Barisan Nasional General Election Manifesto of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” has omitted a fourth term “Temberang”

Media Conference Statement
at the DAP Ipoh Timor election operations headquarters
by Lim Kit Siang

(IpohTuesday): The Barisan Nasional 2004 General Election Manifesto of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” (Excellence, Glory and Distinction) has omitted a fourth term “Temberang”, which is defined by Kamus Dewan as “percakapan dll yg sedap didengar (umumnya tidak benar)”. 

Today, I wish to make my first comment on the BN   claim of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”, with the underlying and undeclared sub-text of “Temberang”, which started off with the assertion: “Barisan Nasional is strongly committed to parliamentary democracy, which gives each citizen a say in the administration of this nation”. 

This a very tall claim when Malaysia had gravely  deviated from one of the nine strategic objectives of Vision 2020 to become a “full mature democracy”, as Malaysia is internationally recognized as having degenerated in the past two decades into a “semi-democracy” – with a whole paraphernalia of the most draconian and undemocratic laws in the world, such as the Internal Security Act, the Sedition Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Police Act, etc. 

If there is a national opinion poll as to whether Malaysians believe that they have “a say in the administration of this nation”, the overwhelming majority of the people would respond in the negative. 

How can the BN Manifesto talk credibly about giving each citizen “a say in the administration of the nation” when the former DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, could be expelled from Parliament for six months without a single sen of parliamentary allowance, just for daring to speak up for the rights of the people to have “a say” in the affairs of this nation? 

How can the BN Manifesto claim of commitment to parliamentary democracy have any meaning when the 2004 general election campaign period is the shortest in the nation’s history, only 7 ½ days, even shorter than the dirtiest and most unfair general election of all five general elections of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as the fourth Prime Minister in 1999, which was nine days?

If the Barisan Nasional is fully committed to parliamentary democracy, is it prepared to come out with a supplementary Barisan Nasional manifesto pledging to transform Malaysia’s present “semi-democracy” into a “full mature democracy” as envisaged by Vision 2020, and the  measures needed to achieve this objective which should include the following: 

  • Fully accept and respect the important role and place of the Opposition in a meaningful democracy to provide the important check-and-balance against the gross abuses of power and corruption because of the famous maxim:”Power tends to corrupt and Absolute Power  tends to corrupt absolutely”.  In his first few months as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has already shown that despite his reputation for fair play, he is capable of doing very unfair things without the proper check-and-balance on his power.  This is illustrated by three things: (i) the shortest 7 ½ day election campaign period in the nation’s history; (ii) the refusal to grant bail to former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, while awaiting outcome of his appeal against conviction and sentence for sodomy and to get the medical treatment of his choice; and (iii) the royal pardon granted to Sabah politician Yong Teck Lee but denied to Lim Guan Eng.
  • In keeping with this spirit, to repudiate the declared objectives by various Barisan Nasional state leaders to have “zero opposition” such as in Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johore and Sabah.
  • Review and repeal all draconian laws,  measures and practices  which are obstacles to the restoration  of a meaningful parliamentary democracy and end and reverse the usurpation of Parliament’s powers and functions by an overweening Executive and Prime Minister for more than two decades.  The Senate, for instance, should stop being a dumping ground for political has-beens and rejects and those in Barisan Nasional who fail in their bid to become candidates in the general election.
  • Agree to work with the Opposition to introduce the most far-reaching parliamentary reforms in the nation’s history, so that Parliament can plays its original role as the highest legislative and political chamber in the land – including appointing an Opposition MP to be chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the establishment of specialist Parliamentary Committees with equal representation from government and opposition MPs to monitor and shadow all the Federal ministries.

The other claims in  the Barisan Nasional Manifesto of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” are also all “temberang”, which I will comment in the next three  days.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman


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