Disappointed that the Cabinet has ignored my Open Letter on the 15 areas of priority focus to deal with the national economic crisis and its decision to proceed with the National Economic Action Council


Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Friday): I am disappointed that the Cabinet has ignored my Open Letter on the 15 areas of priority focus to deal with the national economic crisis and its decision to proceed with the National Economic Action Council.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said the Cabinet approved the establishment of the NEAC and its composition on Wednesday and that members of the NEAC would be named as soon as possible.

I am also disappointed that the Prime Minister is not prepared to reconsider the appointment of the Economic Adviser to the Government, Tun Daim Zainuddin, as Executive Director of NEAC.

Daim is a very active corporate player, whose corporate empire embraces banking, finance and mass media sectors.

Is Daim prepared to resign from all his private interest activities to devote full time to the duties as the executive director of the NEAC, which appears to have powers superseding or co-equal to the Cabinet in the very important areas of economic policy?

The transparency and integrity of corporate governance has been an issue of great concern in the current economic crisis and which is another reason why there is a crisis of confidence because of the close intertwining of business and politics in Malaysia.

The UEM-Renong deal for instance still awaits a full and satisfactory accounting. Although the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Wong See Wah, when answering my question in Parliament last month, said UEM has been given until tomorrow, 10th January, to seek the approval of its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to approve the proposed RM3.24 billion acquisition of 32.6 per cent stake in Renong, the people are still waiting for a satisfactory answer.

Another corporate time-bomb is the North Borneo Timber (NBT) deal, involving the Sabah state-owned Warisan Harta’s acquisition of three million shares causing the people of Sabah to lose over RM80 million in two weeks.

If Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee is not prepared to give any accounting to the people of Sabah, then the top Barisan Nasional national leadership should intervene to remove him as Sabah Chief Minister to show Sabahans and Malaysians that the country is serious about accountability and transparency.

(9/1/98)


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