echoed it in his UMNO Youth Presidential Address two weeks ago.

Datuk Abdullah said that the New Economic Policy should “continue to sustain Malay dominance in the political system in line with the contract of 1957”, and that even after 1990,” there must be mechanisms of preservation, protection and expansion in an evolving system.”

NEP an instrument for protection and expansion of Malay political dominance?

The novel argument that the New Economic Policy is designed to “preserve, protect and expand Malay political dominance”, must have come as a shorak to Malaysians, in particular the non-Malays, for this has never been their understanding.

If the ‘preservation, protection and expansion’ of Malay political dominance had in fact been the objective of the NEP, then the Barisan Nasional Government had misled the people of Malaysia about its true intentions. I was in Parliament when the New Economic Policy was first presented in the Second Malaysia Plan 1971-1975, but I cannot remember any Minister or Leader in the Government spelling this objective of the NEP to ‘preserve, protect and expand’ Malay political dominance. Have the MCA, MIC and Gerakan, who co-authored and co-sponsored the NEW Economic Policy, again let the Malaysian people, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese, down by giving their support to this ‘secret purpose’ of the NEP?

Let me state here and now that if the NEP’s real objective is to ‘preserve, protect and expand’ Malay political dominance, then the NEP should be scrapped here and now, because the Malaysian people had never given support to such an NEP objective. Nor would the Malay masses benefit from such an NEP objective, for the only beneficiaries would be the tiny UMNO political elite who would use their political power to accumulate personal wealth.

In a qualified way, I agree with Datuk Abdullah that one of the political realities in Malaysia is Malay political dominance, and this is why I do not see any non-Malay becoming a Prime Minister of Malaysia in my generation.

However, if anyone had disregarded the Merdeka Contract of 1957, and disregarded the other political realities in Malaysia, it is Datuk Abdullah and the other UMNO leaders who agreed with him.

In expounding the theory not only of ‘Malay political dominance’ in 1957, but of ‘expanding political dominance after 1990’, Datuk Abdullah is propounding a most racist, chauvinistic and anti-Malaysian theory. If Malaysia is to succeed as a nation, it is imperative that all political realities in our political system.

These include, firstly, that Malaysia is a multi-racial nation, and Malaysians can work and succeed only if there is mutual respect of each other’s basic political, citizenship and constitutional rights. No one should attempt to erode these basic citizenship rights of others, which the theorists of ‘expanding Malay political dominance through the NEP after 1990’ seek to do.

Those who subscribe to this theory categorise Malaysians into two classes of citizens, the first-class citizens who are not only politically dominant, but should endlessly expand such political dominance; and the second class citizens, who are not only subservient with the passage of time!

I call on the Prime Minister to explain whether he accepts this NEP purpose of ‘expanding political dominance’, and whether it explains why since the NEP, there had been two delineation of electoral constituencies which had concentrated political power in Malays, and the constant erosion of non-Malay political position and rights.

Dr. Mahathir said in his UMNO Presidential speech that “We have no intention of taking away anybody’s rights, but let not anyone try to take away our rights, when it demands ‘expanding political dominance’? Or is UMNO’s rights include that of ‘expanding Malay political dominance’ in the Malaysians political system?

Datuk Abdullah’s Singapore speech that there are Malays in Malaysia who “prefer to share poverty with Indonesia than see their political position eroded is highly mischievous and seditions, because since Merdeka in 1957, there has been no erosion of the political position of the Malays – only the grave and unrelenting erosion of the political position of the non-Malays.

I have no doubt that if I had said any where in the world that there are Chinese in Malaysia who “prefer to share poverty with China” or Sdr. P. Patto had said that “there are Indians in Malaysia who prefer to share poverty with India”, than see their political position eroded, would be accused by Datuk Abdullah and other all UMNO leaders of being tr disloyal, traitors, and for the most severe actions to be taken against us. Why should this be different with Datuk Abdullah and UMNO leaders?

Let me tell Datuk Abdullah that every Malaysian, whether a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban, must be loyal to Malaysia, and no one can claim that his loyalty is beyond suspect, entitling him to the most treasonous of thoughts or activities. This is particularly relevant when we bear in mind that there are many countries with secret service networks out to suborn the loyalty of Malaysians to their cause.

Datuk Abdullah should know better than anyone else, for in February 1977, he made a television confession of his pro-communist activities, admitting that he had contacts with officials from “foreign missions” in Kuala Lumpur since 1968 (which could only the Soviet Union embassy and KGB agents), and that he was “attracted to, and agreed with, the thesis that the communist take-over of South East Asia was inevitable.”

Datuk Abdullah said in his television interview that after the fall of Saigon and communist victory in Indo-China was ensured, he began to feel the future would become “very bleak indeed”, and officials of these “foreign missions” told him that the only option left for Malays and other bumiputras would be to accept their brand of communism.

The Inspector-General of Police then and now, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, said at that time that Datuk Abdullah was arrested for his involvement in assisting Communist United Front activities. Parliament and the Malaysian people are entitled to a full clarification from Datuk Abdullah about his television confession in Feb. 1977. Was the Inspector-General of Police telling the truth or a lie, and was Datuk Abdullah confessing on television to the truth or a lie, and if the latter, why did he do so – was the tortured or psychologically brain-washed by the Special Branch to do things against his own will?

I hope Dr. Mahathir and the UMNO Ministers and leaders are aware that after the spate of extremist and chauvinist speeches by Datuk Abdullah and the UMNO leaders at UMNO Conferences, many non-Malays had great anxiety about the future of the country and that of their children, and there are also businessman who agonized whether they should pull out some of their local investments and putting them overseas to be on the safe side.

Is it any wonder then that after the August general elections, there is a greater blow to public confidence in the government and country?

Fourth Reason: Refusal of the Government to give full accountability of the various scandals in the country.

The fourth reason for increasing crisis of confidence is the refusal pf the Barisan Nasional Government to give full accountability of the various scandals in the country, and to bring the criminals and crooks to justice.

The $2.5 billion BMF scandal, for instance, is still unresolved as to who are the real masterminds behind this greatest financial and banking scandal in Malaysia, and to attempt has been made to trace how the $2.5 billion had been used, especially those which came back to Malaysia.

What is regrettable is the attempt by the Prime Minister to give a racial twist to the BMF scandal in his Presidential speech to UMNO, implying that critics of the BMF scandal do so because the BMF is a bumiputera scandal. Let me assure Dr. Mahathir that as far as the DAP abuse of power by public officers, whether they are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans.

Dr. Mahathir asked why the BMF was turned into a scandal when the actions of several Malaysian bankers – not from Bank Bumiputra – “who misused the money of two banks in Hong Kong have not been given any attention” and that “Because of them, the image of Malaysians has been tarnished among bankers and financiers outside the country.”

This is new to me and, I am sure, all other Malaysians. How are we to give any attention to scandals we know nothing about? According to business Times is referring to Ka Wah Bank and Overseas Trust bank in Hong Kong.

If what Dr. Mahathir says is right, that several Malaysian bankers had caused Malaysia’s international banking and financial image to suffer greatly, then he is duty-bound to present a White Paper on the activities of these bankers, and their identities, so that they would be required to answer before the court Malaysian public opinion. I assure Dr. Mahathir that once he produce evidence of the breach of trust and abuse of power of these Malaysian bankers in these two Hong Kong banks, the DAP will be as assiduous in our demand for action to be taken against them as we have been demanding for action to be taken against the BMF culprits.

I hope the Prime Minister will inform the House of the activities of these disgraceful bankers and financiers during the winding-up of this debate.

Daim Zainuddin bought and sold UMBC for the sake of bumiputras – but who made the money?

The New Economic Policy has been described by Professor Ozay Mehmet, who was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Malaya, 1983/84, in his latest book, ‘Development in Malaysia’ – Poverty, Wealth and trusteeship’, as a strategy of development by trusteeship where “the ruling elites, in assuming the role of trustees, have emerged as a cartel. In the process, they have effectively concerned economic planning and decision-making to enrich themselves while paying lip-service to poverty eradication.”

The best example of this NEP development by trusteeship, whereby the ‘trustee’ not only avoids public accountability, but become millionaire by such political patronage, is the UMBC case.

The UMNO-owned Berita Minggu, in reporting on the explanation given by the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, for his original purchase of UMBC shares, gave this heading: “Pembelian kehendak UMNO – Saham UMBC dibeli untuk kuatkan Melyau”.

Now these UMBC shares belonging to Daim Zainuddin’s family companies, Daan Sdn. Bhd. and Dani Sdn Bhd., are being sold to a government enterprise, Pernas, purportedly again for bumiputera interest. But who made the money and millions from such purchase and sale of UMBC shares?

The New Economic Policy has become synonymous with questionable business transactions involving political leaders and elites, and if the Barisan Nasional Government is to restore public confidence about its commitment to a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government, then it must be prepared to allow the entire UMBC transactions involving Daim Zainuddin and his family companies to public scrutiny and examination to satisfy public opinion that there had been no conflict of interest in any stage of the UMBC saga.

The Government must gibe a full explanation of the UMBC transactions involving Daim Zainuddin and his family companies in 1984, 1985 and 1986, answering in particular the following questions:

i. Whether there was any conflict of interest or illegality in the 1984 approval for the acquisition of 40.7% control of UMBC by Daim Zainuddin family companies, as Daim was already Finance Minister and under Section 24 of the Banking Act, it was the Finance Minister’s legal duty to decide on the approval of any bank reconstruction;

ii. Whether there was any conflict of interest or illegality in the 1985 approval for the increase from 40.7% to 50.4% majority ownership of UMBC by Daim Zainuddin family companies, for the same reason;

iii. Why outright majority control of UMBC by the Daim Zainuddin family companies in June 1985 was carried out in a ‘hush, hush’ basis, without any public announcement or disclosure until the Asian Wall Street Journal in its April 30, 1986 issue 10 months later reported on them?

iv. Whether there was any conflict of interest, impropriety or illegality in a situation where the 50.4% majority control by the Daim Zainuddin family companies in the third largest bank in Malaysia was completed two months before new government regulations limiting equity ownership in banks and finance companies to 10 per cent for individual shareholders, including family-owned companies, and to 20% for corporations;

v. Whether there was any conflict of interest, impropriety or abuse of authority where the Daim Zainuddin family companies used the Finance Minister’s influence to secure $164 million loans from a foreign bank in Singapore to acquire majority control of UMBC without risking a cent of its own capital.

vi. Whether it is true that Pernas was not allowed to take up seven millions UMBC shares of rights issue in 1985 at $4.50 per share, and which were all taken up by the Daim Zainuddin family companies; giving the reasons;

vii. Whether it is true that Pernas will be paying the Daim Zainuddin family companies for the 50.4% UMBC stake in the region of $9 per share, costing $350 million to $400 million; and that the Daim Zainuddin family companies would be making some $100 million from the entire UMBC deal;

viii. Whether it is true that the Pernas purchase of the 50.4% UMBC stake of the Daim Zainuddin family companies had been approved by the Acting Finance Minister during the Finance Minister’s absence overseas after the UMNO General Assembly; and

ix. Whether the government is prepared to set up a Parliamentary Committee to vet the Pernas purchased of the 50.4% UMBC stake of the Daim Zainuddin family companies, before a final government decision is made.

London mysterious tin-buying

The July meeting of Parliament was postponed, and Parliament itself later dissolved, partly because DAP MPs had put in questions about the UMBC scandal, the London mysterious tin-buying scandal and the EPF-Makuwasa scandal.

The Prime Minister knows that the government cannot delay a public explanation of these three scandals, as DAP MPs have again given notice to raise them at the first meeting of the Seventh Parliament, and decided to give some preliminary explanations of these three scandals at the UMNO General Assembly in the UMNO Presidential speech. What he had said on all these three scandals, however, are unsatisfactory.

The Barisan Nasional Government had not been honest with the Malaysian people, for although all these three scandals were brought up by the DAP in May this year, the government refused to give the electorate any explanation, particularly with regard to the UMBC and the London mysterious tin-buying scandals before the August 3 general elections.

The Malaysian people are entitled to a full accounting and explanation of the government’s mysterious tin-buying operation in London in 1981, as it is the people’s money which were involved, and the DAP calls for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the London mysterious tin-buying to ascertain the losses suffered by Malaysia, the wisdom or otherwise of the mysterious tin-buying, why the operation failed, and the adverse repercussions it had on the Malaysian economy and the tin industry.

From Dr. Mahathir’s UMNO Presidential address, it is clear that he is very frightened to have a Commission of Inquiry, accusing such inquiry members of not being impartial and objective. I am sure he is referring to the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee which, despite its very restricted terms of reference and limited powers, had been able to unravel more than what the Government thought it could.

Commissions of Inquiry, however, are not to satisfy the likes and dislikes of the Government or the Prime Minister, but to enable the people to ascertain whether the actions of the Government or Prime Minister were correct, justifiable and in the interests of the public, or vice versa. Let us not shirk the fact that in the case of the London mysterious tin buying operation, the Barisan Nasional Government is in the dock, and unless it is prepared to submit its operation to a Commission of Inquiry, the people can only draw adverse inferences against the Government as having things to hide from the Malaysian public.

Dr. Mahathir had said that the mysterious tin-buying operation was approved by the Cabinet in 1980 and would have succeeded if not for cheating by the London Metal Exchange (LME). If Dr. Mahathir’s claim is true, a Commission of Inquiry would vindicate his government’s action and he should welcome such public inquiry.

MPS cannot just sweep the entire London mysterious tin buying caper under the carpet, for it has been estimated that Malaysia lost $500 million to $600 million from the operation. Banks, in particular Bank Bumiputra, also stand to suffer great financial losses as they had financed the abortive tin-buying operation.

The Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee’s 15-volume Reports had an interesting reference to the $2 company, Maminco, which was established in June 1981, to conduct the tin-buying operation. In the Volume I of Exhibits of Special Brief Part III, there was a record of a meeting between the then Bank Negara Governor, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Taha, and the then Bank Bumiputra Chairman, Dr. Nawawi Mat Awin, which stated:

“9. In reply to Governor’s query, Dr. Nawawi said ………..Bank Bumiputra’s London branch was lending about US$200 million to BMFL, while its Singapore branch was lending about US$100 million. He added that there was no problem loans at the overseas branches, although Bahrain branch may have a problem on its loans to MAMINCO.”

What were the total amount of loans given out to MAMINCO by Bank Bumiputra and other financial institutions for the London mysterious tin-buying scandal? A recent search of the Registry of Companies showed that MAMINCO had not submitted any annual returns at all since its incorporation in 1981. from a private company registered under the Companies Act, it suddenly became a ‘government department’ when in the 1985 Telephone Directory, it was listed under the Ministry of Finance departments. The 1986 Telephone Directory were held back when MAMINCO again re-appeared as a government under the Ministry of Finance. What is the reason for all these expensive comedy of errors?

How did the Government recoup the massive losses suffered from the London tin-buying operation. Dr. Mahathir had referred to the Makuwasa affair, which I shall come to shortly. I understand that another government plan to recoup the losses was to use the ‘secret service vote’ from the budget to repay Maminco’s loans from Bank Bumiputra. The ‘secret service vote’ is meant for security and intelligence-related activities of the government, and not meant to bail out disastrous economic adventures of the government. If it is true, it would set a dangerous precedent, whereby in future, the ‘secret service vote’ – which had never been submitted for audit – would be used to bail out the future BMF scandals without public knowledge!

Another serious aspect of the government’s 1981 London tin-buying operation is whether it was the root cause of the October 1985 collapse of the International Tin Council’s buffer-stock operation, as it created a huge tin surplus which determined prices, leading to production cuts and closure of mines.

The third aspect is the wisdom of such a London tin-buying caper in the first place. It is believed that the Malaysian Government was persuaded to mount the tin-buying operation in London firstly to support tin prices and later to try to corner the tin market, by an Egyptian Jew of far from savour reputation, David Zaidner, acting as agent of international commodity broker, Swiss-based Marc Rich & Co. Zaidner had previously been accused of trying to bribe the buffer stock manager of the International Tin Council to release artificially low tin reserve figures in hopes of causing a market scramble; and had tried to sell his idea of ‘concerning the tin market’ to the Indonesian authorities in 1980, but was rebuffed.

Zaidner appeared to have more success in Malaysia, where his ideas were snapped up by the Malaysian authorities. Is this why the Prime Minister had lately been denouncing an international Zionist conspiracy to sabotage Malaysia’s economy – from his experience with the London mysterious tin-buying, and their trust and confidence in David Zaidner?

Dr. Mahathir blamed the failure of the government’s tin-buying operation to corner the international tin market on ‘cheating’ by the LME with regard to short-selling, whereby tin traders who failed to meet sales contract on the appointed day could pay a fine of 120 pounds per ton per day in lieu of supplying the physical tin.

There are tin-industry analysts, however, who believe that even without the change of the rule by LME, or what Dr. Mahathir described as ‘cheating’, the tin-buying operation would have failed because of other factors.

Has Malaysia disposed of all the tin it ‘concerned’ in the 1981 London Operation, and what is the final bill of costs to the Malaysian public for such an operation?

Parliament, on behalf of the Malaysian people, must insist that there is a fullest accounting on this disastrous tin-buying adventure, and that there should be a full independent investigation into its operation and reporting to the nation.

EPF-Makuwasa Scandal

Dr. Mahathir said at the UMNO General Assembly that the EPF-Makuwasa scandal was in fact one government plan to recoup the losses suffered by the 1981 London mysterious tin-buying operation.

Between June 1984 and March 1985, EPF invested $12.8 million in 13 counters, seventy per cent of which were later sold to Makuwasa Securities Sdn. Bhd at below market price where EPF lost some $10 million profit.

Dr. Mahathir said the ‘truth’ is that the shares transferred by the EPF to Makuwasa were not owned by EPF, as they were shares reserved for bumiputras whose price was lower than the market price. Dr. Mahathir said the EPF was not allocated any shares to be held in reserve for bumiputras because it is not a recognized bumiputra body. The allocation was made to EPF to enable the shares to be transferred to Makuwasa and with the profits to go to the Government.

Why is it necessary to take such a round-about route involving the EPF, when these so-called reserved bumiputra hares could have been allocated directly to Makuwasa? How does a $2 company set up by Makuwasa become a ‘bumiputera company’? Isn’t it true that despite Dr. Mahathir’s claim that the EPF is not entitled to hold the 13 stocks at ‘bumiputera reserved’ prices, EPF had in fact retained 30% of each of these 13 stock at the ‘bumiputera reserved’ price? Isn’t the Government denying the genuine bumiputera companies the benefits of the ‘bumiputera reserve price’ for preferential stocks by the Makuwasa arragenement where-by the Government become the beneficiaries in its attempt to recoup the losses of the Londin tin-buying operation? Who is there to prevent abuses if the EPF-Makuwasa deal had not been made public by the DAP, for nobody would know if Makuwasa suddenly become a private company again for private individuals to benefit from $10 million ‘gift’ from EPF for the 13 preferential bumiputera stocks!

In this connection, I ask the Prime Minister to state what are the other government plans to recoup the losses of the London tin-buying operation. I understand that the Finance Ministry had set up a high=powered Investment Coordinating Council using portfolio funds from EPF, SOCSO, Bank Simpanan Nasional starting with $200 million to invest in speculative stocks, such as Raleigh, API and others.

Is this another government plan to use EPF-Makuwasa scandals reveal the frightening picture of a secret government which is not accounted to the people, where hundreds of millions and billions of dollars of public funds are used and spent as if they are private property.

The government’s refusal to give the fullest accountability for these transactions also highlight the grave problem of public integrity of the government and its leaders, despite the Mahathir motto of ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Government.

It now takes a great effort for Malaysians to remember the first 100 days of the then 2M Government in July 1981 hen it held out such fresh promise of a clean, honest and trustworthy administration, when the slogan captured the imagination of the people and propelled the 2M government to a great election victory in the 1982 general elections.

Now the very words of ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government have become a bad joke and a tern of contempt. This, by itself, is a measure of the crisis of confidence in Malaysia.

In his UMNO Presidential address, Dr. Mahathir said there had been rumours that the Prime Minister of Malaysia was one of the richest in the world.

When I met the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir in early January to ask him to honour his promise to make public the BMF Inquiry Committee Final report, he had also raised this rumour with me, and asked whether I had seen the purported Fortune article.

I said I did not believe in the rumour or in the purported Fortune article, and denied his allegation that the Opposition was responsible for spreading the rumour.

But we should all think why these rumours are do persistent and sturbborn, when there were no such rumours about Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Abdul Razak or Tunku Abdul Rahman being the richest Prime Minister in the world during their administrations?

There will be no more effective way to kill such rumour than for the Prime Minister to publicity declare his assets and that of his family. Let us have a law requiring all Ministers, Mps, Mentri Besar and Chief Minister, Exco Members and Assemblymen to regularly and publicly declare their and their family’s assets to establish the public integrity of all public office-holders.

It is no secret that the refusal, either of Daim Zainuddin or the Cabinet, to give a satisfactory explanation of the various UMBC deals of his family had not enhanced the reputation of public integrity of the Mahathir Cabinet.

Every Minister, Deputy Minister or Parliamentary Secretary must be prepared to answer public queries about possible conflict-of-interest situations, or where his public donduct might adversely affect the discharge of the governmental duties and responsibilities.

Call for Parliamentary inquiry into the charges by former Bank Negara Governor, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Taha, questioning Alex Lee’s integrity as General Manager cum Executive Director of Development and Commercial Bank and that he had violated banking Act, Income Tax Act and Companies Act.

In the special Malaysian Business (Sept 16,198) profile, the new Deputy Agriculture Minister, Alexander Lee, admitted that when he was General Manager cum Executive Director of Development and Commercial Bank, he had problems with the Bank Negara Governor, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Taha, who alleged in March 1984 that Alex Lee had violated the Banking, Income Tax and Companies Act.

According the Malaysian Business, it took the intervention of Daim Zainuddin (at the time, not yet a Finance Minister) and a 47-page rebuttal by Alex Lee to the Governor’s charges that both parties compromised.

Tan Sri Aziz Taha had not only alleged Alex Lee as having violated the Banking, Income Taz and Companies Act, but also questioned his integrity as General Manager cum Executive Director of A& C Bank. This is an allegation which could not be ‘compromised’ – and if Alex Lee had been unjustly defamed, he should have instituted defamation proceedings against Tan Sri Aziz aha, instead of seeking a ‘compromise’ by using political trouble-shooters like Daim Zainuddin.

The DAP demands a full parliamentary inquiry into the serious charges which Tan Sri Aziz Taha leveled against Alex Lee in a 21-page letter.

The parliamentary inquiry committee should also inquire into the status, propriety and right of an ordinary MP, which Daim Zainuddin was at the time he ‘intervened’ in the Bank Negara’s attempts to discipline Alex Lee in D&C Bank, to interfere with the duties of a Bank Negara Governor. Was this the cause that led to the early departure of Tan Sri Aziz Taha as Bank Negara Governor after Daim Zainuddin became finance Minister?

Alex Lee should be required to give a full and satisfactory explanation to the allegation that as General Manager cum Executive Director of D&C, he claimed dividends amounting to $78,329.60 which rightfully did not belong to him under-declaration of his remuneration to Bank Negara which is an offence punishable under the Banking Act with a jail sentence not exceeding three years giving bank loans to companies without declaring that he has an interest in the borrowing companies; the abuse of authority in approving millions of dollars worth of loans when his discretionary authority for clean overdraft or fixed loan was only $20,000 up to November 1979, and which was then increased to $50,000; and the limit to secured overdraft or fixed loan was a maximum of $300,000;

Alex Lee should also be asked to explain the $150,000 contributions he received from the Naisr Yeo Group of Companies in Sabah, for the 1982 general elections campaign fund for Gerakan.

MCA Deputy Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports should explain his $20 million loan from CCB on a third party charge.

The MCA Deputy Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Wang Choon Wing, should explain his $20 million loan from Co0operative Central Bank, which had not been serviced.

Wang Choon Wing took the $20 million loan on a third party charge on a piece of land in Federal Territory which was sold by Supreme Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. to another company, Sdr. Keladi Sdn. Hd., which had its head office at Tingkat 3, Bangunan MCA, Jalan Sengget, Johore Bahru on 6th May 1986 at $9.6 million.

This piece of land was at first caveated by Co-operative Central Bank on 6th May 1986, the caveat was removed on 24th July 1986 to allow the transfer of the title from Supreme Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. to Sri Keladi Sdn. Bhd., and later on the same ay, this land which was transacted for $9.6 milion, was made a second charge for a $25 million loan to Sri Keladi Sdn. Bhd. by BPK Credit & Leasing Sdn. Bhd., which is a subsidiary of the Co-operative Central Bank.

In view of the Pan E1 crisis and the Co-operative Finance scandal, which has shaken public confidence in the integrity of political leaders and public officers, Wang Choon Wing should explain why he took a $20 million loan from CCB which had not been serviced, whether it had anything to do with the Pan E1 scandal; and how a piece of land sold for $9.6 million in May 1986 could be made the basis for a third party charge loan for $20 million and a second charge loan for $25 million?

In his UMNO speech, Dr. Mahathir tried to paint the picture that the Pan E1 scandal was more serious than the BMF scandal, and if this is the case, then he should see to it that no member of his Administration has any association with the Pan E1 scandal.

I want to ask whether Choon Wing’s $20 million loan with the CCB is connected with the Pan 1 affair, and he should clarify this, as well as whether he had taken similar type of million-dollar loans from the other co-operatives for this one year!

An economist, Paul Chan, said in today’s press that the country’s economic system had been highly politicized lately. I agree, for politics have become the new commanding heights for making money, where politics become the shortest cut to new wealth.

No wonder MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, said in June that “business and politic cannot be separated and treated as different entities.” He said that in the past business was business, and politics was politics. “Now, they are interwoven”. Or as he put it succiently, “If there is no political influence, even a company with a paid-up capital of as much as $200 million will not be able to make 20 cents.”

Datuk Samy Vellu is downright frank, but he should have added that with political influence, even a company with a $2 capital could make $20 or $200 million!

The shocking decline in public integrity and moral decay stems from the mixing up of business and politics, where there is no distinction between right and wrong, integrity and corruption, morality and decadence.

The Prime Minister said in New York recently that the government would require all Malaysian school-leavers to undergo physical and spiritual training to inculcate in them moral values, before they are employed o allowed to go for further studies abroad.

He said the country had in some way failed in its efforts to instill such values among certain quarters, and that this was why malpractices and criminal activities, like the BMF scandal and “incidents in other banks”, the co-operative finance scandal and the Pan E1 affair, were rampant.

Physical and spiritual courses can do nothing to inculcate morality and integrity, if the new generation of Malaysians see round them daily living examples of the corrupt and decadent riding high in society, and the criminal and crooks free to enjoy their ill-gotten gains.

It is the political leaders who must set the example of high moral standards in the country, and this is why there should be set up a Permanent Parliamentary Select Committee which should inquire into all complaints about the conflict of interest of any Member of the Administration or Parliament, whether Prime Minister, Minister, Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, to demonstrate to all Malaysians that we are serious in wanting to inculcate and instill moral and spiritual values among the people by example.

And the first step will be to stop making politics the new commanding heights for creating instant millionaires!

Fifth Reason for Corroding Crisis of Confidence: Co-operative Finance Scandal

The fifth reason why there is a corroding crisis of confidence despite Barisan Nasional’s four-fifth parliamentary majority win is the way the government handled the $1.6 billion Co-operative Finance Scandal, affecting the life-savings of 540,000 depositors, who are mostly small-timers – the housewives, hawkers, workers and petty businessmen.

For over two months, the $1.6 billion Co-operative Finance Scandal has been a tragedy in almost half a million households, for it represents their life savings – or in Chinese saying, ‘coffin money’ for many of them. They do not see any government seriousness or urgency to rescue the 540,000 victims of the co-operatives, for whatever they hear from government sources would indicate that they would have to bear the heavy losses of their deposits, whether the formula is “25:25:50”, or “20:20:60”.

The Barisan Nasional Government would perpetrate a great injustice to the half a million households in Malaysia who had deposited their life savings in the 24 deposit-taking co-operatives because the government had failed in its duty to look after their interests.

DAP MPs had warned in this House for the last few years of the urgent need for the Government to monitor the deposit-taking co-operatives to safeguard the small-time deposits, and in April this year, in Parliament, I had issued a warning to the Co-operative Department and Bank Negara that the Co-operative Finance Scandal could be more serious than the BMF scandal in terms of the number of Malaysians directly hit.

But the government, fully aware of the magnitude of the problem involved, negligently delayed action, for fear that the election chances of MCA and Gerakan leaders would be adversely affected. The government was right in this, for if the freeze action against the 23 co-operatives on August 8 had been before the August general elections, I may not see a single MCA or Gerakan MP in this House today.

But it is wrong and gross irresponsibility and negligence on the government’s part to sacrifice the life-savings of 540,000 depositors just to protect the political chances of MCA and Gerakan leaders in the general elections.

Up to the very last minute, Barisan Nasional leaders, especially MCA and Gerakan Ministers, made the people believe that it is safe to deposit their life-savings with the deposit-taking co-operatives. The Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, for instance, opened the general assembly of KOMUDA on 20th July 1986, and even gave an assurance ten days later that the 540,000 depositors’ savings are safeguarded by Bank Negara and Co-operative Department – which was given extensive publicity by all Chinese newspaper. Ghaffar Baba also said that almost all the co-operatives concerned had become members of the KKK – Credit Control Co-operative – where their deposits would be safeguarded.

On 31st July 1986, Senator Kee Yong Wee, Deputy Prime Minister for Trade and Industry, quoted the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin as saying that all co-operatives, expect for KOSATU, had been admitted into the KKK, and that the Bank Negara and the Co-operative Department would co-operate to ensure their stable and normal operations.

After such high-level and repeated assurances by the Government, the Government cannot shirk its responsibility for the tragedy now faced by the 540,000 depositors, who fear that their deposits would be lost.

I agree that the co-operative directors and officers who had committed breach of trust and abused their powers by misappropriating the co-operative deposits are the primary cause, and they should be arrested, charged and punished with utmost severity. In this regard, why have only two co-operative directors been arreste and charged to date? Why is it that not a single co-operative director from the 23 co-operatives frozen on August 8 had been arrested – if there had been such widespread and rampant misuse of co-operative funds?

I call on the Government to assume its full responsibility to bail out the 540,000 depositors, as precedents had been set in the past, where $150 million was advanced to save Bank Rakyat in the late 1970s, and Petronas money used to save Bank Bumiputra and BMF in the $2.5 billion BMF scandal.

In the Pernas purchase of the 51% UMBC stake, it would appear that the government is prepared to approve an additional public expenditure of some $400 million to save one person or one family!

If the government is having difficulties in mobilizing funds to save the 540,000 depositors, then it should freeze Pernas’ purchase of the 51% UMBC stake of the Daim Zainuddin companies to channel them for the rescue operation for the half a million households who have deposits in the co-operatives.

In this connection, I urge the Government to institute an inquiry into the Co-operative Central bank with regard to its huge bad or questionable loans estimated at around $500 million.

Unserviced loans is estimated to total $277.2 million, which includes the $20 million loan taken by Wang Choon Wing I mentioned just now, $40 million by KSM, $52 million by individuals associated with Vincent C.Y.Tan, who controls the Berjaya Corporation; $15 million by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan; $12 million by Tan Sri Wee Boon Ping, etc.

I hope the government will give a satisfactory reply to my demand for an inquiry into the CCB, failing which, I will pursue this matter further during the present Parliament.

The Government should realise that the Co-operative Finance Scandal should be handled with care and responsibility, for if mishandled, it could touch off a major financial and banking shock with adverse repercussions on the entire banking and financial system.

The Cabinet must assume the responsibility to come out with a policy decision to bail out the 540,000 depositors, by allocating $800 million for this purpose.

Sixth Reason: Action Against foreign press and threats against local press and social groups

The sixth reason for the deepening crisis of confidence is the action taken against the Asian Wall Street Journal, for its three articles on Sept. 22 edition on the 1981 London tin-buying; Sept. 25 edition on the Co-operative Central Bank and Sept. 26 on the UMBC. The Asian Wall Street Journal was suspended for three months and its two correspondents, John Berthelsen and Rapheal Pura, expelled.

The Government had accused the Asian Wall Street Journal of being part of an international Zionist conspiracy to blacken the image of government leaders and sabotage the Malaysian economy. The DAP pledges full support to the Government if it could furnish such evidence of international Zionist conspiracy against Malaysia, and I hope the Prime Minister would do so in this Parliament.

But the closest thing I could think of an international Zionist conspiracy would be the 1981 London tin-buying operation, where a Jew convinced Malaysian leaders to embark on this disastrous plan with such untold damage to Malaysian economy. Shouldn’t there be an investigation as to how the Egyptian Jew, David Zaidner, managed to convince Malaysian leaders to go along with his plan to ‘corner’ the international tin market?

I must confess that at times I just do not understand what the government leaders are doing. They are trying to woo foreign investors, especially American businessman, to invest in Malaysia. And yet when the Prime Minister was about to address American businessmen on relaxation of NEP rules and regulations, the Ministry of Home Affairs took high-handed action against the Asian Wall Street Journal without good and proper reason. Nothing could have been more counter-productive to Dr. Mahathir’s mission, and the Prime Minister might as well had stayed at home. No wonder Dr. Mahathir came home from the United States and Japan empty-handed.

The Sept. 30 edition of the International Herald Tribune had also been held back from circulation in Malaysia. With the threats given by the Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Megat Junid, to the Chinese local press and the two social groups whom he accused of being directed by international Zionist conspiracy, the stage seems to be set for a era of repression and Dark Age in Malaysia.

This is a recipe a greater loss of confidence in Malaysia, not only by Malaysians but also by the world.

Seventh Reason: Refusal of the Barisan Nasional Government to come to terms with the legitimate rights and aspirations of Malaysians

The Seventh Reason for the worsening crisis of confidence is the refusal of the Barisan Nasional Government to date to come to terms and accommodate the legitimate rights, aspirations of Malaysians as expressed in the August 3 general elections.

Election promises made by Barisan Nasional leaders are taken lightly. For instance, when launching the Barisan Nasional general elections manifesto on 25th July, Dr Mahathir pledged that the national programme of social justice after 1990, when the NEP draws to a close, “will be worked out only after the fullest consultation of all segments of society.”

But less than two months later, at the UMNO General Assembly, without consulting even the leaders of the other Barisan Nasional component parties, Dr. Mahathir unilaterally and arbitrarily announced that the NEP will be pursued after 1990 until its targets are achieved. No leader from the MCA, Gerakan, MIC or other Barisan Nasional component parties dare to complain that Dr. Mahathir was making a solemn election pledge of ‘fullest consultation of all segments of society’ about the NEP after 1990.

Dr. Mahathir must decide whether he wants to be Prime Minister of 55% of Malaysians, or whether he wants to be Prime Minister of 100% Malaysians. If he wants to be Prime Minister of 100% Malaysians, he must then listen to the cries of justice, fair play and equal citizenship rights of the other 45% of Malaysians and the DAP offers its co-operation to the Prime Minister to ensure that the Government is a government for 100% Malaysians.

By making this offer, I am not taking up the suggestion by former MCA President, Dr. Neo Yee Pan, that the DAP join the Barisan Nasional. The DAP is not interested in joining the Barisan nasional to become Ministers, Deputy Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries, but we are prepared to co-operate with the Barisan Nasional Government to resolve the crisis of confidence which is impeding economic recovery, undermining national unity and destroying national and international confidence in Malaysia.

Let us stop questioning each other’s basic citizenship rights, and recognize the fact that we are Malaysians, who will all sink or swim together. We may have intense political differences, but our common love and commitment to Malaysia should be the single bond welding all Malaysians of all races in our common national endeavour to search out for a new solution to the Crisis of Confidence plaguing the Malaysia government and nation.

Let us recognize that it is undemocratic and unhealthy to shut out the voice of 45% of Malaysians who voted against the Barisan Nasional, and in particular the 30 per cent of voters in Rural Malaysia.

The Senate should be reformed to allow for certain proportionate representation for the various political parties in terms of the votes cast, so that the Senate would become a more meaningful legislative chamber.

The government must also be prepared to share in the decision-making process, not just with opposition parties, but with the Malaysian public through various public interest organizations, instead of operating in an authoritarian manner where Parliament is a mere terminal stage for rubber-stamping government decisions.

Finally, I hope that there would be major parliamentary reforms in the Dewan Rakyat for elected MPs to play their rightful role in the political process and development of the country.

The Speaker, Tan Sri Mohamed Zahir Ismail, on his election on Monday, had suggested that a formula be included in the Standing Orders to enable members to take part in the proceedings in a more calm and orderly manner.

We must indeed find such a formula, which must not be based on the present parliamentary time framework, but by expanding parliamentary meeting hours by two or three times each year. Parliament and expanded three times, from 104 to 114 MPs in 1963; to 154 in 1974 and 177 presently, but parliamentary time for business had not increased at all.

Let us not be seen as the laziest MPs in the world, who are not prepared to work doubly or trebly hard by increasing our parliamentary meeting hours to cope with the increasing problems of the people and country, and to sit regularly into the late hours, or we end up as the highest-cost and least-productive MPs in the parliamentary world.

Let us be prepared to work on Parliamentary Specialist Committees for MPs to take part in various stages o policy formulation and study, so that Malaysian MPs would be knowledgeable, conscientious and informed elected representatives whom the country could be proud.

Lim Kit Siang

(Continued speech by Lim Kit Siang in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday, Oct 9, 1986 on the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address)

Senate should be ‘retrenched’ if it is not reformed to be a meaningful second legislative chamber which is representative of cross-sections of Malaysians.

During the general elections, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said Senators are not mush use, as the Government doesn’t listen to them much. This was when Dr. Mahathir was trying to browbeat the people of Tanjung to vote for Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and to award me a ‘Waterloo’.

Several Cabinet Ministers, including Dr. Mahathir, had been talking about the possibility of retrenchment of the civil servants. Before civil servants are retrenched, the Senators should be retrenched and the Senate abolished, unless it could be reformed into a meaningful second legislative chamber which is representative of cross-sections of Malaysians.

The Senate as it stands since Merdeka, is a colossal waste of public funds and symbol of the White Elephant mentality in Malaysia, as Dr. Mahathir has himself decried the usefulness of the Senate during the general elections.

The Senate should stopped being used as a dumping ground for political rejects in the Barisan Nasional, as for instance, I see the MCA ‘fugitive’ leader, Mak Hon Kam, suddenly appearing on the Official Opening of Parliament as a Senator. In Penang, the Gerakan State Chairman, Tan Ghim Hwa, who was rejected in the recent general elections, is trying to get himself appointed as a Senator also.

One way to reform the Senate would be to allocate 20 of the 40 Federal Senate seat for the various political parties, on the basis of their popular vote during the general elections; or to provide that every five per cent of the total popular vote cast in the general elections will entitle a party to the appointment of a Senator.

Article 45(4)(b) also provides that the present two Senators for each state could be elected by the direct vote of the electors of that State and the DAP feels that it is time that this elective system for State Senators should be invoked and implemented so that Senators would be directly answerable to the electorate, and not depend on the political patronage of the ruling party.

DAP calls for a referendum for the people of Labuan to decide whether they want to remain as Federal Territory or revert back to Sabah

The DAP calls for a referendum for the people of Labuan to decide whether they want to remain as Federal Territory or revert back to Sabah. As Tunku Abdul Rahman, Baba Malaysia, has wisely pointed out, nobody is suggesting that Labuan secede from Malaysia, and no one should go into hysteria or epileptic fits over such a proposal.

In fact, the proposal for a referendum for the people of Labuan is made to remove the poison from the body-politic of Sabah and Malaysia, for undoubtedly, the removal of Labuan from Sabah State and its creation as Federal Territory was done in a most undemocratic and arbitrary fashion, in utter disregard of the legitimate rights and sensitivities of the people of Sabah and Labuan.

Former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris, recently tried to re-write history when he claimed that the ‘gifting’ of Labuan to the Federal Government was done in a democratic manner, and after consultation of the people of Sabah and Labuan.

There should in fact be the fullest inquiry as to how Labuan could be ceded and gifted to the Federal Government on the whims and fancies of one man, Datuk Harris Salleh, and this was in fact one main reason why he was summarily booted out of office in the April 1985 Sabah State general elections!

The ceding of Labuan to the Federal Government without the democratic consent and fullest consultation with the people of Sabah and Labuan is a historic wrong and injustice which must be righted by a referendum for the Labuan people to decide whether to remain as Federal Territory or revert back to Sabah.

LPN needs a shake-up and clean-up

Recently, LPN was again the centre of controversy when the padi farmers in Kedah and Perlis faced $25 million loss because of the inability of the LPN to cope with bumper harvest.

The Mentri Besar of Kedah, Datuk Paduka Haji Osman Aroff, even described some LPN staff as “acting like traitors to the people and country” for the their insensitivity to the plight of the farmers.

When I visited the LPN complex at Anak Bukit north of Alor Star together with Penang DAP MPs and Assemblymen to see at first-hand how lorries and farmers had to queue up three days and two nights to sell their padi to LPN, UMNO Kedah was shocked, for even the Minister for Public Enterprises, Datin Paduka Rafidah Aziz and his Deputy Minister, Daud Taha, had not thought the problems of the Kedah and Perlis padi farmers important enough to warrant their presence.

I note that as a result of my visit, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, had to make a surprise visit to Anak Bukit LPN complex as well.

It is clear that LPN needs a shake-up and clean-up, to ensure that it does not become ‘Pagar Makan Padi’. The reasons why the LPN had year-after-year been unable to overcome its weaknesses and shortcomings to more effectively help the padi farmers are firstly, the inefficiency and incompetence of the LPN, which had grown from less than 30 staff 15 years ago to more than 5,000 staff. The LPN seems to have become more interested in servicing the LPN staff rather than the padi farmers.

The second reason is the corruption in LPN ranks, which the ACA has failed miserably to root out. This itself reflects on the incompetence of the ACA.

Call on Police to honour its undertaking to Suhaimi Said that it will not object or put obstacles to his going to court and carrying out his professional duties as a lawyer during his restricted residence in Malacca

I want to take this opportunity to call on the Police to honour its undertaking to former PAS Legal Adviser, Suhaimi Said, that it will not object or put obstacles to his going to court and carrying out his professional duties as a lawyer during his restricted residence in Malacca.

Suhaimi Said, formerly Secretary of PAS Temerly Division, was detained under the Internal Security Act on 14th March 1985, allegedly for a pamphlet in connection with the Lubuk Merbau Incident during the Padang Terap by-election in Kedah on 18th January 1985, where a PAS member. Osman bin Talib, was killed and five others injured.

He was released a year later on 31st March 1986 under condition that he should not leave Melaka Tengah and the Malacca State without police permission, to remain in his house from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.; no participation in politics, public bodies or address public meetings.

Suhaimi was given repeated assurance however that the Police would not object or put obstacles to his carrying out his professional duties as a lawyer or representing his clients in court.

Suhaimi was required to give 10 days’ notice in any application to leave Melaka Tengah but despite complying with this requirement, he has not been allowed to darry out his professional duties without hindrance.

For instance, he had two civil cases on 30th Sept. 1986 in the Alor Gajah magistrate court, which is just outside Melaka Tengah district, and he had applied a month ago for police permission to attend the Alor Gajah Court.

On 29th Sept., he was told by Police to collect his permit on the morning of 30th Sept., but no officer was around and he was unable to attend to the two civil cases in the Alor Gajah magistrates court.

Similarly, Suhaimi Said was unable to get leave to attend to a civil case in the Jasin magistrate’s court in Malacca (which is outside Melaka Tengah) on 1st Oct. although he had given a month’s notice.

Last night, Suhaimi’s aunt, Permai binte Abbas, 60, died in a fire in her house at Mentakab and Suhaimi’s application for leave to return to Mentakab for her funeral was rejected, on the ground that he must give ten days’ notice!

I would urge the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Megat Junid to look into this case, and honour the government’s undertaking on his release that Suhaimi’ would not be obstructed in the carrying out of his professional duties. For urgent court cases, the Police must be ready to give permission, even without the 10 days’ notice.

Suhaimi has court cases at Telok Datuk, Banting on Oct 13, 14 and 15. he has been assigned to defend an Internal Security Act case by the Malacca High Court on a charge for possession of firearms which entailed the death sentence, and he has applied to the police for leave to interview the accused at the Taiping Prisons on Oct. 16, 17 and 18. On the 20th Oct, he has been summoned us a witness in a corner’s inquiry into the Lubuk Merbau death of Osman bin Talib at Kuala Nerang magistrate’s court.

Under present police regulations, Suhaimi has to return to Malacca after each outstation trip, before going to another place. This will make for great hardship, and even impossible to keep to the various appointments, and I hope the Deputy Minister will use his good office to ensure that Suhaimi should be allowed to carry out his professional duties with no police hassle or harassment. In fact, I would urge the Ministry of Home Affairs to lift all restrictions currently imposed on Haji Suhaimi Said.

Call for clarification from Education Minister whether the Curriculum Development Centre is proposing the dropping of Chinese language as an examination subject for the SRP in the new secondary school curriculum from 1988

I call on the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, to clarify whether the Curriculum Development Centre is proposing dropping Chinese language as an examination subject for the SRP in the new secondary school curriculum from 1988.

The Education Minister must be warned that such move would be regarded as another step in the erosion of the constitutional rights of mother-tongue languages in Malaysia, and would lead to the aggravation of racial polarization in Malaysia.

Malaysia has sufficient problems of national unity without extremist and chauvinistic officials from the Education Miniatry or any other department to trample of the ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious sensitivities of Malaysians.

Any Education Ministry official who proposes the dropping of Chinese language as an SRP examination subject should be sacked from the public services, as lacking the basic conditions necessary for a responsible public servant n a multi-racial Malaysia.

The DAP calls on the Education Ministry to make Pupil’s Own Language a compulsory subject of study for all national primary and secondary schools, for it must become an official government policy to require every non-Malay Malaysian to be fluent in his mother-tongue, which will make Malaysia’s cultural inheritances unique and special.

Warning to Malayan Banking to be conscious of its corporate responsibility to promote Malaysian culture and not be the first bank to liquidate a Chinese newspaper in Malaysia

Finally, I wish to express my grove concern at the financial crisis faced by the Chinese newspapers in Malaysia, as highlighted by the receivership of the 47-year-old Penang-based Chinese daily, Sing Pin Jih Pao, because of the $1.7 million debt to Malayan Banking.

A newspaper is a cultural institution, and not just an ordinary business concern, and I must warn the Malayan Banking to be conscious of its corporate responsibility to promote Malaysian culture of the diverse peoples in Malaysia and that it would not be the first bank to liquidate a Chinese newspaper in Malaysia.

Malayan Banking has a duty to work out a rescue plan with concerned groups, and even the Chinese community as a whole, to rescue Sing Pin Jih Pao, rather than to seal the fate of Sing Pin Jih Pao by liquidating it.

I would also urge the Federal Government and the Penang State Government to provide assistance for the rescue of Sing Pin Jih Pao, for the life or death of the cultural institution of any community in Malaysia must be the common concern of all Malaysians – if we has become a united Malaysian people and nation!

The Sing Pin Jih Pao proprietor, Datuk Lim Kheng Kim, should not be an obstacle to the rescue of the newspaper, but should give up the proprietary right to the Chinese community so that s rescue plan could be worked out.

Another newspaper in trouble is the in Kwok Daily News. I call on the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to assist these troubled newspapers financially for the interim period, without in any way compromising their editorial independence and integrity.