Call on Abdullah to direct the Anti-Corruption Agency  to lodge official  report and investigate whether Daim Zainuddin was guilty of abuses of  power,  conflict-of-interest and corruption  when he was Finance Minister the second time based on a FEER report cover-dated 27th June 2002

Media Conference Statement 
- launching of the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness Campaign at Sri Kembangan

by Lim Kit Siang

(Selangor,  Sunday): Although no arrangements were made for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to become Acting Prime Minister during the current 10-day Mediterranean leave of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysians expect Abdullah to show a new authority now that he has been officially designated as the successor to Mahathir to be the fifth Malaysian Prime Minister after the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Kuala Lumpur on October 23 and 24, 2003, and that he would be Acting Prime Minister whenever Mahathir is overseas or on leave.  

While nobody expects Abdullah to announce new policies different and separate from that of the Mahathir administration during these 16 months, the people do expect Abdullah to come out of the shadows in the past 30 months he was Deputy Prime Minister where he did not even stamp his character and personality of “Mr. Clean” and “Mr. Nice Guy” on the various Home Ministry departments directly under his charge by making them more people-friendly, transparent and efficient -  most notably the police.  

With his reputation as “Mr. Clean”, I call on Abdullah to direct the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)  to lodge official report and investigate whether Tun Daim Zainuddin had committed abuses of power, conflicts-of-interest and corrupt practices when he was Finance Minister the second time based on the  Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) report cover-dated 27th June 2002, entitled “Behind Daim’s Fall”.  

The FEER article  said  that the former Bank Negara Governor, Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan, whose renewal of   tenure as the central bank head was blocked by Daim, had written a seven-page letter to Mahathir before he left office in April 2000 “detailing several instances where Daim intervened personally in transactions involving banks controlled by his close associates”. 

The FEER report said:   

“Among the institutions the letter accused Daim of favouring were the International Bank of Malaysia, or IBM, which Daim had previously controlled, and the Multi-Purpose Bank. (A Daim-controlled company acquired IBM in mid-1997, and Daim then disposed of his shareholding in the company to a business protégé in late 1998, after he was appointed finance minister for the second time.)

“According to officials familiar with the letter, Ali cited Daim's push for IBM to be given first right to acquire the merchant-banking arm of state-owned Bank Bumiputra Malaysia in 1999, despite its low offer. That institution, Bumiputra Merchant Bankers, was later merged into Alliance Bank, one of the 10 anchor banks the government eventually created.  

“The letter also detailed instances where Daim blocked corporate plans presented by several prominent businessmen. In one instance, Ali Abul Hassan recounted how state-owned Bank Simpanan Nasional proposed to sell its merchant-banking arm to Hong Leong Bank, which was owned by tycoon Quek Leng Chan of the Hong Leong Group. (Quek at one time enjoyed close ties to Anwar.) According to people familiar with the letter, Ali noted that Hong Leong Bank was offering 70 million ringgit ($18 million) for the state institution--four times more than the 17 million ringgit Perwira Affin Bank, a rival bidder, was prepared to pay. But Daim dismissed the bid by Quek's bank, the letter said, remarking to the central bank governor: "Don't be mad." Perwira Affin ultimately won the bid.”  

Abdullah had said that every time Mahahtir, who is also Finance Minister, goes overseas, he stood in as Acting Finance Minister.  Whether as Deputy Prime Minister or Acting Finance Minister, Abdullah should state whether he would ask the ACA to begin investigations into the FEER report as to whether Daim had abused his powers and committed conflicts-of-interests and corruption  when he was the Finance Minister for the second time, before Daim was summarily dismissed from his post in mid-2001.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman