Call on co-operatie depositors to gather at Gopeng on 12th May to witness the public burning of ‘co-operative snakes’ and demand Cabinet pledge of full refund of $1.5 billion co-operative deposits

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Gopeng Parliamentary by-election campaign ceramah at Simpang Pulai on Friday, 8.5.1987 at 9 p.m.

Call on co-operatie depositors to gather at Gopeng on 12th May to witness the public burning of ‘co-operative snakes’ and demand Cabinet pledge of full refund of $1.5 billion co-operative deposits

The $1.5 billion co-operative finance scandal is the result of the fraud and criminal breach of trust of ‘co-operative snakes’ – but there is no doubt that these ‘co-operative snakes’ would not have been able to created the greatest financial catastrophe for the Malaysian Chinese community, if not for the collusion and protection given by the ‘political snakes’ in the MCA.

I challenge the MCA Ministers and leaders to deny my statement that if there is no MCA, there would have been no $1.5 billion Co-operative finance scandal affecting 588,000 depositors.

I had repeatedly asked MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai why he gave the solemn assurance to the co-operative depositors on June 20, 1986 that the deposits in the co-operatives have ‘legal protection, very safe without risks, and that depositors should get rid of all their doubts about the co-operatives’ when he knew that the co-operative crisis was like a time-bomb waiting for explosion after the August 3, 1986 general elections.

I am not saying that the MCA Ministers and leaders are completely useless. At least, they were capable of keeping the co-operative finance scandal from exploding until after the general elections, for if all the 24 co-operatives had been froze before the general elections, for if all the 24 co-operatives had been frozen before the general elections, the entire MCA slate of candidates may be wiped out.

MCA Ministers, MPs have saved their skin in the August 3 general elections, but at the expense of the 588,000 co-operative depositors, who had to be misled in June and July 1986 that their deposits in the co-operatives were safe and secure.

It was precisely because there would have been no co-operative finance scandal if there was no MCA, that MCA Ministers dare not speak up and fight for the interests of the 588,000 depositors in the Cabinet in the first five months of the crisis.

Can Datuk Lee Kim Sai, for instance, explain why the MCA Ministers meekly and submissively agreed to the Cabinet decision in November 1986 which rejected the option of ‘full government guarantee of deposits’ – in other words, dollar-for-dollar refund?

The reasons why MCA Ministers know that many MCA leaders at various levels had been responsible for the $1.5 billion co-operative scandal, and even for the crimes of fraud, breach of trust, misappropriation of funds. MCA Ministers hope that by behaving meekly and submissively, sacrificing the interest of the 588,000 depositors, the Government would close its eyes to the criminal activities of MCA leaders in the co-operatives and not arrest or prosecute them.

Secondly, UMNO Ministers know that MCA leaders owe large loans to the co-operatives, and for this reason, MCA Ministers dare not champion the cause of the depositors for fear of a public release of the list of major borrowers of the co-operatives and public condemnation.

In the past nine months, the Dap, and in particular the DAP Co-operative Finance Scandal Committee, was the only body keeping up and unrelenting pressure campaign on the government to bring to book the ‘co-operative snakes’, and it was such pressure which led to the several arrested and prosecutions to date.

The 588,000 co-operative depositors must now focus their pressure on the Barisan Nasional Government on the occasion of the Gopeng by-election to demand justice and fair play in the issue.

No MCA Minister has as yet explained why MCA could support in Cabinet the $2.5 billion government rescue of Bank Bumiputra in the BMF scandal, and yet cannot get a full government guarantee of the $1.5 billion co-operative deposits? There is no doubt that if the 24 co-operatives were UMNO co-operatives, the $1.5 billion rescue plan would have been implemented long ago.

It is for this reason that I am calling on the co-operative depositors to gather at Gopeng on 12th May (Tuesday) to let the Barisan Nasional Government know their suffering and grievances, to express their anger at ‘co-operative snakes’ by the public burning of several ‘co-operative snakes’ at Gopeng and to demand Cabinet pledge before polling day on May 16 of a full refund of $1.5 billion co-operative deposits.

If Datuk Ling Liong Sik’s Statement three days ago that the MCA Central Committee has taken the stand that the depositors should get every ringgit of their deposits by early 1989 is a genuine, sincere one, then the entire MCA leadership should support the May 12 National Protest of Co-operative Depositors. I invite the MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs, and even the Gopeng MCA Candidates to the National Protest of Co-operative Depositors in Gopeng on Tuesday.

The 588,000 co-operative depositors must demand action to be taken against the co-operative snakes’ in MCA which had given these ‘co-operative snakes’ the protection and environment to defraud the Malaysian Chinese community of the hard-earning life savings of the small people, must also be punished.