Media  Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 20th October 2008: 

Will Abdullah again be humiliated at Umno Supreme Council meeting tonight shortening his premiership or will he be able to redeem dignity of his office by getting full endorsement for meaningful reforms on judiciary, police force and anti-corruption

Will the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi again be humiliated at the Umno Supreme Council meeting tonight or will he able to redeem dignity of his office after repeated battering in the past few months?

Abdullah will again be humiliated if the Umno Supreme Council ends tonight with a final modification of his original mid-2010 power transition plan, shortening it from June 2010 to March 2009 and then to December this year!

The mounting call led by Umno Vice President and Minister for International Trade and Industry, Tan Sri Muhyideen Yassin, and the Umno eminence grise Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that the Umno party elections revert back from March next year to December is a subtle subterfuge to shorten Abdullah's remaining five months as Prime Minister by another three months.

Will Abdullah be able to fob off the latest attempt in Umno to shorten his premiership and even to redeem the dignity of his office by getting full endorsement by the entire Umno leadership for meaningful reforms on the judiciary, police force and anti-corruption before he steps down as Prime Minister?

In his latest interview televised on CNBC last night, when asked about his agenda for reforms and what he could possibly do over the next five months, Abdullah said: "I wanted to reform; people liked the idea of reform. I was not just responding to them because they needed reform."

The New Straits Times report on Abdullah's CNBC interview continued:

The prime minister said that he too certainly thought that the country's judiciary, police force and Anti-Corruption Agency needed reforms.

"I was not able to do it for the first four years (while in power).

"I was able to do it only after we had already been returned to power after the last election.

"So I want this reform in place and I can do it. Even in five months."

If Abdullah is required to shorten his premiership further by retiring in December, that will be the end of his final fling with reforms.

Even if he is allowed five months before going into the political sunset, very few believe that Abdullah is capable of implementing in a meaningful manner the three reform measures which he had failed to accomplish in the past five years.

Can Abdullah secure full endorsement from the Umno Supreme Council tonight and the Cabinet on Wednesday for meaningful reforms for the judiciary, the police force and anti-corruption in the next five months as no one, whether in the Umno top leadership and in the Cabinet, seemed really committed or even interested in ensuring meaningful reforms in these three areas, in particular the establishment of the long-delayed and much-maligned Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service.

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