by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 28th July 1994:
Hamid Albar is not a very effective advocate as he could not persuade Cabinet to give approval for Ghani Osman to sue London Financial Times over the missing golden coin bribery allegation
The Law Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, who is advocate and solicitor by profession, is not a very effective advocate as he could not persuade Cabinet to give approval for the Minister for Youth and Sports, Abdul Ghani Osman to sue Financial Times of London over the missing golden coin bribery allegation.
It was Syed Hamid himself who said last week that be would propose to the Cabinet that legal action be instituted against Financial Times of London as the allegation was no more a persona issue concerning Ghani Osman but a matter which involved national pride.
How can the Cabinet put aside ‘national pride’ and decide against legal proceedings against Financial Times of London to random national pride, honour and reputation as well as the integrity of the Malaysian Cabinet?
Syed Hamid’s explanation that the Government did not want to prolong the matter and “we just want to consider the matter closed” is most unsatisfactory and unacceptable.
The missing golden coin allegation cannot be “considered closed” so long as Ghani Osman does not institute legal proceedings against Financial Times to at least compel the British newspaper to publish a retraction and an apology. Furthermore, the missing golden coin allegation cannot be closed so long as there are loose ends which have not been given satisfactory explanation – as for instance, how come a US$10,000 gold coin could be lost without any police report being lodged!
The Cabinet seems to have decided not to take a ‘hard stand’ against the British press on the missing golden coin allegation as in February this year, so as not to prolong the confrontation between the Malaysian Government and British companies over the government’s bad on all bids by British companies for Malaysian contracts and privatization projects.
If not for the missing golden coin episode, the Malaysian Government might have announced the calling off of its boycott of British companies for Malaysian contracts and privatization projects any time now.
However, despite the golden coin episode, from the Cabinet’s ‘softer’ stand to consider the matter closed, I believe that it should not seriously affected the normalization of relations between the Malaysian Government and the British companies, and I expect such normalization to be announced latest by October this year.