Abdullah should require Ministers to publicly declare their assets which would be a great start for an administration which is fully committed in the  war against corruption

DAP Raub Branch anniversary dinner
by Lim Kit Siang

(RaubTuesday): DAP calls on the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to require Cabinet  Ministers to publicly declare their assets which would be a great start for an administration which is fully committed in the  war against corruption. 

Abdullah has assumed office as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia with the reputation of “Mr. Clean” and there are very high hopes among the people  that he would bring about meaningful changes to  instill a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption. 

Such expectations have been intensified by his first maiden official speech which he made in Parliament yesterday, where he pledged a government which is “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion”. 

Malaysians still remember that the 22-year Mahathir premiership started in 1981 with the ABC slogan of “berseh, cekap and amanah”, promising a clean and incorruptible government  - which has proved to be a  major  failure in the mixed record of achievements and successes as well as failings and setbacks of the fourth prime ministership of Malaysia. 

Abdullah should make a new and immediate start to demonstrate the seriousness of his purpose and commitment to fight corruption – and there can be no better beginning than for him to direct all Cabinet Ministers to publicly declare their assets to set an example that the political leadership led by him is prepared to submit itself to public scrutiny and accountability  to demonstrate that the private wealth of government leaders have  nothing to do with their  public positions and duties. 

Twenty years ago, the people of Raub made history when they ensured the victory of the DAP in the Raub by-election in 1983, which played an important part in the resolution of the country’s first nation-building test -  whether Malaysia was  to be built as a plural nation  of diverse races, languages, cultures and religions through the process of integration or whether it was  to adopt an “assimilation” nation-building policy of “one language, one culture, one religion”. 

When Mahathir publicly admitted in 1994 that his earlier “assimilation” was mistaken and that a policy of integration was the only viable nation-building strategy for a plural society, the people of Raub had been vindicated in their support of the DAP in the 1983 Raub by-election. 

The country is today faced with a second great nation-building test which will have far-reaching implications to the future of Malaysia. However, we are faced with a nation-building crisis with the majority of Malaysians unaware  and therefore with a sense of  crisis. 

The second great nation-building test facing Malaysians is  whether Malaysia is to remain faithful to the 46-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone agreed by the major communities during the attainment of national independence and written into the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO or whether to jettison these principles and embark Malaysia on the road of an Islamic state, starting with the endorsement of Mahathir and UMNO’s “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State. 

Just as the people of Raub had the foresight and vision 20 years ago  to preserve the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious character  of the Malaysian nation and society in the great battle of the 1983 Raub by-election, the people of Raub must come forward in the coming general election to play an important role to defend and uphold the 46-year constitutional principle of a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman