By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday 1.6.1987:
DAP to Anwar Ibrahim: Dollar-to-dollar refund to co-operative depositiors is not a question of threats or ultimatums, but one of justice and fairness!
UMNO Vice President and Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said yesterday that the Cabinet had made 2 decision to help the DTCs but had let it to Bank Negara to work out the details. He said the Cabinet had discussed the DTCs problem in an amiable manner and will continue to deliberate on it, but it will not bow to threats or ultimatums when deciding on ways to help.
The DAP wants to make it clear to Anwar Ibrahim and other UMNO leaders that the question of government rescue of the DTCs to ensure a dollar-to-dollar refund to the 588,000 co-operative depositors is not a question of threats or ultimatums , but one of justice and fairness.
When Anwar Ibrahim supported the Cabinet decision that the government should bail out Bank Bumiputra in the $2.5 billion BMF scandal, he did not think about ‘threats’ or ‘ultimatums’, so why should any UMNO leader think about ‘threat’ or ‘ultimatum’ when applying the same principle of government rescue for the 24 DTCs as had been extended to Bank Bumiputra and other financial institutions?
Anwar Ibrahim’s statement, together with that of Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba on the second day of Hari Raya that the Cabinet had not met at any time to discuss the MCA’s ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund by early 1989’ plan, raises many disturbing questions as to what exactly is being done by the government on the matter.
Anwar Ibrahim said the Cabinet had made a decision to help the DTCs, but had left it to the Bank Negara to work out the details. This confirmed what the DAP had said that the only Cabinet decision taken so far with regard to the DTCs is the November 1986 decision, later released in the Government White Paper, rejecting he ‘dollar-to-dollar’ principal of refund, and merely offering a $400 million soft-loan scheme to help out the DTCs.
This is not satisfactory and unacceptable. In fact, looking back at past nine months, it is a matter of public record that the DAP is the only party which right from the very beginning of the Bank Negara freeze on the 24 DTCs last August, had demanded full government rescue of the 588,000 co-operative depositors to ensure a dollar-for-dollar refund.
The MCA, with four Cabinet Ministers, only came out with its stand for ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund to all 588,000 depositors in the battle for the Gopeng by-election, while the Gerakan had been conspicuously silent on the right of the 588,000 depositors to expect government guarantee of dollar-for-dollar refund.
The DAP rejects the suggestion by Anwar Ibrahim that the DTC issue should be seen more as a business and economic problem, and that politicians should not interfere too much with it. Apart from the fact that Anwar Ibrahim did not apply the same principle to the BMF scandal and the government rescue of Bank Bumiputras, it is clear that what is urgently needed now to resolve the DTCs problem is a high-level political decision.
This high-level political decision can only be taken by the Cabinet, although the details can be worked out by Bank Negara or government economists and officials.
Call on Cabinet on June 10 to adopt new policy decision that the 588,000 depositors would be given dollar-for-dollar cash refund by early 1989
At present, the ‘brief’ given to Bank Negara by the Cabinet is to work out the best possible plan to minimum the damage and losses to the 588,000 depositors with a $400 million government soft-loan scheme.
This ‘brief’ must be changed, and the DAP calls on the Cabinet at its next meeting on June 10 to adopt a new policy decision that the 588,000 depositors would be given dollar-for-dollar cash refund by early 1989, and the Bank Negara instructed to work out the details of implementing such a scheme.
The four MCA Ministers and one Gerakan Minister had set down the 588,000 depositors very badly when last November, they supported the Cabinet decision rejecting the proposal that the government should guarantee full refund of the deposits.
I do not blame the 588.,000 co-operative depositors if they feel that they have again been deceived by the MCA Ministers when they now learn from Ghaffar Baba that the MCA’s Gopeng by-election stand of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund by early 1989 had never been raised in Cabinet. What is worse, Ghaffar Baba said be knows nothing about the new MCA stand!
The DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to make public the number and dates of Cabinet meetings which discussed the $1.5 billion co-operative finance scandal, and decisions, so that the Ministers of the various component Barisan Nasional parties would stop contradicting each other in public.
What is even more confusing is that the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai and the Gerakan Treasurer, Alex Lee, had each claimed that the Finance plans for the 24 DTCs. How could this be possible? Who is lying? Is it Lee Kim Sai, Alex Lee, or Daim, or all three of them?
MCA Ministers duty-bound to clarify the co-operative issue immediately
The issue of the 24 DTCS is a new every confused and murky, because of the contradictory and conflicting statements by the MCA, UMNO and Gerakans leaders. The MCA Ministers are duty-bound to get this issue clarified immediately, if they do not want to confirm public impression that MCA Ministers made statements about the DTCs merely for the Gopeng by-election and by July MCA party elections-just as is being done by Gerakan leaders.
The only way for the issue to be clarified is for the MCA Ministers to formally present to Cabinet the proposal that the government guarantee a ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to the 588,000 depositors by early 1989, and for the Cabinet to adopt the proposal.
It is no use the MCA Ministers and leaders boasting about the ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund by early 1989, if they dare not present it formally to the Cabinet in the first place, to change last November’s decision on the co-operatives.
Barisan and MCA Ministers and leaders should step deluding themselves and the public, and admit that the place to decide about the plight of the 588,000 depositors is the Cabinet, and not the Bank Negara.
The DAP assures the four MCA Ministers full support if they dare to formally present the proposal for ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund by early 1989 at the June 10 Cabinet. If the Gerakan Minister ‘sabotage’ the MCA in the Cabinet and Government in this righteous demand, then the Gerakan must be exposed and condemned nation-wide. But if the MCA Ministers dare not formally present this plan to Cabinet for adoption on June 10, then they should be condemned as the greatest political charlatans in MCA history.
DAP would welcome repeal of Section 21(2) of 1961 Education Act, but would not be fully satisfied unless there is no room for any form of government conversion of Chinese primary schools
The DAP would welcome the repeal of Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, as indicated by Anwar Ibrahim yesterday, but would not be fully satisfied unless there is no room for any form of government conversion, whether by administrative or other means, of character of Chinese primary schools.
The Education Minster has said that there would be wide-ranging amendments to the 1961 Education Act. The Malaysian public, in particular the various educational bodies, should be invited to take part in the deliberative and proposal stage in amendments to the Education Act, instead of being presented with a fait accompli which is forced through Parliament in a matter of days.
The DAP would press, for instance, for a positive statement in the amendments to the Education Act of the right of Chinese and Tamil primary schools to exist, develop and grow in Malaysia perpetually and for all times.