by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, August 24, 1990:
DAP calls on the Government to issue a White Paper on the handling of the UMNO properties and assets, and its billion-dollar debts, by the Official Assignee, Salmah Abdul Rahman.
One of the most unsatisfactory and deplorable acts of the Barisan Nasional government is its handling of the UMNO properties and assets following the deregistration of UMNO, after the Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had refused to save UMNO although he had adequate powers under the Societies Act.
Up to now, the handling of the UMNO properties and assets by the Official Assignee is surrounded
by secrecy and mystery, and totally without public accountability.
According to a report by the Asian Wall Street Journal yesterday, the total loans chalked up by Dr.
Mahathir’s UMNO could be as much as $1 billion, or about twice previous estimates.
It is for this reason that UMNO embarked on the massive Renong deal, where a little-known Renong
Bhd, is to assume control of UMNO’s vast corporate assets in one of the largest, financial arrange-ments in the country’s history, transforming Renong into one of the biggest investment-holding companies in South East Asia, with control¬ling interests in eight publicly-listed concerns and dozens of unlist¬ed companies.
It has been estimated that the Renong deal will generate $440 million in cash for UMNO.
Earlier this month, Renong announced that the relevant government authorities had approved every significant aspect of the $1.2 billion, transaction.
The most significant issue is how could the Government, through the Official Assignee, Salmah Abdul Rahman, approve the sale of the UMNO properties to enable the Renong deal to be arranged, when the whole question of the rightful successors to the UMNO properties and assets had not been settled legally. Secondly, in view of its dubious and highly-questionable legal basis, how could the various relevant government authorities give approval for the Renong deal.
For this reason, the DAP calls on the Government to issue a White Paper on the handling of the UMNO assets and properties, and its $1 billion debt, by the Official Assignee.
The $1 billion UMNO debt is believed to comprise (i) about $350 million owed by the Fleet Group, primarily to Bank Bumiputra and Malayan Banking; (ii) the estimated $450 million to $500 million in
bank loans and interest payments – more than two-thirds of which was borrowed from Bank Bumiputra
– for the Putra World Trade Centre; and (iii) the additional $100 million or more in loans issued to its numerous branch and divisional headquarters.