I have given to the ACA a statement in connection with four press reports as the basis for its investigations, namely
1. The Edge 16th December 1996 under the heading "Young and bold - Ling catapults into corporate scene";
2. The Star 23rd December 1996 under the heading "Ling determined to turn his dream to reality";
3. Business Times 30th December 1996 under the heading "Berjaya Ind buy stakes in Promet, Kelanamas" and
4. Asiaweek, February 7, 1997 under the heading "Money Doesnít Grow on Trees".
From these reports, the corporate acquisitions of Ling Hee Leong, which began with the acquisition of 6.55 million Red Box Bhd shares, exceed RM1.2 billion, as made up of the following:
|(i) Dec. 96||Berjaya Industrial||- RM568 million|
|(ii) Dec. 96||Promet||- RM350 million|
|(iii) Dec.96||Kelenamas||- RM314.5 million|
|(iv) Sept.96||Red Box||- RM 52 million|
|Total||- RM1,284.5 million|
I also gave the ACA two Chinese press cuttings, Sin Chew Jit Poh and China Press yesterday 16th June 1997 reporting a statement by Ling Hee Leong welcoming ACA investigations, inviting questions from the press as he said that his corporate success is the result of "hard work".
Yesterday, I was in Labuan to attend the opening ceremony of Labuan International Summit on Islamic Financial Instruments and Takaful (Islamic Insurance) by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as well as to attend a briefing for Members of Parliament on Labuan as an International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC) by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Affifuddin bin Haji Omar and the Director-General of the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority (LOFSA), Dr. Awang Adek Hussin.
The UMNO MPs I met in Labuan were under the impression that I had "out of the blue" lodged an ACA report against Ling Liong Sikís son, when in fact, my ACA report for full investigations into RM1.2 billion corporate wealth of Ling Hee Leong was firstly an act of self-defence and secondly a public service to create a culture of public integrity of political leaders.
The UMNO MPs were surprised to learn that it was Liong Sik who initiated the series of events which led to my lodging the ACA report asking for full investigations as to whether there had been improper use and influence of Liong Sikís political and Ministerial position in Hee Leongís phenomenal catapult into the billion-ringgit bracket of the corporate stratosphere at the age of 27.
As a result, I had to explain to the UMNO MPs in Labuan that the series of events started on 9th June, when Liong Sik suggested that before the all-out war against corruption launched by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with the approval of the Prime Minister is extended to other Barisan Nasional parties apart from UMNO, it should also cover the Opposition parties.
Liong Sik insinuated gross financial impropriety on the part of DAP leaders, referring specifically to the collection of funds to pay his legal costs, asking who was to know whether DAP had raised not just RM30,000 but RM3 million from the people of Teluk Intan. There was the clear insinuation that if the DAP had collected RM3 million and not just RM30,000, I had squirrelled away the balance of the money.
I had responded the next day by advising Liong Sik on 10th June that "those who stay in glass houses should not throw stones" and that DAP and DAP leaders were prepared to be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency anytime and asked whether MCA and MCA leaders were prepared to be investigated by the ACA, as for instance, in probing into where Liong Sikís son, Ling Hee Leong, got all the RM1.2 billion for his various corporate acquisitions at the age of 27?
A day later on 11th June, Liong Sik deliberately called a post-Cabinet press conference to pointedly repeat the insinuation as to who would know whether I had collected RM3 million from the people of Teluk Intan to pay for his RM30,000 legal costs, again implying that I had squirrelled away the rest of the money.
Liong Sik must have been emboldened by his winning the defamation suit I had filed against him for making a similar type of baseless allegation that I had pocketted money from the DAP Save Bukit China campaign in the 1980s to brazenly repeat the same type of insinuation against me. The defamation suit I had filed against Liong Sik was dismissed on a technical objection at the pleading stage in chambers, without the case reaching a public hearing - and for this I was required to pay Liong Sik legal costs of RM29,960.
To end such baseless allegations, I invited Liong Sik to the ACA Headquarters on June 13, for him to lodge ACA report on the DAP collection of funds to pay his legal cost and to ask the ACA to investigate as to whether the DAP had actually collected RM3 million and squirrelled away the balance of the money; and for me to 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 exceeding over RM1.2 billion and whether there had been improper use and influence of his fatherís political and Ministerial position.
I would not have lodged such an ACA report on Ling Hee Leongís phenomenal catapult into the billion-ringgit bracket of the corporate stratosphere if not for Liong Sikís uncalled-for insinuation, as I had not said a single word about the Hee Leong issue although it had been a public controversy for the past six months.
Be that as it may, after I had lodged the ACA report, I found that it struck a national chord, especially at a time when for the first time in the history of Malaysia the country is trying to establish a clean image of public integrity of political leaders. This is why I say that I lodged the ACA report as an act of self-defence, although it also serves the public interest of creating a culture of public integrity among political leaders.
I commend Hee Leongís open-minded attitude, in welcoming ACA investigations about his phenomenal catapult into the billion-ringgit bracket of the corporate stratosphere at the age of 27.
I was even more impressed when Hee Leong openly invited the reporters to ask whatever questions they want to show that he appreciated that it is a matter of public interest that the Malaysians can be convinced that he could embark on RM1.2 billion corporate acquisitions at the age of 27 completely on his own merits and hard work, without any improper political influence of his father.
Although Hee Leong had invited the press to ask whatever questions they want about his phenomenal catapult into the billion-ringgit bracket of the corporate stratosphere, the Malaysian press seems to be very shy and had not yet taken up on his offer.
Hee Leongís offer should be taken up by the media and all who want to establish the truth.
For this reason, I invite Hee Leong to Parliament House (Committee Room One) on Thursday at 11 a.m. to a full press conference for all questions to be asked about his phenomenal catapult into the billion-ringgit bracket of the corporate stratosphere at the age of 27, and where I am prepared to assist the press with questions for Hee Leong to answer as well.
Among the questions Hee Leong should answer is how he could embark on RM1.2 billion corporate acquisitions without any track record whatsoever, the details of the various corporate acquisitions, the bank loans, details of the terms of these loans, etc.
If Hee Leong can at the press conference in Parliament House make a convincing case that he had acquired the RM1.2 billion corporate wealth at the age of 27 when he had no track record whatsoever, solely on his hard work and merits, then he is a "wonder boy" of the corporate world of Malaysia and should be given the highest commendation.
In fact, I would even formally withdraw the ACA report if he could convince me on Thursday and I would even recommend that he be given the nationís highest awards as the "boy wonder" of the corporate world of Malaysia in the 21st century.
Liong Sik is invited to the press conference in Parliament House on Thursday as well.