by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, 13.6.1987:
Has the MCA leadership backed down from its Gopeng by-election pledge of full cash refund to co-operative depositors by March 1989 as a result of UMNO Youth threats and pressures?
The MCA Central Committee had a two-hour meeting on the $1.5 billion co-operative finance issue yesterday, at the end of which, the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, announced that the MCA Central Committee had renewed its mandate to the four MCA Ministers to “continue with efforts to resolve the DTC issue.”
I find the MCA Central Committee’s decision most ‘disturbing and unprecedentel was there at any time in the past when the four MCA Ministers did not have the mandate of the MCA Central Committee to handle problems in the Government? The very fact that the MCA Ministers are the only MCA leaders in Cabinet is itself proof of a standing mandate to them to represent the MCA to deal with all Cabinet and government matters.
The UMNO Supreme Council never had to adopt a resolution in the past giving mandate to its President, Deputy President and members in Cabinet the mandate to deal with government matters. This is automatic and assumed as a matter of course by everyone, inside or outside the party.
Why then did the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, made such a stupid, immature and childish statement that the MCA Central Committee had renewed its mandate to the four MCA Ministers to continue with their efforts to resolve the DTC problem?
What the 588,000 depositors and the public want to know is not whether the MCA Central Committee had renewed its mandate to the four MCA Ministers to continue with efforts to resolve the DTC issue – for this is never in question, except when the Central Committee sacks any MCA Minister for breach of party discipline or loyalty.
What the depositors and the public want to know is whether over the MCA Central Committee has reaffirmed its uncompromising stand the MCA Gopeng by-election pledge that there should be a full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to the 588,000 depositors latest by March 1989, with the directive to the four MCA Ministers to instantly tender their resignations from the Cabinet if this could not be achieved without having to refer back to the MCA Central Committee.
The central issue for the MCA today is not whether the four MCA Ministers had the mandate of the Central Committee, but whether the MCA is serious and prepared to stake its Cabinet and Government positions to honour its Gopeng by-election ;ledge of full cash refund to the 588,000 depositors by latest March 1989.
That Datuk Lee Kim Sai had been silent on this issue after a two-hour MCA Central Committee meeting yesterday, raises this important question: “Has the MCA Central Committee backed down from its Gopeng by-election pledge of full ‘dollar-for-dollar’ cash refund to the 588,000 co-operative depositors by latest March 1989 as a result of UMNO Youth threats and pressures?”
It is significant that in the past week, all the MCA Ministers and leaders have suddenly stopped talking about their Gopeng by-election promise of full cash refund to the depositors latest by March 1989. Is this another indication that the MCA Ministers and leaders have already abandoned their Gopeng by-election pledge on the full cash refund of deposits by March 1989, even before the Gopeng by-election had been one month old?
Bank Negara’s $120 million bail-out of Sabah Bank another powerful reason why the Government has political, moral and even legal duty to bail out the 24 DTCs
It was reported today that the Bank Negara has launched another bail-out operation, this time a $120 million operation to bail out Sabah Bank. Bank Negara is giving a $120 million interest-free allocation to Sabah Bank, as a result of mismanagement and other abuses in Sabah Bank.
All in, Bank Negara would have stumped out $1 billion in the past eight months to bail out United Asian Bank, Perwira Habib Bank, Co-operative Central Bank and now Sabah Bank – apart from the $2.5 billion bail out of Bank Bumiputra and $150 million rescue of Bank Rakyat.
How could the UMNO Ministers or the Cabinet convince the 588,000 co-operative depositors that they are not entitled to similar government bail-out operations, and should be happy that they are being discriminated against?
The DAP declares that Bank Negara’s latest $120 million bail out of Sabah Bank is another powerful reason why the Government has the political, moral and even legal responsibility to bail out the 24 DTCs to ensure that the 588,000 innocent depositors are not unfairly victimized or discriminated against.
Advice to Gerakan to stop its ‘spoil-sport’ and ‘saboteur’ role in the co-operative issue
MCA Ministers and leaders have accused the Gerakan of trying to sabotage the MCA pan of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund to depositors by March 1989.
The Gerakan, from its actions and statement, have clearly given the Malaysian public and the 588,000 depositors the same impression.
The Gerakan leaders may have reason to doubt the sincerity of MCA Ministers and leaders on the co-operative issue, and why the MCA Ministers had not raised the ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund principle in last year’s crucial Cabinet meeting to decide on the co-operative issue and publication of the Government White Paper.
The Gerakan’s doubts about the sincerity of MCA Ministers and leaders is valid – just as similar doubts could be cast on the Gerakn Minister, Deputy Minister and other leaders for their indifference and failure to protect the best interest of the 588,000 depositors in Cabinet and Government last year. The Gerakan should not forget that they must share equally with the MCA for the Cabinet’s rejection of the principle of full refund last November.
However, the Gerakan must be prepared to put aside its narrow political party interest, and at this critical stage to make amends for their omission last year. Gerakan should stop its ‘spoil-sport’ or ‘saboteur’ role, and give full support to the fight in Cabinet and Government that the 588,000 depositors should get back full cash refund latest by March 1989.
Why should Gerakan come out with a proposal on the co-operatives which promises very much less than what had been pledged by MCA in Gopeng by-election? Only UMNO could happy with such conflict and disunity of the MCA and Gerakan Ministers in Cabinet – for they can then fully enjoy a ‘divide and rule’ position.
It is for this reason that the DAP had expressed its full support for the MCA’s promise of a dollar-for-dollar full cash refund by latest March 1989 – although we blame the MCA for first causing the $1.5 billion co-operative scandal, and secondly, for their failure in the first three months of the crisis from August to Nov. last year to get the Cabinet to rescue the DTCs in the way Bank Bumiputera, Bank Rakyat and other financial institutions were saved.