Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampung Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the Official Opening of the Penang DAP State Convention 1987 at Shangrila Hotel on Sunday, 16.11.1986 at 10 a.m.
DAP lawyers to study the possibility of using the Government for causing the $1.5 billion Co-operative Calamity affecting 588,000 depositors because of its negligence and failure to wipe out co-operative fraud and malpractices despite having information for past five years.
The $1.5 billion Co-operative Calamity, wiping out the life-savings and even ‘coffin-money’ of 588,000 depositors, is the latest in a long series of scandals and catastrophes of the Barisan Nasional Government in the past three years which had shattered public confidence in the government, the system and the country – whether by Malaysians themselves or by foreigners, impeding economic recovery and undermining nation-building.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had himself admitted in his UMNO Presidential Address in September that he had called the August general elections, because the uncertainty and the crisis of confidence was doing the country and the economy no good at all.
Although Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir had proved his critics wrong, who had expected UMNO to lose the Kelantan State Government and from 12 to 15 Parliamentary seats, returning Barisan Nasional to Parliament with a four-fifth majority, the election victory had failed to resolve the crisis of confidence. In the past three-and –a-half months, the crisis had deepened and worsened.
The $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance Calamity, the government’s role and its manner of handling the life-savings of 588,000 depositors who are the small people, is one important cause of the deepening crisis of confidence in the country.
It is now clear that the $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance Calamity is not only caused by the greedy and unscrupulous direstors and high officials of co-operatives, and their friend who swindled the hard-earned money of the poor to become richer, it is also caused by irresponsible component parties in the Barisan Nasional and the negligence and irresponsibility of the government to protect the interests of the depositors.
The Government had information about malpractices, fraud and breaches of trust rampant in co-operative in the past five years, but it took no effective action to clean-up the mess in the corporative finance system or the Corporative Calamity today would never have happened!
Can the Government explain why it had not taken any action to rid the corporatives of the crooks, criminals and sharks when it had enough time to clean up the system? Is it prepared to submit itself to a full independent public inquiry to find out the reason why the Government, and in particular the Co-operative Department, were sleeping’ in the past five years while the corporative swindlers were stealing in broad the deposits of the housewives, hawkers, workers, petty traders?
It is for this reason that DAP lawyers are studying the possibility of suing the Government for causing the $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance Calamity, because its negligence and failure to take action against co-operative malpractices had been the direct cause of the $1.5 billion losses suffered by 588,000 depositors.
But what has the people’s lack of confidence in the Government is its refusal to come to the rescue of the 24 co-operatives and 588,000 depositors, when it had contributed so greatly to the Calamity.
The 588,000 depositors are convinced that they are being discriminated against, and being treated as less than equal citizens, when the government was able to bail out Bank Rakyat and its members within allocation of $150 million, or Bank Bumiputra with $2.5 billion because of the BMF scandal – while it is not prepared to rescue 24 co-operatives and 588,000 depositors with $600 million.
During the August general elections, the Barisan Nasional’s election slogan was “Defender of the rights of the People”, but from the Co-operative Finance Calamity, it is clear that the Barisan Nasional was acting as “Destroyer of the Rights of the People” in denying them equal rights as members of the co-operative, Bank Rakyat.
Call on Dr.Mahathir to realize that the acceleration of racial polarization can only make restoration of confidence even more impossible.
Another important cause of the deepening crisis of confidence is the unprecedented acceleration of racial polarisation in the last three-and-a-half months since the August general elections, This is caused by UMNO Ministers, leaders and aspirants who want to use the ‘politics of race’ to consolidate their power base in anticipation of the UMNO power struggle next year.
After the August general elections, UMNO leaders had taken the country from one flashpoint of racial polarisation to another flashpoint, and I call on Dr.Mahathir to realize that the acceleration of racial polarisation can only make restoration of confidence even more impossible.
The first flashpoint of racial polarization was created by former Deputy Miniters and now UMNO MP for Kok Lanas, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, who chose National Day eve to give a seditious, inflammatory and treasonous speech in Singapore warning the Chinese in Malaysia “not to play with fire” in seeking greater political justice and equality in the country.
The second flashpoint of racial polarization was the spate of extremist and chauvinistic speeches by UMNO delegates and leaders at the September UMNO General Assembly, while the third flashpoint of racial polarization was the UMNO campaign in reaction to the Selangor MCA Resolution.
Certain UMNO leaders had made great political capital for themselves which they hope would catapult them top UMNO leadership position in next year’s UMNO party elections, but the acceleration of racial polarization in the past few months had set back nation-building by many years!
MCA – the butt of jokes and ridicule of UMNO leaders and rank-and-file
In my 16 years in Parliament, I have never seen the MCA such a butt of jokes and ridicule of UMNO leaders and their rank-and-file now. This has led to great contempt shown by UMNO to MCA, encouraged arrogance of power of certain UMNO leaders, and the resulting acceleration of racial polarization in the country.
The lowly place of MCA in the eyes of UMNO, whether the leaders or rank-and-file could be seen or explained by the following:
Firstly, how could MCA get respect from other political parties, whether in Barisan Nasional or outside, when it had a President who is now serving jail sentence in Crescent Bay, Singapore, charges, and who is still hanging on to the Parliamentary seat of Gopeng, going against the most elementary political and moral dictates；
Secondly， how can MCA get any respect when its present President, Datuk Dr,Ling Liong Sik, could claim that in withdrawing the Selangor MCA Resolution, there was “no losers with all winner”.In showing himself as a modern-day Malaysian “Ah-Q” – the character invented by famous Chinese writer Lu Hsun who could claim great victory although groveling in shame and humiliation – Datuk Dr.Ling, Lee Kim Sin had brought greater shame and dishonour to his party and the Chinese community over the Selangor MCA Resolution affair.
Thirdly, how could MCA get respect when two Wednesday ago, the statement by its President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik asCabinet spokesman that the MCA Selangor Resolution had been settled was ignored, not only by UMNO Ministers, Deputy Ministers, but MPs and the rank-and-file, to the extent that the Cabinet had to ‘settle’ it a second time, with the four MCA Ministers formally withdrawing the Selangor MCA Resolution.
Fourthly, this is the first time in Alliance and Barisan Nasional history where the second hightest MCA leader and Minister could be so generally condemned and vilified by the ordinary UMNO rank-and-file, that it is clearly impossible for MCA Ministers and leaders to re-establish honour and dignity for a very long time.
Fifthly, the inability, unwillingness and failure of MCA leaders to stand up for justice, truth and principle, as in the $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance Calamity – when it was the MCA leaders who had brought the 588,000 depositors to this disaster, and when there are good precedents for MCA Ministers to raise with UMNO Ministers about bailing out the 24 co-operatives and depositors.
Sixthly, after the public humiliation of the MCA over the Selangor MCA Resolution, MCA Ministers and leaders will be even more ineffective and inarticulate – which breeds greater contempt and ridicule.
This is why the Education Ministers and UMNO Youth Leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, over RTM during the Hal Elwal Semasa programmeon Wednesday, could dismiss claims that the people, especially the Chinese, had misgivings about Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act. Anwar said that only “politicians who had run out of ideas” had raised apprehensions about Section 21(2).
Anwar seems confident that his statement would not be challenged by the MCA Ministers, who had promised the people during the August general elections that Section 21(2) would be amended first time Parliament meets.
This is also why an UMNO Deputy Ministers could stand up and answer a DAP MP in Parliament that non-Malays, apart from the Opposition party, are all happy with the division of Malaysians into ‘bumiputeras’ and ‘ non-bumiputeras’. The UMNO leaders seemed to have read the MCA and even Gerakan correctly, that after the ‘lesson’ of the Selangor MCA Resolution, they need not worry about being challenged and contradicted for their assertions, for not a single MCA or Gerakan Minister, Deputy Minister or MP dare to stand up to clarify that they oppose the classification of Malaysians into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras.
DAP calls for abolition of classification of Malaysians into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras to lay a strong basis for nation-building.
I find this very disappointing, for I had hoped that MCA and Gerakan Ministers, MPs and leaders would dare to take a stand that all Malaysians, regardless of racial origin, are now sons and daughers of the soil in Malaysia – and are all bumiputeras without distinction.
The DAP calls for aboilition of classification of Malaysians into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras in order to lay a strong basis for nation-building. We will then begin to unite, rather than divide, Malaysians.
When will the UMNO, mca Gerakan,MIC and other Barisan component parties dare to act on this Malaysian vision of a united nation and people?