A well-crafted budget for the general elections which glossed over fundamental problems of economic injustice, unaccountability, abuses of power and corruption

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, October 31, 1994 on the 1995 Budget

A well-crafted budget for the general elections which glossed over fundamental problems of economic injustice, unaccountability, abuses of power and corruption

I congratulate the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for presenting a well-crafted 1995 Budget for the general elections, which has been the greatest ‘publicity’ triumph for any budget in Malaysian parliamentary history.

With the message that it has ‘goodies for everyone’, the 1995 Budget has generated an ‘euphoria’ in the country and it has even been described as an ‘All Smiles Budget’.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also taken great pains to ‘package’ the 1995 budget to make a special appeal to the voters of all races, by liberally quoting from Confucius, Wang An Shih, Ibn Khaldun, Dato Onn Jaafar and a specific reference to the reduction of import duty on oil-lamps to brighten the Hindu homes to celebrate the coming Deepavali.

In his budget, Anwar Ibrahim summarised the eight achievements of the Malaysian economy. I would like to summarise four features of Anwar’s 1995 budget:

First: It is the most political budget ever presented in Parliament, even by the standards of all past election budgets. In fact, in some parts it sounded more like a Prime Minister’s Address to the Nation rather than a budget speech.

Second: Anwar created history by being the first Finance Minister, in fact any UMNO Minister, to quote from Chinese philosophers and sta¬tesmen, although he should make sure in future that his colleagues in the Barisan Nasional component parties, in particular the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should first understand what he is talking about – such as chung, hsin, lien, ch’ih and Shu’ and know Chinese historical personalities like Wang Ah Shih.

Third: Although Anwar should be commended for quoting from the Chinese philosophies and civili¬sation as one of the sources where Malaysians can learn the lessons of life and nation-building, it is most disappointing that the Finance Minister had not declared in Mandarin in Parliament last Friday, ‘We Are All One Family’, as the guiding spirit of the 1995 Budget.

Fourth: While a superb ‘election budget’, Anwar had cleverly glossed over fundamental problems of economic injustice, unaccountability, abuses of power and corruption in the country. Furthermore, the 1995 Budget has not been fully honest and transparent in revealing the actual distributional effects of the various revenue proposals.

Generally, I welcome the budgetary proposals presented by the Finance Minister in his 1995 Budget, with ‘goodies’ all round although many of these ‘goodies’ are .long overdue as it the people who are chiefly responsible for Malaysia’s presents economic position and they are entitled to share in the prosperity of the country which they had created.

The RM2 billion tax cuts are minor when compared to the RM30 billion losses from Bank Negara speculation

Anwar Ibrahim has proposed tax cuts, for reduction of income tax and reduction of import duties on more than 2,600 items, which is estimated to cost the-Government RM2 billion.

This RM2 billion bill seems to be a big figure, but the question could legitimately be asked whether a more prudence government could not have given even bigger tax cuts than those proposed in the 1995 budget, if the country had not suffered the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign-exchange speculation losses in the past two years – which is 15 times the cost of the cuts in the 1995 budget.

The RM30 billion Bank Negate losses is doubly tragic, as the monies are lost outside the country in the international money markets – as such colossal losses could have been circulat¬ed in the country if Bank Negara bad incurred such losses inside the country.

The RM2 billion tax cuts proposed in the 1995 budget are therefore minor when compared to the RM30 billion losses incurred by Bank Negara’s foreign exchange speculations in past two years.

With the euphoria in the country over the RM2 billion tax cuts and other ‘goodies’, little or no attention has been given to the distributional effects of the new tax proposals, whether they are fair to all income—groups or biased as being more in favour of the big corporations and the rich as in the previous budgets.

Income tax changes most inequitable as the corporations and high-income individuals get disproportionately more benefit than the low income brack¬ets

Let us take the example of the changes in the individ¬ual income tax structure and the increase in rebate, whereby those in the lower income groups with chargeable income of less than RM2,500 will no longer have to pay tax while the quantum of rebate of those whose chargeable income is less than RM10,000, the rebate will be increased from RM90 to RM110 for the taxpayer and from RM50 to RM60 for the spouse.

With these changes, about 380,000 taxpayers or 30 per cent of the total number, will no longer have to pay income tax.

While these income tax changes seem a step in the right direction, a closer study will show that these changes are most inequitable as the corporations and high-income individuals get disproportionately more benefit than the low income brackets.

This was also my criticism of the 1994 Budget last year, which removed 60,000 people as taxpayers as a result of the increase in the rebate from RM60 to RM90 for the taxpayer in the RM10,000 chargeable income bracket and from RM30 to RM50 for the spouse.

The savings for the 60,000 people removed as taxpayers iii year’s budget was only RM14 million, while the companies were expected to save RM472 million from a two per cent reduction. in the company income tax from 34 per cent to 32 per cent and oil companies to save another RM330 million as a result of a five per cent reduction in the petroleum income tax – giving the companies a bonanza of RM802 million as compared to RM14 million to 60,000 people removed from the income tax bracket.

In my budget speech in Dewan Rakyat on November 1, I warned against the inequity of widening the differential between the corporate and personal income tax rates and called on Anwar Ibrahim to ensure that when lie keeps his promise to reduce compa¬ny income tax by another two per cent to 30 per cent in the 1995 budget, the government should undertake a major revision of them individual income tax laws so as to announce major cuts and. reliefs for those at the low taxable income brackets.

A comparison of the present and the proposed individual income tax structures gives the following:

Perbandingan Kadar Cukai Pendapatan Individu Dibawah Struktur Sekarang Dengan Struktur Yang Dicadangkan

Struktur Sekarang Strucktur Dicadangkan
Kum. Pendapantan Kadar Kum. Pendapatan Kadar
Bercukai Bercukai
(RM) (%) (RM) (%)
1 -21,500 2 1 -2,500 0
2,500 – 5,000 5 2,500 -5,000 3
5,001 – 10,000 8 5,000 -10,000 6
10,001 – 20,000 10 10,001 -20,000 7
20,001 – 35,000 15 20,001 -35,000 12
35,001 – 50,000 21 35,001 -50,000 18
50,001 – 70,000 26 50,001 -70,000 23
70,001 – 100,000 31 70,001 – 100,000 28
Melebehi 100,000 34 100,001 – 150,000 31
Melebhihi 150,00 32

With this new structure, a person whose chargeable income is RM2,500 who under the present structure would have to pay RM50 income tax would be removed from the tax bracket.

The 380,000 people removed from the income tax bracket would save only a paltry RM20 million, while the rich would benefit from the bulk of the RM704 million government revenue loss from individual income tax changes

Although 380,000 people who would otherwise have to pay a maximum of RM50 income tax would be removed from the tax bracket because of this change as well as the increased rebates, their total savings would probably be less than RM20 million.

The 1995 Federal Revenue Estimates (Anggaran-anggaran Hasil Persekutuan 1995) tabled during the Budget last Friday had estimated that the individual income tax changes and increased rebates for individual and wife would involve a total revenue loss of RM704 million.

The Revenue Estimates do not give separate figures as to how much revenue loss the exemption of those below RM2,500 chargeable income from tax would amount to, but the maximum revenue loss from such exemption, where the maximum payable for those on the top RM2,500 bracket is RM50, would not exceed RM19 million.

In actual fact, the total would be much less as not all the 380,000 would be on the top of the RM2,500 chargeable income level. A safe estimate would be between RM10 to RM12 million.

The Revenue Estimates do give the expected revenue loss for the increased rebates, i.e. RM8.9 million. By adding both figures, we can conclude that the 380,000 people who would be removed from the income tax bracket would save a paltry figure of about RM20 million, while it is the rich who would benefits most from the bulk of the revenue loss of RM704 million by the government for the individual income tax changes.

Furthermore, a study of the new individual income tax structures shows that those below the RM10,000 chargeable income bracket get a two per cent reduction in tax rate, while those between the RM10,001 to RM100,000 get a higher deduction of three per cent.

This is clearly most inequitable and regressive. It is those in the lower income brackets who should, be given a higher rate of reduction, of four -to five per cent, rather than the other way round.

There is a startling omission in the 1995 Federal. Revenue Estimates, for there is no estimate of the expected revenue loss from the two per cent reduction in company tax for next year to 30 per cent.

The Malaysian Investors’ Association President, Dr. P.H.Lim had estimated that corporations listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange stand to save RM463 million as a result of the two percentage point reduction in corporate tax to 30 per cent, from the year of assessment 1995, based on the estimated RM23.13 billion pre-tax profit to be posted by the companies for the fiscal year 1994. The total corporate savings, including those not listed on the KLSE, would therefore be very much higher.

What is the reason for the estimated RM736 million shortfall in revenue in 1994 from company and petroleum income taxes?

Has the 1995 Federal Revenue Estimates deliberately omitted this estimate of revenue loss from the two percentage point in corporate income tax in order to distract public attention from the fact that the RM2 billion savings from the various tax measures would acrrue mostly to the big corporations and the rich rather than to those in the low-income brackets?

Or is it because the Government hays found that the companies had in fact derived even greater gains from the tax reductions in company and petroleum income taxes introduced 1ast year, and does not want to make this public?

The 1994 Federal Revenue Estimates for instance had estimated that the government would suffer revenue loss of RM472 million from a two per cent reduction in the company tax to 32 per cent and a RM330 million revenue loss as a result of a five-per cent reduction in petroleum income tax.

According to the 1994 Federal Revenue Estimates, before taking into account tax changes, the Treasury was expected to net RM10,246 million from company income tuxes and RM2,963 million from petroleum income tax. Taking into account the tax reductions and expected revenue losses, the respective estimated revenues from company income taxes for 1994 would be RM9,774 million and RM2,633 million from petroleum income tax.

The l995, Federal Revenue Estimates however give completely different picture, for it. estimates that for 1994, the Treasury would only net RM9,539 million instead of RM10,246 million from company income taxes (a shortfall of RM706 million instead of the estimated shortfall of RM472 million because of the tax change) and RM2,131 million from petroluem income tax instead of RMRM2,963 million (a shortfall of RM832 million instead of the estimated RM330 million because of the tax change).

What is the reason for the estimated RM736 shortfall in revenue collection from company and petroleum income taxes for 1994, despite taking into account the tax changes?

Could it be that both the corporate and petroleum income tax reductions had in fact benefitted the companies more than what was estimated in the 1994 budget?

The Finance Minister has not been transparent and accountable when he failed to explain to Parliament the reason for such a great shortfall in the revenue collection for company and petroleum income taxes, at a time when Malaysia’s economic growth at 8.5 per cent is among the highest in the world and has chalked up seven consecutive years of growth above 8 per cent.

The Finance Minister is being very irresponsible when for the first time in history, the 1995 Federal Revenue Estimates omitted to estimate how much revenue loss the government would suffer with the two per cent reduction in company income tax to 30 per cent for the years of assessment 1995.

Is all this because of the general elections – to package the 1995 budget to exaggerate achievements while sweeping unpleasant truths under the carpet?

In my last 25 years in Parliament, my most constant and consistent theme had been to call for the liberalisation of education policies

DAP welcomes the other tax proposals, like the deduction tor child relief which is extended to every child; increase of relief for a disabled tax payer and disabled wife; tax exemptions for individuals who contribute up to RM20,000 to establish and equuip public libaries; tax relief for further education in science, technology or vocational in Malaysia on fees up to a maximum of RM2,000 and a 100 per cent investment tax allowance for 10 years to companies undertaking technical or vocational training.

I feel satisfaction that I am seeing a more open liberal attitude on the government’s education policies, which is being reflected in its fiscal policies.

In my 25 years as Member of Parliament, one of my most constant and consistent themes is to call for the liberalisation of the national education policies – right from the beginning of my entry into Parliament when it was not only very unpopular but dangerous to call for democratisation of education in Malaysia, as it could land one detention under the Internal Security Act.

For instance, during the Parliamentary debate on the Mid-Term Review of the Second Malaysia Plan on November 27, 1973, I said:

“Every poor Malaysian, regardless of race, who has the intelligence, scholastic ability and inclination, to pursue higher studies and develop his potential talents, so as to lead a fuller and more satisfying life, msut be given the opportunity to do so. The reason is, if I may borrow the exact words of the Prime Minister in the different context, in his speech in moving this motion yesterday: ‘ Fundamentally because it is the right and just thing to do so.’ ”

On January 27, 1976, in the motion of confidence on the appointment to the then Dato Hussein Onn as Malaysia’s third Prime Minister in the Dewan Rakyat after -the death of the late Tun Ratak, I called on the government to address serious problems of polarisation, and I said:

“This anxiety has been intensified by recent policies limiting higher education opportunities, and regulations aimed at controlling free higher educational pursuits abroads. Statements by those in authority that young Malaysians should in future be content with non-university education, although they possess the requisite academic qualifications and abilities, has further under¬mined long-term confidence in the country”.

During the Third Malaysia Plan debate on July 20, 1976, I returned to the same subject of educational opportunities when I said:

“The non-Malays do not begrudge the increased opportunities for Malays in domestic, tertiary education, as they hey accept that this is a necessary component in any national strategy to bring about a balanced qualified manpower. However, they are entitled to feel aggrieved when they experience ‘loss, or feel ‘deprived’ at the dimunition of higher education opportunities for their children in their homeland.”

During the debate on the 1977 Budget on November I 1976, 1 called cm the Government. to grant tax reliefs or an educational rebate to Malaysians with less than RM15,000 annual income to meet, the educational expenditures of their Children abroad, both on grounds of equity and on grounds of national interest to invest in human skills.

One generation must open up the road for the next generation to travel

On March 22, 1978, during the debate on the Royal Address, I said:

“It is said that one generation opens up the road for the next generation to travel. But in Malaysia, one generation is closing up the road of educational opportunities so that the next generation cannot travel. This is going backwards, and not forwards.”

On March 22, 1979, during the debate on the Third Malaysia Plan mid-Term Review, I said:

“This large number of Malaysian students studying overseas s a strong argument for expansion of university places in our own country, for this wi11 not only save foreign exchange, ensure that our students take up courses useful for Malaysia’s national needs., but also help children of the poor who would otherwise be unable to go overseas to pursue higher studies. ”

In the debate on the 1980 Budget on October 22, 1979, I said:

“Education is a human investment leading to greater national productivity and a major determinant of growth. Furthermore, to deny the people the means, through education, to develop their full human potential, leads not only to personal frustration, unhappiness but also nation¬al division.
“The citizen’s investment in the education of their children, is not only a personal investment, it is also an investment for national progress and development.”

During the debate on the Fourth Malaysia Plan on March 30, 1981, I said:

“It would save foreign exchange and train human resources which, could be harnessed to the development and progress of Malaysia if we provide university education opportunities for the 19,515 Malaysian students who are now in foreign univer¬sities. The government should immediately estab¬lish two more universities under the Fourth Malaysia Plan, so that we can train our own students without having to send them abroad, to beg for places or for reduction of university fees.”

‘The DAP MPs were completely alone in Parliament in the1970s and 1980s to call for educational justice and to face the onslaught of attacks for out stand.

MCA and Gerakan were the ‘political bohsias’ when the DAP was fighting in Parliament for education¬al liberalisation and democratisation in the 1970s and 1980s

In March 1979, the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who was then the Education Minister accused me of being the ‘biggest stumbling block to national unity’ because I had said the following during the debate on the Thind Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review:
“Nobody wants to or expects the Minister of Educa¬tion to reduce by one single place the govern¬ment’s proposed intake of malay students into the universities. Malaysians, including non-Malays, do not begrudge the provision of special assistance to Malay students to attain university education. All that they ask is that, without depriving any Malay student of university place, the Government should provide university educa¬tional opportunities for non-Malay students. It is short-sighted and self-defeating to try to solve old injustices and inequalities by creating new injustices and inequalities.”

I stood by every word I had said in Parliament in the 1970s and 1980s in the DAP battle for greater educational justice and democratisation, and the. DAP had been fully vindicated by the ‘minor liberalisation’ in educational and as well as in other spheres in the past three years.

The MCA and the Gerakan were the ‘political bohsias’ when the DAP was fighting in Parliament for educational liberali¬sation and democratisation.

Recently, the ‘bohsia’ culture has become the centre of national attention and the National Unity and Social Development Minister, Datuk Napsiah Omar said the ‘bohsia’ girls are those who live without parental guidance and “follow men who are willing to pay for their food, accommodation and give them presents”.

If Napsiah Omar defined the ‘bohsia girls’ as those who are prepared to “follow men who are willing to pay for their food, accommodation and give them presents”, the political bohsias’ could also be defined as politicians and political parties who are prepared to follow and accept as political mas¬ters those who are willing to give them official positions, including Cabinet posts, government patronage, access to the corridors of power to get titles and money-making opportunities.

There are not only the ‘bohsia’ girls, but also the ‘political bohsias’ in Malaysia who are best exemplified by the MCA and Gerakan leaders, who were not only ‘bohsia’ in the seventies and eighties in the battle for educational liberalisation and democratisation, but who continue to be ‘bohsia’ on all the important and fundamental issues affecting the people, whether on democratic freedoms, human rights, citizenship rights, the fight against corruption or for a clean, honest and account able government.

If the people had depended on these MCA and Gerakan ‘political bohsias’, there would have been no ‘minor liberalisation’ in the past few years.

‘Full Liberalisation’ is the main political agenda in the country

The Barisan Nasional, and in particular MCA and Gerakan, have started to threaten the people that the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years in certain educational and eco-nomic fields would be withdrawn if the voters do not support the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections.

Nobody opposes the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ like the various tax proposals in the 1995 Budget for they should have been introduced very much earlier.

The next, general elections, and in. fact the political agenda of the country, is not ‘Minor Liberalisation’, but whether they want ‘Full Liberalisation’.

In his budget speech, Anwar Ibrahim quoted Wang An Shih, who was a Prime Minister of the Northern Sung dynasty and is regarded as one of the great reformers in the dynastic history of ancient China.

The question is whether Anwar Ibrahim is prepared to emulate the reforming spirit, zeal and commitment of Wang An Shih although he finally failed in his reforms.

The DAP invite the Barisan Nasional Government to join it in giving full support to tranform the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ in the past three years into a ‘Full Liberalisation’ in nation¬ building policies to give every Malaysian an equal place under the Malaysian sun and to instil into every aspect of government policy the spirit of ‘We Are All One Family’ – which is now a favourite quote of Anwar Ibrahim.

The ‘Ten Democratisation Programme’ for a Malaysian Malaysia

Such a Full Liberalisation must involve the following Democratisation Programme’ for a Malaysian Malaysia:

DEMOCRATISATION of the political process, where there is free and fair general elections for the people to elect Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen of their choice, together with Parlia¬mentary reforms and the denial of two-thirds majority of the Barisan Nasional in Parliament to make it the highest and meaningful tribunal in the country;

DEMOCRATISATION of the nation-buiding process to recognise all Malaysian citizens as equal and not divided into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, restore the independence of the judiciary, respect the freedom of religion of all Malaysians and uphold Malaysia as a secular state;

DEMOCRATISATION of the entire government to make it fully responsible, trustworthy and accountable to the people where there is no room for the incompetent, the irresponsible and the corrupt whether among the public service or the political leadership in power;

DEMOCRATISATION of laws to repeal draconian lives which deny Malaysians the fundamental liberties guaranteed in the Malaysian Constitution, like the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Sedition Act, the Police Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, etc;

DEMOCRATISATION of local government with the restoration of city, municipal, district and local council elections;

DEMOCRATISATION of the information process, where the mass media, both printed and electronic, are free, fair and responsible instead of being propaganda tools of ruling parties to spread lies and falsehoods against the Opposition;

DEMOCRATISATION of the decision-making process to ensure that the interests of many are not sacrificed to the interests of the few, whether in decisions about privatisation, massive compulsory land acquisitions or development projects affect¬ing the environment and quality of life of all Malaysians;

DEMOCRATISATION of the economic order to ensure social and economic justice so tha the farmer and worker can enjoy the full fruits of their labour and where wealth can be created and shared fairly when economic opportunities are open to all Malaysians irrespective of race or creed;

DEMOCRATISATION of cultural life in Malaysia so that all cultures and cultural forms can freely develop in Malaysia;

DEMOCRATISATION of education in Malaysia both in terms of mother-tongue education as well as ade¬quate opportunities in vocations, technology, science and higher institutions of learning, so that our youths have the skills and expertise to have a place in a modern information age.

If Anwar Ibrahim is prepared to emulate the reforming spirit, zeal and commitment of Wang An Shih, he would not have been so selective on the current issues he, touched on in his budget speech, like the haze, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport fires, the Highland Towers Tragedy and even the Black September national power black-out in 1992, omitting the RM30 billion Bank Negara forex losses scandal, the Rahim Tamby Cik scandals both with regard to the unfair treatment of the Attorney-General in regard to the 15-year-old girl while being overprotective of Rahim Tamby Cik as well as his corruption scandals and the still unresolved MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal involving MIC President and Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Women organisations like the National Council of Women’s Organisations and The Sisters In Islam have expressed their outrage at the outcome of the investigations into the allegation that Rahim had committed the offence of statutory rape with an underaged schoolgirl.

Only the MCA – with its three women MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, has continued to be ‘bohsia’ on the issue.

Attorney-General should volunteer to appear before a Parliamentary Committee to explain why he had been overprotective of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik while being very unfair to the 15-year-old girl

The Attorney-General, Datuk Mohtar Abdullah said in London on Saturday that he was willing to re-open the case against Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik for allegedly having sexual relations with an underaged girl if there is fresh evidence.

He defended his press conference statement over a week ago in revealing the girl’s sexual background claiming that the girl’s sexual history had been made known to the public even before it was revealed in the police report.

This is completely untrue. Nobody knew, until it was revealed by Datuk Mohtar Abdullah, that the girl had alleged that apart from Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, 14 other individuals had sexual relations with her and that she had lodged 17 police reports.

It was also not public knowledge, until the Attorney- General revealed at the press conference, that the girl was eight weeks pregnant ‘on medical examination’ and that “based on the allegation of the sex act with Tan, Sri Rahim, the date of sex act with Tan Sri Rahim, it can be seen that there is no connection between the pregnancy and the sex act allegedly with Tan Sri Rahim”.

Why did the Attorney-General reveal that 14 other individuals had sexual relations with the girl when Datuk Abdullah is not prepared to answer press questions whether Tan Sri Rahim had denied having sex with the girl, and how many times the girl alleged she had sex with Tan Sri Rahim?

The Attorney-General cannot blame the press and an unnamed ‘third party’ for these revelations, which were clearly very unfair to the girl while being overprotective of Rahim.

In any event, the Attorney-General should know better than anyone else that ‘two wrongs do not make a right’. In this case, there were no ‘two wrongs’ but only one wrong – that of the Attorney-General in revealing that 14 other men had sex relations with the girl, when this is completely irrelevant to the police investigations as to whether Rahim had committed the offence of statutory rape with an underaged girl.

Datuk Mohtar should be humble enough to admit that what he had done was wrong and was a gross injustice against the girl and her family, and should publicly apologise to them for such injustice.

Datuk Mohtar Abdullah should volunteer to appear before a Parliamentary Committee to explain why he had been so protective of Rahim while being so unfair to the girl, and to explain the circumstances under which he would be prepared to re-open investigations into the Rahim case.

Furthermore, can Mohtar Abdullah give an assurance that he would protect the girl from harrassment and victimisation as has been demanded by certain UMNO circles and agree that what the girl needs now is compassion and rehabilitation, and not being punished for unwittingly causing the downfall of Rahim as Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Youth Leader?

Is Mohtar Abdullah stating the truth when he said that the girl was eight-week pregnant on medical examination after she was kept in police custody from August 30?

A Malay tabloid paper has published the statement of the girl’s maternal grandmother, Pendek Ahmad, denying that the girl was pregnant.

Pendek Abdullah, who met the girl for over an hour at Bukit Aman last Monday before she was surreptitiously taken to court to be committed to Pusat Akhlak Taman Seri Puteri, Rembau said:

“Dalam pertemuan di Bukit Aman, sebelum cucu saya dihantar kepusat tersebut, dia memberitahu saya bahawa dia baru sahaja ‘datang kotor’ (haid). Jadi, sekaligus memang dia tidak hamil.”

Is Mohtar Abdullah stating the truth when the Attorney-General said that the girl was eight-week pregnant on medical examination after she was kept in custody from August 30?

Is such conflicting versions among the reasons why so much obstacles have been put in the way to prevent her grandmoth¬er and relatives from meeting the girl even at the Taman Seri Puteri in Rembau?

As Chairman of the Cabinet Committee against Corruption and Malpractices, what is the Anwar’s stand on Rahim’s unusual and extraordinary wealth, Samy Vellu’s hijacking of nine million MAIKA Telekom shares and Rafidah’s presence at the meeting allocating RM1.5 million Leader Universal shares for her son-in-law

In his budget speech, Anwar referred to corruption twice, once when he spoke of the general reform of society to extricate it from corruption and the second time when he referred to Ibn Khadun’s warning that the fall of a ration is often preceded by wastefulness, corruption and moral decadence.

As Chairman of the Cabinet Committee, Anwar Ibrahim should declare his stand on the following allegations affecting Barisan Nasional leaders:

1. Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik

Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik’s unusual and extraordinary wealth completely disproportionate to his known sources of income. Has his Cabinet Committee considered recommending legisla¬tion to strengthen anti-corruption laws such as:

a) whereby Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Par liamentary Secretaries, Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers who have acquired unusual. and extraordinary wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income are regarded as having committed the prima facie offence of corruption and the confiscation of their ill-gotten gains; and

b) A ‘sunshine law’ requiring political leaders, elected representatives and top civil servants to periodically and publicly declare their family assets.

2. Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu

As Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Corruption and Malpractices, Anwar would have received the 16-page report, including documentation, from the V. Subramaniam, until recently
MIC Headquarters Public Relations Committee Chairman, relating how Samy Vellu had masterminded the ‘cover-up’ of the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal, as well as confessing how he has assisted in the ‘cover-up’, to deceive and frustrate the Anti-Corruption Agency investigations.

A ‘time-bomb’ as to how a Federal Minister committed the heinous crimes of destroying evidence and fabrication of accounts to frustrate ACA in its investigations

This 16-page Subramaniam confession is a ‘time-bomb’ as it is an indictment of how a Federal Minister committed the heinous crimes of destroying evidence and fabrication of accounts to frustrate the ACA in its investigations.

It is also an indictment as to how Samy Vellu had committed parliamentary contempts in deceiving Parliament when he denied that he was guilty of any wrongdoing in the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking, and even engineered my suspension from Parlia¬ment for seven months in 1992 to stop me from further exposing his role in the MAIKA scandal.

In his confession, V. Subramaniam said that when the Anti-Corruption Agency wanted to question Samy Vellu on the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal in May 1992, Samy Vellu phoned him from USA, directing him to assist him in organising the material to substantiate his explanation.

Subramaniam said: “I was loyal and followed his instruction as he persuaded me that he was honest in the matter. I conveyed his instructions to others. Sever of us, including myself, thereafter worked day and night at Datuk Seri Samy Vellu’s residence and under his directions, preparing new accounts, rewriting A/c books, creating backdated receipts and vouchers, transmitting cash, procuring new share scripts and destroying the old records.

“The objective was to make ACA believe that the pro¬ceeds of the Telekom shares went to the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED). In the process, little by, little, I became aware of the whole scenario involving the diversion of the shares and the siphoning of the sales proceeds of these shares. I realised that Datuk Seri Samy Vellu had cheated the downtrodden Indian Community, and that he was using me and others as tools for his self-interest. In the first place, Government assistance for the economic upliftment of the community had been subverted, and when caught out, repayment of personal loans made by Dato Seri Samy Vellu to MIC Tafe College has been offered as alibi.

“Datuk Seri Samy Vellu has declared that the ‘divert¬ed’ shares were for the educational well-being of the Indian community, specifically Tafe College. However, Tafe College had been given $8 million by the Prime Minister in October 1989. When the controversy blew up, the 8.6.92 STAR quotes Dato Seri Samy Vellu as saying:

‘Dr. Mahathir had already given $8 million for the, college and I did not want to go back to him and ask for more,” he (Samy Vellu) said.’

“This was his justification for hijacking the Telekom shares intended for MAIKA”.

Samy Vellu flew to Singapore to withdraw $1 mil¬lion in Singapore dollars from his Swiss A/c in May 1992 to ‘cover up’ the MAIKA Telekom hijacking scandal

Subramaniam also narrated how as part of the ‘cover-up’ to falsify accounts to deceive the ACA, he (Subramaniam) directly involved in the purchase of 1.5 million Renong shares in May 1992.

Subramaniam said. “Dato Seri Samy Vellu flew to Singapore, withdrew $1 million Singapore dollars from his Swiss A/c, came back and gave the money to me at his house that night. All
were in S$10,000 bills. He directed the money to be converted via money changers and pay RM1.5 million to RHB for 1.5 million Renong shares. Dato Seri. Samy Vellu left for India the next morning.”

Subramaniam also narrated how in May 1992, he and the MIC accountant collected RM2.5 million cash from Clearway Sdn. Bhd. – one of the three companies to which the nine million Telekom shares meant for MKIKA were ‘diverted’ – after the MCA commenced its investiciations. This was kept by them in a joint safe deposit box in the Bank of Commerce, Jalan Masjid India Branch for a few days. Later the cash was handed over to Samy Vellu.

In his statement, Subramaniam said:

“I was instrumental in helping Dato Seri Samy Vellu escape the Telekom shares investigation by ACA. I wish to expose gross injustice done to the Indian Community by a man who was entrusted with the guardianship of the downtrodden poor Indians. I was led to believe that all his actions were for the betterment of the Indian community but midway I realised that pure self interest was Dato Samy Vellu’s only motivating force. The devious manner in which the Telekom shares were hijacked by Dato Samy Vellu from the Indian Community is nothing else but outright corruption/criminal bread of trust and subsequent actions to cover tip whole the affair was a fraud.

“Not a single soul in the MIC other than Dato Samy Vellu was ever aware of any shares being issued to MIC, MIND or MAIKA. It was only well after the ACA began its investigations that he had to persuade some principal MIC officials to collabo¬rate with him. The investigations by ACA were hindered and eventually proved hopeless because the entire accounting documents, receipts and vouchers had been fraudulently altered or re-placed. Subsequent investigations by the ACA are also hindered by intimidation and harassment of witness.”

The MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal will go down in history as an acid test as to whether the Barisan Nasional Government is serious about the fight against corruption, criminal breach of trust and abuses of power in high political places, or whether the Anti-Corruption Agency is only a mere ‘toothless paper-tiger’ when dealing with Barisan Nasional leaders.

The integrity and credibility of the ACA had not recovered from its earlier clearing of Samy Vellu in August 1993 as innocent of any wrongdoing in the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal.

With the detailed confession by V. Subramaniam as to how Samy Vellu had masterminded a ‘cover-up’ operation to deceive the ACA, involving destroying evidence and fabrication of accounts by rewriting new accounts, rewriting accounts books, creating backdated receipts and vouchers, procuring new share scrips, destroying old records, the ACA now races its most supreme test.

If the ACA continues to be impotent in the face of such damning Confession by V. Subramaniam in having been one of the seven who aided and abetted Sally Vellu in the ‘cover-up’ of MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal, then the question must be posed as to whether there is any purpose in the ACA continuing to exist in its present form, as well as whether the Cabinet Committee on Corruption and Malpractices should be dissolved!

Anwar Ibrahim should declare the stand of the Cabinet Committee on Corruption and Malpractices, of which Datuk Seri Samy Vellu is a member, and whether the Cabinet Committee had ever had a meeting over the 16-page confession by V. Subramanam.

3. Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz
The Cabinet Committee must also declare its stand on the impropriety of the Minister for Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz being present at the meeting of her Minis-try’s Bumiptitera Special Shares Allocation Committee which all crated 1.5 million Leader Universal shares to her son-in-law, Fazrin Anwar, although she said she did not want to participate in the discussion on Fazrin’s application.

It must also explain its position on the allocation of RM1.5 million shares to other bumiputera individuals including Mirzan Mahathir, son of the Prime Minister, as well as the allo¬cation of 4,173,901 of First Allied Corporation Berhad (FACB) shares to Fazrin and other bumiputera individuals, including the allocation of 14.8 million FACB shares to Megat Fairouz Junaidi Megat Junid, the son of Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid.

DAP will take disciplinary action against V. David if he has committed criminal breach of offences

Inside and outside this House, the DAP had been challenged by both UMNO and MCA to take disciplinary action against the DAP MP for Puchong, V. David for being arrested and charged with criminal breach of trust offences.

DAP will assuredly take disciplinary action against V. David if he has committed criminal breach of trust offences.

The question is whether the DAP should take disciplinary action against V. David merely on the ground that he has been charged by the Attorney-General and the Barisan Nasianal Government for criminal breach of trust offences

The DAP would have no qualms in taking disciplinary action against V. David if the Attorney-General’s Chamber has a reputation for independence and impartiality, acting without fear or favour, with regard to the prosecution involving political personalities. Unfortunately, the record of the Attorney-General’s Chambers on this score is not an exemplary one – for it had closed its eves to the numerous offences committed by Barisan Nasional leaders while it had being used by the Barisan Nasional government to persecute Opposition personalities.

Up to now, not only the Tan Sri Bahian Tamby Ciks and Samy Vellus had not been prosecuted, even minor Barisan Nasional personalities like MIC State Assemblymen who had committed criminal offences in the presence of the police when they assaulted MAIKA shareholders picketting against the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal in 1992 also enjoyed an immunity from prosecu¬tion.

On the other hand, the story of Opposition leader’s being persecuted through court prosecutions is a very long one, and a book could be written under the title: “DAP vs DPP”!

From the past record of prosecution of Government and Opposition personalities, we can draw one conclusion: that if a Barisan Nasional leader is prosecuted, the evidence against him must be most overwhelming; while if an Opposition personality is prosecuted, the evidence could be most flimsy.

This is best illustrated by the Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan case, when all charges of corruption against him were immediately withdrawn by the Attorney-General once Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan defected from the PBS Opposition and joined the Barisan Nasional.

Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan. was declared not only innocent of any corruption offence once he defected from PBS to the Barisan Nasional, he was also appointed Senator and Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister to he one of the Barisan Nasional standard-bearers in Sabah.

Sabahans and Malaysians have not forgotten that in this Sabah state general elections in February this year, both th.e Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister declared that the most important issue was for Sabahans to get rid of corrupt leaders in the state.

The withdrawal of the corruption charges against Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan and his appointment as a Federal Deputy Miniter could be the Barisan Nasional’s ingenious way to get rid of-corrupt leaders in Sabah.

The people is entitled -to ask, what is the message of the Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan affair – whether it is a declaration that whoever joins the Barisan Nasional is immediately cleansed of corruption or gains immunity from prosecution for corruption!

While the DAP will not condone any DAP MP or Assembly¬men in criminal breach of trust offences, we will not allow the Barisan Nasional to create a situation where it could create a leadership vacuum in the DAP by arresting one DAP leader after another and hauling them to court on a variety of trumped-up charges.

The real problem here, therefore, is not so much whether V. David is guilty of criminal breach of trust offences, but how the Attorney-General’s Chambers is to restorte public confidence that it is an office which is strictly above party politics and even government interference and which initiates criminal prosecutions without fear or favour, regardless of whether he is V. David, Tan Sri, Rahim Tamby Cik or Datuk Seri Samv Vellu.

DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Privatisation Programme to root out its weak¬nesses, abuses and excesses

In his budget speech, Anwar Ibrahim claimed that Malaysian economy would not have been so robust if not for the privatisation programme, and that Malaysia’s privatisation programme has become the model for many countries and the ‘envy of some’.

If the Financee Minister is so proud of the government’s privatisation programme, then he should endorse the DAP ‘call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to identify and root out its weaknesses, abuses and excesses – especially in the areas of accountability and transparency, not only in the award of privatisation but in the operation of the privatised entity.

In his speech, Anwar said that although the nation experienced frequent blackouts due to shortage of electric power, timely action by Tenaga Nasional and the privatisation of six power generation projects through Independent Power Producers reversed our situation from one of shortage to that of surplus.

But what the real ‘hidden costs’ of such a development? I will just give one intance where the energy crisis had been used by certain people with the right, connections to make a fortune at -the public expense.

After the Black September of September 1992, the Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu announced a ‘fast-track’ programme to acquire 1-0 mobile gas turbines.

In February 1993, Tenaga Nasional entered into agreement with Kontek Abadi Sdn. Bhd. for the supply of ‘two units of US-made Stewart and Stevenson 30MW Gas Turbines for the Power Station at a total contract price of RM142 million.

The real cost of the these two units of gas turbines was only RM80 million and this means that Kontek Abadi Sdn. Bhd., who entered into a joint venture with CKM Development Bhd. for this project, made a profit of over RM60 million Just to supply two units of 30MW Gas Turbines to Tenaga Nasional.

It is well-known that the director of Kontek Abadi Sdn. Bdh., P. Marid Singh, is a crony of the Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu. In November 1993, Samy Vellu even sent a letter of endorsement to the Sri Lanka Minister of Power and Energy, K.D.M.C. Bandana comendIng P. Marid Singh solely on the strength of his supplying, two 30MW Gas Turbines to Kapar Power Station.

Ting Pek Khiing is now the new ‘blue-eyed boy’ of Malaysia’s privatisation programme

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into Privatisation should investigate the RM15 billion Bakun project, and in particular into Ting Pek Khiing, who is now the new ‘blue-eyed boy’ of Malaysia’s privatisation programme.

All the tall by the Minister of Science, Technology and Ting Pek Khiing is now the new ‘blue-eyed boy’ of Malaysia’s privatisation programme

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into Privatisation should investigate the RM15 billion Bakun project, and in particular into Ting Pek Khiing, who is now the new ‘blue-eyed boy’ of Malaysia’s privatisation programme.

All the talk by the Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Datuk Law Hien Ding, of the need for Environmental Impact Assessement (EIA) before the Bakun Dam project could start are mere ‘water down the duck’s back’ as the project is pushed ahead full steam, with the Prime Minister making two special trips to Sarawak to indicate his personal support for the project, the most recent on September 19 to conduct the earth-breaking ceremony for the project.

The latest Economic Report issued by the Treasury virtually referred to the Bakun project as a certainty when it said:

“The Bakun Dam in Sarawak, the biggest power project undertaken by Malaysia, has the potential to produce 2,400MW. Once completed it will be South-East Asia’s largest dam. The project, expected to be completed in 6-8 years, will con¬nect. 650 km of undersea submarine power cab les from Tanjung Datu on the western tip of Sarawak to Mersing in Johor, transmitting about 1,800 MW of electricity to the Peninsular.”

There was no qualifications that the approval of the Bakun Dam project would be subject to EIA or even Economic Plan¬ning Unit (EPU) report.

In his reply to my question last Tuesday, Samy Vellu denied that Mahathir had conducted an earth-breaking ceremony of the Bakun project on Sept. 19, but, merely the earth-breaking ceremony’ for the project’s work-site.

Datuk Samy Vellu said: “Pala mulanya, syarikat tersebut memang bercadang supaya YAB Perdana Menteri merasmikan pelan¬caran projek tersebut pada 19 September. Tetapi syarikat itu telah dinasihatkan bahawa cadangan tersebut tidak teratur kerana kerajaan belum lagi meluluskan cadangan Ekran yang masih belum diterima. Oleh yang demikian, kerjaaan tidak memberi cek kosong kepada Ekran untuk melaksanakan projek tersebut seperti yang diperkatakan oleh YB dari Tanjung. Malahan, kerjaan tidak akan bertolak ansur mengenai soal kajian EIA. Kajian EIA yang akan dikemukan oleh pihak EKRAN akan melalui proses penilaian yang biasa oleh Jabatan Alam Sekitar sepertimana projek-projek lain dan tidak akan diberi apa-apa keistimewaan. Bagitu juga, kerajaan tidak akan meluluskan cadangannya sekiranya harga elektrik yang ditawarkan adalah tinggi dan tidak munasabah.”

When the Bakun dam project had not been given the official approval, the whole idea of any earth-breaking ceremony is nonsensical. In any event, if there is to be such an unusual earth-breaking ceremony for the work-site of a project which had not been approved, I would have thought the Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts would more than suffice. Apparently, the Minister for Energy is not weighty enough for the ‘earth-breaking ceremony’ for the the work-site of an unapproved project and only the Prime Minister is qualified to conduct such a ceremony.

The Prime, Minister of Malaysia must be the only Prime Minister in the world who is prepared to conduct ‘earth-breaking’ ceremony for the work-site of an unapproved project – and this shows the special status of Ting Pek Khiing as the new ‘blue-eyed boy’ in the country’s privatisation programme.

When will be the Prime Minister’s next official function for Bakun – to officiate, at the ceremony for EKRAN to officially submit its Bakun proposals to the Government?

The speed with which the Bakun project is being pushed is unprecedented when the project had not received any official approval and Ekran’s official proposals had not vet been submitted to the Government.

In fact, it was only last month that the Economic Planning Unit started its process to appoint consultants to evaluate technically and financially the Bakun proposals to be submitted by EKRAN, sometime in the middle of November.

It is clear that a policy decision had been taken at the highest level that nothing would be allowed to stop the Bakun project from proceeding as intended by the Prime Minister, and that EIA and EPU approvals would be just mere formality.

DAP calls for full public debate on the Government’s plan to privatise the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and the proposal to release 80 per cent of the present Kuala Lumpur General. Hospital site at Jalan Pahang for commercial development

There must be transparency and accountability at all stages of a privatisation programme, beginning from the moment when the Government has decided to consider that a sector or
programme should be privatised to allow for input of public views as well as to ensure that public opinion could influence decision-making process before it is too late.

In this connection, I call on the Government to give full information and to allow a full public debate on the Government’s proposal to privatise the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and the proposal to release 80 per cent of the present Kuala Lumpur General Hospital site in Jalan Pahang for commercial development.

I understand that early this year, the Government undertook a study and concluded that the services of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital should be decentralised to the surrounding areas in the Federal capital.

AS a result, a group Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd. immediately submitted a proposal to undertake the privatisation and decentralisation process of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.

In its proposal, Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd. has asked that the Government release three chunks of prime land to it in return tor redevelopment of Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and the construction of a new Sungai Buloh Hospital:

Firstly, the 82.2 acres of the present Kuala Lumpur General Hospital grounds at Jalan Pahang for commercial development to build hotels, club houses, sport complexes, commercial complexes, high-cost and medium-cost apartments, bungalows and shops, leaving only 18.8 acres of its present site for the rede¬velopment of a new Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.

Secondly, it also wants the government to give it free of charge the old Bangsar Hospital land of approximately 60 acres (formerly the maternity ward) for its commercial development.

Thirdly, the government to release 453 acres of government land in Sungai Buloh site for commercial development in return for the building of a new Sungai Buloh hospital on a 90-acre site.

Under its proposal, Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd. Will design, build and own the new Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and the new Sungai Buloh Hospital which will then be rented to the Government for 20 years at a fixed annual rental.

These are not the only demands of Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd. in its proposal for privatisation and decentralisation of the services of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. It has also made the following demands from the Government:

A launching grant of RM500 million;

A soft loan of RM500 million;

To be given the construction of the Selayang Baru Hospital which is proposed at RM250 million directly to them on a negotiated basis; and

The construction of the Ampang Hospital (RM150 million) on a turnkey basis.

Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd. (TSSB) has been described as a majority Bumiputera-owned company led by Haji Esa Haji Mohamed. The equity of TSSB would. be held by the following parties:

Sungai Cerah Sdn. Bhd
MBf Holdings
Kuala Lumpur Medical Centre

Sungai Cerah has been described as a “newly formed bumiputera-owned company to undertake the project” which is led by Haji Esa. Haji Esa is currently the Managing Director of Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd., the Managing Director of Akitek Jururan¬cang (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. and a partner in Goh Hock Guan & Asso¬ciates.

I understand that Tunas Selatan Sdn. Bhd.’s proposal for the privatisation and decentralisation of the services of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, in particular the release of the old Bangsar Hospital land free of charge, has the strong support of the Health Minister, Datuk Lee Kim Sai.

Parliament and the country are entitled to know the reason why the Health Minister is a strong advocate of the Tunas Selatan proposal and why the Government’s proposal to privatise and decentralise the services of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospi¬tal had not been made public, not only to get public feedbacks, but also to invite all interested parties to submit privatisation proposals.

Since 1989, over RM100 million had been spent to renovate and redevelop the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. Can Kim Sai explain what would happen -to these expenditures if the decentralisation proposal of TSSB goes through?

The whole proposal by Tunas for the decentralisation and privatisation of the services of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital smells like a major rip-off of the people of Malaysia, and this is why there is such an urgent need for greater transparency and public participation in the process of privatisation.

If Barisan Nasional had observed the principles of chung, hsin, lien and ch’ih, it would not toppled PBS and captured power in Sabah

I had commended Anwar Ibrahim for principles for moral improvement and ethical progress, as the values of chung – loyalty; hsin – honesty; lien – financial integrity; and ch’ih sense of honour.

In another breath, Anwar boasted about the increasing support for the Barisan Nasional, which he said, was borne out by the BN success in regaining power in Sabah.

Has Anwar realised that if the Barisan Nasional had observed the principles of chung, hsin, lien and ch’ih, it would not have toppled PBS and captured power in the Sabah state?

The politics of money, the mass transformation of Sabah Assemblymen into ‘political frogs’, the betrayal of trust of ‘the people who voted for them and the party which nominated them, which led to the Barisan Nasional coming to power in Sabah, were the very antithesis of these values of chung, hsin, lien and ch’ih which Anwar mentioned in his budget speech.

After a few months of Barisan Nasional state government in Sabah, the people of Sabah have found that nothing has changed as far as corruption, abuses of power and greed are concerned.

There is now a scramble to strip the assets of Sabah Foundation, in particular its timber concessions, as in the controversial North Borneo Timber Bhd. deal.

North Borneo Timber Bhd. which is now controlled by Mohd. Shafie Apdal, nephew of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Sankaran Dandai and one of the Barisan Nasional financiers in the Sabah state general elections, Joseph Ambrose Lee wants to get 158,000 ha timber concessions from Sabah Foundation.

This is clearly against the interest of the original purpose of Sabah Foundation, which was establlished to uplift the educational standards of Sabah children, supplement government social and health services, and give every Sabahan a share in the State’s timber wealth.

For this reason, the Economic Planning Unit should veto the North Borneo Timber Bhd. deal.