DAP calls on Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib, to protect the interest of workers and file legal proceedings against EPF Board members for violating the EPF Act in investing in non-trustee stocks

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjong and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the inaugural meeting of the DAP 1990s Movement National Task Force held at DAP PJ Headquarters on Tuesday, March 10, 1987 at 8 p.m.

DAP calls on Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib, to protect the interest of workers and file legal proceedings against EPF Board members for violating the EPF Act in investing in non-trustee stocks

In the August 1986 general elections, in areas contested by the DAP, the voters responded in great support for the DAP’s campaign theme of ‘Enough is Enough – No More Two-Thirds Majority in Parliament’.

However, as a result of the undemocratic nine-day election campaign, the gerrymandering with the delineation of electoral constituencies, as well as the unexpectedly poor showing of PAS in winning parliamentary seats, the Barisan Nasional was returned with more than four-fifth majority in Parliament.

The events of the last seven months since the August 1986 general elections have shown that the electorate who voted for the DAP were right in making clear their demand that ‘Enough is Enough’ to an end to the undemocratic, scandalous and extremist policies and actions of government and its leaders.

The Official Secrets Act amendments, the $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance Scandal, the blatant resort to the most extremist politics of race and religion by certain UMNO leaders, including the latest demand of Penang UMNO Youth to declare Penang a Federal Territory, the deepening economic crisis with unemployment reaching its record level in Malaysian history, have proved how correct the voters had been who had declared that ‘Enough is Enough’ in the manner the Barisan Nasional government was ruling Malaysia.

But there is also a lesson for the people and in particular the electorate who united in wanting to tell Dr. Mahathir that ‘Enough is Enough’ with his policies, that their objectives cannot be achieved merely by casting their votes in one general elections, but they must have the political movement to redirect nation-building policies.

Malaysians must be made to have a longer perspective of national developments and directions, and not just live and plan for today or just next year. We must think what Malaysia is going to be like in the 1990s or in the 21st century, which is only 13 years away.

Will Malaysia become more polarized in the 1990s with Malays and non-Malays more divided and distrustful of each other? Will Malaysia become more Islamic with the position of the other religions more and more under sufferance? Will the guarantees of fundamental liberties in the Malaysian Constitution lose all meaning in the 1990s? Will the government become even more corrupt, unaccountable and untrustworthy? Will the riches and resources of the nation be monopolized by an elite few resulting in a greater gap between the haves and have-nots in Malaysia? Will the Federation-State and nation-building policies be so defective, that Federal Territories had to be declared in various States in order to concentrate political power in the hands of a few?

The DAP Central Executive Committee had decided to launch a national political mobilization campaign of the people and country now to commit Malaysians to assert their political rights as Malaysian citizens to shape Malaysia in the 1990s, and not be passive objects of the politic and decision of the others. It is for this reason that the DAP has set up the DAP 1990s Movement National Task Force to be the executive arm of the Central Executive Committee to spearhead the implementations of this national political mobilization campaign.

The DAP State Committees will constitute the DAP State 1990s Movement Task Force.

The DAP 1990s Movement Task Force has therefore the great challenge to politicize Malaysians about their rights and responsibilities in the political struggle for the 1990s. For the 1990s Movement Force to be effective to carry out this mission, it must at the same time carry out a programme to fully politicize the entire party, in accordance with the policies laid down by the Central Executive Committee.

We want all DAP leaders, branches and members to become effective political agents of the party, and in the next few years, we will expect higher political performance from all our party leaders, branches and even members.

DAP considering legal action on the unlawful EPF investment in non-trustee stock.

Democracy and the fundamental rights of Malaysian citizens are under severe attack in Malaysia, and only a vigilant and mobilized citizen fully aware of their citizenship and constitutional rights is the best defence against further executive encroachments against the democratic system and the principles of full public accountability of government actions to the people.

The issue of the unlawful action on the part of the Employees’ Provident Fund Board investing $50 million in non-trustee stocks, is a good example. As the Auditor-General, Datuk Ishak bin Tadin, said in his observations in the 1985 EPF Accounts, the EPF Board has violated Section 4(2)(b) of the 1951 EPF Act in investing in non-trustee stocks.

I call on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, has put himself in a conflict of interest position, where he would find it difficult to discharge his duties as the chief law-upholder in the country. This is because Tan Sri Abu Talib is also the Deputy Chairman of the EPF Board and Deputy Chairman of the EPF Investment Panel responsible for the unlawful ‘non’ trustee stock’ investments.

Can the Malaysian public expect Tan Sri Abu Talib the Attoeney-General to initiate legal proceedings against Tan Sri Abu Talib the Deputy Chairman of the EPF Investment Panel for unlawful ‘non-trustee’ stock investment of EPF funds?

The DAP is studying the legal aspects of the unlawful investment by EPF Board members in non-trustee stocks, and whether legal action could be instituted against members of the EPF Investment panel holding them liable for the losses suffered by the EPF for the $50 million investment in non trustee stocks.

The workers must demand a full accounting by the EPF Board on the investment of EPF funds in public-listed companies. In 1985, the EPF invested a total of $537.52 million in public shares, whose market value was $483.77 million – a loss of $33.75 million. The $517 million of EPF funds were invested in 87 public companies. Why is the EPF board shy to make public a list of these 87 companies, which will clear the air once and for all as to whether EPF funds had been used to try to salvage public companies owned by prominent members of UMNO, MCA, Gerakan or MIC?

Why should a person who had committed breach of trust in Singapore be eligible to be a member of the PERKESO Investment Panel?

It is for precisely the same reason to protect the workers’ funds that at the Dewan Rakyat today, during the debate on the Social Security Act Amendment Bill, I spoke about the need to supervise the investment of PERKESO fund in public companies. It is open knowledge that in 1984 and 1985, both EPF and PERKESO funds exceeding $ 100 million were used for investment in speculative shares, resulting in great losses for the EPF and PERKESO contributors.

At a time when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had openly admitted that it is difficult to find public servants of trust, as they become thieves and cheats, it is all the more important to maintain the highest standards of public integrity and trust.

The Social Security Act Amendment Bill provided for an Investment Panel, and that a person who has been convicted of an offence involving fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of property, and sentenced to one year jail sentence will be disqualified from being a member of the Investment Panel.

What is the use of such a provision, when a person convicted and jailed for more than a year for fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of property, in Singapore will not be disqualified as a member of the PERKESO Investment Panel.

There is after all the infamous case of the Gopeng MP, Tan Koon Swan, who is still hanging on to his parliamentary seat although he is serving a two-year jail sentence in Singapore after pleading guilty to criminal breach of trust charges.

588,000 co-operative depositors must be prepared for a second round of ‘direct action’ pressure to demand for a second pay-out of their deposit

The $ 1.5 billion Co-operative Finance Scandal, affecting 588,000 depositors, touch to the very core the failure of the government, and in particular the MCA, to protect the rights and welfare of the people.

In the past few days, many groups of co-operative depositors had approached DAP leaders, including DAP Co-operative Finance Scandal Committee Chairman, Wee Choo Keong, Secretary, Lim Guan Eng, as well as myself, expressing the despair and hardships as the prospect of further repayments of their deposits seem so slim and remote.

There is a real need for the 588,000 co-operative depositors to begin a second round of ‘direct action’ campaign to pressure the Government, the Bank Negara, and in particular the MCA Ministers, to make a second repayment to the depositors by the end of April.

The second ‘direct action’ campaign must be spearheaded by the co-operative depositors themselves, although the DAP will provide all support and guidance. But unless the co-operative depositors are prepared to come out in even greater numbers than before for public meetings and even demonstrations, there is not much the DAP can do.

The DAP is prepared to help in launching the second round of ‘direct action’ campaign by depositors to pressure the Government and MCA Ministers to make a second pay-out of depositors’ monies, but we must be satisfied that this is what the co-operative depositors want. I would therefore urge the co-operative depositors to contact DAP leaders, including DAP MPs and State Assemblymen, and in particular the DAP Co-operative Finance Scandal Committee, to let us know whether they are prepared to take part in a second round of ‘direct action’ campaign to demand a second repayment, which must be on a greater scale than the earlier campaign.