Mahathir should cut short his
two-month leave to assume hands-on responsibility as NAM Chair to grapple
with the gravest crisis faced by NAM and United Nations as a result of
US-led unilateral war against Iraq
by Lim Kit Siang
The Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad should cut short his two-month leave to assume hands-on
responsibility as NAM Chair to grapple with the gravest crisis faced by the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the United Nations as a result of the US-led
unilateral war against Iraq, which has entered into its fifth day.
Mahathir must be commended for breaking away from his leave to table the
special motion in Parliament this morning to propose an unanimous all-party
parliamentary condemnation of the US-led unilateral war against Iraq. But
more is expected of him at this grave crisis for the international
community, as Malaysia has just assumed the Chair of NAM after hosting the
13th NAM Summit in Kuala Lumpur, for which MPs and the nation were told only
last Thursday had cost the Malaysian taxpayers RM90.4 million.
If Mahathir could interrupt his leave for the Formula One programme, there
is no reason why he could not cut short his leave to deal with the gravest
crisis in international relations in the past half a century - especially as
the unspent outstanding leave could be substituted after the end of the
international crisis arising from the Iraq war before he retires in October.
The proposal that Mahathir cut short his two-month leave to assume hands-on
responsibility as NAM Chair is made not as an adverse reflection on the
Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the precipitation
of the new scenario is not because of local events but completely external
in character and arising from the discharge of Mahathir's responsibility not
so much as Prime Minister of Malaysia but as Chair of NAM.
It is urgent and imperative that NAM should work out a series of action
plans to establish its relevance in the face of the second Gulf War: an
immediate plan to demand the halt of the US-led unilateral war in Iraq,
particularly by spearheading an international campaign to convene a special
session of the United Nations General Assembly; a second fall-back plan if
the fight to stop the war fails because the second Gulf War has taken on an
unstoppable momentum, to fight for the peace in post-Saddam Iraq; and the
longer-term challenge as to how to restore the credibility of the United
Nations and multilateralism by bringing the world's sole hyperpower to
greater international accountability.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National