By Parliamentary Opposition Leaders, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 5.6.1987:
If the Gerakan General Assembly this weekend is not prepared to take a firm and uncompromising stand that the Cabinet should decide on June 10 that the 588,000 co-operative depositors will get a full refund by March, 1989, then it is utterly irrelevant who wins or loses in the Gerakan party elections
The focus of the weekend’s Gerakan General Assembly is the Gerakan party elections and in particular the contest between Dr. Lim Keng Yaik – Kerk Choo Ting and Goh Cheng Teik – Khor Gark Kim, when it should be on the Gerakan’s record in Cabinet and Government on the 10- month co-operative finance scandal and the sufferings of the 588,000 co-operative depositors.
If the Gerakan General Assembly this weekend is not prepared to take a firm and uncompromising stand that the Cabinet should decide at its June 10 meeting next Wednesday that the 588,000 co-operative depositors get a full refund by March 1989, then it is utterly irrelevant who wins or loses in the Gerakan Party elections.
There is always something ‘fishy’ about political leaders who on the eve of party elections, suddenly come to live with various formula to resolve the $1.5 billion co-operative finance crisis and seeking various meetings with Bank Negara officials, when for 10 months they never bestirred themselves on the sufferings of the 588,0000 co-operative depositors.
The test of sincerity, seriousness and commitment of Gerakan leaders in Cabinet and Government on the co-operative issue is their consistency in the last 10 months, and on this test, the Gerakan leaders failed miserably for theirs is a record of Cabinet and Government indifference, irresponsibility and negligence.
It is most disgusting and disgraceful that on the one and same issue of the $1.5 billion co-operative finance scandal, the Gerakan and MCA Ministers cannot take a common stand in Cabinet. On the contract, the depositors see the Gerakan and the MCA Ministers running down each other’s proposal, which can only give joy to the UMNO Ministers!
If for ten months, the Gerakan and MCA Ministers cannot agree to a common stand and to adopt a united front in Cabinet and Government to resolve the sufferings of 588,000 depositors, and allow themselves to be victims of a ‘divide and rule’ ploy, what political and moral right do the MCA and Gerakan leaders have to continue to be in Cabinet?
For the sake of the 588,000 co-oprative depositors, who represent more than half of the Chinese community in Malaysian if their dependents and family members are taken into account, I call on the Gerakan and MCA Ministers and leaders to sink their differences and take united stand on the issue of the co-operative finance crisis, so that in Cabinet, Parliament and Government they have only one common positon.
DAP prepared to be mediator between Gerakan and MCA so that both these government parties have united stand on co-operative finance crisis in Cabinet and Parliament
For the last ten months, since the August 8 catastrophe of the 24 co-operatives, the DAP had only one aim – which is to ensure that the 588,000 co-operative depositors get justice and fair play, and that they should not get less than what the Government had done to rescue Bank Bumiputra, Bank Rakyat and other troubled financial institutions.
The body which has ‘life-and death’ decision over the 24 DTCs and the 588,000 co-operative depositors is the Cabinet, which was also the body which took the highest political decision to rescue Bank Bumiputra and Bank Rakya. Bank Negara is merely the instrument of the Cabinet, to implement policies and decisions of the Cabinet.
This is why in the last ten months, the DAP steadfastly held the Cabinet, and the ministers, responsible for their refusal to extend to the 24 DTCs the similar rescue operation mounted for Bank Bumiputra and Bank Rakyat, and refused to be deflected to waste time on Bank Negara.
The primary battle to rescue the 24 DTCs and the 588,000 co-operative depositors must be fought in Cabinet, and not in Bank Negara, and this is why the DAP calls on the Gerakan and MCA Ministers to adopt a common united stand in Cabinet on the co-operative issue.
The DAP is prepared to be a mediator between the Gerakan and MCA Ministers to ensure that they have a unified stand on co-operative finance issue which is in the best interest of the depositors, and in accordance with justice, fair play and good government.
The DAP suggests that the Gerakan and MCA Ministers must agree to the following basic principles on the $1.5 billion co-operative issue:
1. The Gerakan and MCA Ministers present a unified proposal in the June 10 Cabinet that the Government guarantee full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund to all depositors by March 1989;
2. That the “full dollar-for-dollar refund” to the depositors means what the depositors would be entitled to if there had been no August 8 freeze by the Bank Negara, in other words, inclusive of interest on the deposits until March 1989 when full refund is made;
Although the interest for the deposits had been pegged too high by the co-operatives, some as high as 14 or 15 per cent, a fair and reasonable interest rate could be worked out for $1.5 billion deposits for the periods concerned.
3. Immediate legislation to confiscate the properties and assets of co-operative directors and others, including political leaders, who had been responsible for the various criminal frauds and breach of thrust, so as to reduce the losses of the co-operatives;
4. Establishment of a Special Police Squad, Special Prosecution Squad and Special Co-operative Crimes Court to give topmost priority and urgency to the investigation arrest, prosecution and conviction of the ‘co-operative crooks’ who had brought such a great financial catastrophe to the Malaysian Chinese community and national economy.