RM10 billion Valuecap Sdn Bhd. decision to play the share market raises grave ethical, accountability and good governance questions

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The RM10 billion Valuecap Sdn Bhd. decision to play the share market raises grave ethical, accountability and good governance questions.

The share market's knee-jerk reactions to Valuecap's entry into the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange, pushing the benchmark Composite Index (KLCI) by 9.24 points or 1.5% to 635 on Friday despite a late entry after 3 p.m. and a jump of another 13.67 points to 649.49 at lunch break today may not be all good news for the mid-term and long-term. Are these increases sustainable if the external conditions worsen, whether because of war prospects in Iraq or the US economic health?

Malaysians will remember of a similar adventure in the eighties using Employees Provident Fund monies to jack up the stock market, resulting eventually with the fingers of the millions of EPF contributors being burnt and up to now, there is still no accountability whether as to the huge sums lost or disciplinary actions against those behind such irresponsible decisions.

The Valuecap adventure has all the hallmarks of a Mahathir operation, reminiscent of previous disastrous government interventions in the market, not only the EPF foray into the share market in the eighties, but also the ill-fated and costly Maminco operation to corner the international tin market in the early years of the Mahathir administration resulting in over RM600 million losses and the even more ill-fated Bank Negara operation in the early nineties to play the foreign exchange market, resulting in over RM30 billion losses.

Malaysians are entitled to ask whether the Special Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohd Yakcop, who was responsible for the RM30 billion Bank Negara losses as he was singly running the operation in Bank Negara, is now responsible for advising the RM10 billion Valuecap play of the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange, and what guarantee is there that there would not be another expensive lesson to the taxpayers running into tens of billions of ringgit?

The RM10 billion Valuecap operation is a government operation using public funds to manipulate the share market and to salvage crony or former crony companies, something unheard of in countries which cherish principles of accountability, transparency and good governance. Valuecap Sdn. Bhd. is equally owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd., Permodalan Nasional Bhd and Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen.

DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who is also the Finance Minister, to explain to the nation and people whether the government had considered all the grave ethical, accountability and good governance issues involved in the RM10 billion Valuecap operation, and if so, to give a full statement of the government's position on these issues.

Mahathir should give a satisfactory assurance that the RM10 billion Valuecap operation to play the share market is not another mega financial disaster in the making.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman