Tuesday, May 18

Former MCA chief lets ‘bygones be bygones’


KUCHING: Former MCA president Tan Koon Swan said he had accepted the apology of former Singapore prosecutor Glenn Knight who has admitted that he had wrongly prosecuted him in the Pan-El crisis in the mid-1980s, and said he (Tan) had no intention to pursue any action, Oriental Daily News reported yesterday.

Tan, who had just returned from a business trip to Hainan Island, China, said in a statement that he was thankful to Knight for the courage to own up.

“I thank Glen Knight for the courage to make this open admission of wrongful charge. I appreciate this action and would like to let bygones be bygones, seize the moment and look forward to the journey ahead.”

Tan, now a devout Christian, said that God, in His compassion, had healed him and his family of all pain and sorrow, and also had given them sufficient grace to carry on with their lives with dignity and self-respect.

Therefore, he added, he could not see the wisdom and need to revisit those years of anguish.

“I pray that the peace of God be upon Glenn Knight. When we do meet again, we will meet as friends.”

In 1985, Knight, who was then the director of Singapore Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), prosecuted Tan with 15 charges, including fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust, and share manipulation in the collapse of Pan-El Industries.

The collapse temporarily halted the Singapore and Malaysian stock exchanges.

Tan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years’ jail and fined S$1 million. He was jailed for a year in Malaysia in 1988 after serving his jail term in Singapore.

He stepped down as MCA president after the sentencing.

Knight recounted the circumstances of Tan’s wrongful indictment in his book “Glenn Knight: The Prosecutor” which was launched last week in Singapore.

Knight wrote in his book that he discovered his wrongful charge on Tan when Singapore Chief Justice Yong concluded in a 1996 judgment that Tan was wrongly charged as Tan was a director of Pan-El and as such he could not be charged with “stealing” from the company.

“Chief Justice Yong concluded that it was wrong to convict anyone for stealing money if the wrong charge had been used to begin with.”