Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 20th September 2008: 

Abdullah should reconsider and secure Cabinet approval on Wednesday to convene an emergency Parliament on September 29 to end the six-month political impasse to decide whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat has the parliamentary majority to govern Malaysia

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should reconsider his rejection of the request by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for an emergency session of Parliament to debate a “no confidence” motion latest by Tuesday, September 23.

He should table Anwar’s request at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to secure Cabinet approval to convene an emergency Parliament to end the six-month political impasse – resulting in the deepening and aggravation of the multiple crisis of confidence whether political, economic, nation-building, international competitiveness or good governance – by getting the country moving forward again with a clear-cut parliamentary vote as to who has the parliamentary majority to govern Malaysia.

Abdullah has said that Anwar’s ”916” plan to secure the support of the majority of the 222 MPs to move the country forward to address and overcome the manifold crisis and challenges confronting Malaysia is “a mirage” and “a lie”.

But the actions of the Barisan Nasional government belie these claims, whether it be the sodomy II charge against Anwar, the last-minute panicky “blur blur” agricultural study tour to Taiwan to sequester some 50 MPs from any possible defection, the spate of ISA arrests particularly against DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok – all pointing to a government unsure of its parliamentary majority and even raising the question whether it is a government in its last throes?

If Abdullah is convinced and confident that he still has the support of the majority of the 222 MPs, why is he running away from the opportunity to prove Anwar wrong by convening the emergency Parliament session for a clear-cut vote to be taken on Anwar’s “no confidence” motion?

If Abdullah has the support of the majority of the 222 MPs, Pakatan Rakyat will accept the outcome of the Parliamentary vote and Abdullah can end the drift and the total lack of direction in the past six months to decide on what legacy he is going to leave behind as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

If Anwar succeeds in demonstrating that he has the support of the majority of the 222 MPs, Abdullah should accept the verdict and gracefully, peacefully, orderly and democratically effect a transition of power to usher in a new Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government - creating new political history in the nation’s 51-year history.

As the Cabinet would only meet on Wednesday, 24th September 2008, a suitable date for the emergency Parliament session to decide whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat commands the support of the majority of the 222 MPs would be Monday, September 29 – which will end the political impasse before the Hari Raya Puasa holidays!

It is in the national interest that the political impasse, the national drift and the deepening multiple crisis of confidence afflicting Malaysia for over half a year is immediately ended with a definitive confidence vote in Parliament, as they do not permit any further procrastination such as waiting for Parliament to be reconvened on October 13.

Let Parliament be recalled in emergency session on Sept. 29 for probably its most important vote in the nation’s 51-year history!

Why is Abdullah shying away from the historic opportunity that is presented by Anwar to prove that he is still Prime Minister with majority parliamentary support, especially if he is convinced that “916” is just Anwar’s “mirage”?

Could it be that Abdullah is not absolutely certain and confident that he could command the support of a majority of 222 MPs in Parliament if a no confidence motion is put to a vote?

Or could it be that Abdullah felt that no purpose would be served in securing a ringing endorsement of parliamentary majority support when his days as Prime Minister are numbered?

It is open secret that at the “918” Umno Supreme Council meeting two days ago, Abdullah came under intense pressure that he should step down as Prime Minister much earlier than the June 2010 timeline he envisaged in his power transition plan.

The pressures for Abdullah to bring forward his transition plan was spearheaded by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and had the support of UMNO heavyweights like Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Wanita Chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz even said that Abdullah would not be able to secure the minimum 58 nominations required to defend his presidency when the UMNO Division nomination process begins on October 9.

Have the Umno war-lords shortened Abdullah’s tenure as Prime Minister to October 9 – a matter of less than three weeks?

If so, what is going to happen to Khairy Jamaluddin?

Abdullah’s “magic” when he became Prime Minister five years ago and which created the greatest Barisan Nasional electoral victory in the 2004 general election, winning over 91 per cent parliamentary seats, have turned to ashes in a matter of less than five years.

Five years ago, there was nothing wrong Abdullah could do. Today, there is nothing right the Prime Minister could do.

Has he become a lame-duck Prime Minister, Umno President and Barisan Nasional chairman?

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