Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Prai by-election ceramah held at Taman Senangi, Prai on Friday, July 19 at 9 p.m.
Going by Mahathir’s logic that Tan Sri Osman Aroff need not be held responsible for the $71 million Masjid Tanah ammunition depot scandal, then there is no need for the DAP leadership to accept Asamaley’s resignation as Prai Assemblyman
In winding up the Sixth Malaysia Plan debate in Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, came out with the startling stand that the Kedah Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Osman Aroff, need not be responsible or accountable for his actions.
I had demanded that Tan Sri Osman Aroff should compensate the Federal Government the $30 million that has to be spent to repair the ammunition depot or resign as Kedah Mentri Besar, because he was the director and shareholder of the company, Sri Kinabalu Sdn. Bhd., which was awarded the contract for the ammunition depot.
I am shocked that Dr. Mahathir, who always preach the importance of political responsibility and accountability, also always repudiates the principle of political responsibility and accountability whenever Barisan Nasional leaders are implicated in political, financial and moral scandals.
Dr. Mahathir gave two reasons why Tan Sri Osman Aroff need not be held responsible or accountable for the Masjid Tanah ammunition depot scandal.
Firstly, that Tan Sri Osman was not an active director. As Dr. Mahathir said: “Seperti biasa ia telah meminjamkan namanya dengan harapan mendapat sedikit-sebanyak pendapatan. Seperti juga ramai peniaga bukan Melayu menjadikan orang Melayu sebagai pengarah syarikat kerana ingin memberi gambaran bahawa mereka patuhi Dasar Ekonomi Baru.”
I find this admission most shocking. The Prime Minister, Barisan Nasional Minister, Mentri-Mentri Besar and Chief Ministers had been scolding the Malays for having a subsidy or dependence syndrome, and allowing their names to be used in Ali-Baba enterprises where the ‘Ali’ just used his name without contributing anything to the enterprise.
Now, we find the Prime Minister admitting that the Kedah Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Osman Aroff, was exactly such a Malay with a subsidy syndrome, and was a practitioner of the ‘Ali-Baba’ concept which the UMNO leaders are find of publicly criticising.
With such a background, what credibility and integrity has Tan Sri Osman Aroff to continue as Kedah Mentri Besar?
Why the DAP is different from the Barisan Nasional
The second reason given by Dr. Mahathir was that it was not a director’s duty to ascertain whether sufficient cement was used in a construction project. I agree that this should be the job of the construction supervisor, but the director must bear final responsibility.
When the ammunition depot was sub-standard and a hazard to public life and safety, creating the $71 million ammunition depot scandal, it is ridiculous looking for the site supervisor, for the directors must be held responsible and accountable.
Going by Dr. Mahathir’s claim that Tan Sri Osman Aroff need not be held responsible and accountable for the $71 million ammunition depot scandal. Then no one in the Barisan Nasional need fear any involvement in political, financial and moral scandals.
Based on Dr. Mahathir’s logic, there was no need for the DAP Central Executive Committee to accept the resignation of S. Asamaley as Prai Assemblyman, resulting inn a Prai by-election.
But the DAP is different from the Barisan Nasional, for we take the question of political integrity, morality, accountability and responsibility seriously – and Dr. Mahathir’s defence of Tan Sri Osman Aroff for his involvement in the Masjid Tanah ammunition depot in Parliament yesterday is proof that the Barisan Nasional government has very low standards on the question of political integrity, morality, accountability and responsibility.
This is why the DAP has made the question of political integrity, morality, accountability and responsibility a central issue in the Prai by-election, especially as the political, financial and moral standards in the next ten years under the Second Outline Perspective Plan (OPP) and the National Development Policy 1990-2000 will be more and involve greater public funds than in the 20 years under the New Economic Policy.