by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 1st February 1992:
DAP calls on ACA to inquire into a Taiwan newspaper report that a Mr. Lim in a local corporation was paid US$12.5 million by China Steel to ‘lobby’ the highest levels of the Malaysian Government to approve its US$3.2 billion steel mill project in Malaysia
A Taiwan newspaper has reported that a Mr. Lim in a local corporation in Malaysia was paid US$12.5 million by China Steel Corporation (CSC) of Taiwan to ‘lobby’ the highest levels of the Malaysian government to approve its US$3.2 billion ($8.6 billion) steel mill project in Malaysia.
The DAP calls on the Anti-Corruption Agency to inquire into this allegation.
The Legislative Yuan of Taiwan resolved on January 13 that China Steel Corporation (CSC) should halt its investment in the joint-venture steel mill in Malaysia unless the Malaysian Government fulfil its promise to grant investment incentives and build a port within four years.
Under the project, Taiwan interests would take up 49 per cent stake comprising 40 per cent by CSC and nine per cent by private Taiwan investors. Local investors led by the Lion Group would hold the remaining 51 per cent.
The integrated steel mill was scheduled for operations in 1995 and was to produce 2.5 million tonnes of crude steel, hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel annually. Most of the output was for the Malaysian market while some would be exported to Taiwan and China.
In the Business Times of 29th January 1992, an official of Taipeh Economic Centre in Kuala Lumpur was reported as denying that Taiwan had scrapped the steel mill project in Malaysia.
The Official said that the project was still on but temporarily postponed until some problems relating to its implementation have been worked out.
Did the Government promise CSC not to allow another steel mill to be established in the next 10 years?
He said that the project – CSC’s first steel mill outside Taiwan – has already been included in the list of major projects to be carried out abroad by the republic.
He said the Taiwanese had anticipated pressures and opposition to the project from certain quarters in Singapore because of the siting of the project in Johore and the pollution that will be caused to the republic and from China.
The Business Times of the same date also quoted an official of the Johore State Government as saying that work has started on clearing the 1,600 ha site in Tanjong Langsat near Pasir Gudang for the project, and that a deep water port will also be built in Tanjung Langsat to service the proposed steel mill which will occupy more than 62 per cent of the site. The remaining 600 ha will be taken up by ancillary industries, mostly to be set up by Taiwanese investors.
This raises the question as to what the International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Chua Jui Ming, really meant when he said on Thursday that the site in Trengganu earmarked for the CSC steel mill project had been given to an Indonesian steel company, Gunawan Iron and Steel Sdn. Bhd. to set up a $1.2 billion steel plant in Trengganu.
Chua also said two days ago that the Malaysian Government would still keep its door open to the CSC for a ‘reasonable period’. However, as the CSC Chairman, Hsiang Chuan-chi, has said in his testimony before the Taiwan Legislative Yuan joint budget and economic committees, said that one of the conditions for the CSC steel mill in Malaysia is the guarantee from the Malaysian Government that it would not allow the establishment of another steel mill in the country within 10 years, an explanation is called for from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry as to whether such a promise had been given to CSC.