Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 28.4.1987.
Challenge to Datuk Lee Kim Sai whether he would resign as Minister if it is proved that MCA ministers supported a Cabinet decision which rejected the principle of dollar-for-dollar refund for the 588,000 co-operative depositors
MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, has denied my allegation at the Ipoh cooperative depositors protest meeting on Saturday that MCA Ministers had opposed the dollar-for-dollar refund to cooperative depositors in the Cabinet.
Datuk Lee Kim Sai as taking advantage of the Official Secrets Act and Cabinet secrecy to hide from the public what MCA Ministers did in the Cabinet and hoped nobody would know their double game, where they supported a decision which rejected the principle of dollar-for-dollar refund to depositors while giving a totally different impression in their press statements and speeches.
I challenge Datuk Lee Kim Sai whether he would resign as Minister if it is proved that MCA Ministers supported a Cabinet decision which rejected the principle of dollar-for-dollar refund to the 588,000 cooperative depositors.
Are the MCA Ministers prepared to get the government to declassify all Cabinet Minutes and documentary relating to the $1.5 billion Cooperative Finance Scandal?
I must remind Datuk Lee Kim Sai of the Chinese saying: that if you do not want people to know, then you should not do it!
There is no doubt that the MCA is the one political party which must shoulder the greatest blame for the $1.5 billion cooperative finance scandal which has brought the greatest financial catastrophe to the Malaysian Chinese community in its history.
MCA Ministers and leaders should stop playing games and publicly own up to their role and responsibility in the scandal. For instance, can Datuk Lee Kim Sai deny that on 21st June 1986, he publicly assured the Chinese community that cooperative depositors will get legal protection, that their deposits where safe and without risks, and that they would get rid of all their doubts about cooperatives.
By giving such an irresponsible and misleading assurance, coupled with the governments announcement of the formation of the Kawalan Kredit Koperasi (KKK) purportedly to safeguard cooperatives deposits, Datuk Lee Kim Sai had misled the 588,000 cooperative depositors to leave their $1.5 billion deposits in the cooperatives instead of withdrawing them. As a result when all the 24 cooperatives were frozen six weeks later on 8th August 1986, putting at risk the $1.5 billion deposits, Datuk Lee Kim Sai must bear direct, personal responsibility for the inability of the depositors to withdraw their money before the catastrophe.
I want to ask Datuk Lee Kim Sai why he gave that assurance, that deposits were safe and without risk, that they had legal protection, that depositors should get rid of their doubts about cooperatives on June 21, 1986 when he should have known, because of the MCA’s deep involvement in cooperatives, that the entire cooperative finance system was on the verge of collapse.
Was his assurance a last-ditch stand to save the cooperatives, either owned, controlled, influenced or operated by MCA leaders regardless of the consequences and sacrifices to be borne by the 588,000 depositors?
It is public knowledge that the cooperatives, a lynchpin of the MCA’s theory of mixing politics with business, was an important source of funds for the present MCA leadership. In fact one major reason why Datuk Neo Yee Pan lost in the 22-month MCA power struggle was because of the financial support given to the Tan Koon Swan, Ling Liong Sik, Lee Kim Sai factions by the cooperatives controlled, influenced or operated by their men.
Are the MCA leaders prepared to have a full public inquiry as to how the cooperatives have been made use of by the MCA leaders, whether to further their personal of political interests and their role in the eventual cooperative collapse?
Isn’t this the reason why the MCA leaders oppose the demand for the public release of the names of the major borrowers of the cooperatives because such a list will turn up as a WHO’S WHO IN MCA.
Meeting with Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik
I have been informed by the DAP MP for Seputeh, Sdr. Liew Ah Kim that he is in touch with Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, to fix a private meeting with Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik sometimes this week at a place of his choice and at a mutually convenient date and time.
I had asked Sdr. Liew Ah Kim to make sure that Datuk Dr. Ling is fully informed of the ten areas which I had specified as among the issues which would be discussed at the meeting.
As I had said, I am prepared to meet any political leader to discuss the problems of the people and it is for this reason that I had in the past met the Prime Minister, Datuk Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Deputy Prime Minister Ghaffar Baba, Datuk Musa Hitam when he was deputy Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers like Tengku Razaleigh hamzah, Daim Zainuddin, Datuk Abdullah Badawi, Anwar Ibrahim, Tengku Ahmad Rithaudden and others.
As far as I am concerned, the meeting with Datuk Dr. Ling will resolve around two large issues: (i) the Crisis of Confidence in the country which affects all Malaysians, and (ii) the dilemma faced by the Malaysian Chinese 30 years after Merdeka.