PETALING JAYA: Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong has rebuffed a claim by a former MCA president that Malaysian Chinese still had a strong hold on the national economy.
Liew said Tan Koon Swan’s belief was outmoded and a throwback to racial ideas of the 1980s. “We are now in the 21st century. With the failure of these racial ideas in the 1980s, we should now be able to see corporate ownership by rich individuals of all ethnic groups,” he said.
Tan had told Sin Chew Daily of analysis that had shown Malaysian Chinese contributed 70 per cent of gross domestic product, and that the bulk of the Malay population continued to live harder lives than the Chinese community.
A successful corporate figure who became MCA president from 1985-1986, Tan was believed to have been a victim of Umno’s “black hand” when he was jailed in Singapore in the Pan-Electric Industries affair. The Singapore prosecutor subsequently apologised and said he had been wrongly charged and jailed.
However Liew, in rebuffing Tan’s contention about Malaysian Chinese strength in the economy, also accused Tan of wrecking the lives of many Malaysian Chinese through the deposit-taking scandal of the 1980s.
He said those who had bought into the MCA’s ideas of fighting Malay political power through cooperative funding had lost their life savings.
More than 500,000 depositors and RM1.5 billion in deposits were affected in a series of crises among co-operative societies and deposit-taking companies triggered by the collapse of MCA-linked cooperative Kosatu. The government subsequently stepped in and took emergency measures to bail out the various cooperatives involved.