DAP calls for an All-PARTY Conference to forge a national consensus to make Corruption, Money Politics and Unethical Practices as the country’s Public Enemy No.1

Speech by Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the Penang DAP State Convention at Towne House Conference Hall on Sunday, 22nd August, 1993 at 10a.m.

DAP calls for an All-PARTY Conference to forge a national consensus to make Corruption, Money Politics and Unethical Practices as the country’s Public Enemy No.1

China is the latest Asian country to launch a major anti-corruption campaign, declaring that kickbacks and bribes to Communist Party and government officials were undermining economic reform and whipping up waves of popular anger.

Yesterday, the press reported that the Communist Party General Secretary, Jiang Zemin will spearhead the campaign in an address to the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and that China’s state-run press had been gearing up for the campaign all week, calling for cleaner government and lamenting the declining moral standards of many officials.

All over Asia, the uprising against corruption and money politics is gaining increasing momentum, and hardly a week passes without some Asian country taking stronger measures or sterner action to stamp out graft in high political and corporate places.

Last week alone there were milestones in Asia in the fight against corruption: In the Philippines, the Senate voted to restore the death penalty and, for the first time, prescribed it for officials who take bribes or steal public money. In South Korea, President Kim Young-sam in his no-holds barred drive against corruption, influence-peddling and tax evasion, banned the widespread use of “false name accounts” in banks, financial institutions and the stock market.

This revolt against corruption and money politics has set higher standards of integrity for political leaders in many Asian countries.

In Thailand, a Cabinet with too many Ministers with unusual wealth fell, while in Taiwan, a ‘sun-shine law’ had been passed requiring nearly 1,000 top-ranking political leaders, civil servants, military officers and judges – including the President, the Premier and all legislators – to publicly declare their family assets.

The higher-water mark in the Asian revolt against corruption and money politics was in Japan which led to the toppling of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party which had ruled Japan without interruption for 38 years, making Japan richer than the United States, with a per capita of US$29,750 compared to US$23,500 for the United States.

Malaysia seems to be one of the exceptions of this Asian movement against corruption and money politics, although one of the nine strategic objectives of Vision 2020 is to achieve “a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards”.

In Malaysia, the thrust is not to empower but to undermine the fight against corruption and money politics

The following five incidents will illustrate that in Malaysia, the thrust is not towards empowering the fight against corruption and money politics, but the reverse to weaken and undermine this resolve:

 MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal: After 16 months of investigations by the Anti-Corruption Agency, the authorities appear to be preparing the public for the announcement that there is no case for any prosecution against any one;

 The candidature of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik as UMNO Youth leader: The message is that in Malaysia, a political leader with extraordinary unaccounted wealth can aim for greater heights although in Thailand, the entire Cabinet had fallen for the same reason;

 Money Politics: This has reached new heights in the current power struggle in UMNO between Anwar Ibrahim and Ghafar Baba for the UMNO Deputy Presidency;

 The RM16 billion Bank Negara forex losses scandal: In Mongolia, two former central bank governors and three of their staff were charged in court for negligence and over-stepping their authority in gambling for two disastrous years on the world’s foreign exchange markets, causing a loss of US$90 million. In Malaysia, the Bank Negara Governor would not appear before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee for RM16 billion foreign exchange loss primarily because of speculation in the foreign exchange markets.

 The RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal: Lorrain Osman, the key character responsible for the ‘heinous crime’ – Dr.Mahathir’s own words – walked out a free man after serving two months’ jail in Hong Kong after conviction in June. The Barisan Nasional Government seems to be completely unconcerned that it was the Malaysian taxpayers’ RM2.5 billion which were misappropriated in the BMF scandal.

The Government and all political leaders must demonstrate that Malaysian is serious about corruption and money politics, and that all political leaders are prepared to take a firm and uncompromising stand to clean up the government and the political system in Malaysia.

For this reason, DAP proposes the convening of All-Party Conference to forge a national consensus to make Corruption, Money Politics and Unethical Practices as the country’s Public Enemy No.1.

Let all political parties and leaders declare their stand on the proposal for an All-Party Conference against corruption, money politics and unethical practices.