Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 8th December 2008: 

Let Najib and the 11 candidates for top Umno party posts individually declare their commitment to reform legislation for anti-corruption and independent judiciary  

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has utter contempt for his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, pouring scorn on Abdullah’s promises to push through reform before he steps down in March next year – particularly the bills to establish the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MCAC), reputedly patterned after Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

Writing in his blog, Mahathir noted sarcastically that “after failing to implement any of the promises made in the 2004 or 2008 elections, it looks like nothing is being done either with regard to the promise to carry out a variety of so-called reforms” before Abdullah steps down as Prime Minister in March 2009.

It would appear that Mahathir is privy to information not generally known to the Malaysian public, that forces are at work to frustrate and roll back any reform legislation on anti-corruption and an independent judiciary which Abdullah had promised to present to Parliament next week.

I will not be surprised if Mahathir is hands-in-glove with these reactionary UMNO forces to undermine and even roll back any reform legislation to be proposed by Abdullah in Parliament next week.

Will Abdullah’s bills to establish MCAC and JAC run into opposition from UMNO Ministers and MPs themselves and would Abdullah have to depend on Pakatan Rakyat MPs to ensure that these Bills are enacted by Parliament despite their many weaknesses and drawbacks?

Although there are growing vibrations of intensifying criticisms and opposition by powerful Umno warlords against Abdullah’s reform legislation on anti-corruption and an independent judiciary, I do not think they are yet prepared for a public showdown with UMNO Ministers and MPs in open revolt by voting against the bills in Parliament.

However, there may be a high rate of absence of UMNO Ministers and MPs to illustrate their displeasure and demonstrate their opposition to the bills concerned.
If this is the case, what hope is there that the reform legislation would be implemented fully when Abdullah steps down as Prime Minister and is replaced by Datuk Seri Najib Razak?

Would the reform legislation become “dead ducks” the moment by are passed by Parliament, as with Abdullah stepping down as Prime Minister in three months’ time, will the new Umno top leadership be in the very forefront to roll back the proposals to give more bite to anti-corruption campaign and to restore the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary?

As there are reports that major contenders for the top party posts in March Umno general assembly are strongly critical and even opposed to the reform legislation to be presented to Parliament, Najib, the three candidates for the Umno Deputy President and eight candidates for the Umno Vice President contests should individually declare their stand on the bills concerned and whether they are fully committed to support an all-out war against corruption and the restoration of an independent and impartial judiciary.

Let Najib, as well as the three Umno Deputy President candidates (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib) and the eight Umno Vice President candidates (Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jajis and Datuk Seri Rais Yatim) speak up on whether they endorse Abdullah on the MCAC and JAC bills and would help to rally support both inside and outside UMNO for the proposals.

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