Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 20th February 2009:
Call on Abdullah and Hishammuddin to co-operate with Pakatan Rakyat to keep the palace above the political crisis in Perak as the issue in contention is not about the institution of constitutional monarchy but the popular will of the voters
UMNO leaders, particularly, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Seir Hishammuddin Hussein should co-operate with Pakatan Rakyat to keep the palace above the political crisis in Perak as the issue in contention is not about the institution of constitutional monarchy but the popular will of the voters.
Tengku Razaleigh has rightly pointed out in his blog about the real nature of the constitutional crisis in Perak – it is not about the status of the Rulers like the 1993 constitutional crisis “which arose from an ugly confrontation between Umno and the Rulers over a question that had direct and profound implications on their sovereignty and that of the Yang Dipertuan Agong” but about the legitimacy of the process by which a new state government has been formed in Perak.
This is why Abdullah and other UMNO leaders created consternation yesterday when they sought to present the Perak political and constitutional crisis as a crisis of the system of constitutional monarchy using the language of “disrespect the Sultan” and even “treason” when it is solely and strictly about whether UMNO should be allowed to orchestrate an immoral, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak.
The best way to uphold the system of constitutional monarchy in the country is for all political parties, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, to keep the Rulers above the political fray – especially on the question as to who should form the legitimate and democratically-elected government in Perak.
The immoral, illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional Umno power grab in Perak has created a political and constitutional crisis of two Mentris Besar in the state – and the best and most democratic solution is to return the mandate to the voters of Perak by the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly for a fresh state election to be held to resolve the political and constitutional crisis.
In Abdullah’s final 40 days as the fifth Prime Minister and Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pre-40 days as the sixth Prime Minister, both of them must act as leaders for all Malaysians and resist the temptation to use the powers of the Federal government to deny the people of Perak their democratic right to resolve the political crisis in the state as by resorting to emergency powers or draconian laws like the Internal Security Act or the Sedition Act.
The incendiary speech by Hishammuddin last night is most deplorable, as he delivered what has been described as a “thinly-veiled threat” against Pakatan Rakyat “that those who are willing to destroy or damage the royalty and betray the country will pay the price” – a description which will be more apt for UMNO for its role in the 1993 constitutional crisis as it has no application whatsoever with any political party in the Pakatan Rakyat in the current Perak crisis.
It is a great disservice to the institution of constitutional monarchy for political leaders to drag the royalty into the political fray by distorting political differences as one of treason or whether one is “willing to destroy or damage the royalty and betray the country”, when this is not the case.
Malaysians should be united to face the worst global economic crisis in 80 years instead of allowing our body politic to be divided and poisoned by Umno’s undemocratic, immoral, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak.
Instead of months of stand-off and stalemate in the Perak political and constitutional crisis, let it be resolved swiftly in the most democratic manner which could be accepted by all Perakians without poisoning the Malaysian body politic for years and decades so that national energies could be mobilized to face the looming economic crisis – by the holding a snap Perak state elections which could be held within 30 days although the law allows it to be held within 60 days of the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly.
This is the most acceptable and democratic solution to the Perak political crisis. Let Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional leaders agree to return the mandate to the voters of Perak to elect the government of their choice – which will also further enhance the institution of constitutional monarchy by staying above the fray of political parties which is best resolved in the hustings.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor