Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 22nd February 2010:
Is Muhyiddin the right-hand man of Najib or Mahathir in the Najib premiership?
Tun Abdullah tried to distance himself and tinker with the Mahathir legacy, without really daring to dismantle it when he was Prime Minister - but that was enough to ensure a swift and ignominious dismantling and end to Abdullah’s hapless premiership.
One great difference between the Najib and Abdullah premierships up to now is over their stance on the Mahathir legacy – in the Abdullah premiership, the Cabinet Ministers stand mute on the subject but in the Najib administration, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has emerged as the custodian of the Mahathir legacy with a powerful following!
This is why Muhyiddin’s utterances and actions are not only important for one who is only half-a-heartbeat away from the premiership but as a surrogate of the Mahathir legacy – undoubtedly of the most powerful former Malaysian Prime Minister in the nation’s history.
Just look at some the media headlines on Muhyiddin in the past few months:
But what are Muhyiddin’s true credentials on Najib’s 1Malaysia concept when the Deputy Prime Minister could attempt to mitigate the Nasir Safar outrage claming that it could have been “a slip of the tongue” when Najib’s senior political aide labelled Indians and Chinese in Malaysia as “pendatang”, alleging that the Chinese came as beggars and the Chinese women as “prostitutes”; or was conspicuously silent when the racialist rantings of Umno executive secretary Datuk Abdul Rauf Yusoh at an Umno club function in London earlier this month was exposed.
Signals were flashed when Muhyiddin was suddenly coy in declining to comment as to whether groups like Perkasa would be among NGOs to be admitted into the Barisan Nasional as part of the ruling coalition’s expansion plan to incorporate admission of NGOs and BN-friendly groups.
Perkasa, which stands for the very negation of Najib’s 1Malaysia and the former Prime Minister’s “Bangsa Malaysia” concept under Vision 2020, has nonetheless received the patronage of Mahathir. The former Prime Minister has given his stamp of approval to Perkasa, saying that it is increasingly popular within the Malay community because Umno is being seen as incapable of protecting their rights.
When Barisan Nasional component parties like MCA, Gerakan, MIC and parties from Sabah and Sarawak could agree in principle to the expansion of the coalition to include NGOs like Perkasa, it is understandable that statements of despair are being made their veteran leaders or “elders” like the recent one by former Gerakan President Tun Dr. Lim Keng Yaik that “Gerakan has lost Penang for good” as they only reflect the terminal marginalization and irrelevance of these Barisan Nasional component parties in the face of Umno’s unrepentant political hegemony in the coalition.
The time has come for Muhyiddin to declare whether he is the right-hand of Najib or Mahathir in the present administration.
When it comes to the crunch in any fundamental difference between Najib and Mahathir, where would the loyalty of Muhyiddin, as the custodian and surrogate of the Mahathir legacy in the Najib premiership, lie?
For instance, Mahathir has publicly declared that he does not know what Najib’s 1Malaysia is about. Mahathir withholds support for Najib’s 1Malaysia but has no hesitation in giving his blessings to Perkasa.
Is Muhyiddin with Najib’s 1Malaysia or Mahathir’s withholding of support or blessing for the 1Malaysia concept?
May be one good test of Muhyiddin’s true stand on Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept is whether the Deputy Prime Minister is prepared to support the proposal for the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor