Is MCA banking down from its Gopeng by-election pledge of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to co-operative depositors by early 1989 even before raising it in Cabinet?

By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, June 2, 1987:

Is MCA banking down from its Gopeng by-election pledge of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to co-operative depositors by early 1989 even before raising it in Cabinet?

The response of the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, to the statement by UMNO Vice President, Anwar Ibrahim that the Cabinet will not bow to threats or ultimatums on the $1.5 billion co-operative finance issue is most pathethie and disappointing.

Instead of telling Anwar Ibrahim how wrong or misinformed he had been in making such a statement, Datuk Lee seems to be pleading for ‘clarity’ and ‘mercy’ from Anwar Ibrahim.

From the Star report today, Datuk Lee is pleading that a deadline be set for the Government’s efforts to help the 24 co-operatives.

I get the impression that the MCA is backing down from its Gopeng by-election pledge that the 588,000 co-operative depositors will get full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ each refund of their entire deposits by early 1989, even before the MCA had raised the issue in the Cabinet.

In the Gopeng by-election, the MCA went to the extent of telling the Gopeng voters that the MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers were prepared to resign their posts if the government reject the MCA stand of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to all depositors by early 1989. In fact, the voters were even told that all MCA ministers, Deputy Ministers, parliamentary secretaries and StateExco members had submitted undated resignation letters to the party leadership at MCA Central Committee meeting in Ipoh on May 10, six days before the Gopeng by-election polling, to demonstrate the MCA’s uncompromising and non-negot6iable position.

Yet, we are now told by no less a person than the Deputy Prime Minister that the MCA Ministers had never raised the issue of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund of 100% deposits by early 1989 in Cabinet, and that he himself knew nothing about it except for what he read in the newspapers.

There is no doubt that one question the UMNO Ministers would want a full and satisfactory explanation from MCA Ministers if they raise their proposal in Cabinet is why the MCA Ministers had not submitted the proposal last year, and latest by the November Cabinet meeting when it took a policy decision rejecting the principle of government guarantee of full refund for the $1.5 billion deposits. Secondly, why the MCA Ministers supported such a Cabinet decision, as later presented in Parliament in a Government White Paper.

I would advise Datuk Lee Kim Sai and other MCA Ministers that the demand for ‘dollar-for-dollar’ full cash refund to the depositors is not for ‘charity’ or ‘mercy’, but because the government has the morally and political responsibility to bail out the 588,000 depositors, especially as 2 precedent had been set in the Bank Rakyat, Bank Bumiputra and other government rescue cases.

If the Datuk Lee Kim Sai and other MCA Ministers are begging for ‘charity’ or ‘mercy’, they will get no where.

Datuk Lee Kim Sai and the MCA leadership must tell the 588,000 depositors about two issued without any ambiguity or qualification:

Firstly, is it still the non-negotiable and uncompromisable stand of the MCA and MCA Ministers that the 588,000 depositors must be given full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund by early 1989, failing which they will instruct all MCA representatives in Federal and State Government to resign their posts?

Secondly, are the MCA Ministers now ready to formally present to Cabinet at its next meeting on June 10 for a new Cabinet decision that the depositors get full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund latest by early 1989, with the further directive to Bank Negara to immediately work out the details of the decision?

The DAP must seriously warn the MCA leaders that they will have to bear very grave political consequences if they fool around with the hardships of the 588,000 co-operative depositors and fail to live up to their Gopeng by-election pledge of full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund by before March 1989 in 21 months’ time.

Bank Negera Governor and entire management should be soaked if they cannot find a formula for ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund by March 1989 if instructed by Cabinet

Yesterday, Bank Negara Governor, Datuk Jaffar Hussein denied that the central bank had proposed to the Government the establishment of a special bank to help the DTCs, and said the Bank Negara was still studying the various options to resolve the DTCs problem.

As far as the DAP is concerned, if Bank Negara with ‘the best financial brains in the country’ cannot find a solution to the DTCs problem in ten months, it cannot find an answer in the next ten years.

To be fair to Bank Negara, however, its problem is not whether it could find a formula to fully bail out the 588,000 depositors, but whether it had been authorised by Cabinet to work out a formula to ensure full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to the depositors by March 1989.

The Bank Negara Governor and the entire Bank Negara management should be sacked if they cannot find a formula for full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund by March 1989, if instructed by the Cabinet to do so. But has the Cabinet issued such a directive to Bank Negara?

The ball is therefore back in the Cabinet’s court, and this is why MCA Ministers should stop spreading all sorts of rumours and take up the co-operative issue and the cash refund by March 1989 in the Cabinet meeting on June 10.

DAP calls for establishment of a Parliamentary Committee to investigate into why the Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had failed to act on the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry committee’s recommendations.

In London, the year-long extradition trial of former BMF Chairman, Lerraine Esme Osman, has ended with the judgement that Lorriane Osman be extradicted to Hong Kong on 41 charges of fraud, theft, conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to steal, false accounting and corruption. Lorraine has given notice to appeal against the judgement of the London Chief metropolitan magistrate, David Hopkin, and the appeal to the Divisional Court is expeted to be heard later this year. This means that it will be at least another one more year before Lorraine Osman would be extradicted to Hong Kong for the BMF crimes.

But the question back home is what the Malaysia Government is doing about the BMF crimes and frauds in the biggest financial and banking scandal in Malaysia.

Although UMNO Vice President, Anwar Ibrahim, said yesterday that the ‘co-operative crooks’ should be ‘severely dealt with’. He does not seemed to be concerned that the ‘BMF crooks’ are being lot off very lightly by the Malaysian government authorities.

The Malaysian public are entitled to know what the various government authorities had done with regard to the recommendations of the Ahmed Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee, which laboured for two years to produce the most complete picture of the of the massive theft, fraud and criminal breach of trust of public monies in the BMF scandal – and which was used as a basis for Hong Kong police proceedings against Lorriane Osman and other BMF culprits.

It is most scandalous that the Bank Bumiputra and the various government authorities have refused to date to implement the recommendations and findings of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee. The BMF Inquiry Committee had recommended police actions and prosecutions against Bank Bumiputra as well as BMF Directors for “committing offences of criminal breach of trust, breaches of the Banking Act and Companies Act and false accounting under the laws of Malaysia,” as well as corruption and other offences in Malaysia.

Why have no action been taken at all on these recommendations? The DAP calls for the establishment of a Parliamentary Committee to investigate into the Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had failed to act on the Ahmad Nordin Inquiry Committee’s recommendations.

Proposal that all Malaysian MPs, regardless of party, send a joint parliamentary memorandum to Singapore Government to demand unconditional release of 16 persons, including two Malaysians, detained under ISA

The Singapore authorities have not put up a convincing case in its allegations against the 16 persons, including two Malaysian, detained under the Internal Security Act purportedly for clandestine communist network activities.

All Malaysian MPs, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers regardless of party affiliation, should a joint parliamentary memorandum to the Singapore Government to express their grave concern at the violation of human rights in the detention of the 16 persons under the Internal Security Act, and asking for immediate unconditional release if the Singapore authorities are not prepared to put them on open trial.

All Malaysian MPs, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers, would be approached as to whether they are prepared to sign such a joint all-party parliamentary memorandum to the Singapore Government, I hope Malaysian parliamentary history could be made whereby all MPs, regardless of party affiliation, could take a common stand on the issue of human rights.