Call on MCA leadership to accept not only moral, but also political and legal responsibility by getting the best deal for the 50,398 KSM-MPHBIF unitholders

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Kampar Branch anniversary dinner held at Kampar on Saturday, 31st March 1990 at 8pm

Call on MCA leadership to accept not only moral, but also political and legal responsibility by getting the best deal for the 50,398 KSM-MPHBIF unitholders

Some commentators have described my meeting with the MCA President, Datuk Dr.Ling Liong Sik, at the MCA Headquarters last Tuesday on the KSM-MPHBIF issue as a ‘farce’, with one commentator accusing Liong Sik and myself of having no sincerity and no intention to resolve the problem of the 50,398 KSM-MPHBIF unitholders.

Firstly, it was no fault of the DAP that my meeting with Liong Sik at the MCA Headquarters had to be broken up before we could jointly discuss how best to protect the interests of the 50,398 unitholders, for it was the MCA Rambos like MCA National Treasurer, William Chek and Deputy Secretary-General, Chua Jui Meng, and others who turned the meeting into a ‘free-for-all’ shouting match to break up the meeting.

However, I had gone to the MCA Headquarters with one clear and specific purpose: to convince or shame Liong Sik and the MCA leadership to abandon its irresponsible and immoral stand of refusing to ensure that the 50,398 unitholders get the best possible price through the sale en bloc of their MPHB shares at premium price.

Only ‘politicising the issue’ by applying political pressures could MCA leadership be forced to change its irresponsible and immoral stand

I regard my visit to MCA Headquarters as most productive, for the actions of the MCA Rambos further highlighted how immoral and irresponsible the MCA leaders were to abandon the best interests of the 50,398 unitholders. The political pressure created by the visit of the DAP leaders to the MCA Headquarters forced the MCA top leadership to convene an emergency meeting and do an about-turn to adopt the DAP proposals.

Many people like to say that issues should not be ‘politicised’ and the same thing has been said about the KSM-MPHBIF issue. I have never been able to understand what such statements are supposed to mean. There is no doubt that if not for intense political pressure in this case, the MCA leadership would never change its irresponsible and immoral stand on the KSM-MPHBID issue.

Is this ‘politicising’ the issue? Invariably, if it is examined carefully, we will find that those who talk about ‘not politicising the issue’ only want to avoid their political responsibility, and do not want the application of political pressures, which is probably the only means to effect changes in attitudes, positions and policies by political leaders, political parties or by the Government.

DAP’s adoption of MCA Presidency and other important MCA party positions and Cabinet posts is producing results

Three weeks ago, I announced that the DAP was adopting the MCA Presidency, the MCA Deputy Presidency and other senior MCA party positions and MCA Cabinet posts for it was clear that these MCA leaders do not know what are their real duties and responsibility, and how to go about performing them.

The KSM-MPHBIF issue is a good example. The MCA President himself did not know that his duty must lay with the 50,398 unitholders and that the MCA should support the sale of the 147.98 million NOHB shares en bloc to fetch a premium price, and not to insist on their individual retail sale on the market at very mush lower prices.

Finally, the DAP leaders had to go to the MCA Headquarters on Tuesday to educate the MCA President and the entire MCA leadership what they should do to protect the best interests of the 50,398 unitholders, who were all loyal MCA members.

The DAP had to tell them that ten cents of price difference in the sale of the 147.98 million MPHB shares would mean a loss of $15 million to the unitholders, while a $1 price difference would the colossal loss of $150 million to the 50,398 unitholders. Was Liong Sik and the MCA leadership prepared to reimburse this colossal loss of the unitholders?

Although Liong Sik and his MCA Rambos resisted being educated on Tuesday, the correctness and wisdom of the DAP’s line finally forced the MCA leadership to reverse Liong Sik’s public stand and adopt the DAP proposals.

I will sat therefore that the DAP’s ‘adoption’ of the MCA Presidency and other senior MCA party positions and Cabinet posts have produced good results. But what have the MCA Ministers and leaders to show fir their ‘adopting’ DAP parliamentary constituencies?

I am glad that after the Tuesday session at the MCA Headquarters, the MCA national leadership has accepted that it has a ‘moral responsibility’ to the 50,398 unitholders, which was repeated by Datuk Lee Kim Sai word for word two days ago.

However, I want to call on the MCA leadership to accept not only moral, but also political and legal responsibility, to the 50,398 unitholders to ensure that they get the best price and do not suffer undue loss of their, 10-year investment in KSM-MPHBIF.

MCA leadership should reimburse the unitholders for any undue loss in their 10-year investment
The MCA leadership was owes the 50,398 unitholders both political and legal responsibility because it was the MCA as a political party which appealed to the 50,398 unitholders to invest their hard-earned life-savings in the KSM-Multi-Purpose Investment Fund in 1981 to protect the MCA’s investment arm, from any possible take-over. The unitholders were promised that the MPHB would be worth $2 a share, and later, there was the famous London telephone call urging MPHB shareholders not to sell amidst MCA-inspired tips that the MPHB will be worth $10 a share.

As a said in my paper on “Position and Proposal with regard to KSM-MPHBIF” which I handed to Liong Sik at MCA Headquarters on Tuesday, this beautifully-conceived plan collapsed as it did not take into account that the danger could come from the rot inside the KSM, MPHB and MCA as well. The KSM and MPHB were managed to serve factional warfare in MCA< rather than to serve the interests of the KSM co-operative members and depositors or the MPHB shareholders. As a result, KSM ended up in receivership and KSM’s 28.9 per cent in MPHB was taken over by Kamunting Corporation Bhd. The MCA leadership has both political and legal responsibility not only to see that the 50,398 unitholders get the best price in any sale of the 19.7 per cent stake of MPHB, but that the unitholders do not suffer any undue losses from their 10-year investment because of the breach of trust of the KSM, MPHB and MCA. The KSM unitholders paid $2 for a share of MPHB 10 years ago. After 10 years of investment, what should their investment be worth, if the KSM and MPHB had been managed with moderate efficiency and competence? This amount should be worked out, and the MCA leadership must bear political land legal responsibility by reimbursing the unitholders for this case. Is the MCA leadership responsible enough to assume this loss of the unitholders? Kim Sai should not pass the buck to the Receivers, as the responsibility rests firmly with MCA leadership This is why I find the attitude shown by Datuk Lee Kim Sai when announcing that the MCA leadership has adopted the DAP proposals two days ago far from satisfactory and responsible. Kim Sai adopted the DAP proposal and said that the KSM Receivers, Price Waterhouse, should amend its court application so that the Manager of the Investment Fund has the power to sell the 147.98 million shares en bloc. He said he had asked his secretary to inform the Receiver, Khoo Eng Choo, and left it to the Receivers to decide what it wants to do. This is not taking the MCA’s moral, political and legal responsibility to the 50,398 unitholders seriously. I get the impression that Kim Sai is passing the buck of getting the best deal for the unitholders to the KSM Receivers, when the responsibility must rest firmly and finally with the MCA leadership. The MCA leaders and Ministers should discuss with the Receivers and get the Receivers to do what is in the best interest of the unitholders. Or is the MCA leadership now on a warpath with the KSM Receivers because of what Liong SIk had said about Khoo Eng Choo last Tuesday? The MCA leadership owes the 50,398 unitholders as a full and public explanation of its stand on the various issues are raised.