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Abdullah’s “big ear” hearing problem for over four years – what he is told just enters one “big ear” only to exit the other “big ear” without leaving any impressions

Media Statement          
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Saturday): The Star’s front-page headline “PM: I hear you” is symptomatic of the grave hearing problem of the Abdullah premiership which is entering into its fifth year.

Abdullah should ask why despite his pledge from the first days of becoming the fifth Prime Minister that he wanted to “hear the truth however unpleasant” and his claim that he has “big ears”; Malaysians are convinced that he is not hearing anything?

Is this because his gatekeepers have erected an unprecedented high wall as compared to the four previous Prime Ministers cutting him off from ordinary Malaysians – I have for instance given up attempts to ask for a meeting with the Prime Minister because it is just impossible to get through his handlers – or is it because he could not hear anything even with his “big ears” if what he is told just enters one “big ear” only to exit the other “big ear” without leaving any impressions?

The very fact that Abdullah must start his fifth year as Prime Minister to shout “I hear you”, “I have big ears”, are the most eloquent proofs that Abdullah is having a grave hearing problem and had not been listening to the people despite having “big ears”!

The letter to Malaysiakini by Penang State Exco Dr. Toh Kin Woon breaking ranks with the top Barisan Nasional leadership dissociating himself from its condemnation of marches, rallies and pickets which were “centre on their illegality, potential threat to peace, the possible destabilization of the economy including frightening away foreign investors” is further proof of Abdullah’s “Big Ear” hearing problem.

When will Abdullah “walk the talk” of his pledge to “hear the truth” and listen to Dr. Toh Kin Woon instead of to the sycophantic top Barisan Nasional leaders whether Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting of MCA, Tan Sr. Dr. Koh Tsu Koon of Gerakan or Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu of MIC that Barisan Nasional leaders “should have been more concerned over the grievances, frustrations and disappointments that have brought so many thousands to the streets in the first place and to seek fair and just solutions to them”?

Dr. Toh had referred in particular to the “Walk for Justice” of 2,000 lawyers organized by the Bar Council for restoration of the independence and integrity of the judiciary; the 40,000-strong Bersih rally in support of electoral reforms for clean, free and fair elections; the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on the socio-economic and cultural plight of the Malaysian Indians particularly the lower strata; and the numerous pickets by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress and trade unions for higher salaries to meet rising costs of living so burdensome to the workers.

When will Abdullah hear the unvarnished truth that it is these “discontent and unhappiness” that have brought thousands to the streets over the last several months which “will be a greater threat to our country’s peace and stability, rather than the marches, pickets and demonstrations”?

Although Abdullah claimed yesterday, “I hear this. I hear all this…I hear a lot of things, and my ears burn when I hear them”, this is not borne out by events in the past four years of his premiership.

Abdullah has yet to hear the message of the Walk for Justice of Sept. 26, 2007 wasting two full months in establishing the three-man Haidar Panel on the authenticity of the Lingam Tape with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape and the restoration of the independence and integrity of the judiciary still to be announced. Why the Haidar Report is not yet made public – although this was the implicit undertaking of the government when the Haidar Panel was formed?

Abdullah has yet to hear the message of the 40,000-strong Bersih rally for electoral reforms for clean, free and fair elections on November 10, 2007. Is the Prime Minister prepared to support the initiative of an all-party conference on electoral reform to make the 12th Malaysian general election the most free, fair and clean since Merdeka, with a mandate to complete proposals within two months so that the necessary legislative and regulatory amendments could be effected to put them into force for the next general election?

Abdullah has yet to hear the message of the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on 25th November 2007. Is the Prime Minister prepared to introduce a new national policy on a New Deal to end the political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization of the Malaysian Indian community for the past three decades?

Abdullah has yet to hear the message of the MTUC pickets for fair wages. Is he prepared to hold his first meeting with MTUC leaders which they had been asking since he became Prime Minister? When the Prime Minister is too busy to even have one meeting with MTUC leaders after more than four years, Abdullah is indeed suffering from a very severe “Big Ear” hearing problem.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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