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Press Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Penang on Saturday, 11th October 2008: 

Maybank could have given out cheap loans of RM 8.25 billion to the public to face the global financial crisis than waste it on acquiring PT Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) and suffering almost immediate losses of RM 4 billion   

Maybank could have given out cheap loans of RM 8.25 billion to the public to face the global financial crisis than waste it on acquiring BII and suffering almost immediate losses of RM 4 billion. With the collapse of the capital markets throughout the world, we are facing a global financial crisis that will have an impact on many countriesí economies and the livelihood of ordinary Malaysians. Why not use RM 8.25 billion to help tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Malaysians instead of buying one bank?

By proceeding ahead with the deal on the basis it was a commercial decision, Maybank has acted irresponsibly and even unprofessionally. Why not cut losses, lose face by admitting its mistake and forfeit its RM 483 million deposit? Instead Maybank decided to proceed with spending RM 8.25 billion to acquire a bank that nobody wanted.

The vendors, Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. and South Korea's Kookmin Bank were so desperate to sell their 56% stake in BII that they were willing to give a further 15% discount of RM 758.9 million even AFTER the deal has been closed. No wonder a 15% discount was given when Maybank bought at a price that is more than 65% higher than the prevailing market price or 4.3 times BIIís book value compared to the current market valuation of Indonesian banks at a maximum of 2.7 times.

DAP regrets that no leader from BN especially the new leadership in MCA or Gerakan has highlighted this controversy which is clearly against public interest. This goes to show that MCA, Gerakan and UMNO have not learnt from the lessons of the political tsunami of 8 March general elections that the public will no longer tolerate shady deals. The public is highly suspicious of such shady deals as they remember the losses suffered by Proton Holdings Bhd of selling MV Augusta for one euro what it had bought for 70 million euros resulting in total losses of RM500 million.

It is such shady deals that have crippled Malaysiaís anti-corruption efforts causing Malaysiaís to tumble in the rankings of the Transparency Internationalís Corruption Perception Index of No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 this year. Unless BN leaders practices CAT- competency, accountability and transparency, public funds will not be used for public interest and MCA, Gerakan and UMNO leaders can not be depended upon to promote good governance and integrity.


* Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister Penang & DAP Secretary-General