by parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, June 11, 1987:
MCA’s promise of a full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to 588,000 co-operative depositors by latest March 1989 is the MCA’s last chance to prove that it is a political party still deserving of belief, support and trust
The DAP, and the 588,000 co-operative depositors, are very disappointed by yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. After all the ‘big talk’ and ‘great promises’ by the MCA Ministers, the Cabinet had not only failed to take a policy decision to approve the principle of full cash refund to the 588,000 depositors, none of the four MCA Ministers dared to raise the co-operative issue in Cabinet.
The DAP must seriously warn the MCA Ministers and leaders that after 10 ling months of sufferings and hardships, the patient of the 588,000 depositors and dependants (which comprise some 60 per cent of the Malaysian Chinese Community) are running out. It was the MCA which must bear the greatest responsibility for the occurrence of the $1.5 billion co-operative finance scandal in the first place, and if after 10 ling months, MCA Ministers are only prepared to talk and promise ‘big’ outside the Cabinet, it is just not good enough.
I want to make it very clear to the MCA Ministers and leaders that the credibility and political stocks of the MCA is at a all-time historic low, and that MCA Promise of a full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to the 588,000 co-operative depositors by latest March 1989 (made in the Gopeng by-election) is its last chance to prove that it is a political party still deserving of belief, support and trust.
If the MCA deliver on its Gopeng by-election pledge to the 588,000 co-operative depositors of a full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund by March 1989, then the MCA Must be prepared for an even greater repudiation by the people than it experienced in the August 1986 general elections. The MCA Ministers should realise that the people could only be fooled once, in the recent Gopeng by-election, but not a second time in the next general elections.
I am spelling out the dire political consequences clearly to the MCA, because we in the DAP put the interests of the 588,000 co-operative depositors above everything else, and we do not want the MCA Ministers and leaders just to play ‘political games’ on this issue – as alleged by Gerakan, their fellow Barisan Nasional Component Party.
I call on the four MCA Ministers to make an immediate public pledge that they will definitely be bringing up the co-operative issue at next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting on June 17, and that they will seek Cabinet approval for the important principal of full cash refund to the depositors by latest March 1989. Ten long and precious months have passed without any definitive to solve the root problem of the 588,000 co-operative in the similar fashion, the 588,000 co-operative depositors must demand and insist on weekly and daily accounting from the MCA Ministers about their Gopeng by-election promise.
MCA Ministers must make their position on the co-operative issue clear and unequivocal so that the issue does not become confused and distorted
A great row is developing over the co-operative issue, with the UMNO youth exco member Haji Tajuddin Abdul Rahman calling for the sacking of Datuk Lee Kim Sai from the Cabinet, and the proposed holding of an extraordinary general meeting of the Pasir Salak UMNO Yousth Division on the matter.
The Pasir Salak UMNO Youth Division wants to discuss and adopt a resolution demanding the dismissal of Datuk Lee Kim Sai, and urging the Government not to bow to the ‘threats’ of MCA, and calling for a notional UMNO Youth EGM on the matter.
Why has such a row developed in the Barisan Nasioanl? In a way, the MCA Ministers and leaders have themselves to blame for it, for during the Gopeng by-election, they said things and made promises which were meant only for 6he ears of the Chinese community – hoping that the UMNO will know nothing about them.
In a multi-racial society, the MCA cannot play political games with one community, hoping that the other community will not know about it. In any event, if a political party say things only for the ears of one community, it clearly has no sincerity and political integrity when the support of the other racial communities are needed to fulfil the promise like the full cash refund to the 588,000 co-operative depositors.
The MCA Ministers and leaders must make a clear and unequivocal stand on the co-operative issue, and not say one thing for the Chinese community and a different one to the UMNO, hoping that UMNO will not know about the former.
Firstly, did the MCA Ministers threaten to quit as Ministers, as MCA leaders and officials had claimed during the Gopeng by-election? If the MCA Ministers had done so then they must be prepare to openly admit it, and justify their stand and accept all political consequences.
If the MCA Ministers had never threatened to quit as Ministers, then they must publicly say so, and say that what the MCA officials and workers had said during the Gopeng by-election were merely to deceive the Gopeng voters.
MCA must be brave and sincere enough to openly state that if it could not do justice to the 588,000 depositors by securing a dollar-for-dollar full cash refund by March 1989, it does not have any effective or purposeful role to continue in Cabinet
If the MCA Ministers and leaders are sincere and honest, and are prepared to put the interest of the 588,000 depositors above their own self-interest, then they must be brave and serious enough to openly state that if they could not do justice to the 588,000 depositors by securing for them a dollar-for-dollar cash refund by March 1989, the MCA has no more effective political role to continue tin Cabinet and Government.
Let the MCA Ministers state this stand clearly, soberly, without any threat. They must also not allow the UMNO or UMNO Youth to twist their arms, by calling for the dismissal of this of that MCA Minister.
There is no doubt that the demand for the dismissal of Lee Kim Sai from Cabinet by the UMNO youth Exco Member Haji Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and the Pasir Salak UMNO Youth Division is the opening salvo for the UMNO Youth elections next year. But why should Barisan Nasional politics always be demands by UMNO or UMNO Youth against MCA leaders? Why is it MCA or MCA Youth had never dared to demand the sacking of UMNO Ministers, like the dismissal of Information Minister, Datuk Mohamad Rahmet, for his seditious demand for extension of Islamic punishment to non-Muslims, or the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim, Education Minister, for failing to honour the Barisan Nasional Election pledge of immediate amendment of Section 21(2) of 1961 Education Act?
If UMNO Youth Divisions are demanding an UMNO Youth EGM to sack Lee Kim Sai, why are MCA Youth Division so ‘tame’ that they dare not also convene MCA Youth Extraordinary General Meeting to demand the sacking of UMNO Ministers?
Datuk Lee Kim Sai said yesterday that he is prepared to resign “if such a sacrifice will help in finding solutions to problems affecting the party.” He said he is prepared to meet anyone, including UMNO Youth, to discuss the issue.
Firstly, is the MCA ‘s stand on the Co-operative stand that the depositors get full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund by March 1989 the stand of one Minister, or of all four Ministers as well as the entire MCA. If it is the stand of the entire MCA, then Lee Kim Sai must talk about the collective resignation of all MCA Ministers and Exco Members, if he is not just playing heroics.
The trouble with Lee Kim Sai and the MCA Ministers is that they say all sorts of contradictory things on the co-operaive issue. For instance, Datuk Lee Kim Sai had said (Nangyang Siang Pao front page, 11.6.87) that the Cabinet had “agree to bail out all deposit-taking co-operatives”, and other MCA leaders had claimed that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir and finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, had giving their blessings to MCA’s ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund formula.
If these are true, then there is no need for Lee Kim Sai to respond to the UMNO Youth’s pressures by talking about his preparedness to resign, as he could simply tell the UMNO Youth leaders who are making noise that they are violating Barisan Nsional spirit, discipline and decision and for MCA to formally lodge complaint at these ‘destructive’ activities to the UMNO and Barisan Nasional leadership/
I had said previously that for the sake of the 588,000 co-operative depositors, the DAP will give full support to the MCA to ensure that the 588,000 co-operative depositors get back their total co-operative monies latest by March 1989. The DAP reiterate this support and I hope the MCA Ministers and leaders will not now down to the threats, pressures and even blackmail of certain UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders.
The DAP condemns in particular the statement of UMNO Youth exco member, Haji Tajuddin, that the deposit-taking co-operatives were anti-NEP institutions, and by implication, do not deserve government support and rescue.
This is a most racist, chauvinist and divisive attitude, which must never be condoned or tolerated, for if unchecked, such attitudes would cause the greatest disunity, division and distrust among the various races in Malaysia.
No one should challenge or question the right of the 588,000 depositors to expect government intervention to rescue them from the co-operative financial catastrophe, for this is the basic duty of any government which cares for the people. In the last general elections, Barisan Nasional campaigned on the slogan of ‘Pembela Rakyat’. Is UMNO Youth claiming that when the barisan Nasional calims to be the ‘Pembela Rakyat’, it is only for a section of the rakyat and not all Rakyat?