Speech (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the 2,000-People Puchong DAP dinner at 14ms Puchong, Selangor on Sunday, 5th October 2008: 

Leaders/Ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN parties should demand agreement by their Umno counterparts in Cabinet and BN Supreme Council to release Hindraf 5 latest by Deepavali, and unconditional release for RPK and all other ISA detainees

With the approach of their respective party conferences and elections, It is common nowadays to read of the fierce speeches and statements by leaders and ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other Barisan Nasional component parties, undertaking to learn from the mistakes of the past and pledging to stop being puppets or parrots of UMNO “Big Brother” and to speak up for the basic rights and interests of the people.

All these are political “sharp practices” – as the leaders and Ministers from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties are equally guilty as their Umno counterparts for the worsening multiple crisis of confidence in the past seven months because of their failure to insist on government reforms after the March 8 political tsunami.

Seven full months have passed since the March general elections – and it is not only the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and UMNO which have nothing to show, the MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties have also nothing to show in terms of long-needed reforms.

What is worse, things have gone from back to worse as could be seen by the worsening multiple crisis of confidence, whether political, economic, educational, institutional, anti-corruption or nation-building.

In the last seven months, nation-building suffered a major setback when Umno leaders took communalism to a new height in drumming up slogans on “ketuanan Melayu” when all Malaysians should be focusing on “ketuanan rakat Malaysia” after more than half-a-century of nation-building.

UMNO Bukit Bendera division chief Ahmad Ibrahim’s “Chinese are penumpang” was the last straw, furnishing another completely unacceptable example of first-generation or second-generation locally-born “bumiputras” questioning the loyalty and patriotism of sixth or seven-generation locally-born “non-bumiputras”!

It was after the March 8 “political tsunami” that human rights and Internet freedoms suffered grievous blows when the Internal Security Act again became an instrument of political oppression when it was used to detain DAP MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, Sin Chew senior reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng and Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

It was also during the past seven months that nothing was done to free the Hindraf Five and the other ISA detainees from the draconian detention-without-trial law.

So what is the use of promising that in future, they will speak out vigorously for the rights and interests of Malaysians when in the past seven months, the leaders and Ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties have been equally guilty like their UMNO counterparts in not doing anything to initiate reforms to end these nation-building excesses and human rights abuses?

For a start, are all the leaders and Ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties prepared to take a common stand to demand for support from the Umno leaders and Ministers in Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council that the Hindraf Five should be released from ISA latest by Deepavali on October 28, that RPK and all other ISA detainees must similarly be released unconditionally?

Furthermore, that unless their Umno counterparts agree to the release of Hindraf Five, RPK and all other ISA detainees, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and all other BN component parties must decide whether it serve any purpose for them to remain in Barisan Nasional.

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