**The following is an article published by the New Straits Times on Jan 30, 2017.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has been labelled an ‘opportunist’ and a ‘hypocrite’ for his nonchalance over the controversial Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal in the early 1980s.
This was despite the opposition leader then leading a crusade against then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad over the issue.
Kit Siang’s indifference was likely to appease a segment of Malay voters ahead of the 14th General Election (GE14), said former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.
“This shows that Kit Siang is an opportunist who wil only take matters into his concerns if they serve his purpose, (and in the process), turn them into huge criminal issues. Otherwise, he will just sweep them under the carpet.
“The issue will remain the same. Only his reaction will be different,” Tunku Abdul Aziz said yesterday.
As of now, Tunku Abdul Aziz said Kit Siang would have to downplay his response to the BMF controversy to establish a working relationship with Mahathir and subsequently, hope to secure a certain deposit from a Malay vote base.
“If he upsets Mahathir (by raising the BMF scandal), the already fragile relationship between them will simply disintegrate.”
Tunku Abdul Aziz said such opportunistic traits were synonymous with Kit Siang.
“I have seen such traits in him. That is how he treats PKR and PAS. He is just using them for DAP’s purpose. I had once asked him personally, are we (DAP) taking (former Opposition leader) Anwar Ibrahim and PAS seriously? Kit Siang could not give me a straight answer.”
It was reported last week that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had linked Mahathir’s administratioin to the BMF scandal between 1979 and 1983 that had cost the country nearly USD1 billion (RM3.57 billion) in two botched loan deals. The scandal also involved the murder of a Bank Bumiputera auditor.
In response to the issue, Kit Siang had published two books on BMF.
The first was published in 1983 titled ‘The BMF Scandal’ and the second was in 1986, titled ‘BMF: The Scandal of Scandals’.
So far, Mahathir has denied his involvement in the scandal, while Kit Siang was reported to have said that the CIA findings ‘did not reveal anything new’.
Kit Siang’s disposition had also courted criticisms from other former DAP leaders. Law lecturer Shamsher Singh Thind said while Kit Siang had the moral capacity to forgive Mahathir for jailing him during the infamous Op Lalang period, he should not forgive him for causing the country to lose billions of ringgit.
“Kit Siang had written two books on the BMF scandal and issued numerous press statements, demanding a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be established for what he called ‘the greatest banking and financial scandal in Malaysian history’.
“In a 1987 press statement, Kit Siang had also said that Mahathir was personally liable for the USD200 million (RM886 million) loss suffered by Bank Bumiputera after he (Mahathir) had requested the said bank to give a loan to Maminco Sdn Bhd, a company which had no asset.
“Kit Siang also said that the BMF scandal cost Malaysians USD2.5 billion and ‘the government had given the Malaysian people and the world the impression that it had a lot of things to hide, and was going out of its way to protect the BMF culprits’. But now, Kit Siang himself is protecting Mahathir,” Shamsher said.
Former Sepang DAP parliamentary liaison committee member, Tan Tuan Tat said Kit Siang used to ‘howl’ at any issue in order to prop himself up as the ‘people’s champion’.
“Of course, he is an opportunist. He has to be nice to Mahathir now because he needs the Malay votes to win GE14.
“One wonders what has happened to DAP’s mantra on Competency, Accountability and Transparency, or CAT,” he said. – New Straits Times, Jan 30, 2017.