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Abdullah should work trebly hard in the next few months to honour his 2004 Mission before next general election if he is to have credibility and legitimacy to talk about Mission 2057 or even Vision 2020

Media Statement        
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Friday) : Yesterday’s New Straits Times front-page was completely taken up by two quotes of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s speech on the National Mission for the next 50 years, viz: 

“I have not forgotten about Vision 2020.  It is a target for us to achieve.  But why can’t we think beyond that?  We are well placed to envision a century of success…” 

“All those rumours that I’m resigning in July, who is saying this?  Some have said I am a one-term prime minister. We will see about that…”

I had three immediate questions when I saw the NST front-page yesterday. 

Question 1: This was a speech which Abdullah had delivered as Umno President in a meeting with the “Umno political machinery and Umno psychological warfare unit” (Bernama 19.4.06)  at the Putra World Trade Centre last Friday.  

Why was such a speech and message delivered to the Umno propaganda and psychological warfare unit aired on RTM1? Is this an open and blatant admission that RTM is nothing more than the propaganda and psychological warfare unit of Umno? 

Is this further proof of Malaysia going further down the slippery slope where important distinctions among the three separate entities of government, political party and personal interests have been completely blurred and eradicated among those vested with public trust, whether government  power or charge of public funds – when the strict maintenance of such distinctions are the fundamental prerequsities to foster a culture of national integrity and to carry out a successful campaign against corruption?   

The Machap by-election and the current Ijok by-election have seen such blurring and eradication of distinctions among the three entities of government, political party and personal interests reaching an unprecedented level in the past 50 years.  

What better testimony than the blatant vote-buying in Ijok where money politics to buy votes started even before nomination yesterday with the announcement by Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd  Khir Toyo of RM36 million for various development projects to be implemented within the two weeks of the Ijok by-election. 

Today, public-spirited voters of Machap Baru New Village took out a newspaper advertisement expressing their gratitude to the DAP for participating in the Machap by-election  resulting in “overnight transformation” of life in the constituency, bringing basic infrastructure benefits which the villagers had never been able to enjoy in the past 50 years, with  “unprecedented allocations, benefits and treatment” including recreation area, upgrading roads, new street lamps, upgrading of drainage system, low-cost housing, clinic upgrade and grants to the three Chinese primary schools in the constituency. (Sin Chew  p31) 

Question 2: Who is spreading the rumour that Abdullah will be resigning in July? This is the first time I am hearing about it and Abdullah has RTM and the Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin to thank for disseminating this rumour throughout the country until it becomes a household rumour. 

Thirdly, why didn’t Abdullah come to Parliament instead of using “the gathering of Umno political machinery and Umno psychological warfare unit” to answer the question which I had posed in Parliament during my debate on the Royal Address on March 21.   

In my speech in Parliament on March 21, 2007, I had referred to Abdullah’s announcement a week earlier of  “Mission 2057”  to ensure continued development in all aspects since independence and after Vision 2020 had been achieved. Abdullah, who had chaired a meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council, said "Mission 2057" (Misi 2057) would become the development guideline for another 50 years. 

I said in Parliament that it was “a rather tall tale that the BN Supreme Council could meet to take the policy decision to formulate Mission 2057, when it is not only dubious that Vision 2020 could be achieved but very clear that Abdullah’s Mission 2004 is heading towards a big flop”.

I had  said: “Before Abdullah trots out Mission 2057 about Malaysia in another half-a-century, he should deliver Mission 2004 which he had promised in the 2004 general election to lead an efficient, clean, incorruptible, accountable, transparent, just, democratic and progressive administration which is prepared to hear the truth from the people”. 

I had also highlighted in particular three areas where Abdullah had failed in the past 40 months to “walk the talk” of his reform pledge and agenda despite his unprecedented 91% parliamentary majority in the March 2004 general election.

These three areas are: 

  • The losing war against corruption;
  • The losing battle against crime with Malaysians feeling even more unsafe in the streets, public places and the privacy of their homes than when Abdullah became Prime Minister.
  • Abdullah’s failure to lead an open, accountable and transparent administration  – with a worsening cult of secrecy as illustrated by the refusal to make public all the privatization contracts, whether toll contracts, power and water concessions, to put them in the public domain for the scrutiny of the Malaysian public.

His predecessor, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, had already passed a public verdict that corruption under Abdullah is worse than during his 22-year administration. As far back as May 2005, Mahathir said that  “corruption might be getting to a point of no return”, that it had become a culture in Malaysia with corruption almost at the "above the table" level and more and more people no longer trying to hide the fact that they were corrupt. 

Two days ago, Mahathir has upped the ante and lengthened the list of failures of the Abdullah administration - “that press freedom in Malaysia today is worse than during his time as prime minister” when speaking at the 6th Perdana Discourse Series entitled ‘Media and National Development’, organised by Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya on Wednesday. 

Although Abdullah has not been denounced as “Predator of Press Freedom” as had happened to Mahathir by the international press organization, Reporters without Borders, Abdullah has no cause for complacency or sense of superiority as more and more Malaysians are feeling the tightening of the screw with all the institutional instruments of press control and censorship had been left completely intact in the past 42 months, with some of these instruments being applied even more frequently than during the Mahathir era. 

Abdullah should work trebly hard in the next few months to honour his 2004 Mission before next general election if he is to have the credibility and legitimacy to talk about Mission 2057 or even Vision 2020.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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