Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Joint DAP-Semangat 46 Dinner held at Kapar, Selangor on Saturday, July 7, 1990 at 10 p.m.
Lee Kim Sai was paid his full salary and allowances and enjoyed a grand and prolonged holiday at taxpayers’ expense when he ran away to Australia for three months to escape Operation Lalang arrest
MCA Deputy President Datuk Lee Kim Sai’s political capital is that he is a person who ‘dares to speak and dares to get angry’. But his political record does not really match such a political reputation he is building for himself.
The incident which showed up Kim Sai’s real character is the Operation Lalang mass arrests in October 1987 when Kim Sai ran away to Australia to seek refuge to avoid detention under the Internal Security Act.
Kim Sai had subsequently sought to create the myth that he left for Australia as a quid pro quo for the cancellation of the half-a-million strong UMNO Rally at Stadium Merdeka on Nov. 1, 1987, when everybody knows that the reason the UMNO Rally was called off was because it was no more necessary with the mass detention of 106 Opposition leaders and government critics.
Kim Sai also sought to paint a picture of the hardships he underwent when he sought ‘refuge’ in Australia, to the extent, according to him, that he had to sleep on the floorboards in his son’s house in Australia.
I still do not know whether Kim Sai’s son was so unfilial and so badly brought up that he made the father sleep on the floorboard while the son slept in comfort in his bed.
However, the picture Kim Sai wanted to create was that he suffered great hardships and privations when he was overseas for three months, and that he was not having a grand holiday.
But the truth is now out, that Kim Sai was enjoying a grand and prolonged holiday overseas at taxpayers expense during the three months he was overseas to escape Operation Lalang, and that he did not suffer any hardships or privations – and there was no reason why he should sleep on the floorboards in his son’s house.
During the whole three-month period that Kim Sai ran overseas to escape Operation Lalang arrest, he was paid every cent of Ministerial salary, MP’s allowance, as well as the numerous and fantastic allowances which a Minister is entitled when he is overseas, even for holidays.
In the June meeting of Parliament, I submitted a question to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, asking whether Kim Sai was paid his Ministerial salary and allowances during the whole period beginning form 27th October 1987, when he ran away to escape Operation Lalang detention, until he resumed his duties as Minister on his return to the country, and for details of these Ministerial salary and allowances he enjoyed.
This is the reply from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Haji Sulaiman Daud, which I have just received:
‘Ahli Yang Berhormat dari Hulu Langat (Lim Kim Sai) telah diberi kelulusan untuk mengambil cuti panjang mulai 27 Oktober 1987 oleh Y. A. B. Perdana Menteri. Semasa Ahli Yang Berhormat itu bercuti, beliau telah dibayar:-
(b) elaun keraian;
(c) elaun sewa rumah;
(d) elaun kakitangan isi rumah; dan
(e) elaun drebar;
‘Di samping gaji dan elaun-elaun diatas, beliau juga dibayar elaun sara hidup dan bayaran tambang kapal terbang semasa bercuti seberang laut mengikut kelayakan seorang Menteri’.
This means that Kim Sai made the taxpayers pay for his flight to Australia to escape arrest under Operation Lalang.
And what are these ‘elaun sara hidup…semasa bercuti seberang laut mengikut kelayakan seorang Menteri’?
I had another question for the Prime Minister last month to ask for details of the allowances and claims a Minister is entitled to when he is overseas? These are the allowances and claims which a Minister overseas is entitled to claim:
(i) elaun hidup harian;
(ii) perbelanjaan makan;
(iii) bayaran sewa hotel;
(iv) tambang pengangkutan awam, jika tidak menggunakan kereta resmi;
(v) bayaran telefon dan telegram atas urusan rasmi;
(vi) belanja dobi;
(vii) bayaran cukai lapangan terbang;
(viii) bayaran “excess baggage” untuk barang-barang rasmi;
(ix) bayaran tempat letak kereta dan tol;
(x) 3% daripada jumlah tuntutan perjalanan sebagai ganti pertukaran mata wang asing;
(xi) bayaran ‘tips’.
In actual terms, how much was Kim Sai drawing when he was holidaying in Australia and other countries, while 106 Opposition leaders and government critics were languishing in the police lock-ups and detention centres?
This is what Kim Sai was drawing monthly when he was ‘sleeping on the floorboards in his son’s house’:
Ministerial Salary $6,500
MP Allowance $3,000
Entertainment Allowance $4,000
Housing Allowance $4,000
House-help Allowance $2,000
A Minister while overseas would also be able to claim subsistence allowance of about $200 a day, entertainment allowance of about $100 a day, full reimbursement for hotel and food bills, and other allowances totalling from $1,000 to $2,000 a day which a Minister could claim.
How could Kim Sai claim that he had suffered in such circumstances when he escaped to Australia from the Operation Lalang detention? With this type of ‘suffering and hardship’, I am sure every Malaysian would like to have a similar opportunity to sleep on the ‘floorboards’ in Australia.