Will Abdullah follow Mahathir
in the scandalous and outrageous dissolution of Parliament in the midst of
budget debate when there is no constitutional or political crisis rendering
six weeks of parliamentary meeting and the public expenses incurred going to
by Lim Kit Siang
Will the Prime Minister, Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolve Parliament to enable the 12th general
election to be held this month, although Parliament is in mid-session,
rendering six weeks of parliamentary meeting (four of which were on the
ongoing debate on the 2008 budget) going to waste?
Almost eight years ago, on November 10, 1999, when it was obvious that the
then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was going to dissolve
Parliament when Parliament was in mid-session debating the 2000 Budget, I
had issued the following statement:
nothing in law and constitution against the dissolution of Parliament in
mid-session. However, it is scandalous and outrageous for the present
Parliament to be dissolved in mid-session when there is no constitutional
or political crisis, as Mahathir has a rock-like five-sixth parliamentary
majority, for this would mean that the four weeks of parliamentary meeting
since Oct. 18 and the public expenses incurred would go to waste, with
Ministers avoiding accountability for two weeks of debate on the 2,000
“Such contempt for Parliamentary conventions and proprieties and
insensitivity to public concerns about abuses of power and waste of public
funds – and the dissolution of Parliament wasting four weeks of
parliamentary meetings is the most recent example – is the result of
political arrogance, irresponsibility and political hegemony of the
Barisan Nasional after 42-year uninterrupted two-thirds parliamentary
If Parliament is dissolved this
week or when it is in mid-session, the same critique of arrogance of
power, utter contempt of Parliamentary conventions and proprieties and
insensitivity to public concerns about waste of public funds would apply
with even greater force to Abdullah.
There can be no excuse or redeeming justification for dissolving
Parliament in mid-session when there is no constitutional or political
crisis arising from the loss or expected loss of parliamentary majority
for the government-of-the-day, although Mahathir had mitigating
circumstances for his action which is completely absent for Abdullah.
In 1999, Mahathir was fighting for his political life in the wake of the
revolt in the Malay heartland as a result of the Anwar Ibrahim reformism
campaign, and he was pressed to choose timing for the 10th general
election which was most advantageous for his political survival – in utter
disregard of constitutional conventions and proprieties.
Is Abdullah fighting for his political life like Mahathir in 1999 when
pondering on the timing for the 10th general election eight years ago?
As nobody would suggest that Abdullah is fighting for his political
survival in the next general election after winning the unprecedented 91%
of parliamentary seats in the last polls, his cynical and opportunistic
emulation of one of Mahathir’s worst examples as Prime Minister, will be
even more deplorable and inexcusable – as all the debate and expenses
incurred in the current parliamentary meeting since August 27 would go
down the drain.
If Abdullah could emulate Mahathir’s worst deeds at the very beginning of
his premiership what Mahathir only did at the end of his premiership, and
when totally without the mitigating though not redeeming circumstances
facing Mahahtir, it must set off alarm bells that the real decision-makers
of the Abdullah administration are probably the most opportunistic and
power-crazy in the 50-year history of the nation - to whom the ends
justified the means.
This does not bode well for the
future of Malaysia.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman