Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 20th October 2008
at 12 noon:
If MCA and Gerakan MPs (including
Ministers/Deputy Ministers) dare not support a parliamentary debate on
review of ISA, what is the use of MCA and Gerakan passing resolutions on
ISA in their national conferences
DAP MP for Seputeh and Selangor Senior Exco,
Teresa Kok Suh Sim has given notice to move a motion deploring the
Internal Security Act (ISA) detention of Sin Chew senior reporter Tan
Hoon Cheng, blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and herself last month and to
call for the repeal of the draconian and undemocratic
Teresa’s motion on the ISA is listed No. 41 on today’s Order Paper.
Together with 33 other private member’s motion, Teresa’s ISA motion
would not have a chance to see the light of day and being debated in
Parliament unless the Barisan Nasional government agrees to amend the
to give it priority over all other parliamentary business.
Yesterday, the MCA’s 55th annual general assembly adopted a resolution
urging the Government to review the Internal Security Act and establish
a check and balance system to ensure that it strictly applies to
terrorism and cases with subversive elements.
A week ago, the Gerakan’s 37th national delegates conference passed the
resolution calling for the repeal of the ISA and the introduction of an
anti-terrorism law in accordance with a proposal by the Human Rights
Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
The main burden of the speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi in his capacity as Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman at his
last outing at the MCA general assembly on Saturday was to scoff at
suggestions that Umno is the domineering partner in BN and to deny that
UMNO is a “bully” vis-à-vis other parties in BN.
However, Abdullah’s denial totally lacked credibility not only from the
rich catalogue of past instances of Umno as “bully in BN”, but in the
summary and cavalier manner in which he rejected the MCA call for review
of the ISA – stating categorically that there are no plans to review the
Are the other BN component parties “equal partners” in BN, or are they
just supplicants or “beggars” to quote former Gerakan President, Tun Dr.
Lim Keng Yaik after his retirement from politics to describe the
relationship of the other BN component parties to UMNO after his
retirement from politics?
If “power sharing” among the BN component parties is meaningful and
genuine, and not just empty talk, then the considered proposals of the
BN component parties, particularly resolutions adopted at their
respective annual conferences, should be given serious consideration by
If resolutions adopted at Umno general assemblies are virtually adopted
as government policy of the day, while resolutions of MCA, Gerakan, MIC,
SUPP and the BN Sabah and Sarawak component parties are completely
ignored and dismissed with contempt, how can Umno claim that it is not
“domineering” and not a “bully in BN”?
As both the MCA and Gerakan national conferences have adopted
resolutions calling for the review and even repeal of the ISA, this has
become a test of whether power sharing in BN continues to be a farce,
Umno continues with its domineering and bully ways in BN while MCA and
Gerakan continue as supplicants and beggars – or whether the BN
coalition is to be reconstituted on a more equitable basis to reflect a
meaningful power-sharing concept.
If MCA and Gerakan MPs (including Ministers/Deputy Ministers) dare not
support a parliamentary debate on review of ISA, what is the use of MCA
and Gerakan passing resolutions on ISA in their national conferences?
I am raising this point as I am calling on all MPs, whether Pakatan
Rakyat or Barisan Nasional, to support a joint call to the Prime
Minister to give government consent to move Teresa’s ISA motion from No.
41 to the very top of the parliamentary business, so that it could be
debated in Parliament.
Abdullah should not usurp the powers of Parliament and allow Parliament
to decide whether there should be a review and repeal of ISA, especially
in view of the resolutions passed by both MCA and Gerakan annual
conferences making the very same call.
I have no doubt that the majority of the 13-party BN coalition would
support the review and repeal of the ISA.
In fact, if a vote is taken in the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council on
whether to review and repeal the ISA, allowing each component party to
vote according to its mandate given by its national congress, the
outcome could be 12-1 or 11-2 in favour of review and repeal.
Isn’t Umno behaving like the “big bully in BN ” in refusing to consider
review and repeal of ISA when Umno is outnumbered by 12-1 or 11-2 in BN
on this important question about human rights and democracy in Malaysia?
Furthermore, the call for the abolition of ISA has the support of the
civil society as demonstrated by the endorsement of 363 organisations
for the mass petition to repeal the ISA in a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur
The "Free MP Teresa Kok" parliamentary caucus will meet tomorrow and I
will suggest that the caucus, apart from broadening the scope of its
terms of reference to work for the repeal of the ISA as Teresa has been
released after a eight-day ISA stint, endorse the campaign to get all
MPs genuinely concerned about ISA and shocked by the gross abuses of the
draconian law to sign a joint petition to the Prime Minister to bring up
Teresa’s ISA motion so that it could be debated when Parliament
reconvenes after the Deepavali holidays on Oct. 29.
This would be particularly significant as a debate on Teresa’s ISA
motion on Oct. 29 could serve as Parliament marking the 11th anniversary
of the infamous Operation Lalang in 1987 when four MPs at the time and
who are still in Parliament were among 106 persons detained arbitrarily
under the ISA – namely Karpal Singh, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Lim Guan Eng and
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor