By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Thursday, 9.4.1987:
If Lee Kim Sai can convince DAP why the 588,000 co-operative depositors is not entitled to equal government treatment in its rescue of BMF-Bank Bumiputra, DAP is prepared to five MCA a walk-ever in Gopeng by-election
MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, said in Gopeng yesterday that if I could deliver the whole refund in cash to the 588,000 depositors in the 24 co-operatives whose activities were frozen by Bank Negara, the MCA would be willing to give the DAP a walk-over in the coming Gopeng parliamentary by-election.
Let me tell Lee Kim Sai that if he could convince the DAP why the 588,000 co-operative depositors should not be granted the same government treatment in its rescue of BMF-Bank Bumiputra, the DAP is prepared not only to give up our demand for government guarantee of a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ refund to the co-operative depositors, but also to give MCA a walk-over in Gopeng by-election.
I challenge Lee Kim Sai to answer the following four questions?
1. Why should the 588,000 co-operative depositors be second-class citizens, where the government could allocate $2.5 billion to provide a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ bail-out of BMF and Bank Bumiputra despite the greatest financial and banking scandal in Malaysian history, but the same rescue plan is denied to the 23 co-operatives?
2. Did the MCA ministers ever tell the UMNO Ministers in Cabinet that after providing a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ rescue for BMF and Bank Bumiputra, the Barisan Nasional Government is morally, and politically bound to provide the same treatment to the 23 co-operatives, and not discriminate against the 588,00 depositors?
3. Why did MCA Ministers support UMNO in Cabinet to provide the $2.5 billion bail-out of BMF-Bank Bumiputra, but could not get UMNO Ministers to agree to bail out the 23 co-operatives on the same basis?
4. In his recent attacks on the DAP, has Lee Kim Sai become the chief UMNO spokesman that the 588,000 co-operative depositors is not entitled to the equal government treatment in its rescue of BMF-Bank Bumiputra?
The DAP is prepared to organize a public meeting, whether in Gopeng or any part of the country, for Lee Kim Sai to convince the DAP that the 588,000 co-operative depositors has no tight to ask, expect or demand the type of government rescue plan as was extended to BMF-Bank Bumiputra!
From Lee Kim Sai’s statements in the past few days, it is clear that the MCA’s main stand in the Gopeng parliamentary by-election is that the 588,000 co-operative depositors are not entitled to a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ refund. Lee Kim Sai and the other MCA Ministers want a Gopeng by-election victory to give them the legitimacy to claim that their stand that the 588,000 co-operative depositors are not entitled to a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ refund had received electoral support.
I want to ask Lee Kim Sai that if the 588,000 co-operative depositors if the MCA Ministers maintain that the depositors are not entitled to the BMF-Bank Bumiputra-type government rescue plan to ensure a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ refund, how much will the co-operative depositors get.
As an example, what is the stand of Lee Kim Sai and MCA Ministers as to the repayment for the 52,566 depositors of KOSATU, who have a total of $156 million in deposits?
In the Government White Paper, the net asset backing of KOSATU was estimated as 30 cents per dollar, but there are reports from Bank Negara sources that this has been revised downwards to as low as 10 cents, and that there may be no second repayment for KOSATU depositors.
As Lee Kim Sai claimed that the MCA had worked out the overall scheme to rescue the co-operatives and is “only waiting for the scheme to be implemented by the Government”, I challenge Lee Kim Sai to spell out how much the 52,566 KOSATU depositors will get out of every dollar, and when and how much will be their second repayment.
If Lee Kim Sai cannot five a clear-out answer giving details, then he is simply lying when he claimed that the overall scheme to rescue the 23 co-operatives had been concluded and awaiting only government implementation.
Finally, I find Lee Kim Sai’s challenge to me that I deliver the whole refund in cash to the 588,000 depositors most childish and laughable. The MCA is chiefly responsible for the $1.6 billion co-operative finance scandal, and yet it wants the DAP to save the MCA from the misdeeds, irresponsibility, criminal breach of trust, fraud of MCA leaders in the co-operatives! This is like a robber or a thief issuing a challenge that others must make restitution for their criminal activities!