(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, pointedly called a post-Cabinet press conference in his Ministry yesterday to repeat his call that the ACA should not extend its investigations to other Barisan Nasional parties unless they also cover Opposition parties as well.
He again specifically referred to the DAP for raising funds from the people of Teluk Intan to pay his legal costs of RM29,960 following a court decision in his favour and asked who was to know whether the DAP had collected RM3 million, and if so, what has happened to the balance of RM2.7 million!
Liong Sik is really fortunate that he is not in Singapore, where he would have to pay millions of ringgit as damages for such a defamatory statement. I had sued Liong Sik precisely on such a defamatory statement in connection with the DAPís Save Bukit China campaign in 1984, and I found that I had to pay him costs amounting to RM29,960.
And now brazened by his success in court, Liong Sik is completely reckless in making more baseless allegations and insinuations against the DAP.
In his press conference, he had completely ignored the question that I had raised two days ago.
I had said that the DAP and DAP leaders are prepared to be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency anytime and asked whether MCA and MCA leaders are prepared to be investigated by the ACA, as for instance, in probing into where Liong Sikís son, Ling Hee Leong, got all the over RM1.2 billion for his various corporate acquisitions at the age of 27?
I had in particular referred to the February 7 issue of Asiaweek, which carried the following item under the heading:
"Money Doesn't Grow on Trees:
"Malaysia's business circles are abuzz over the recent corporate purchases - notably of engineering firm Promet - by Ling Hee Leong, son of transport minister and Malaysian Chinese Association leader Ling Liong Sik. Businessman Soh Chee Wen is suspected to have sold Promet to Ling Jr. As a way of thanking the elder Ling for appointing him to the MCA executive committee. But the question remains: Where did the 27-year-old get the money to make the (US)$480-million acquisitions? Some speculate that he may be a frontman for tycoons Tan Koon Swan and Lee San Choon, both former MCA presidents. Ling Jr. simply says he got the money from bank loans. Grassroots partymen aren't convinced, and word is that even Dad is perturbed by the negative vibes from the corporate forays."
In an era where the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had exhorted Barisan Nasional leaders they not only have to be clean, but seen to be clean, Liong Sik should agree that a full ACA investigation into how his 27-year-old son could embark on corporate forays involving over RM1.2 billion corporate acquisitions would set a good example of clean, honest and accountable political leadership.
I invite Liong Sik to the ACA Headquarters at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur at 11 a.m. tomorrow, where he could lodge ACA report on the DAP collection of funds to pay his legal cost and for him to ask the ACA to investigate as to whether the DAP had actually collected RM3 million and squirrelled away the balance of RM2.7 million.
I will lodge an ACA report to ask for full investigations as to how Ling Hee Leong could at the age of 27 embark on corporate acquisitions costing over RM1.2 billion and whether there had been improper use and influence of his fatherís political and Ministerial position.
I hope to meet Liong Sik at the ACA Hqrs tomorrow morning, and in our separate ways, give full suport for an all-out war against corruption.
I am concerned that Liong Sik is in fact subtly trying to block the ACA from extending its anti-corruption efforts to all other Barisan Nasional parties by raising baseless allegations against the Opposition.
Is Liong Sik and the MCA leadership really committed to an all-out war against corruption? If so, why have they said completely nothing about the need for an effective anti-corruption drive in the past five decades of MCA history, and why Liong Sik had never spoken about corruption a single instance in any of his MCA Presidential Addresses?
The Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, should be careful about certain Barisan Nasional leaders who are shouting loudest about giving full support to him to eradicate corruption in the Barisan Nasional but who are actually doing their utmost to subtly block the anti-corruption drive.