19 July 2012

MCA through its Young Professionals Bureau Chief, Datuk Chua Tee Yong, held its fifth press conference yesterday, 17 July 2012, in its continuing attempt to raise allegations of impropriety by the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Government in entering into a Settlement Agreement with Talam Corporation 2 years ago.  MCA in its latest press conference now alleges that the Selangor Government is “shifting goalpost” in answering Chua Tee Yong’s allegations.

MCA and Datuk Chua Tee Yong should spare the public from suffering further insults to their intelligence by ceasing their disingenuous arguments on this issue.  When reviewed logically, the fallacies and deceptive arguments are plain for all to see.  Fallacies are fake or deceptive arguments employed by the intellectually dishonest to provide a false conclusion that proves nothing when the fallacies are finally exposed.

Half-truth is the fallacy of telling the truth but deliberately omitting important details in order to falsify and support a false conclusion.  The first fallacy in MCA’s arguments is the use of half-truths, while deliberately withholding material facts.  MCA has deliberately withheld the following material facts:
a) That MCA failed to disclose the debts were incurred during the BN administration of the Selangor Government;
b) That the Pakatan Rakyat Government acted to recover RM392 million debts owed by Talam to Kumpulan Darul Ehsan, Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad and Yayasan Pendidikan Selangor in connection with several property development projects carried out in the last 10 years;
c) That the BN Selangor State Government allowed Talam to incur the debts during the time 3 MCA representatives were Selangor EXCO members;
d) That the BN/MCA state government allowed the state GLCs and agencies to enter into highly questionable transactions in which Talam was given land as consideration for contracts before Talam had even completed its part of the contracts;
e) That the BN/MCA state government did not take any action to collect the debts to the extent Talam in its 2007 Annual Accounts did not consider the debts as current liabilities but instead treated them as long term payables;
f) That the BN/MCA state government failed, neglected and/or refused to take any action or proper action to collect the debts:
· Even after Talam was declared to be an affected issuer pursuant to Practice Note 17/2005 of the Bursa Malaysia Listing Requirements on 1 September 2006;
· Even though Talam had accumulated losses of RM446.53 million, as at 31 July 2008 with total borrowings of RM1.184 billion of which RM924.8 million or 78.1% of the total borrowings were in default;
· Even though Talam was unable to pay its debts when due because it had over RM2 billion in debt and trade payables whereas its receivables and cash was less than RM280 million;
g) That the debts were not secured and upon the winding-up of Talam, the preferred and secured creditors would have priority over the state and other unsecured creditors;
h) That Talam had proposed a restructuring plan to settle the defaulted debts by issuing various forms of preference shares and loan stock to its lenders which excluded the state GLCs and agencies;
i) That the Securities Commission had by a letter dated 25 September 2007 rejected Talam’s Proposed Regularization Plans; and
j) That there were various petitions filed by several creditors for the winding-up of companies in the Talam Group.
MCA has withheld the above information from the public in their press conferences.  It is clear to those who have checked the publicly available information such as Talam’s public announcements on the settlement, its annual reports and circulars to shareholders that the Pakatan Rakyat State Government would not be able to recover any cash.  The taking of the 13 pieces of land was the best available option in the circumstances.

Another common deceptive argument is lying with statistics.  This is using true figures and numbers to “prove” unrelated claims.  MCA has lied with statistics by focusing only on 1 out of 13 pieces of land.  MCA in alleging that the State Government had given an excessive value of RM181,082,000.00 for the Bestari Jaya land when the market value is RM139,090,000.00 failed to apply the proper statistics that is, that the Menteri Besar and the Selangor Government had taken back 13 pieces of land with a total market value of RM685,230,000.00 for a consideration of only RM676,094,000.00. 
In any event, MCA did not disclose that in the same document disclosing the market value and the consideration value of the Bestari Jaya land, the book value was RM215,128,000.00 and therefore Talam suffered a book loss of RM34,046,000.00.  MCA’s allegation that Talam was able to negotiate “a good deal” is therefore without substance.

Playing on emotions is the classic fallacy of ignoring facts and calling on emotions alone.  MCA in alleging that a “debt free” Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad (PNSB) is now saddled with a RM230 million debt in buying 2 of the Talam assets from the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Government is invoking emotions while ignoring the fact that it was the BN/MCA administration that saddled the Selangor GLCs and agencies with a RM392 million problem in the first place.

It is a well-established principle that “he who comes to equity must come with clean hands”.  MCA is precluded from questioning the Pakatan Rakyat Government’s efforts to recover the Talam debts without MCA first purging themselves by taking the appropriate action against their Selangor EXCO members who permitted such debts to be incurred in the first place and had failed, refused and/or neglected to collect the debts.

The big lie technique is the contemporary fallacy of repeating a lie or deceptive half-truth over and over, particularly in the media, until people believes it without further proof or evidence.  MCA in repeating their unfounded allegations against the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Government in 5 press conferences after explanations have been put forth by the Menteri Besar and others are putting into practice the famous quote by Joseph Goebbels:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
It is also a common fallacy befalling those who believe that it is necessary to continue on a wrong course of action after discovering that it is a mistake because of the fear that by admitting the mistake, there would be unthinkable consequences to his leadership.
The fallacies of these “big lie” technique and Goebbels’ doctrine had been exposed on November 19, 1863, at the dedication ceremony of a military cemetery at Gettysburg that “you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

It is hard to find a more tired and intellectually dishonest argument even in Malaysian politics today than MCA’s continuing allegations of impropriety against the Pakatan Rakyat for recovering the Talam debt in the vain hope of attracting political support in Selangor.  This episode is a clear indication that MCA is not interested in speaking honestly to Malaysians.  If MCA is sincere in helping the people of Selangor, then it should help in converting the 13 pieces of Talam land into cash for the people’s benefit.
There are times and events when politicians should stop trying to score cheap political points and act for the benefit of the people.  The tragic events in the State having lost its assets and the difficulty encountered in recovering the Talam debt is one of this.
If MCA persist with these allegations, let the people judge those who were busy playing little political games while the adults were working quietly in the serious business of collecting RM392 million.
William Leong Jee Keen
Member of Parliament, Selayang