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Sun: Daim Leave A Puzzle - MCA In Trouble
By Kong Chun Meng

23/4/2001 9:27 pm Mon

[Kerajaan sengaja membiarkan khabar angin bertiup kencang dengan tidak memberi jawapan yang diharapkan. Tanpa ketelusan kedudukkan sebenar Daim di dalam kerajaan, ramai pelabur keresahan dan tidak dapat mengambil keputusan. Sebab itulah BSKL 'tercengang'. Tidak ada petunjuk ataupun haluan. Main teka-teka sahaja - yang tentunya merbahaya di saat ekonomi sedang bergelora. Kerajaan amat tidak bertanggungjawab dalam isu penting ini kerana membiarkan rakyat hidup terteka. Daim dilapurkan bercuti tetapi masih berada di pejabatnya. Akibatnya banyak soalan tergantung di saat kita memerlukan jawapannya - termasuk hutang 1 trilion apakah ada benarnya?

MCA berkrisis lagi bila Lee Kim Sai mendedahkan beliau 'tertipu' dalam menanda tangani 'perjanjian bersara' dengan Ling pada tahun 1993. Dalam 'perjanjian' itu dia perlu bersara sebagai naib presiden pada tahun 1995 untuk 'menggalakkan peralihan kuasa yang sihat'. Ia ditandatangani setelah berbincang dengan Lim Ah Lek dan Ling Liong Sik. Beliau undur kerana beliau yang tertua antara mereka bertiga. Akhbar Nanyang menyiarkan surat perjanjian itu bertarikh 20/4/1993.

Turut 'bergaduh' ialah vetren Wong Mook Leong yang mengkritik 'koordinator' perbincangan masalah kepimpinan Ah Lek-Liong Sik, Tan Sri William Chek. Wong mengkritik Chek kerana mungkir janji dengan mengemukakan kenyataan bersama 'koordinator' lain, Datuk Dr Sak Cheng Lum, yang dibantah oleh Ah Lek.

Wong begitu kecewa MCA kini menjadi sindrom reput ikan yang bermula di kepala. - Editor]

Daim's 'working leave' a puzzle

By Kong Chun Meng

As the weak trend in the stock market persisted last week and worries over the looming slowdown grew, issues related to the economy continued to dominate the Chinese dailies.

The week's spotlight was on the "sudden" announcement that Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had taken two months' leave.

In making the announcement on Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Daim's cabinet functions would be performed by the entrepreneur development minister.

Sin Chew Jit Poh's two-page focus on Daim's leave announcement, which reportedly took the markets by surprise, led off with the disclosure by an unidentified source that Daim would continue to report for work at the ministry despite being on leave.

The source said this to dismiss speculation that Daim's decision to take leave was the prelude to his resignation.

The source also denied that Daim's move was a protest against the appointment of former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan as financial consultant to the government.

The newspaper also carried background stories on the career of Daim in government service since he graduated with a law degree in 1959.

Also under scrutiny were the series of recent controversies involving the Finance Ministry and the rumours of a rift between Mahathir and Daim.

The controversies ranged from the much-criticised buyback of Malaysia Airlines shares by the government and the low dividend payment by the Employees Provident Fund.

A commentary said the two-month leave would enable the finance minister to take a rest and reflect on the recent developments.

However, it is Daim's responsibility to explain his decision to the people to prevent more rumours from making the rounds.

Yesterday, Nanyang Siang Pao's page-three lead was that Daim could make an "important announcement" on Monday. Daim is scheduled to open a seminar and also attend the parliament sitting on that day.

Sin Chew meanwhile carried a picture of a relaxed Daim at his desk at the ministry while quoting an aide as saying that Daim needed to oversee efforts to bring the economy out of its slump.

Editorialising on the issue, Nanyang said many people were baffled that Daim's leave was only announced last week though it apparently started earlier.

That Daim would continue working at the ministry despite being on leave and would only be absent at cabinet meetings was another issue that puzzled some people.

The paper hoped all the questions raised over Daim's move would be answered with transparency to put a stop to the rumour mill.

Noting that Daim, who is also the Umno treasurer, has stayed out of the current Umno elections, Nanyang hoped to hear the explanations to all the questions over his leave "straight from the horse's mouth".

Nanyang and Sin Chew yesterday also highlighted prominently Mahathir's denial that the country's foreign debt totalled RM1 trillion as alleged by certain quarters.

The prime minister was quoted as saying that the country's foreign debt does not exceed RM100 billion.The MCA's leadership succession dispute was also extensively covered by the Chinese dailies.


MCA Leadership Agreement puzzle-muzzle [- Editor]

Former party deputy president Tan Sri Lee Kim Sai told Nanyang that he felt "tricked" into signing the "retirement agreement" with party president Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik in 1993.

Under the "agreement", Lee was to step down as deputy president in 1995 "to encourage a healthy succession culture" in the party.

Lee claimed he signed the agreement as he believed there was a "consensus" between him, Ling and current deputy president Datuk Lim Ah Lek that it would lead to a "healthy succession tradition" in the party.

Looking back, Lee said he felt "played out" as nothing was ever done to meet the objective of the agreement.

He also said that another reason he signed the agreement, which was drafted by Ling, was because he was the oldest among the three.

Lee's interview with Nanyang was front-paged as the second lead on Sunday. The paper also carried photographs of the hand-written "agreement" dated April 20, 1993, which Lee signed with Ling.

Joining the fray was veteran central committee member Datuk Wong Mook Leong, whose lengthy letter criticising Tan Sri William Chek, the "coordinator" in the leadership talks between Ling and Lim, was carried in full by the dailies on Wednesday.

Wong criticised Chek for breaking his word in issuing the joint statement with the other "coordinator" Datuk Dr Sak Cheng Lum, which has been challenged by Lim.

He also alleged that it was becoming evident that the attempt "to use power to corrupt" party members was spreading in the party.

Another issue in the limelight was the prime minister's statement that the government might tighten the Printing Presses and Publications Act to regulate the Internet, which was Nanyang's page-one lead on Tuesday.

Several editorials and commentaries reacted negatively to the proposal. Editorialising on the issue, Nanyang said the Internet has developed into a vast global information network where freedom of speech is a central asset.

While this information revolution may pose a challenge to existing laws and the powers that be, those who want to regulate it must fully understand what they are doing.

Reckless attempts to curb the Internet may backfire by undermining the government's own information technology development plans, Nanyang said. Wong was saddened that the MCA leadership had turned into a "rotting fish head".