Friday, May 11, 2007

AmBank letter : another reveals 'racial' policy

An opposition leader today distributed a letter from AmBank allegedly advising a legal firm to have a bumiputera partner.

The letter, dated April 17, stated that it was advisable for the legal firm to have a bumiputera partner as it is one of the imperative requirements for the bank’s panel of solicitors.

Should the firm fail to comply with the requirement by May 31, AmBank stated that it had the absolute right and discretion to revoke the emplacement of the firm.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who disclosed the letter, said this proved that Maybank was not the only bank which imposed discriminatory policies.

“We hope that AmBank would follow Maybank’s move and withdraw the policy,” he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby.

He stressed that choosing a panel of solicitors for banks must not be based on skin colour but the firm’s performance, merits and abilities.

The opposition leader also expressed disappointment with Maybank as it still had a policy which required valuation companies on its panel of valuers to have at least one bumiputera valuer.

This was apparently revealed in a letter sent by Maybank to a valuation company. The letter stated that the company was given a two-year grace period to comply with the criteria.

Speaker was wrong

Lim was also disappointed with Bank Negara for only intervening into the matter after it was brought up by the cabinet.

“We (DAP) are very disappointed with the regulatory failure of Bank Negara, it has failed to carry out its responsibility,” he added.

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