by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, March 18, 1990:
Challenge to Dr.Mahathir to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to enquire into the funding, the politics of money and corruption of all political parties in the country
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, is recently making a spate of irresponsible, unfounded, wild and weird allegation, the latest being the allegation that Opposition parties are being funded overseas by “foreigners harbouring ill-intentions against the Government.”
There are more and more indications that Dr.Mahathir is worries about the ability of the Barisan Nasional to retain its two-thirds parliamentary majority in the next general elections.
This worry has caused Dr.Mahathir to keep delaying the date for the dissolution of Parliament to call general elections. Now, Dr.Mahathir seems to think that another way to improve the Barisan’s chances in the next general elections is to embark on a systematic campaign to harass and persecute the Opposition parties.
How can the Prime Minister be the purveyor of unsubstantiated and baseless allegations that the Opposition parties a receiving foreign funding, suggesting that Opposition parties are pawns of an international conspiracy to topple the Mahathir government.
Allegations that Barisan Nasional spent hundreds of millions of ringgit in general elections and extorted financial contributions from local and foreign sources
Like Dr.Mahathir, I can similarly say that I have received complaints from DAPSY that UMNO Baru, MCA, Gerakan, MIC have been spending hundreds of millions of ringgit and had used their government positions to force financial contributions from foreign and local sources, and that there is utter corruption in the politics of money in these Barisan component parties. Will the Prime Minister agree that there should be a full investigation into these complaints?
The DAP is not afraid of any investigation as to whether we have received any funding from foreign countries, as the answer is a clear negative.
We have not changed in any manner in our styles of operation. We have had no ‘lavish way of spending’. If there is anything ‘lavish’, it is the support of the people as shown in public response to the Joint Dap-Semangat 46 ceramahs in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. This is what had UMNO Baru worried.
We do not have a World Putra Trade Centre, not even a building like MCA once had, which it lost majority control after a series of criminal breach of trust convictions against top MCA leaders or even a building like the MIC’s.
If the Prime Minister wants to have an investigation into the question of so-called improper funding, the DAP is prepared to fully co-operate, but only on the following conditions:
Full investigations into UMNO Money Politics and in particular on Fleet Group and UEM
The investigation should deal with all aspects of improper funding: whether any funding from overseas; abuse of the positions of political parties in government to extract and extort financial contributions from foreign and local sources (as in the recent revelation in a court case of a $1 million contribution to UMNO Johore and the government interference to stop investigations by the Anti-Corruption Agency); the relationship between privatisation and political contributions to UMNO Baru, MCA, Gerakan and MIC; government abuses in awarding contracts and concessions to companies associated with political parties, the most famous contract being the North-South Highway privatisation contract awarded to the UMNO company, United Engineers Malaysia. There should be a full and thorough investigation into the role and operations of conglomerates like Fleet Group and the UEM stable of companies.
The investigation should inquire into the politics of money in all political parties, both during party elections and when fighting general elections. What is the total expenditure of the Barisan Nasional in each general elections. I have no doubt that the sun runs into hundreds of million of ringgit for each general elections for the Barisan Nasional. Where did all these money come from.
The investigation should be conducted by an independent panel of eminent Malaysians, whose independence, impartiality and integrity are accepted by all political parties. Such a panel should have the powers of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, with untrammeled powers to sub-poena persons to testify and the production of documents.
Such investigations should be conducted in full public proceedings, so that the whole country can follow the inquiry into the question of funding of all political parties- to determine who had been guilty of the politics of money and corruption in Malaysia. This will be an important lesson in Malaysia on the honesty and integrity of politics.
Are UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC prepared to open up their party finances for public investigation?
The DAP is prepared to open up our party finances to be public investigated. Are UMNO Baru, MCA, Gerakan and MIC and oth Barisan component parties equally prepared?
If so, the DAP can enter into discussions with the Prime Minister on the appointment, terms of reference and other details for the establishment of such a Royal Commission of Inquiry into political party finances.
The DAP however will not co-operate if the investigation is one-sided and aimed purely at harassing and persecuting the Opposition parties.