Challenge to Liong Sik to support a campaign for political reform to clean Malaysia of money politics and corruption

Statement (Part 3) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Emperor Hotel, Malacca on Saturday, 10th July 1993 at 10 a.m.

Challenge to Liong Sik to support a campaign for political reform to clean Malaysia of money politics and corruption

I want to take this opportunity to challenge the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, to support a campaign for political reform to clean Malaysia of money politics of corruption.

For a start, are Liong Sik and the MCA Ministers prepared to publicly declare their family assets to demonstrate that they have nothing to hide as far a personal integrity is concerned?

All over Asia, there is an ‘uprising’ against corrupt politics.

In Japan, for the first time in 38 years, there is a prospect for the first real change, in Tokyo’s leadership as a result of the collapse of the Japanese Government because of the public revulsion against politics of money.

In South Korea, the first civilian president in three decades, Kim Young-sam is waging a clean-up of awesome proportions and some 3,000 Government officials, businessmen and politicians have been fired, reprimanded or jailed on bribery charges.

In Taiwan, a new so-called “sun-shine law” had just been enacted requiring some 23,000 civil servants, military officers and judges to report their family assets. Nearly 1,000 ranking officials must do so publicly, while 629 top political leaders, including the president, the premier and members of the cabinet and all legislators, must deposit their financial holdings in blind trusts.

Demands for clean politics and the rooting out of corruption in public life have also become significant forces in Thailand and the Philippines.

Malaysia appears to be going against the trend in Asia and the world to clean up politics and this unhealthy process must be reversed.

It is open secret that the Anti-Corruption Agency does not have the power or authority to take action against those in high political places, and we have political leaders like the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri. Rahim Tamby Cik, who could not account for his excessive wealth which is not commensurate with his salary and income.

I challenge Liong Sik to prove that the MCA leadership is committed to a clean and incorrupt political system, by supporting the DAP in the coming meeting of Parliament starting on July 19 to demand for laws which stipulates the following:

1. Requiring all politicians from the Prime Minister downwards to publicly declare their family assets;

2. Enactment of an entirely new Anti-Corruption Act in the coming meeting of Parliament, which begins on July 19 to give full powers for the fight against corruption;

3. Elevation of the status of Anti-Corruption Agency to take it out of the Prime Minister’s Department and make it answerable only to Parliament;

4. Establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on Corruption which should be headed by the Opposition to monitor and supervise the Anti-Corruption Agency;

5. Full investigations into all government leaders who have excessive wealth, beginning with the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik.

Kim Sai has become a ‘dish’ in the politics of menu of Liong Sik I do not expect Liong Sik to have the political integrity to respond to my challenge.

I do not expect Liong Sik to have the political integrity to respond to my challenge.

At present, Liong Sik thinks he has become so powerful in MCA that Lee Kim Sai has only become a ‘dish’ in his politics of menu in MCA.

It is really pathetic to see the abject condition Kim Sai had been reduced to, demoted two grades with his removal as MCA Selangor State Chairman and Chairman of the MCA Disciplinary Committee completely powerless and friendless in the top echeleons of MCA leadership.

What is more humiliating is that he is pounced and attacked by Liong Sik’s lieutenants in the MCA Central Committee when Kim Sai tried to ask the MCA President the reason for the new line-up for the MCA State Chairmen.

Kim Sai will never- imagine that he would be lectured by those who are his juniors in the Central Committee, warning him not to talk too much and not to think too greatly that he got 1,700 votes in the MCA party elections – more than the votes cast for Liong Sik.

I would advise Kim Sai to resign the MCA Deputy President’s post and even that of the Cabinet Minister so that he could end his political career with some honour and dignity. Of all the MCA national leaders, Kim Sai is the only one who had some public respect. If Kim Sai is prepared to swallow his honour and self-respect just to be able to be a Federal Minister for another year – which could be less if general election is called earlier – he is only ending the final part of his political career in dishonour.

My advice to Kim Sai is: Give up your posts as Federal Minister and MCA Deputy President, for it is more honourable to ‘stand up and die than to kneel down and live.

It will be very sad if the only ‘lion’ of MCA should prefer-to ‘kneel down and live1 rather than to ‘stand up and die’!