Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang at DAP PJ Hqrs on Thursday,
14th February 2008 at 12 noon:
Abdullah ends his
first term as PM with his credibility, reputation and reform pledges in
tatters with his 12-hour somersault of “no” and then “yes” to
dissolution of Parliament yesterday
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has ended his first term as Prime Minister with
his credibility, reputation and reform pledges in tatters with his
12-hour somersault of “no” and then “yes” to dissolution of Parliament
It has given powerful illustration of Lingam-speak – “He looks like the
Prime Minister, he sounds like the Prime Minister, but no one can say
100% that he is the Prime Minister”!
In his press conference yesterday announcing the dissolution of
Parliament. Abdullah tried to explain why he had ended his first term as
Prime Minister with a lie on Tuesday night categorically denying that
Parliament would be dissolved yesterday and yet doing precisely the
opposite 12 hours later in seeking an audience with the Yang di Pertuan
Agong to dissolve Parliament.
Abdullah explained he could not give any clue to the date as he needed
to get the consent of the Yang di Pertuan Agong first before he could
make the announcement.
Agreed. But has Abdullah to tell a lie, declaring: "The Cabinet meeting
will go on, go on and go on” after dismissing suggestion that
yesterday’s Cabinet meeting will be the last for the 11th parliamentary
Need Abdullah be reminded that what he had done is totally against the
Islam Hadhari which he had propounded as Prime Minister and Chairman of
the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC)?
What is also shocking is the triple disrespect and insensitivity in
dissolving Parliament on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year, because:
• It is the
auspicious Day of Ren - a day when Chinese take time to reflect on their
inter-personal relationships with others and be resolute to be a better
& wiser person or “Ren”;
• Insensitivity of the 9th Day of the Chinese New Year – Pai Tian Gong,
the birthday of the Jade Emperor and a major event for the Hokkiens in
Penang.and Malaysia; and
• Insensitivity of Chap Goh Mei to mark the end of the 15-day Chinese
New Year celebrations.
What is even more
shocking is the defence of this triple disrespect and insensitivity of
the Chinese New Year by the Chinese leaders in the Barisan Nasional like
Ong Ka Ting and Koh Tsu Koon, illustrating their totally marginalized
role in the Barisan Nasional decision-making process when they could not
even convince the Prime Minister to wait for eight days before
dissolving Parliament so as not to commit another cultural and religious
insensitivity in a matter of three months after the holding of the UMNO
general assembly on Deepavali last November.
The New Straits Times today reported that Koh dismissed as mischievous
the DAP’s claims that he, as Acting Gerakan President, was “kow-towing”
to UMNO over the choice of candidate for the Penang Chief Minister’s
Koh was following Abdullah’s precedent in telling a lie to end his four
terms as Penang Chief Minister when he claimed that in submitting three
names to Abdullah to pick as the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister, he
was just sticking to the principle, procedure and tradition of referring
such matters to the prime minister, who is the BN chairman.
After the 1990 general election, the Gerakan leadership did not
surrender the right to decide who should be the Penang Chief Minister to
UMNO or the Barisan Nasional President.
It was the Gerakan Central Working Committee which decided which one of
the two contenders, Koh Tsu Koon or Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, should be
selected as the Penang Gerakan Chief Minister after the electoral defeat
of Dr. Lim Chong Eu.
Both Koh Tsu Koon and Goh Cheng Teik were asked to leave the Gerakan
Central Working Committee meeting to allow the CWC members to deliberate
and decide on the matter, at the end of which, both were called back to
the CWC to be informed that the choice of the Gerakan CWC (actually that
of the then Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik) fell on Koh
Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who was then Prime Minister and Barisan
Nasional President, was never asked to choose from the two candidates,
Tsu Koon and Cheng Teik, as to who should be the Gerakan Penang Chief
Why has Tsu Koon set a new precedent in surrendering the decision as to
who would be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister to the Prime
Minister and Barisan Nasional President, which in effect would mean
vesting in Abdullah’s powerful son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddun the decision
who would be the next Gerakan Penang Chief Minister.
It would also mean a precedent would be set that it is UMNO and not
Gerakan which would henceforth decide who will be the Penang Gerakan
Chief Minister – and Khairy’s favourite is clearly the Deputy
Information Minister Chia Kwang Chye – before Penang UMNO finally
achieves its ambition to have an UMNO Penang Chief Minister!
Tsu Koon may want to forget Khairy’s infamous excoriation of the Penang
Gerakan State Government of having marginalized the Penang Malays, but
Penangites and Malaysians are not going to be as forgetful as the
Gerakan Acting President.
Did Tsu Koon act unilaterally in surrendering the prerogative of the
Gerakan to decide who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister
or did he get the full authorization of the Gerakan Central Committee to
make such an unprecedented concession tantamount to renunciation of
party independence and integrity?
Did former Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik give his
blessing and support to the new precedent of concession set by Tsu Koon
– that it is now for UMNO and in particular Khairy Jamaluddin to decide
who should be the next Gerakan Penang Chief Minister?
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman