Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the second round of nation-wide public protest meetings of 588,000 co-operative depositors held in Kepong at Tang Kong Temple, Jalan Temple, Jinjang north, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 11.4.1987 at 9 p.m.
Fifth Challenge to Lee Kim Sai: To get Cabinet to make public the list of borrowers of $350.8 million loans from the 24 co-operatvies
MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, has twice challenged me to ensure the 588,000 co-operative depositors to get their $1.5 billion deposits fully refunded back in cash by May 16, the Gopeng parliamentary by-election date.
This is a most ridiculous challenge, for everyone knows that the MCA is the major culprit for the $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance calamity, and he now wants the DAP to find the money for the losses caused by MCA leaders and members. This is like a robber or thief issuing a challenge that others must take restitution for their criminal activities!
Does Lee Kim Sai know why the 588,000 co-operative depositors have been made the victims of the greatest co-operative fraud and scandal in Malaysian history?
This is because many people, many of whom are MCA leaders and members, had borrowed a total of $350.8 million from the 24 co-operatives, and had not repaid them. Bank Negara estimated in August last year that 20 per cent of the total loans, or $101.8 million, are not recoverable.
These people, including the borrowers who are MCA leaders and members, are in fact cheating the 588,000 co-operative depositors of their life-long savings by refusing to honour their loans.
How can Lee Kim Sai seriously issue a challenge to me to ensure deposits fully refunded in cash by May 16, when he knows that hundreds of people, many of whom are MCA leaders and members, had borrowed $350.8 million from the co-operatives and not repaid them?
What is the MCA doing to get theses borrowers to repay their loans so that the 24 co-operatives could have $350 million back to repay the 588,000 depositors?
Here I want to issue a fifth challenge to Lee Kim Sai whether he dare to get the Cabinet to make public full list of the borrowers of the co-operatives which amount to a total loan figure of $350.8 million? Is Lee Kim Sai afraid to get the Cabinet to make public the full list of borrowers of co-operatives for fear that it would in fact release a long list of MCA leaders and members as the borrowers of the co-operatives?
Why Bank Rakyat was not frozen, or receivers appointed, and allowed to continue to take deposits despite its $150 million scandal?
The Deputy MCA Finance Minister, Loke Yuen Yow, told Parliament last month that the assets of the 23 frozen deposit-taking co-operatives were being auctioned off, the branch offices closed down, and their deposit-taking activities stopped.
It is clear that what the Government wants to do is to liquidate and close down the 23 co-operatives, regardless of the interest of the 588,000 depositors. The question is why the Government did not freeze Bank Rakyat, or appoint receivers, or stop its deposit-taking activities, when the $150 million Bank Rakyat scandal took place? Instead, the Government allocated $150 million to rescue and nurse the Bank Rakyat back as a viable institution. Can Lee Kim Sai explain why there is such discrimination in dealing with co-operative problems by the Barisan Nasional Governments?