Mahathir should agree to an emergency debate in Parliament tomorrow to answer  Anwar’s charges on the Prime Minister’s involvement in the Perwaja scandal

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said that all  decisions on Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd, which on December 1995 suffered accumulated  losses of RM2,985 million and chalked up RM6,939 million in liabilities,  were made collectively by the Government.

Mahathir said former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar  Ibrahim was also involved in the decision-making process.

He said: "He is also involved because all the decisions made by the Government are collective decisions.  And every decision is decided not by me, but by the Federal Government. And he is involved."

This is a very weak response by Mahathir  to the police report lodged by Anwar last Wednesday on Perwaja Steel's losses directly implicating the Prime Minister in the biggest financial scandal in Malaysia history.

In his police report, Anwar said that the Ministry of Finance under him had to appoint Price Waterhouse in May 1996 as independent auditors  into Perwaja’s financial scandal because "several earlier attempts to obtain detailed information from the then management, particularly its Managing Director, Tan Sri Eric Chia failed".

Anwar continued in his police report: "He (Eric Chia) in fact repeatedly claimed that his actions had the support and under the directions of Prime Minister Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir. And  this is further substantiated with letters written by the Prime Minister himself. With the so-called mandate, the Board was sidelined, tender procedures were blatantly ignored and there were quesitonable, ‘unsatisfactory’ payments made to certain parties."

Surely, Mahathir is not seriously suggesting that the other Cabinet Ministers, including the Finance Minister, should be held collectively responsible for Perwaja’s colossal losses if they were related to written authorisations given by the Prime Minister himself granting wide-ranging mandate to Eric Chia to manage or mismanage Perwaja, even to sideline the Perwaja Board of Directors, as alleged by Anwar in his police report?

To fully clear himself, I call on Mahathir to agree to an emergency debate in Parliament tomorrow for him to answer Anwar’s charges of his involvement in the Perwaja scandal.

Mahathir  should also table in Parliament all letters written by him to Perwaja which had been used by Eric  Chia to claim that all his actions had the support and were under the  directions of the Prime Minister.

I have given notice to the Speaker of Parliament, Tun Zahir Mohamad Ismail that I will move a motion of urgent definite public importance in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow on Anwar’s police report on the Perwaja scandal, which had  thrown a  completely new light in implicating for the first time  the Prime Minister in the Perwaja scandal.
With the new information in the police report, Parliament is duty-bound  to ascertain whether the real reason why Anti-Corruption Agency investigations into the Perwaja scandal are  heading nowhere after more than four years is because of the direct involvement of the Prime Minister in the Perwaja scandal - and to demand for  a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Perwaja scandal  not only to clear the Prime Minister but to ensure that  there is no repetition of the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal of  another  ‘heinous crime without a criminal’.

A full  debate in Parliament on the Perwaja scandal tomorrow will be the most appropriate forum for the Prime Minister to give a full and proper accounting about his involvement and role in the Perwaja scandal.

The Prime Minister should also come to Parliament to explain to the nation the reason for the long time being taken by the Anti-Corruption Agency to complete its investigations into the Perwaja scandal.

Malaysians must be surprised to read of the statement by the ACA deputy director-general (operations) Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan who said yesterday that  its Perwaja investigations were  almost complete, when only a month ago, the ACA director-general, Datuk Ahmad Zaki Husin was talking about the ACA taking another 10 to 20 years to complete the Perwaja investigations.

Ahmad Zaki had said that it was not easy to determine when the Perwaja investigations would be completed, "but the ACA would carry on even if took 10 or 20 years"!


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