by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Fridays Nov. 28, 1986:
Request to Prime Minister to produce Cabinet meeting records of Oct. 26, 1980 and 8th July 1981 and the agreement between Maminco and Marc Rich to establish genesis of Maminco
I have today written to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed asking for access to the Cabinet meeting minutes of Oct. 26, 1980, and July 8, 1981, as well as the agreement entered into between Maminco and Marc Rich on June 25, 1981, to establish the genesis of the $2 company, Maminco, which caused the country to lose $660 million from its 1981 London tin-buying operation.
Government leaders had been most unfair and even dishonourable in trying to implicate former Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, in the Maminco operation, From his UMNO Presidential speech at the UMNO General Assembly in September this year, where the Prime Minister for the first time admitted that the Malaysian government was the mysterious London tin-buyer in 1981 through the company Maminco, the Malaysian people were led to believe that the Maminco operation was authorised by the Cabinet in 1980 when Tun Hussein Onn was Prime Minister.
However, when pressed in Parliament, Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabarrudin Cik, finally conceded that the Cabinet approved the establishment of Maminco in its meeting of July 8, 1981 -well l after Maminco had concluded agreement with Marc Rich to fry to corner the international tin market, as revealed by Primary Industry Minister, Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, in another statement in Parliament earlier this month.
Datuk Sabaruddin’s Ministerial statement (the third government statement in Parliament on Maminco this month) claimed that there was
no conflict in the two versions by him and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, that Maminco was incorporated first and then presented to the cabinet for endorsement to enable the company to undertake its business transactions immediately.
Datuk Sabarrundin must not think the Malaysian people as being so naive as to believe his explanation, unless he could prove that the agreement concluded between Maminco and Marc Rich on June 25 contained an express provision that the agreement was subject to approval of Cabinet. If the agreement was binding on Maminco, which means the Government on June 25 without any qualification, then it is immaterial whether the Cabinet gave the Maminco plan endorsement or not on July 8, 1981, for the Government had already been committed. Malaysians want to know who have this right and power to commit the Cabinet and Government, even before a Cabinet meeting, where the Cabinet was merely a rubber¬ stamp to a fait accompli?
The attempt to implicate Tun Hussein Onn is dishonourable because from available information, it is clear Tun Hussein Onn was not in the picture as far as the Maminco operation is concerned. It is now clear that the Oct. 26, 1980 Cabinet meeting did not discuss any Maminco operation.
In February 1981, Tun Hussien Onn went to London for a coronary by-pass operation, and on 15th May 1981, Tun Hussein Onn announced at the Johore Bahru UMNO division meeting his intention to resign as Prime Minister by not offering himself as a candidate for UMNO President at the UMNO General Assembly on June 28, 1981.
On 28th June 1981, Tun Hussein Onn told the UMNO General Assembly that he would step down as Prime Minister on July 16. He said he had chosen the date after consulting Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir. He said he was staying on until July 16 “at the request of the new UMNO president” although it is his intention, which he had made public on May 15, to hand over the Prime Ministership “as quickly as possible”.
Now, the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabarrudin Cik, is trying to pin the responsibility for the Maminco operation on Tun Hussein Onn, claiming that the Cabinet decided at its meeting of July 8 – the farewell Cabinet meeting of Tun Hussein Onn – to set up Maminco, after the Maminco had been incorporated and entered into a binding agreement with Marc Rich.
Malaysians have a right to know whether the Cabinet, and the Ministers present, had addressed their minds to the Maminco operation, or whether the reference to Maminco was hidden away in small print in some general briefing on the tin situation.
I have written to Dr. Mahathir for the Cabinet meeting minutes of Oct. 26,’ 1980 and July 8, 1981, as well for the agreement between Maminco and Marc Rich on June 25, 1981, for their disclosure would be in the public interest to establish beyond a shadow of doubt the genesis of Maminco. No harm to the nation’s security or economic stability would come from such disclosure.
When assuring critics of of the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill, Trade and Industry Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, said the Bill was to deal with those who steal and sell government secrets, and that those who want information could approach the Ministers who would give them all necessary information.
I am acting on Tengku Razaleigh’s advice in writing to the Prime Minister for the information on Maminco, and I hope that the Prime Minister would give access to me for the information in the spirit of an open and accountable government.
DAP MPs to protest to Speaker, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, against his ruling disallowing a privilege motion against a Minister and Deputy Minister, for it tantamounts to a ruling that only privilege motion against Opposition members would be allowed
DAP MPs will be sending a strong protest letter to the Speaker, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, for his ruling disallowing a privilege motion against Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabaruddin Cik and Primary Industry Minister, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, for their conflicting versions on the genesis of Maminco, under Standing Order 26(1)(p), which provides that no notice is required for such privilege motions.
Tan Sri Zahir Ismail’s ruling that such privilege motions should be tabled in the manner of ordinary motions, taking its turn after government business, tantamounts to a ruling that only privilege motions against the Opposition would ever be allowed in the Malaysian Parliament. This is because opposition motions would be ‘killed’ by the Government refusing to give time for debate.
This is ridiculous and the height of injustice, where Ministers? Deputy Ministers or Barisan Nasional MPs can commit any breach of privilege, and there is no parliamentary procedure to refer them to the Committee of Privileges as of right, and not having to depend on the majority in the Houses
If this is indeed the situation on privilege in Parliament, Parliament deserves the contempt and ridicule of Malaysians as this offends the most elementary notions of justice and fairness.