Barisan Alternative demands RM10.6 million compensation from Mitsui as recompense for its kickback to Telekom Malaysia

Media Conference Statement
- after handing over letter to Chairman, Mitsui and Co. to the Kuala Lumpur Mitsui office
Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur, Thursday): I have just handed to Mitsui’s Kuala Lumpur branch general manager for Regional Strategy and Planning Division, Masahito Nagata at the Mitsui office at Regency, Kuala Lumpur a letter to the Chairman of Mitsui and Co. in Tokyo asking for a RM10.6  million compensation to the people of Malaysia for the RM10.6 million kickback to Telekom Malaysia.

I was accompanied by the Barisan Alernative  Members of Parliament, Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Lim Hock Seng (Bagan), Goh Kheng Huat (Nibong Tebal), Mohamad Sabu (Kuala Kedah), Secretary to Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Dr. Hatta Ramli and Political  Secretary to DAP National Chairman, Sdri Foo Yueh Chuan.

Nagata, who said he knew nothing about the allegations of the RM10.6 million Mitsui kickback to Telekom Malaysia in connection with a 800,000-circuits  switchboard contract in 1996 estimated at more than 10 billion yen, assured me that he would transmit the letter to the Mitsui Chairman in Tokyo.

The letter to the Mitsui Chairman expressed disappointment at the "evasiveness and prevarications by Mitsui, both in Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur"  over the allegation which  would not inspire confidence that Mitsui  is committed to the principles of accountability, transparency and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) convention to wipe out and   criminalise international business corruption entered into by the Japanese government in 1996.

The letter asked for the correspondence between Mitsui and Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau over the allegation of the kickback to Telekom Malaysia to be made public, as it would be  able to clear the name of Mitsui  if there is no truth whatsoever in the Asahi Shimbun allegation.

If the Asahi Shimbun allegation is true, Mitsui should not just pay penalty to the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau but should make adequate recompense to the Malaysian people, as in paying out RM10.6  million  to the Malaysian people for the advancement of an information society, together with the firm undertaking that Mitsui would not be involved in such kickbacks in future.

In this connection, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should explain where it got the information on Tuesday that a senior Mitsui executive from Japan would turn up at the ACA headquarters yesterday to assist in the ACA investigations into the Telekom Malaysia kickback scandal. In the event, no Mitsui senior executive appeared at all.

Did the ACA get this information direct from Mitsui in Tokyo or was this the information the agency received from Telekom Malaysia - as the ACA could not have conjured this piece of information from thin air.

If the ACA could not explain where it received the information that a senior Mitsui executive from Japan would be appearing in Malaysia to help in the ACA investigations, the whole investigation has become very "fishy".

What creates more suspicion is the statement by the  chief investigator into the Telekom kickback allegation, Abdul Razak Idris, clearing Mitsui of any wrongdoing even before he had started on his investigations.

Abdul Razak was quoted by Reuters yesterday (16th February 2000) as saying that the ACA had not "uncovered any corruption so far in its investigation of allegations Telekom Malaysia Bhd was paid kickbacks to win a contract in 1996"

Abdul Razak said: "I don't see any corruption as it is now, unless the Japanese tax bureau can find out something".

The ACA chief investigator appeared to have cleared both Mitsui and Telekom Malaysia in less than 24 hours of his appointment to head investigations into the kickback allegations, when he could hardly have started on any investigation.

This is another example why the Malaysian public have no confidence in the professionalism, independence and integrity of ACA investigations into the Telekom kickback scandal.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman