by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 21st Nov. 1986:
Malaysians have a right to know whether Dr. Mahathir Mohamed or Tun Hussien Onn is telling the truth about Cabinet approval for the 1981 Maminco tin-buying operation, which involved a loss of $660 million.
Malaysians are very concerned about the conflicting version between Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and Tun Hussien Onn on whether the Cabinet had in 1980 given approval for the MAMINCO mysterious tin-buying in the London market in 1981, resulting in a $660 million loss to the country.
Dr. Mahathir, in his presidential address at September’s UMNO general assembly, had said that the Cabinet had approved the setting up of the $2 company, Maminco, in 1980, but Tun Hussien Onn said he was not aware of any Cabinet decision in 1980 committing the Government to enter the tin market. He said, however, that the Cabinet might have made the decision in 1980 when he was still in office but at a time when he was away.
When asked about the conflicting versions, Dr. Mahathir said yesterday that “It is up to you to believe which one.”
From Dr. Mahathir’s cryptic remark, the public can only draw one conclusion: Either believe him or believe Tun Hussien Onn.
The Malaysian taxpayers have a right to know who is telling the truth: whether the Cabinet in 1980 had given approval for the MAMINCO tin-buying operation in London in 1981, resulting in the $660 million loss to the country. The people should not be left in uncertainly – to choose to decide to believe whom! This is not the way an open, accountable and responsible government operates.
The country must view with the greatest seriousness a conflict between two Prime Ministers on the origins of the disastrous Maminco operation, and I suggest that a Royal Commission of Inquiry be established, headed by the first Prime Minister of Malaysia and Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to inquire and report to the Malaysia people the real circumstances, background and motives for the establishment of Maminco.
Why must MINISTERS be protected from journalists in Parliamentary lobby?
The directive by Parliament prohibiting reporters from conducting interviews in the Parliament House lobby is most shocking, for it would appear that Ministers and Deputy Ministers must be ‘protected’ from journalists.
It does not speak highly for our Ministers and Deputy Ministers that they have to seek ‘protection’ from journalists by this directive, and reflect the unhealthy attitude of the and suspicious authorities to the press.
Coupled with the proposed clamp on all official information through the OSA Amendment Bill 1986, the directive prohibiting journalists from press interviews in the parliamentary lobby are ominous developments towards a very oppressive mass media policy by the government.