Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP For Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the Perak DAP State Convention in Ipoh on Sunday, Nov. 30, 1986 at 10 a.m.
DAP calls for the Economic Summit of political leaders, employer representative and trade union leaders to face the ecomonic crisis and over come the crisis of confidence crippling economic recovery in Malaysia.
We are entering the fourth month after the August 3 general elections which returned the Barisan Nasional, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, admitted at the September UMNO General Assembly that he called early general elections to end the crisis of confidence undermining economic recovery, the Barisan Nasional’s fourth-fifth parliamentary victory had not ended, but compounded the crisis of confidence in the country.
The Prime Minister and Ministers in Parliament denied that there is any crisis of confidence, and the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, said during the winding up of the 1987 Budget on Nov. 4 that the crisis of confidence is “imaginary, created by members of the opposition to serve their political ends.”
I find this very sad, for the first perequisite to end the crisis of confidence is that the government must admit that we have a crisis of confidence, and stop pretending that this is merely an imaginary problem.
I am glad however that the Secretary-General of the Finance Ministry, Tan Sri Zain Azraai, is more honest, for when addressing the Malaysia Institute of Management Ministry of Finance dialogue on “Economic Rationale is the 1987 Budget” on 17th November 1986, he said that the Government would continue to take steps to strengthen public confidence in view of the crisis of confidence that has taken place in the country.
He said the answer to any crisis of confidence is the truth and to this end, the Government had recently made statements on the situation is Makuwasa, Maminco and the 24 deposit-taking co-operatives.
Tan Sri Zain Asraai had made a correct diagnosis of the ills of the country and the cause of the crisis of confidence, but he has not prescribed the proper medicine.
Although Tan Sri Zain Asraai said the Government had mage statements on Makuwasa, Maminco, and the 24 co-operatives, these statements had not been as fulsome and satisfactory as they must, if they are to regain public confidence that the Government has nothing to hide.
In fact, the Government’s three statements on Maminco last week was forced out of the Government by the DAP in Parliament, after Tan Sri Zain Asraai claimed that the government had given a ‘truthful’ statement on Maminco.
Even now, the full story of Maminco had still to be hold, and I am still waiting for reply from the Prime Minister to my request to have acess to the Cabinet meeting minutes of Oct. 26, 1980 and July 8, 1981, as well as the contract signed between Maminco and Marc Rich on June 25, 1981, to establish clearly the background, circumstances and motive of the Maminco operation. The Malaysian public have a right to know how Malaysia ended up losing $660 million from the Maminco operation!
Was agent of Marc Rich, David Zaidner’s share of the 1981 London mysterious tin-buying operation a hefty US $50 million?
The government has also failed to answer my parliamentary speech asking for an explanation why it succumbed to the approach of David Zaidner, acting as agent of Marc Rich, after his idea for cornering the international tin market had been rebuffed by Indonesia in 1980, and despite his bad reputation as he had been previously accused of trying to bribe the buffer stock manager of the International Tin Council to release artificially low-tin reserves figures to cause a market scramble.
Here, I call on the Finance Minister to confirm whether David Zaidner’s commission and share of the 1981 London mysterious tin-buying operation was a hefty US $50 million – when Malaysia lost $660 million from it.
In response to my motion to cut the salary of the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, to censure him for falling to give proper explanation of the various financial scandals rocking Malaysia, the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Sabarrudin Cik, said that Daim Zainuddin would be issuing a statement soon on the UMBC shares transactions of his family companies, in particular the sale of 51%block of UMBC shares to Pernas, the price, and other details.
Why should the Finance Minister wait for two months to give such details? Is this the action of a government which believes in the concept of accountability and openness of government?
How long more must Malaysians wait for the Finance Minister to come out with a full explanation of the UMBC shares transactions o Daim’s family companies in 1984, 1985 and now 1986?
OSA Amendment Bill is another reason for the worsening crisis of confidence.
The arrogance of power of the government, as highlighted by the disregard of public opposition to the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill, is one of the reasons for the worsening crisis of confidence in the country.
On Friday, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dr. Siti Zaharah Sulaiman, said in Alor Star that the Barisan Nasional Government need not entertain critics of the OSA Amendment Bill since the people had given it the mandate to rule the country.
This is distortion of the truth. The Barisan Nasional Government had led the people to believe that the draconian and oppressive features of the proposed OSA Amendment Bill tabled in March would not be pursued. The mandate of the people of August 3, therefore, was not a mandate for the OSA Amendment Bill. It was a mandate to the Government on the belief that the Government would drop the OSA Amendment Bill.
The Barisan Nasional has therefore misled and deceived the Malaysian electorate on August 3.
Challenge to Barisan Nasional Government to hold a national referendum on the OSA Amendment Bill.
The DAP challenges the Barisan Nasional Government to hold a national referendum on the OSA Amendment Bill, and we are confident that the majority would express their opposition to the Bill.
The Ministers and MPs know that there is no democratic ground for the OSA Amendment Bill, and they have not made any serious attempt to win over the people on the need of the OSA Amendment Bill. They are only using their brute majority in Parliament to bulldoze the OSA Amendment Bill through, which is a manifestation of the tyranny of the majority – and not the democracy of the majority.
The economic crisis and the crisis of confidence must be openly recognized by the Government and all Malaysians as the greatest challenge facing the nation, and must occupy the topmost place in the national agenda.
For this reason, I call on the Prime Minister to summon an Economic Summit of political leaders, employer representatives, trade union leaders and prominent Malaysians to work out a national formula to overcome the crisis of confidence and the economic crisis.
The Economic Summit should represent a national effort of all Malaysians to end the crisis of confidence and restore the Malaysian economic to the road of recovery.
As a first step, there must be open recognition by all concerned that the August 3 general elections results does not represent a blank cheque to the Barisan Nasional, for an objective analysis of the election results would show that the four-fifth parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional cannot hide the fact that the entire Urban Malaysia had rejected it.
The MCA leadership knows this, although publicly, they dare not make the admission. For instances, a review of the MCA’s performance in the 1986 general elections commissioned by the MCA headquarters in August 1986 analysed the MCA’s electoral performance, and concluded:
that there is a strong anti-establishment good among non – Malays (Chinese and Indians) as a result of the Government’s pro – Malay policies in all areas;
that the failure of MCA is shared by all the Barisan non-Malay parties who face even greated erosion of their political support should the Government fail to adjust and change its policies to ensure a fair balance;
that there is even greater need how for non – Malay representation at state and federal levels to help moderate the feelings of the non-Malays and win their support back to the Barisan;
that the MCA state representatives and leaders at all levels are disciplined enough not to blame party factionalism or personality conflicts as the main cause of Party’s failure, and that there should be a consistant and loud call from the Chinese leaders that it is penceived discrimination that is the root of the failure and that if this is not corrected, the situation can only get worked.
But has the MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders really tried to get the Government to “adjust and change its policies to ensure a fair balance” in the past four months?
The MCA Headquarters analysis and review of its 1986 general elections performance had failed to focus its attention on the lack of credibility and confidence of the public, and in particular, the Chinese community in the MCA leadership as well as in the eyes of other Barisan Nasional parties.
For instance, the November issue of the London monthly, Arabia which carried a special feature on Malaysia, had the following extract: “UMNO leaders countered that the MCA had only itself to blame for its misfortune (in general election)”
Its leader Tan Koon Swan is now serving a two-year jail sentences in Singapore for fraudulent stock market practices that brought the Singapore stock exchange to the verge of collapse. However in spite of this the MCA refused to drop Tan and fought the elections with him as leader. They even wanted him to be included in the Cabinet, but the Prime Minister resisted. Says one high level UMNO official: “
These people are amazing! We can’t have crooks in the cabinet. At least not convicted ones!”
Tan Koon Swan’s refusal to resign as MP for Gopeng, or the refusal of the MCA leadership to let Tan Koon Swan resign whichever is the case, can only bring the MCA, the Chinese community and the Malaysian nation deep shame and humiliation.
The MCA’s Review of the 1986 General Elections Results had one unusual reference to ‘Constituency Delineation’, where it said:
“Some preliminary investigations highlight that the constituency delineation has stacked the cards against the MCA. Instead of having more mixed constituencies, the last constituency delineation exercise resulted in several urban areas having even higher concentration of urban Chinese voters. If the constituencies have been more mixed, the MCA will have a better chance. For example Lembah Pantai which has 57% Malays can give 3% -4%. Malays added to Sungei Besi and Bayan Bahru which has 25% Malays could perhaps have increased its Malay share to about 27% to 28%, taking in 2% – 3% more from Balik Pulau which has 56% Malays.”
DAP Perak must look forward to the challenge of 1990 and not relapse to 1982
DAP Perak is now at a challenging cross-roads after the August general elections results. It must decide whether to build on our great victory in August to prepare for the great challenge of the next general elections in 1990 , or relapse to 1982 where the DAP in Perak suffered its greatest electoral setback in party history.
From the newspapers reports in the past few days, it is clear that our political opponents are hoping that the DAP Perak would relapse to 1982 and can never look forward to the challenge of 1990, which would require greater party unity, discipline and hardwork by party leaders and members than that put in to achieve the 1986 election victory.
They hope we will tear ourselves apart in fratricual warfare, destroying all the political progress we achieved in 1986, and betraying the people’s trust and confidence in us.
Party elections in Perak State is not an occasion for ‘blood-letting’ but should be an occasion for the renewal of our commitment to serve the party, people and nation.
Perak branch leaders who are delegates at this convention to elect the new Perak State leadership in DAP for the next two years are being watched, not only by party members in Perak, but our members and supporters throughout the country to see whether they are mature enough and realize the enormous responsibility places on us by a million voters on August 3, 1986.
We can only be true to the great trust placed on us on August 3 if we put aside our personal interests, differences and programme to give priority to the advancement of the Party to fulfil the hopes and trust of the million DAP voters in the recent general elections.