Call on Abdullah to direct the withdrawal of the UMNO election petition challenging the election of Azizah as MP for Permatang Pauh as Barisan Nasional has already too great a parliamentary majority with over 90 per cent of the seats

Media Comment
when attending the Permatang Pauh election petition hearing at the Penang High Court  
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Tuesday):  Datin Seri Dr. Azizah Wan Ismail’s counsel, Christopher Fernando has given a most brilliant and eloquent submission of his preliminary objection to the election petition by the Barisan Nasional candidate, Datuk Pirdaus Ismail challenging Azizah’s 590-vote majority victory in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in the March 21 general election, and why the election judge  Justice Hasan Lah should strike out the petition without further ado or need for a full hearing. 

The election court will have the judge the legal merits and demerits of the election petition, but I wish to make a political call to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also Barisan Nasional Chairman, to make a political decision to withdraw the election petition against Azizah, which has been set for hearing for at least a week.


Abdullah had won an unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority, with the Barisan Nasional sweeping over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats – which is a grave threat to the healthy growth of a mature democratic Malaysian society, bearing in mind the maxim of Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.


One additional seat for Barisan Nasional in Permatang Pauh makes no difference to the parliamentary  might of the Barisan Nasional with its nine-tenth majority – but it could positively have a most detrimental effect in trying to ensure  a more level playing field in the democratic arena to promote  a more healthy and vibrant democracy.


Abdullah should in fact be thinking about what he as the Prime Minister could do to strengthen the fundamentals of a democratic society, as for instance, to check the dangers of a nine-tenth parliamentary majority which could lead to the arrogance, abuses  and corruption of power and not to further undermine a very weakened Opposition – as in the election petition challenging the victory of Azizah.


I do not see any merit in the election petition  to declare Azizah’s election as MP for Permatang Pauh null and void, but if there has to be a by-election, DAP will give its  fullest support to Azizah to ensure her re-election and DAP leaders, including myself, will campaign for her in any such by-election.



* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman