MCA leadership should emulate UMNO and Gerakan leaders by giving full enthusiastic support for the all-out war against corruption instead of being so lukewarm and unsupportive

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday):
On Monday, the Barisan Nasional Secretary-General Datuk Mohamed Rahmat urged all Barisan Nasional component parties to take similar steps to those taken by UMNO to wage an all-out war against corruption.

He said it would be only proper that all the component parties take similar action to wipe out corruption.

"This is a question of credibility and integrity of the Government", he told reporters after delivering a keynote address at the 1997 Malaysian Television Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik had declared that Gerakan would take the necessary measures to eliminate corruption among its members who hold public office at both State and Federal levels.

In this connection, Keng Yaik must be commended for his courage in exposing a RISDA subsidiary, the Smallholders Development Corporation (SDC) for trying to evade payment of levy and exporting sawn timber without permission, and I hope all other Ministers would emulate his example and ensure that they run a graft-free Ministry - particularly the Transport Ministry which is prone to so many complaints about corruption.

Today, Utusan Malaysiaís front-page carries the headline banner: "Zahid isytihar jihad - Banteras rasuah habis-habisan" with the lead paragraph:

I would in particular advise the MCA leadership to emulate UMNO and Gerakan leaders by giving full enthusiastic support for the all-out war against corruption which had been launched by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, instead of being so lukewarm and unsupportive.

At a time when all Malaysians are beginning to hope that the country is entering a new era where a serious all-out war would be declared against corruption, regardless of rank or station, the MCA leadership has been conspicuous by its lack of support for the all-out war against corruption and its obsession to create distraction from the campaign by politicising the issue as making baseless allegations of financial impropriety against the DAP.

The MCA national publicity machinery, led by the MCA National Publicity Secretary, Datuk Wong See Wah, had been issuing a series of statements recently but none of them is about how the MCA leadership proposes to support the all-out war against corruption but all to recycle baseless allegations against the DAP - like Liong Sikís insinuation that the DAP collected RM3 million and not RM30,000 in the Teluk Intan by-election to pay his legal costs of RM29,960.

MCA claims to be the second largest political party in the Barisan Nasional and the third largest Chinese party in the world. It would be most sad and unfortunate if at this important stage of national development, when the country seems to be embarking on an all-out war against corruption, MCA leaders show the least interest and make the least contribution.

I would urge the MCA national leaders to bear in mind Mohamed Rahmatís call to emulate the UMNO in taking steps to declare an all-out war against corruption.

Let all MCA national leaders take a stand on the following threel issues:

Firstly, whether hey fully support the ACA in launching an all-out investigation as to how Ling Hee Leong could at the age of 27 and without any track record embark on corporate acquisitions exceeding RM1.2 billion in a matter of three months and whether there had been improper use and influence of his fatherís political and Ministerial position.

Secondly, whether they agree that the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik owes the MCA membership and the entire Malaysian population a full explanation as to whether, and if so what, role he had played in his sonís RM1.2 billion corporate acquisitions in three months at the age of 27 especially as Ling Hee Leong had said publicly that "Ninety-nine per cent of the time I wonít do anything without my fatherís blessing".

Thirdly, whether they agree that apart from ACA investigations, the principles of public accountability, integrity and transparency demand that Liong Sik should make a public statement in view of Hee Leongís statement in April 1997 issue of Journal One when it raised "the nagging issue that being the Transport Ministerís son has given Hee Leong an unfair advantage in the corporate world", and Hee Leong had said:

History is watching the role being played by the MCA leaders in the all-out war against corruption - whether they embrace it to the extent of daring to demand the highest standards of public integrity even from among MCA Ministers and leaders or whether they are trying to derail the drive to ensure its failure.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong