Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Terengganu on Friday, 3rd October 2008: 

Abdullah should not exit as a lameduck PM but write a glorious reform programme for police, judiciary, anti-corruption, ISA and press freedom in his last six months in office

For the past week and the next five days, the nation’s top question is the Shakespearean one: “To Be Or Not To Be.”

Will Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shock Umno and Malaysians by acting completely out of character by announcing before October 9 that he has had enough of being pushed around by Umno heavyweights, that the ultimatum of the “926” Umno Supreme Council emergency meeting is the “last straw” and he will defend the post of Umno President in the March Umno party elections?

The overwhelming majority of Malaysians do not expect Abdullah to give such an answer to his Shakespearean dilemma of “To Be Or Not To Be” to defend the dignity of the office of Prime Minister from being publicly humiliated by party politicos – although there are Putrajaya fourth-storey boys who are urging him to do just that.

Even if Abdullah is to bow to the ultimatum of the Umno warlords and announce before Oct. 9 that he will not defend the post of Umno President and will step down as Prime Minister next March, let Abdullah not exit as a lameduck Prime Minister but write a glorious reform programme for police, judiciary, anti-corruption, ISA and press freedom in his last six months in office.

The least Abdullah should do is to redeem the failures of his many reform pledges in the past five years by carrying out a wide-ranging reform programme in five areas in his last six months in office, by ensuring that the following are accomplished before he leaves the Putrajaya corridors of power next March:

• Police – establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

• Judicial Appointments Commission and in the meanwhile, no appointment of an UMNO Chief Justice which will plunge the country into a new era of judicial darkness and scandal.

• Total revamp of the Anti-Corruption Agency and the anti-corruption legislation to set Malaysia on the path as one of the world’s least corrupt nations.

• Release Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the Hindraf Five and all other Internal Security A ct (ISA) detainees and repeal the ISA; and

• Repeal Printing Presses and Publications Act and enact Freedom of Information Act to ensure a free and independent media to establish Malaysia as a cutting-edge information and knowledge nation.

Abdullah can make next Wednesday, October 8, a historic day by tabling in the Cabinet the six-month reform programme to commit every Minister to support and implement the reform measures before the end of his premiership next March.

Ministers who are not prepared to give unequivocal support to the six-month reform programme should be asked to resign from the Cabinet or be sacked, to be replaced by those who are prepared to make the next six months a memorable half-year in the 51-year history of the nation.

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