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:
"Kota Bharu - Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia membayangkan akan melancarkan program jihad memerangi rasuah kerana menyedari tentang bahayanya gejala itu daripada terus merebak."
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:
"I think every father tries to open doors for his son, whoever the father may be. If he knows a few more friends, he is in a position to open a few more doors. And "unfair advantage" I think, is an unfair comment. There is nothing unfair in this world. Everything is relative and unfairness is quite subjective. Those who benefit donít feel itís unfair but those who donít benefit say it is.
"I have been living with this all my life. Since the day I was born, my father has been in politics. It has become a part of my life. I donít know any other way of life. I enjoy it. Of course, there are the pros and cons of being my fatherís son. I think the pros are 99% and the cons only 1%. Itís a privilege, actually.
"However much I try to do everything above board, the public will think, ĎAh, this is so-and-soís kid, so the father must be helping him.í I myself am guilty of thinking that way so I donít blame the public for doing the same. But I stay out of any business related to transport although there is great potential in it. Since going into business, I have had to set my principles and my guidelines. One of them is not to in any way jeopardise the thirty years of hard work that my father has put into his career and I think thatís fair."
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.