The Government investigating funding of opposition parties will be like multi-millionaires investigating how the poor has money to keep body and soul together

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 20th March 1990:

The Government investigating funding of opposition parties will be like multi-millionaires investigating how the poor has money to keep body and soul together

In my letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, I said that for the Barisan Nasional Government to investigate the funding of opposition parties would be like multi-millionaires wanting to investigate how the poor have money to keep their body and soul together!
Ruling parties loaded with unexplained wealth

I wrote:” It cannot do the country’s international image any good for the government to furnish another example of abuse of powers to harass and persecute the political opposition, when those political parties which should be investigated about their sources of funds are the ruling parties, as they are loaded with unexplained wealth.”

In my letter, I pledged the DAP’s full support and co-operation if the Government is prepared to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the funding, the politics of money and corruption in all political parties in Malaysia.

I gave four aspects which should be investigated by the Royal Commission of Inquiry to ascertain whether there had been improper funding of political parties, whether from local or foreign sources. They are:

“Firstly, the Royal Commission should examine one very important aspect of improper political funding and the politics of money-corruption.

“Only on February 28, 1990, a senior Anti-Corruption Agency officer, Encik Zakaria Mohamed Esa, testified in the Kuala Lumpur High Court in a defamation suit that he was directed to stop investigations and close the case of a million-dollar corruption case against UMNO Johore and the then Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, in 1982.

“Last November, I raised in Parliament the police report about another million-dollar UMNO Baru Johore scandal involving the grant of a logging concession in Muar by the Johore State Government in 1988.

“The people also want to know the truth of the allegation by London Observer that UMNO Baru received $300 million for the coming general elections from the $4 billion British arms purchase deal.

“An inquiry is also called for to investigate the connection between the tens of millions of ringgit of losses suffered by KOBENA and UMNO Baru Youth.

“Secondly, such a Royal Commission of Inquiry should investigate into the funding of political parties through privatisation and award of government contracts to companies controlled or owned by political parties, in particular UMNO’s investment arms, Fleet Holdings and Hatibudi.

North South Highway contract to UEM: Blatant example of abuse of power

The Royal Commission can use the book, “UMNO’s Corporate Investments” written by Edmund Terence Gomez, as a basis for its investigations, and pay particular attention to the following major findings of the study on UMNO’s politics of money:

“It is clear from the case studies that the development of all UMNO’s investment arms are primarily attributable to government patronage. The recent government policy of privatisation, in particular, has been especially favourable for Fleet Holdings and Hatibudi. Two notable example in the case of Fleet Holdings are: the award of the licence for the country’s only private television network (TV3) to Fleet Group
in 1983, and more recently the award of the licence for the country’s second mobile telephone service to Celcom, a joint-venture company in which Fleet Group has a 49 per cent stake. In the case of Hatibudi, the award of the $3.4 billion North-South Highway project, to UEM, Hatibudi’s main publicly-listed company, is the most blatant example of abuse of government patronage. Other major privatised projects have been contracted to UEM, e.g. the National Sports Complex consultancy project and the Peninsular Gas Utilisation (PGU) Phase II management consultancy project.” (p.167)

“Thirdly, the Royal Commission of Inquiry should look into the politics of money in all party elections of all political parties.

“Fourthly, there should be investigation into the monies spent by the political parties during general elections. The Prime Minister said UMNO Youth had complained about foreign funding of opposition parties. I wish to tell the YAB that DAPSY had complained that the Barisan Nasional spent hundreds of millions of ringgit during the general elections.

In my letter to the Prime Minister asking a meeting, I stressed that the establishment of a Riyal Commission of Inquiry to conduct public investigations into improper finding of political parties will do a great good to raise public integrity and check political corruption.