Deputy Home Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin should be referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to be disciplined  for misleading Parliament on June 16 in falsely  stating that the police had no evidence that MCA members and top leaders were involved in triad activities

37th DAP anniversary dinner organized by the DAP Klang Parliamentary Liaison Committee
y Lim Kit Siang

(KlangSaturday): The latest developments in the attempt to cover-up the relationship between the new MCA President and a triad kingpin has aggravated a  public crisis of confidence over whether the MCA is tainted by triad politics into whether the government has been tainted by triad politics. 

On June 16, 2003, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin told Parliament in an answer to the DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Kerk Kim Hock, that the police had found no evidence that MCA members and top leaders were involved in triad politics.  

He said that police investigations based on three police reports lodged at the Bukit Mertajam, Klang and Jalan Travers, Kuala Lumpur stations as a result of the allegations by the MCA Youth leader, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat about “black gold politics” in MCA had not yielded any evidence of gangsterism involving the party, its top leaders or members.  The three police reports were all lodged by the MCA Team B led by Datuk Seri Lim Ah Lek and Datuk Chan Kong Choy. 

Exactly a month later, the police publicly issued a nationwide alert for the arrest of the underworld figure “Jackie Chan”, whose real name is Ong King Ee  and  reputed  as the kingpin of the Sio Sam Ong (Three Little Emperors) triad for “actively trying to revive the gang”. 

On July 18, New Straits Times reported that the Penang MCA chief Wong Kam Hoong had confirmed that Ong Kin Ee was an active party member since he joined the party in 2000,  being the MCA’s Gurney Drive Branch chairman who “even set up a computer laboratory recently for his members”,  On the police’s nation-wide alert for the arrest of Ong, Wong  declared that “Ong is innocent until proven guilty” and said: “Although he is wanted by the police, until and unless he is found guilty, we still recognize him as an MCA member and the Gurney Drive branch chairman.” 

On the same day (July 18, 2003),  under the headline “WANTED – TRIAD BOSS – AN MCA LEADER”, The Malay Mail published a photograph occupying its entire front-page with the caption “Ong King Ee, leader of the notorious Sio Sam Ong triad, with Datuk Ong Ka Ting at a function to launch the Wan Thor Boey Branch/MCA Gurney Drive in Penang in February 2001”.

It carried another photograph in page 2, with the caption “CIRCLED; Ong and Ong – the triad kingpin suspect King Ee and MCA President Ka Ting”, which it said was one of the three photographs of Ong Ka Ting and Ong King Ee  taken at the 1,000 people solidarity dinner jointly organized by the newly-formed MCA branch in Wan Thor Boey, and the Gurney Drive branch in Penang in February 2001 which was posted on the Internet, on May 24. 

Since the public allegations by Tee Kiat of “black gold” politics  in MCA in March, the disturbing question swirling around the country in the past four months was  whether MCA had been tainted by triad politics. 

The events of the past month have now raised an even more serious question, whether the Malaysian government for the first time in 46 years of nationhood since Independence in 1957 had been tainted by triad politics. 

This is because the exoneration of MCA members or top leaders from triad politics by the Deputy Home Minister, Zainal Abidin,  in Parliament on June 16 is not only inexplicable but inexcusable in the light of the police nation-wide manhunt for a MCA Branch chairman. 

When a Minister or a Deputy Minister answers questions or makes a statement in Parliament, he is not allowed to give his  personal views or  indulge in any  idiosyncrasies as he is making a serious statement on behalf of the government after studied consideration of the subject-matter.  Thus, when Zainal Abdin told Parliament on June 16 that police had found no evidence that MCA members and top leaders were involved in triad politics, the answer could not come from thin air but must be  the result of briefings and even a “model answer” supplied by the Police, after full consultation with the Criminal Investigations Department. 

In view of the police nation-wide alert for a triad kingpin who is still a MCA branch chairman, there were  three  possible scenarios for Zainal Abidin’s false and misleading answer to Kerk’s question in the Dewan Rakyat on June 16 -  firstly,  that he had been misinformed and misled by the police; secondly, he had deliberately misled Parliament despite a true and correct  report by the Police; or thirdly, he never consulted the police and gave a political answer to exonerate MCA.. 

It is  for the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to investigate and ascertain as to what was the actual scenario leading to  Zainal Abidin’s gross breach of parliamentary privilege in  giving a false and misleading answer to Kerk’s question. 

When  issuing the nation-wide alert  for ‘Jackie Chan’ and Chee Kok Loong last Wednesday, Penang Criminal Investigation Department chief Senior Assistant Commissioner II Abdul Rahim Jani said Sio Sam Ong had been involved in international drug trafficking, kidnap, murder, robbery, extortion and illegal money-lending at its height. (The Star 17.7.03) 

The Star reported: 

“The triad was said to be behind the slaying of six people in Taman Bersatu, Sungai Petani, in September 1992. The members were also involved in at least 10 murders in the state and in the late 80s and early 90s. 

“The skeletal remains of five men, who were murdered for betraying the gang, were exhumed from unmarked graves 11 years ago in Mount Erskine (Penang). Most of the recovered remains had their hands tied behind their backs.” 

The Malaysian press reported that ‘Jackie Chan’ had gone missing before the Sungai Petani pre-wedding killing but was later arrested in Bangkok and escorted to Malaysia.  He was placed under detention for drug trafficking and in 1996, he was sent to Simpang Rengam rehabilitation centre under the Emergency Ordinance.  Released two years later, he joined the MCA in 2000. 

With this background released by the police itself, it is unthinkable that the police could have furnished Zainal Abidin with the information that the police had no evidence that MCA members and top leaders were involved in triad politics. This could only mean that  the Deputy Home Minister had ignored crucial  police information to unilaterally and irresponsibly exonerate the MCA  top leaders and members from involvement in triad activities when answering Kerk’s question.   

The new MCA President must also give a proper accounting of his relationship with ‘Jackie Chan’.  For four months,  Ka Ting had studiously maintained that he did not personally know ‘Jackie Chan’ with the  typical comment: “You attend functions everywhere with thousands of people – anyone can be in the picture.  The picture is no indication that something is wrong or happening.” 

Ka Ting was the Deputy Home Minister from 1995 to 1999, covering the period when ‘Jackie Chan’ was detained in Simpang Rengam.  Is Ka Ting seriously suggesting that he had no knowledge of ‘Jackie Chan’s detention, the gory history of Sio Sam Ong or that he  had not known ‘Jackie Chan’  before 2000? 

If so, he should conduct an opinion poll among the MCA members, the Chinese community and the Malaysian public to find out the percentage of people who would believe his claim.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman