(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The
shock announcement of the cessation of operations of Perwaja Steel Sdn. Bhd. and retrenchment of its workers has
been downsized by the bigger shock of the nonchalant attitude of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that the government will not interfere with the closure of
the Perwaja Steel mills on the ground that it is a business decision.
cannot wash his hands of the RM10
billion Perwaja scandal but must accept individual and collective responsibility
for one of the worst corporate scandals in the nation’s history as he had
returned to the Cabinet for the past decade after a four-year absence because of
the UMNO power struggle in the eighties.
was a member of the Cabinet which in 1997 favoured Syarikat Maju Holding Bhd out
of four Perwaja rescue proposals
from the corporate sector, awarding it 51
per cent stake and management control as well allowing the bumiputra group to
start on a clean slate with the government assuming full responsibility for the
RM2.9 billion losses and RM6.9 billion liabilities chalked up by Perwaja.
in January 1997 called on the government to present a White Paper in Parliament
on the four Perwaja rescue proposals, as with the Malaysian taxpayers assuming
full responsiblity for the colossal Perwaja losses of RM2.9 billion and
liabilities of RM6.9 billion, the government had a duty to to explain whether it
had received any proposals which were better than that proposed by Maju Holdings
Sdn. Bhd involving less financial burden on the Government as well with greater
promise of success in terms of having “sound capital and experience in the
steel industry”, and if so, why these proposals had been rejected.
Cabinet decision to favour the Maju
Holdings Sdn. Bhd. rescue proposal and to reject the othe three bids must now be
the subject of public scrutiny with the failure of the Maju Holdings Sdn. Bhd. rescue bid, with the bad news of the closure of the mills and the
retrenchment of the workers.
member of the Cabinet which decided to hand over Perwaja to Maju Holdings Sdn.
Bhd. on a clean slate, Abdullah cannot shirk responsibility for the Perwaja
cessation of operations and retrenchment of workers, and I call on him and the
entire Cabinet to be answerable to the Malaysian people and nation for the
latest Perwaja development.
calls for a White Paper on Perwaja to
be presented in Parliament next month which should cover two important aspects:
firstly, give full details of the four Perwaja rescue bids presented to the
government in 1997, why the Maju
Holdings Sdn. Bhd. bid was selected and why it has now failed; and secondly, a
full report on the outcome of investigations into the RM10 billion Perwaja
July 1999, former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim lodged a
police report on the Perwaja
scandal making specific allegations of corruption and abuses of power and naming
then, the Anti-Corruption Agency had made tantalising comments that it was on
the verge of a breakthrough in its investigations into the Perwaja Scandal.
time that the full story of the RM10 billion Perwaja scandal which parallels the
two-decade administration of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad,
should be fully told in a White Paper to Parliament next month.