Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 27th March 2009:
Second issue Najib must declare tomorrow – that he will establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear grave and long-swirling questions concerning his integrity and legitimacy as Prime Minister particularly on defence deal mega commissions and Altantunya Shariibuu murder case
In his farewell speech as Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi conducted a public soul-searching on Umno’s crisis of confidence and test of credibility, asking: “Why are we suffering this fate, blamed to this terrible extent? Why are we now seen to be completely without virtue?”
Abdullah’s diagnosis is the same as the one I prescribed in Parliament on Wednesday, when I said Umno had become “power-crazy” (gila kuasa).
Abdullah admitted as much when he said the cause of the credibility crisis of Umno is because the party is “intoxicated” by power.
“We were intoxicated by our achievements and we become complacent. We believed that we had become all-powerful. We have put our own positions within the party first, instead of being concerned over Umno’s position in the eyes of our citizens and the nation.”
Among Abdullah’s five factors leading to the “erosion of public trust” in Umno, was
"materialism has seeped into the party, making a number of party members greedy and avaricious, hence creating the negative perception that Umno is a corrupt party".
I should have been thanked for helping to diagnose the fundamental cause of Umno’s crisis of confidence, but no, I was instead suspended from Parliament under the pressure of UMNO MPs who clearly belonged to the party’s “Denial Camp”.
What decent and reasonable Malaysians must find most objectionable is that the most boorish and loutish among these UMNO MPs could get elected into the UMNO Supreme Council – no better testimony that Abdullah was conducting a dialogue of the deaf when trying to make his last “reformist” message at the Umno general assembly.
Yesterday, I had called on the new Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Razak, waiting to become the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, to respond forthrightly and positively to Abdullah’s warning that Umno would be reduced to a footnote in the pages of history if Umno succumbs to pressures from those who reject reforms and want to revert to the old ways of harsh and hardline undemocratic rule – a return to Mahathirism!
I asked Najib should take a clear-cut stand in his acceptance speech as the new Umno president tomorrow to set his face clearly and strongly against any return of Mahathirism in his premiership, and to declare that the imminent arrest of Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim under the Internal Security Act and the launching of another Operation Lalang mass arrests are not among the political options that he is considering in his first 100 days or first year in office.
Today, I want to ask Najib to make another declaration in his acceptance speech as UMNO President tomorrow as it is intimately related to his fitness, integrity and legitimacy to become the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has called on Najib to “come clean” and submit to legal scrutiny on the international scandals linking the Prime Minister-in-waiting with the murder of Altantuya Sharibuu and with the purchase of the Scorpene submarines.
Tengku Razaleigh wrote in his blog:
“It is safe to say that in the international media, the incoming Umno President and the presumptive Prime Minister is being evaluated through the Altantuya scandal. The UK’s Sunday Times, the International Herald Tribune, the French daily, Libération, The Australian Financial Review, the Far Eastern Economic Review and the New York Times have all published stories raising questions about the link between the murdered young woman, Dato’ Seri Najib, and the gigantic commission paid out by the French company Armaris to a Malaysian company for the purchase of submarines. This is now an international story.
“And this story will not go away. With its dramatic details and the alleged involvement of elite Malaysian government operatives, it captures the journalistic imagination. But the story is now connected with an ongoing investigation into the dealings of a major French company.
“The story is also going to stick around because it is a handy looking-glass into Malaysia’s ‘increasingly dysfunctional political system.’ It implicates our entire system of government, our judiciary, and our press, and it casts a shadow on our ability as a nation to face and tell the truth. Against this backdrop promises of reform ring hollow. The storyline of the New York Times article, for example, is that scandal-clouded successionreveals a once confident young country shaken to its foundations by institutional rot. I cannot say this is inaccurate.
“The scandal is bringing shame to the nation and damaging our international credibility. For the honour of the nation, for the honour of the office of prime minister, for the honour of the sovereign institutions expected to endorse, confirm and lend authority to him should he become prime minister according to Umno’s plans, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak should finally face these suspicions and implied charges, submit himself to legal scrutiny, and come clean on them.
“Swearing on the Al-Quran is not the way out. Scoundrels have been known to do that. The truth, established through the rigorous and public scrutiny of the law, is the only remedy if an untrue story has gained currency not just internationally but at home among a large section of the people.
“Najib should voluntarily offer to testify at the trial of the two officers charged with killing Altantuya Sharibuu. He could also write to these newspapers and if necessary he should take legal action against them to clear his name and that of our country.”
I call on Najib to declare tomorrow that he would establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear the grave and long-swirling questions concerning his integrity and legitimacy as Prime Minister particularly on defence deal mega commissions and Altantunya Shariibuu murder case.
I had repeatedly in Parliament such as in October last year and on Monday this week called on Najib to agree to such a Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear his name in the face of these grave allegations especially as he has claimed innocence.
This is the least that Najib should do even before he becomes the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, to protect the honour of the office of Prime Minister and the nation.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor