by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, May 18, 1994:
Mahathir should send Law Minister, Hamid Albar to Canberra to ask for Australian Government co-operation for information as to the UMNO leaders accused of being bribed by ASIS
The Malaysian Government must take seriously allegations in the Australian media about Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) bribing Malaysian MPs and politicians.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, said yesterday that the Malaysian Government would not appeal to the Australian Government with regard to its decision not to allow Malaysian police to interview Australian journalists in connection with the Australian media allegations about Malaysian politicians being paid thousands of dollars by ASIS.
Mahathir said Malaysia cannot force other countries to expose what they do not wish to do.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet must leave no stone unturned to establish the truth or otherwise of the Australian media allegations, especially as the Cabinet had regarded the matter serious enough to give it special consideration on January 26.
Furthermore, the Law Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Jaffar Albar, said a few days ago in Muar that unless those who had been accused by the Australian media of selling secrets to Australia’s intelligence service “cleared their names, the public have to accept the allegations as true and would regard them as traitors to the country.”
Hamid knows that politicians who have to clear their come from UMNO, as it is now Government and UMNO leaders and politicians who had been accused of selling secrets to Aus¬tralian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), and being traitors of the country – and not Opposition politicians.
The Canberra Times report on February 3 had cleared Opposition politicians in Malaysia of having been bribed by Australian spies, and pin-pointed Government and UMNO politicians as the ones which were bribed by ASIS.
As the Canberra Times reported on February 3, the earlier Australian report in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph that ASIS had bribed opposition politicians in Malaysia was wrong as there was no point in cultivating people in the Opposition.
The Canberra Times went on to report in some detail the ASIS operation among UMNO politicians.
It said: “In Malaysia, the focus of the operation, in which tens of thousands of dollars was spent, was on politicians from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)” and that “The object of the exercise had been to acquire a degree of leverage within the ruling elites by ‘sponsoring’ politicians who were seen as potential contenders for power”.
The Canberra Times said that ASIS abandoned its payments to UMNO politicians four years ago “when it was decided that little of value was being achieved through their constinuance”.
Who are these UMNO politicians up till 1990 who were regarded as “potential contenders for power”? They must include many UMNO politicians who are now MPs, Parliamentary Secretaries, Deputy Ministers or even, Ministers. In fact, apart from Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, all present UMNO leaders could be regarded as ‘contenders for power’ in UMNO four years ago!
As Hamid Albar has said that unless those politicians accused of selling secrets to the Australian intelligence service “cleared their names, the public have to accept the allegations as true and would regard them as traitors to the country”, all UMNO leaders and politicians who were in the position of “con¬tenders for power” four years ago would come under a cloud of suspicion!
This is most unfair to the UMNO leaders, and this is why the Prime Minister should not close the case at this stage.
Mahathir should send the Law Minister to Canberra to seek the co-operation of the Australian Government for information as to the UMNO politicians and leaders who had been bribed by ASIS so as to clear the name of all the other innocent UMNO leaders.
Hamid Albar should impress on the Australian Govern¬ment the gravity of the matter, as otherwise, the good name and integrity of all UMNO leaders – apart from that of Dr. Mahathir Mohamed – would be called into question, and in Hamid’s own words, the Malaysian public would regard them as traitors to the country”.