Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP PJ Hqrs on Tuesday, 27th March 1990 at 2.30 p.m.
MCA planned the break-up of the KSM-MPHBIF meeting at MCA hqrs today to avoid making a commitment that MCA leadership fully support the sale of the 148 million MPHB shares in one block to get highest premium price for the best interest of the 50,398 unitholders
I regret that the MCA leadership had planned the break-up of the KSM-MPHBIF meeting between myself and Ling Liong Sik.
It is now clear that Dr.Ling Liong Sik had not planned to have a full and sincere discussion of the KSM-MPHBIF issue as to how the best interests of the 50,398 unitholders could be best served by getting the highest price for the 148 million MPHB shares.
He had planned to make allegations against me in his opening remarks, accusing me of ‘evil motives’ to create confusion among the 50,398 unitholders, so that they would oppose the ‘share-for-share’ exchange scheme and, in Liong Sik’s words “delay the distribution of the MPHB shares by five years so that the 50,398 unitholders would not get their money.”
It is also Liong Sik’s plan to break off the meeting a public commitment by the MCA leadership that it fully supports the sale of the 148 million MPHB shares in one block to fetch the highest premium price in the best interest of the 50,398 unitholders.
Liong Sik and the MCA leadership know that this is what I would be pressing at the meeting today. If Liong Sik is sincere in wanting to serve the best interests of the 50,398 unitholders, he could openly make this commitment and there would be no differences between the MCA and DAP about the distribution of the 148 million MPHB shares.
Why is Liong Sik and the MCA leadership finding it so hard to take such a simple position in the best interest of the 50,398 unitholders?
This is the crux of the whole issue. Liong Sik was being utterly irresponsible when he said tat my design was to destroy the ‘share-for-share’ exchange formula, so that the unitholders could get their MPHB shares would be delayed for five years and the 50,398 unitholders would not get their money.
I have right from the beginning declared that I support the ‘share-for-share’ exchange so that the unitholders could get their MPHB shares. So the allegation that I want to frustrate and destroy the ‘share-for-share’ exchange is wild and baseless.
What I disagree is the MCA national leadership’s irresponsible attitude in leaving the 50,398 unitholders to sell their 148 million MPHB shares in the market, which will be at a very much lower price than they are sold in one block at premium price.
I am calling this conference to answer the statement and allegations made by Liong Sik in his opening remark, which I was stopped from doing at the MCA Headquarters by a coterie of MCA ‘Rambos’ led by Chua Jui Meng, Deputy MCA Secretary General.
Firstly, I want to express my shock that a party with self-respect and dignity couldgo so low to plan to have such a disgraceful scene in their very own headquarters.
I had yesterday thought of the possibility that certain irresponsible elements would want to create scenes and confusion, and even organise some demonstrations with people yelling abuses at the four-men DAP delegation when we arrived at the MCA Hqrs. But I thought the MCA President, Datuk Dr.Ling Liong Sik, would have enough sense of self-decency and self-dignity to stop such rowdy scenes. My judgement have been proved wrong, for Liong Sik was clearly fully privy to the whole episode in MCA Hqrs today.
I am very surprised that at a meeting which was supposed to be between Liong Sik and myself, small fries in the MCA like Ng Kah Ting, the Political Secretary to Ling Liong Sik, could override the MCA President, showing that the MCA President could not handle the situation and needed his Political Secretary’s help.
At many times at the meeting, when u suggested that we should follow the proper procedures of meeting and have decorum, Liong Sik was clearly at a loss.
The most shocking is that Chua Jui Meng could openly lie at the meeting. He said that I had this morning admitted that my question about three companied having shown interest in buying over the 19.7 per cent stake of MPHB shares was wrongly directed to Liong Sik, when I never made any such admission.
When he was challenged to replay the tape, he just ignored the challenge and repeated the lie. Liong Sik just looked on when Chua Jui Meng continued to repeat the lie. This prompted my publicly calling Chua Jui Meng a ‘liar’ to which Jui Meng kept quiet.
I want here to comment on Liong Sik’s reply to my eight questions addressed to him on Sunday, 18th March 1990. I had told him I had in fact asked him a total of4 questions, and whether he wanted to answer the other six first before I commented on them. Liong Sik declined, clearly planning to break up the meeting on the first question itself.
My first question to Liong Sik on 18th was whether there were three locally incorporated public listed companies which were interested in buying the strategic block of 19.7 per cent stake in the MPHB at over $2 per share, but which was opposed by Kamunting and vetoed by MCA Presidentm Datuk Dr.Ling Liong Sik.
Liong Sik said he had not been informed by the Receivers that three companies were interested in the 19.7 per cent stake of shares, and claimed that he phoned up KSM Receiver Khoo Eng Choo about his announcement, and Khoo Eng Choo said he had been misquoted in the newspapers. A denial by Khoo Eng Choo himself in the Press contradicting his own statement that there were three companies
interested in the 19.7 per cent stake of MPHB is needed, for the claim by Liong Sik is not good enough.
Liong Sik said it was ‘absolutely false and untrue’ that he had vetoed the interest of the three companies to acquire the 19.7 per cent stake in MPHB. I said I accept his denial on its face value at the present time.
On whether it was not true that under the present arrangement, where the unitholders are left to redeem their investment by selling off the MPHB shares in the open market, the MPHB price would be depressed by the dumping of 148 million MPHB shares, Liong Sik said the MCA was not forcing the unitholders to sell on the market and that they are allowed to decide to keep the shares.
This is evading the question. Nobody says that the unitholders would be forced to sell their MPHB shares. But when all the unitholders want to redeem their investment after 10 years and release their 140 million MOHB shares on the market, the MPHB price is sure to take a nose-dive to the great detriment of the unitholders. Dr.Ling’s refusal to face up to this question shows that he has something to hide.
To my question whether it was not true that if a company succeeded in buying up the strategic block of 19.7 per cent stake of MPHB, it would be in a very favourable position to take over and acquire Kamunting itself, Liong Sik said this was “another piece of speculation”. This is again dishonest. I said in my opening statement this morning that the Multi-Purpose Group of companies control 60 to 65 per cent of Kamunting. Why is Liong Sik denying this?
To my questions whether Kamunting had promised to reserve the position of Kamunting Chairman at a salary of $35,000 to a top MCA leader, and whether all the MCA national leaders would make a solemn public pledge on oath that they would never take up paid positions in Kamunting, Liong Sik asked for the name of the top MCA leader saying that MCA would sack him, but adroitly avoided the question about public pledges on oath by MCA leaders not to take up any future appointment with Kamunting.
To my eighth question whether it was not true that “there are no insuperable fiddiculties for the receivers to apply for a court order to empower them to receiver the highest offer for the block of 19.7% of MPHB shares on behalf of the Investment unitholders, and to distribute the proceeds of the sale of the whole block of shares at a premium price to the unitholders”, Liong Sik’s reply was a strange one that “he had no knowledge that the KSM Receivers were trying to do this.” It shows a MCA President who is really not interested in working for the best deal for the 50,398 unitholders by securing the highest price for MPHB shares for them.
Liong Sik asked since when I had developed an interest and concern for MCA members. The DAP had always differentiated between MCA leaders and the MCA members. Often, the MCA members were made victims by the MCA leaders, as in the co-operatives scandal and MPHB fiasco. DAP leaders have often regarded it as our duty to speak up for the rights of all Malaysians, including MCA members, so our concern for the rights of the 50,398 unitholders to ensure that they get the best deal for their 10-year investments is nothing new.
I hope the MCA leaders would stop subordinating the interests of the 50,398 unitholders to the interests of the MCA political leadership, for whatever reason and motive. If the MCA leaders are prepared to agree with my proposal that the 148 million MPHB shares should be sold in one block to fetch the highest price for the 50,398 unitholders, I would be the first to commend them.