Societies Amendment Bill is second bill this meeting where Parliament is being used to serve UMNO Baru’s party interests

Speech by Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, August 3, 1993 on the Societies Amendment Bill 1993

Societies Amendment Bill is second bill this meeting where Parliament is being used to serve UMNO Baru’s party interests

Societies Amendment Bill is second bill this meeting where Parliament is being used to serve UMNO Baru’s party interests.

The first was the Constitution Amendment Bill (No.3) 1993 where the Federal Constitution was amended just to allow 75-year-old Tun Mustapha to become Federal Minister for Sabah Affairs without having to resign his Usukan Sabah State Assembly seat as UMNO Baru is afraid of losing in the resulting by election.

The Societies Amendment Bill is the second bill purely to serve UMNO Baru’s interests, to get its hand on the property of UMNO which was deregistered in February 1988.

The manner the leaders of UMNO and UMNO Baru had accumulated properties and assets running into billions of ringgit is the best example of the politics of patronage, conflict-of-interest and corruption, where laws could be bent or broken with impunity.

The first property which the UMNO Baru leaders would be able to lay their hands on after the passage of the Societies Amendment Bill would be the Putra World Trade Centre – which is in fact the best example of how political power had blocked the ordinary operations of the marketplace. Together with interests, Putra World Trade Centre must be debts to the banks between RM400 to RM500 million.

However, only political power or to be more correct, political blackmail, could stop the various dates set for the auction of Putra World Trade Centre.

After the passage of this Societies Amendment Bill, when UMNO Baru has regained ownership of Putra World Trade Centre, I am sure some mega-privatisation exercises would be arranged to enable UMNO Baru or its proxies to redeem Putra World Trade Centre from the creditor banks- but this privatisation would not be a genuine privatisation, but would fall into one of the two categories of either ‘piratisation’ or ‘insider privatisation’.

Even before this bill had been brought to this House to enable UMNO Baru to take over all the properties and assets of UMNO deregistered in February 1988, the government had already committed considerable abuses of power and violation of the laws.

Sale of UMNO companies and shares after they had been taken over by Official Assignee illegal and a gross abuse of power by the Government

The Government, for instance, should explain how it could authorise the sale of UMNO companies and shares after they had been taken over by the Official Assignee in February 1988, without any judicial order or authority?

I will give one example. Following the de-registration of UMNO in February 1990, the Official Assignee took over Fleet Group. UMNO’s main investment arm, as well as other UMNO companies like Hatibudi, which had acquired a significant stake in United Engineers Malaysia (UEM), which was then awarded the privatised (or to be correct, piratised’) North-South Highway project.

The shareholders of Hatibudi were Halim Saad and Anuar Othman, who held the shareholdings in trust for UMNO leaders. This was admitted by Halim Saad in a court affidavit in my case in 1987 where I had won a High Court injunction to stop the award of the North-South Highway privatisation contract to UEM on grounds of conflict-of-interest of UMNO leaders.

Halim Saad lost control of Hatibudi (and thus the UEM share) when it was taken over by the Official Assignee. In June 1989, the Official Assignee sold Hatibudi’s significant stake in UEM to Hatibudi Nominees, which was also controlled by Halim Saad and Anuar Othman.

What authority did the Official Assignee’s office have to approve the sale of the UEM shares of UMNO to Hatibudi Nominees, without judicial authorisation?

As Halim Saad and Anuar Othman had held their shareholdings in Hatibudi as trustees for UMNO leaders, surely, they must be fronting for UMNO leaders when they brought over the UEM shares as shareholders of Hatibudi Nominees from the Official Assignee. What is the price of this sale of the UEM shares by Halim Saad and Anuar Othman to themsevles and why did the Official Assignee approve this sale, instead of offering them for sale by open tender or auction?

Clearly, the Official Assignee was forced to act illegally as a result of improper pressure from the Government, and in this case, it can only be the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who exercised direct jurisdiction over the Official Assignee’s office in his capacity as Minister for Home Affairs.

The same applies to the illegal approval given by the Official Assignee for the Renong take-over of Fleet Group in April 1990, which should have required a court order.

The reverse take-over of Fleet Group Sdn.Bhd. and Hatibudi Nominees Sdn. Bhd. By Renong late April 1990 resulted in the control of a significant number of private limited companies and eight major publicly-listed companies – the New Straits Times Press (NSTP), Sistem Televisyen Malaysia (M) Bhd. (TV3), Bank of Commerce, Hume Industries, Time Engineering, Cement Industries of Malaysia (CIMA), Kinta Kellas and UEM. This mega-corporate exercise, estimated to be worth RM1.2 billion, was one of the biggest corporate exercises in the country.

DAP call for public inquiry into the RM400 million 25 million missing ‘UEM’ shares in 1990, to find out whether they had been sold and misappropriated to fund UMNO’s 1990 General Elections

Not only is this Renong takeover of Fleet Group, which has been taken over by the Official Assignee, improper and illegal, there is also the scandal of the 25 miliion “missing” UEM shares.

These shares, together with $37.5 million UEM convertible unsecured loan stock (CULS), were originally held by Hatibudi Sdn. Bhd. Openly acknowledged as an UMNO company controlled through proxies, Halim Saad and Anuar Othman. When UMNO was de-registered in February 1988, control of Hatibudi and its interests in UEM were taken over by the Official Assignee’s Office.

Later, without judicial authority ar a court order, Htibudi’s UEM shares and $37.5 million of CULS were illegally sold off by the Official Assignee to Hatibudi Nominees, whose directors were also Halim Saad and Ahuar Othman. The $37.5 million CULS were later bought by Time Engineering Bhd. From Hatibudi Nominees in a reverse takeover. The 25 million UEM shares were presumbly left under Hatibudi Nominees control. However, when the Renong takeover of Hatibudi Nominees was announced, there was no mention of these UEM shares, though the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange listing regulations clearly stipulate that the movement of such a substantial number of shares must be reported.

What has happened to these 25 million “missing” UEM shares? Have they been secretly sold off, may be to fund UMNO’s 1990 general elections campaign?

In early 1990, the value of UEM was around RM 16 a share, and 25 million UEM shares would have fetch RM400 million.

Such a sale of the 25 million “missing” UEM shares would be a gross violation of the law – and it would be another example where the game warden has become the poacher, where Harapkan Pagar, Pagar Makan Padi.

DAP calls for a public inquiry into this RM 400 million 25 million “missing” UEM shares in 1990 and to find out whether they had been sold out and misappropriated to fund UMNO’s 1990 General Elections campaign.

Malaysia has the highest-paid ‘penulis pelacur’ in the world with two appointed group editors worth some RM320 million each

Although UMNO leaders have recently claimed that the party is no loner in business and that UMNO holding companies have divested most of their investments, it appears that the party’s business proxies and others closely connected to it are rising to new heights, even creating corporate history, with some of their latest manoeuvres, for instance the RM800 million Management Buy-Out of New Straits Times and Television Three.

As a result, Malaysia has also the highest-paid penulis pelacur with two appointed group editors of newspapers, as where in the world can we find two penulis pelacur who are worth the price of 40 per cent of such RM800 million MBO – i.e. RM320 million each! For RM320 million, what wouldn’t such ‘penulis pelacur’ do or stoop down to?

UMNO’s continued active involvement in business can easily be seen from the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, where it is the counters associated with UMNO leaders which had been the most active and not the blue chips. Of course, these counters associated with UMNO leaders could be grouped into three categories. Firstly, those regarded as associated with Finance Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, like Idris and Malaysian Resources; secondly, those regarded as associated with former Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, like Renong, United Engineers and thirdly those regarded as associated with Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba.

Of course, it is only the first two type of UMNO shares which are not active and not the third category.