Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the opening of the 2008 DAP Federal Territory State Convention at the Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 2nd November 2008 at 10 am: 

Umno Ministers take 5-month for party election campaign instead of neglecting and abdicating Cabinet and national responsibilities when the country faces the worst global economic crisis in 80 years 

Umno Ministers are neglecting and abdicating their Cabinet and national responsibilities to gird the country to face the worst global economic crisis in 80 years because of protracted Umno party election politicking.

This could be seen from the absence of two Umno Ministers from Parliament during the winding-up of their Ministries on Thursday, namely Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

This is most shocking and irresponsible, as both Hamid and Hishammuddin are responsible for important Ministries at this critical stage when the country is faced with a crisis of competitiveness a safe and low-crime society where citizens, investors and tourists are not increasingly worried about personal or property security as well as having an education system which could nurture a creative culture of talents for the country to climb up the competitiveness ladder with a core group of highly-educated and competent people in all areas of the economy.

I do not know how many of the 14 Umno Ministers who are to reply on behalf of their ministries in the next two days of the four-day Ministerial winding-up of the debate on the 2009 Budget will absent themselves from Parliament tomorrow and Tuesday, but Umno Ministers should be told in clear and no uncertain terms that if they cannot find the time to concentrate on their Cabinet and national responsibilities or even to discharge their most elementary parliamentary duties, they should take five-month leave from the Cabinet to conduct their Umno election campaigning without hindering and undermining the interests of the nation and people.

Let us see how many of these 14 Umno Ministers will play truant from their parliamentary duties in the next two days.

UMNO continuing to behave like big bully of MCA and Gerakan in Parliament as well as PRS

It was only less than a fortnight ago that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made it as the theme in his opening speech at the 55th MCA General Assembly that "UMNO is not a 'Bully Party' or many component parties would have left BN by now" and even asking:

"Do you think Ka Ting allows himself to be bullied? You think (MIC president) Samy (Vellu) can be bullied? You think (Gerakan president Dr. Koh) Tsu Koon wants to be bullied?"

I don't want to answer Abdullah's question as the best people to answer are the Malaysian people. All I can say is that Abdullah will be very surprised by the answers from the people if he really believes that Umno is not a "bully party" in Barisan Nasional.

Those who follow the recent parliamentary proceedings cannot escape the conclusion that Umno's "bully" mentality vis--vis the other Barisan Nasional component parties are still very alive and unrepentant, as evidenced from the merciless way Umno MPs flayed the MCA Deputy Minister for National Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Teng Boon Soon and the Gerakan Wanita chief and Deputy Information Minister Datuk Tan Lian Hoe - with a NST headline "DEWAN RAKYAT: Lian Hoe gets another roasting" and nobody in MCA and Gerakan in Parliament dared to come to their defence apart from DAP and Pakatan Rakyat MPs! How pathetic!

BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak are often victims of such "big bullies" in BN politics.

The latest victim is Parti Rakyat Sarawak's (PRS) former publicity head of its Balleh division Beginda Minda, who was removed from his party post on Oct. 27 following his 'bully' statement against Umno and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) published in Malaysiakini two days earlier.

Beginda has now boldly called on PBB president Abdul Taib Mahmud to step down as Sarawak chief minister as "Twenty-seven years as chief minister is long enough" as well as for Iban Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu's "retirement" as it is better for the two "to step down gracefully and retire as honourable and respected statesmen" than "to be forced out of office through people's power".

Will Beginda now be sacked from Barisan Nasional for being a hero to the people of Sarawak in daring to speak up about the marginalisation and sufferings of the Sarawak Dayaks after 45 years of independence through Malaysia?

When will such high-handed bully tactics and culture in Barisan Nasional end whether in Parliament or outside?

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