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The Government Must Also Reveal How The Shares Are Distributed Amongst Malays, The Academic Credentials And Professional Support For The Methodology Applied In Calculating The 18.9% Bumi Equity Ownership.


Media Statement

by Lim Guan Eng

(Petaling Jaya Monday): After weeks of threats trying to stifle public debate on government figures with warnings that the government figures are accurate and should not be disputed because it is seditious and risks inciting anger, the government is taking a different approach. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement that the Government is prepared to reveal the methodology and data used to calculate the 18.9% equity ownership by bumiputras shows that stifling debate is no different from hiding the truth.


If Najib says that such figures were based on detailed and objective studies, then he should be transparent by proving them and not insist that whatever the official line is must be the truth. Any failure to do so or incorrect data produced will give rise to suspicions that the statistics are modified for a specific purpose.


Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) had published a study by Dr Lim Teck Ghee that showed bumiputra equity ownership based on market value in public-listed companies is 45%. When ASLI President Mirzan Mahathir retracted and apologized for the report, Dr Lim resigned in protest to defend the integrity of the academics involved and the conclusions in the report.


The government and BN is therefore not correct to say that ASLI withdrew its report when the authors did not do so, only the organisatiin did it without the authors’ consent. The implications of the veracity of 45% control of bumi equity valued at RM 325 billion as at 30 September 2005, is a grave threat to BN who have been successful in hiding the fact that only a few UMNO leaders control the bulk of these shares.  UMNO leaders are terrified in having to answer Malays asking where these shares have gone and for their rightful share.


The government must also reveal how the shares are distributed amongst Malays, the academic credentials and professional support for the methodology applied by the government in calculating the 18.9% bumi equity ownership based on par value. After all the methodology employed must be backed by credible academics with high international renown as Dr Lim, who was employed as a senior social scientist by both the World Bank and a regional advisor with UNESCAP.


The government has been critical of the inclusion of Government-Linked Corporations(GLCs) as bumi-controlled and the use of market value. However Najib has not explained the government’s fixation on par value as a measurement of real worth when its use is discredited internationally. Neither has Najib explained why GLCs like Telekom Nasional Bhd and Petronas should not be classified as bumiptra-owned when it serves all community in terms of getting them as business customers but serves ojnly one community in the giving of contracts and business opportunities. If GLCs are not included as bumis, how should they be treated then?


When the methodology and data released by the government is shown to be inadequate, would the government apologise to Dr Lim for calling the findings “rubbish” and warning him not to incite anger as it is seditious. DAP regrets that MCA wakil rakyats and leaders such as Youth President Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is only now talking about the injustice done to Dr Lim proving that the BN wakil rakyats are either “know too late” or “going where the winds blow” now that Najib has changed his tune.  Why did MCA wakil rakyats not raise this in Cabinet in defence of Dr Lim but supported Cabinet’s acceptance of Mirzan apology and retraction.


MCA leaders should be ashamed that Dr Lim Teck Ghee has shown them a sterling example of preparing to break one’s own rice bowl as a matter of principle in seeking truth from facts and not distort the truth in facts. Unlike Dr Lim, MCA leaders have tended to cling to their posts a all costs, “not that they love making high-principled speeches less but because they love the perks and privileges of office so much more”.


* Lim Guan Eng,  Secretary-General of DAP

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