What about the RM3 billion Mahathir gave you, Ling?

Raja Petra Kamarudin, The Third Force

Today, Dr Ling Liong Sik today said he never received any funds from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his tenure as MCA president, adding that the Chinese-based party was capable of sourcing its own funds. “We were rich enough to use the money we earned to mobilise our political activities,” said Ling.

That is not entirely true. Ling became the MCA President in September 1986 during the recession and a year later, in October 1987, ‘Black Monday’ occurred, the day stock markets all over the world collapsed. Many of the Chinese cooperatives, which were set up by MCA leaders and supporters, faced bankruptcy and MCA turned to Mahathir for help. Mahathir then arranged for a RM3 billion bailout package for those Chinese cooperatives in dire straits, equivalent to RM8 billion today.

The Malay Chamber of Commerce was outraged and went to meet Mahathir to confront him. To pacify the Malays, Mahathir asked Bank Negara to set up a TPU (Tabung Pemulihan Usahawan) with a fund of RM500 million. Mahathir promised the Malay Chamber that if RM500 million is not enough he will increase it. The eventual amount came to RM560 million.