Daim should personally buy over KWAP’s RM903.74 million investment in Time dotCom at original price  to bear personal responsibility as well as relieve the KWAP of the crippling losses exceeding RM336 million

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Thursday): Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has gone overseas to  sing the praises of the  Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, describing  him as “a fine thinker on globalisation”  and a “committed reformer” in his speech at the Asian Development Bank Conference in Honolulu.

It is the height of irresponsibility for Daim to be attending international conferences as Finance Minister, while absenting himself from the Cabinet at home and even more serious, from Parliament to account for his numerous  controversial decisions as well as financial scandals, like the use of government-linked funds and agencies to bail out crony companies and individuals  such as the RM903.74 million investment by Pensions Trust Fund (KWAP) in Time dotCom IPO bailout.

It is most ridiculous for Daim to be talking about corporate governance when he is destroying a most important pillar of national governance - the principle of Ministerial accountability.

He is either on leave or he is not on leave.  If he is on leave, then he cannot be attending international conferences in the capacity as Finance Minister. In fact, he cannot even go to the office of the Finance Minister or deal with official documents, as he would be trespassing  and infringing on the powers and jurisdiction of the Acting Minister as well as violating the Official Secrets Act.

If he is not on leave, he should then discharge his Ministerial responsibilities by attending Cabinet and Parliament.

Daim may be using the Honolulu  conference to  try to make up with Mahathir.  We are not interested in the Mahathir-Daim tiff which led to the bizarre and absurd “leave” by Daim.

Mahathir said the other day that Daim should not be taking the Minister’s pay during the period he is on leave.

I will go further.  He should bear full responsibility  as Finance Minister for the disastrous decisions taken by the government, and in particular,  personally  buy over  KWAP’s RM903.74 million investment in Time dotCom at the original price to bear personal responsibility as well as relieve the KWAP of the crippling losses exceeding RM336 million.

At the end of trading yesterday, Time dotCom was worth RM2.07 per share, or a fall of RM1.23 per share or 37.27 per cent drop from the IPO price of RM3.30 which KWAP had paid, resulting in over RM336 million losses for its stake of 273.86 million shares of Time dotCom.

In the entire Parliamentary meeting lasting some two months, Daim had failed to give any satisfactory explanation as to how as Finance Minister, he  could be so irresponsible and criminally negligent as to allow KWAP to  jeopardise the pensions of 800,000 civil servants by investing such colossal sums in  Time dotCom, whose IPO was avoided by the market as a sure disaster.

Whether Daim patches up with Mahathir or not is a matter for both of them, but Daim must bear full responsibility for the KWAP Time dotCom scandal,  and as he is one of the richest man in the country, he should buy over KWAP’s Time dotCom stake at the IPO price of RM3.30 per share to set an example of Ministerial accountability for a totally unforgivable commitment of monies from the  pension trust fund.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman