Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Batu Pahat on Sunday, 31st August 2008: 

UMNO/BN - political dinosaurs irrelevant to Merdeka II aspirations of new generation of Bangsa Malaysia

In his 51st National Day message last night, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he hoped that every Malaysian could give importance to solidarity.

However, Abdullah had himself set the bad example of failing to give top priority to national unity and solidarity in plural Malaysia, or he would not have adopted a lackadaisical and irresponsible stance on the legitimate protests over the highly racist, divisive and provocative remarks by the Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail during the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign belittling the Chinese community in Malaysia as “orang tumpangan” who could not be trusted as Malaysians.

In defending Ahmad Ismail by claiming that the Penang Umno leader had not meant what he said, Abdullah was condoning Ahmad Ismail’s insensitive, offensive and racist remarks when he should have lived up to his pledge repeated many times before that he would be Prime Minister for all Malaysians and not of any one race.

The Prime Minister has again disappointed Malaysians with another breach of his many sweet-sounding pledges when he became Prime Minister five years ago.

In the past few days, various levels of the MCA and Gerakan (and even SUPP), and their youth and women wings, reaching as high as MCA Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, MCA Deputy Minister Dr. Wee Ka Siong and Acting Gerakan President, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had been making public noises demanding disciplinary action against Ahmad Ismail.

With the Prime Minister coming out with such a weak, ineffective and useless response in virtually protecting Ahmad Ismail from having to face any disciplinary action, are the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP leaders again going to capitulate or will they pursue the matter in Cabinet next week as well as demand an emergency meeting of the Barisan Nasional supreme council for stern disciplinary action to be taken against Ahmad Ismail so as not to make a mockery of the 51st Merdeka celebrations?

The Ahmad Ismail episode is the latest example that Umno and the Barisan Nasional have become political dinosaurs irrelevant to and incapable of adapting to the Merdeka II aspirations of the new generation of Bangsa Malaysia who want to see justice, fair play, moderation and good governance.

UMNO and Barisan Nasional (since Alliance days) may be the world’s longest-serving government coalition in a parliamentary democracy but this only underline its increasing irrelevance as a political dinosaur.

There is however no shortage of examples of UMNO and BN’s growing incompetence, impotence and irrelevance as political dinosaurs.

Just two latest instances:

Firstly, the increasingly undemocratic instincts by the powers-that-be to impose a clamp on dissent and criticism as illustrated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to shut down Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s Malaysia Today news portal, completely ignoring the solemn government undertaking to the world of no Internet censorship in the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees.

Secondly, the unchecked corruption, abuses of power and malpractices exposed in the latest Auditor-General’s Report 2007, such as pouring RM537 million of taxpayers’ money into the Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation in the United States in the past 13 years but only getting a return of only RM25 million!

Such colossal waste of public funds are not isolated cases, whether at the federal or state government level. In Perak for instance, a subsidiary of the Perak State Development Corporation went on a losing spree, chalking up over RM100 million in accumulated losses when its paid up capital was only RM50,000!

These are shocking, shameful and ugly examples of “Malaysia Boleh”!

Last year, the country also went into a frenzy of shock at the exposes of financial irregularities, criminal breach of trust and corrupt practices in the Auditor-General’s 2006 Report, such as the government paying RM5,700 for a car jack worth RM50; RM224 for a set of four screwdrivers costing RM32 in the market; RM5.72 million for two crane towers against the market price of RM2.98 million; technical books consisting of 10 titles priced at RM10,700; and a 3.1 megapixel digital camera that was bought for RM8,254.

Parliament and the nation were assured by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) that it was conducting investigations into the exposes by the Auditor-General in the 2006 report, but nothing has come of it and the ACA is now inundated with even more exposes in the Auditor-General’s 2007 Report!

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor