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Call for  a motion on vote   of confidence in the Prime Minister  when Dewan Rakyat reconvenes on June 26  as Parliament is the proper venue for such an expression and not the meeting of UMNO backbenchers at the Internal Security Ministry yesterday                    

Press Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Tuesday) : I am glad that 10 hours after my blog yesterday that Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s  “elegant silence” cannot be accompanied by the “inelegant silence” of the Abdullah government, as the public-interest issues raised by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad deserve full and satisfactory answers In line with the  principles of openness, accountability, transparency and good governance,  Abdullah  decided that  the relevant ministries would reply “in detail” to all the Mahathir allegations.

At least, the Prime Minister has shaken off the attitude prevalent among Barisan Nasional leaders that there was nothing for the government to reply or that the government had already given all the necessary answers, as typified by the UMNO Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the former Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) Chairman, Datuk Shahrir Samad as reported by yesterday’s Star, Shahrir: Government doesn't have to answer Dr M”.

Yesterday’s meeting organized by the BNBBC “to show undivided support for Abdullah’s leadership, following a scathing attack by Dr. Mahathir on his successor”, however raised three salient questions:

  • Firstly, why there were only 78 UMNO MPs and senators, when there are 110 UMNO elected MPs while over half of the 70 Senators are from UMNO?
  • Secondly, why MPs from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, PBB, UPKO, PBS, SAPP, PPP and other BN parties did not attend – is it because their stand and support are taken for granted as their views and positions simply did not matter in the Barisan Nasional scheme of things?
  • Thirdly, as full explanations “in detail” about the various public-interest issues which had been raised by Mahathir have yet to be given by the relevant ministries, is it right and proper for the UMNO MPs to give a “blank cheque” endorsement of “undivided support” for Abdullah’s premiership?  Is this what Abdullah want from UMNO and BN MPs – to “close one eye” ala-MP-Jasin  and just to give “undivided support” and loyalty to his premiership?

The proper place to express “undivided support” by MPs is Parliament, and after all the facts and explanations had been given and evaluated.

For this reason, I call  for  a motion on vote   of confidence in the Prime Minister  when Dewan Rakyat reconvenes on June 26  as Parliament is the proper venue for such an expression and not the meeting of UMNO backbenchers at the Internal Security Ministry yesterday.

The intervening two weeks before the June 26 meeting of Parliament should be ample time for the relevant ministries to give “in detail” satisfactory explanations to the various issues raised by Mahathir and for MPs to evaluate whether they are acceptable or otherwise.  Which Minister will start the ball rolling to answer to the various issues raised by Dr. Mahathir?

The most suitable MP  to submit the  motion on the vote of confidence in the Prime Minister would be the acting chairman of BNBBC, Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (MP for Larut), as it would be most ludicrous if the UMNO  MPs are prepared to declare their undivided support to Abdullah as Prime Minister but not willing to do so in Parliament, the right and proper forum for such an expression.

Furthermore, such a motion would give the MPs from the other BN component parties an opportunity to express their stand.

The only reservation the BNBBC can have about  the wisdom of such a motion of vote of confidence in Parliament  is whether there would be unanimity of support from UMNO and BN MPs in the voting –  or whether there would be several UMNO and BN MPs who would abstain or find an excuse not to be in Parliament during the voting.

DAP MPs will not vote against the motion for a vote of confidence in Abdullah as Prime Minister. The only question is whether DAP MPs will abstain or vote in support – a decision which will have to be taken by a meeting of DAP MPs if there is such a motion.


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

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