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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ling Liong Sik’s debt to Dr Mahathir and vice versa

The first problem that Liong Sik had to resolve on taking office was the RM3.6 billion (now worth RM10 billion) Chinese cooperatives losses. Dr Mahathir instructed the banks to step in and provide RM2 billion financing or about two-thirds of the amount to help bail out the cooperatives.

Ling Liong Sik

To understand why Ling Liong Sik joined Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s team in asking for the removal of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak you need to go back to 1983, the year when their relationship first began.

In March 1983, Lee San Choon suddenly resigned as the MCA President and Neo Yee Pan took over as Acting President.

In March 1984, Tan Koon Swan, Lee Kim Sai, Liong Sik, and about a dozen other MCA leaders were sacked from the party.

Dr Mahathir then stepped in and instructed Yee Pan to reinstate the sacked leaders…or else. Yee Pan had no choice but to allow them back into the party two months later.

In November 1985, Koon Swan won the MCA Presidency with the largest majority in MCA history with Liong Sik as his running mate.

Soon after that, the Singapore government arrested and charged Koon Swan for the Pan-Electric Industries (Pan-El) scandal. To do that Singapore had to get Dr Mahathir’s blessing, which he gave, and Liong Sik took over as the President.

The first problem that Liong Sik had to resolve on taking office was the RM3.6 billion (now worth RM10 billion) Chinese cooperatives losses. Dr Mahathir instructed the banks to step in and provide RM2 billion financing or about two-thirds of the amount to help bail out the cooperatives.

And that more or less solved MCA’s major problem — because the Chinese had threatened to vote for DAP if MCA did not solve the problem of the RM3.6 billion.

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