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Will Cabinet meeting tomorrow prove that it is a “half-past six” one with no constructive responses on two major current issues – BERSIH petition to King for electoral reforms and Lingam Tape scandal on perversion of course of justice?

Media Statement          
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Tuesday): Will the Cabinet meeting tomorrow prove that it is a “half-past six” one with no constructive responses on two major current issues - the BERSIH petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for electoral reforms for clean, free and fair elections in Malaysia and the Lingam Tape scandal on the perversion of the course of justice, dealing another lethal blow to the skyrocketing crisis of confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary in Malaysia?

The mammoth peaceful BERSIH gathering and petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on Saturday for transparency and integrity of the electoral process had also highlighted the deplorable state of press freedom in Malaysia.

I said in Parliament during question time that Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin’s ministerial portfolio was a misnomer as he should be properly described as Minister for Mis-Information.

This was why when the Deputy Information Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi, who was representing his Minister during question time, demanded that I retract the statement that his boss was “Mis-Information Minister”; I refused, pointing out that Zahid is no better as “Deputy Mis-Information Minister”.

I made this remark during my supplementary question deriding Zainuddin’s criticism of Al Jazeera of “unfair reporting and conspiring with the Opposition to paint an untrue picture of the situation in Malaysia” on its coverage of Saturday’s BERSIH gathering when it was Zainuddin who is most guilty of the allegation, as he presided over RTM’s “unfair reporting” and “conspiracy with the Barisan Nasional to paint an untrue picture of the actual situation in Malaysia”.

The disgraceful reporting of the official and mainstream media of Saturday’s peaceful and mammoth BERSIH gathering to submit the petition for electoral reforms to the Yang di Pertuan Agong was the best example of such biased reporting under the directive of Zainuddin – where no official or mainstream media dared to independently report on the size of the gathering, which was easily between 40,000 to 50,000 or to use any of the photographs of the massive crowds.

At least the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz was speaking the truth when she said that the massive peaceful BERSIH gathering had not affected foreign investors – as foreign investors would only be turned off by rank corruption, massive power abuses, utter disregard for accountability and transparency, contempt for the rule of law, endemic crime and most important of all, whether the country has a Prime Minister who “walks the talk” and not by the people peacefully standing up for their democratic and human rights!

Will Abdullah “walk the talk” at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow to hear the truth from Malaysians to respond positively and constructively to the two major current issues – the BERSIH petition on electoral reforms to the King and the Lingam Tape scandal?

This one issue will have more influence that any other issues in the calculations of intending investors when deciding whether to invest in Malaysia or not!

In Parliament last Wednesday, during the 2008 Budget committee stage debate on the Prime Minister’s Department, I had called on the Cabinet on Wednesday to heed the call of Malaysians as expressed through the Malaysian Bar in their “Walk for Justice” and the civil society for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape revelations and the whole issue of the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

I had specifically asked the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz during his winding-up whether the Haidar Panel report (Nazri said there are no three separate reports but one report incorporating three separate submissions by the three panel members) would be made public.

Nazri had promised to lobby for the Haidar Panel Report to be made public at the Cabinet.

Will Nazri honor his parliamentary undertaking to advocate for the Haidar Panel report to be made public at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, and will Cabinet agree to it?

We will know tomorrow.


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

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