Call on Cabinet to rescind the decision relaxing rules for civil servants to do business or it will be challenged by the DAP in the budget session of Parliament in October


Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the meeting of the DAP 1990s Movement Task Force held at DAP Hqrs at Petaling Jaya on Thursday 27.8.1987 at 6 p.m.

Call on Cabinet to rescind the decision relaxing rules for civil servants to do business or it will be challenged by the DAP in the budget session of Parliament in October

The government recently relaxed rules for civil servants to engage in business. Under the new Public Services Department directive, civil servants can now set up family-holding companies to administer property – including capital, buildings or land – owned by them and their immediate families. They are also allowed to sit on the boards of these companies subject to certain conditions imposed by their departments.

The relaxation of rules for civil servants to engage in business come at a time when there is the most intense and widespread public concern about the lack of integrity in the public service. There are more and more incidents of conflict-of-interest situations involving high public officials, which the government has failed to give satisfactory explanation or accounting.

The UMBC shares transactions, the EPF shares scandal the Maminco mysterious tin-buying in London, and the latest Norty-South Highway privatization contract, are among the major examples where there is a clear conflict-of-interest situation and which have caused public concern about the standard of public integrity in the country.

Over a week ago, the Trade and Industry Minister, Datin Paduka Rafidah Aziz, returned from the United Kingdom and said that market gossip about corruption in the country is killing potential British investments in Malaysia.

If it is true that “market gossip about corruption” has developed to such a serious stage that a Minister had to warn that it was “killing potential British investment in Malaysia”, the government must bear the full responsibility. This is because it is the government which allowed a condition to be created where “market gossip about corruption” could thrive and flourish.

The DAP had repeatedly called for an open and accountable style of government, which would not allow “Market gossip about corruption” to thrive, for the important economic and financial decisions of government are subject to public accountability and where there would be n conflict-of-interest situations.

It was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who said in United Kingdom to the UMNO Club in January that “We have reached a level where we can no longer trust in people… we live in a society which no longer has any honour.”

It must be the imperative duty of all political leaders in the country to co-operate to ensure that Malaysia again become a nation where people can be trusted, where there s honour in our society, and where “market gossip about corruption” will have no credibility or currency, locally or overseas.

This is not done by relaxing rules for civil servants to do business, for this step will result in even more conflict-of-interest and breach of trust situations. No wonder Tunku Abdul Rahman has come out strongly against the new Public Services Department directive. I call on the DAP will challenge this directive in the October budget session of Parliament.