Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the 2,000-People DAP Batu Pahat dinner in Batu Pahat, Johore on Friday, 4th July 2008 at 10 pm: 

Abdullah should give categorical assurance that he will not launch another Ops Lalang with mass ISA arrests of Opposition leaders to seek an “easy” but short-sighted way out of his political siege to consolidate his power position

In Parliament last evening (Thursday), the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters that the people should not to listen to rumours of an impending emergency rule.

He said: “The government was stable. The security is under control. Everything is under control. Don't believe anything you hear.

“I don't think anybody should be worry. There are too many rumours.”

Rumours have indeed become very rife in recent times, with Abdullah as Prime Minister under siege since the March general election 125 days ago – from both inside Umno, Barisan Nasional and outside.

In practice, rumours should not be given much credibility. However, in Malaysia’s political culture and tight mainstream media control, rumours have greater credibility than other countries as many rumours had subsequently proven true than the many official denials issued by purported authoritative sources.

The latest rumour is that there is mounting pressure in the corridors of power for strong-armed measures to invoke draconian and undemocratic laws to deal with dissent, raising questions whether the country is on the threshold of a major clampdown against dissent – with the Abdullah government facing deepening public crisis of confidence, whether from the failure to deliver belated reforms in the past four months, inability to deal with a worsening economic scenario, public protests at the unconscionable increase in oil prices sparking all-round inflation or the mishandling of the political crisis like the high-profile C4 murder of the Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

I call on the Prime Minister to give categorical assurance that he will stay true to his pledges of democratic and human rights reforms and not launch another Ops Lalang with mass Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests of Opposition leaders to seek an ”easy” but short-sighted way out of his “political siege” to consolidate his power position.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor