Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the second DAP Gopeng Parliamentary by-election ceramah at Chendetong New Village on Nomination Bight, Thursday, 7.5.1987 at 10 p.m., followed by the public burning of a 100-foot ‘co-operative snake’
Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik’s statement on MCA’s stand on full refund to co-operative depositors by early 1989 is as empty as the MCA’s general elections promise of amendment of Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act
MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, said two days ago that the MCA Central Committee had decided on the stand that the 588,000 co-operative depositors should get back every riggit they have deposited at the latest by early 1989.
Political leaders, and even more important, the highest political organ of any political party, must be ‘first to know and first to be conscious’, but the MCA Ministers and leaders, including the entire MCA Central Committee, has proved not only to be ‘last to know, last to be conscious’, but also ‘unknowing and unconscious’ in the suffering of the 588,000 depositors in the $1.5 billion co-operative scandal.
A Central Committee of a political party which has Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and which takes nine long months before waking up to the sufferings of the 588,000 depositors is not fit to be known as a political movement at all. If there is no Gopeng by-election, the MCA Central Committee would have slept on on the co-operative scandal issue, until the next general elections in 1989 or 1990, before it realizes the need to issue a ‘stand’.
The MCA Ministers would have at least some amends for their gross irresponsibility and neglect on the co-operative finance scandal in the past nine months if two days ago, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik had announced that the Cabinet and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir had agreed to the full refund of the 588,000 co-operative depositors by early 1989.
As it is, Datuk Dr. Ling’s announcement of MCA’s stand that the depositors should get a full refund by early 1989 is as empty and meaningless as the MCA’s 1986 general elections promise of amendment to Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act.
In May 1986, Tan Koon Swan is his capacity as MCA President, solemnly told the Chinese community that he had received a pledge from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, that Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act would be amended to allay fears of the Chinese community about the conversion of Chinese primary schools into national primary schools.
Tan Koon Swan said that Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act would be amended in the July 1986 meeting of parliament, or the first meeting of the new Parliament if Parliament is dissolved before July. Tan Koon Swan said the MCA is not prepared to be fooled around again this time, that this pledge came from the Prime Minister himself, and the MCA would pull out of Barisan Nasional if this pledge on Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is not honoured.
Parliament was dissolved before the scheduled July 1986 meeting, but the new Parliament had met twice already, once for two months at the end of last year, and a second time for two weeks in March. But there has been no amendment to Clause 21(2) 1961 Education Act as solemny promised by the MCA in its pre-general elections campaign.
If a solemn general elections pledge, which according to the MCA President as personally given by the Prime Minister himself, could be dishonoured with such great contempt without any reaction from the MCA leaders, what is the worth of Datuk Dr. Ling’s statement on the co-operative scandal, which represented nobody but last to know, last to be conscious’, even ‘unknowing, unconscious’ MCA Central Committee?
Can Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik explain how the 588,000 co-operative depositors are to get back their full refund by early 1989?
As a result of co-operative depositor and DAP pressures, the first refund to the depositors were made in January this year. Ten of them, namely KOSATU with 52,000 depositors; KOMUDA with 40,000 depositors, KGE with 28,934 depositors; MIFC with 20,000 depositors; KOSMOPOLITAN with 50,000 depositors; SAKAPP with 28,000 depositors; Fortiss, Koteksi, ENE and Sepadu paid out 10 per cent refund.
According to my sources of information, some of the worst co-operatives like KOSATU, Fortiss, Sakapp and may be even KOMUDA, may not be able to pay even a second refund of 10 per cent although the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, told DAP MPs that the second refund would be made in January 1988, although he did not say all co-operative would have a second refund.
How are the depositors of these 10 co-operatives who had been given a first 10 per cent refund to get back their full refund by early 1989? It must mean at minimum at 10:45:45 formula – 10 per cent refund in January 1987, 45% refund in January 1988 and the final 45% refund in January 1989. Is this what Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik is promising the 588,000 depositors, without the agreement, consent or pledge by the Cabinet or the Prime Minister?
MCA leaders are very brave in making promises just to get votes. I challenge Datuk Dr. Ling that if wants the 588,000 depositors to believe him, and that he is not talking utter rot, then he should at least ensure that by before polling day in Gopeng on May 16, the 10 co-operatives which paid out 10 per cent in January pays out a second 10 per cent. If this could not be done, who can believe that the MCA has now a 10:45:45 formula for full refund to the 588,000 co-operative depositors?
I urge the MCA leaders to stop exploiting the hardships of the 588,000 depositors with such heartlessness.
Call on depositors from all over the country to gather in Gopeng on Tuesday, 12th May, to make their great protest over the scandal
The 588,000 depositors must take use of the Gopeng by-election to put maximum pressure on the Government to give full refund, and not just empty promise of full refund by MCA without any authority from Cabinet. For this reason, we urge co-operative depositors from all over the country to gather in Gopeng on Tuesday, May 12 (which is also a public holiday, Vesak Day) to show their great protest against the government’s discriminatory treatment of the deposits. Special programmes to highlight the injustices done to the co-operative depositors will be organised form 3 p.m. onwards on 12th May 1987, and all depositors should reach Gopeng town and meet at the DAP centre by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.