Speech by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 23rd June 2009 on the Finance Minister’s motion to reallot 2009 Budget among the various Ministries following the 10th April 2009 Cabinet reshuffle
Najib’s first 74 days as Prime Minister is the most uninspiring when compared with the past five Prime Ministers
This motion to reallot the 2009 Budget among the various Ministries is the direct result of the Cabinet reshuffle by the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on 10th April 2009 – a week after he replaced Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Najib should be enjoying his first two-and-a-half months as the new Prime Minister but there is no air of expectation, hope or euphoria in the country that is normally associated with the advent of a new national leader – the political honeymoon of the First Hundred Days!
In fact, nobody can really disagree when I say that Najib’s first 74 days as Prime Minister is the most uninspiring when compared with the past Five Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah! Is this a sign of the final fulfillment of the most famous political prophecy in the country, RAHMAN, indicating the end of the line of Umno Prime Ministers in Malaysia as well as the end not only of Umno hegemony but Umno rule in Malaysia?
That we will know in the next general election, whether 2012 or 2011!
That there is no national mood of expectation, hope or euphoria; no political honeymoon and no First Hundred Days on Najib’s takeover as the sixth Prime Minister is not because of lack of trying by Najib.
In fact, Najib has tried very hard and this is why he has coined a new slogan to match the slogans of previous Prime Ministers, like “Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy” of Mahathir and “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” of Abdullah. Najib’s slogan is “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”.
But Najib’s slogan has failed to take the country by storm, which was why Najib suffered a double “no confidence vote” four days after becoming Prime Minister on April 7, 2009 in the impressive Pakatan Rakyat victories in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary and Bukit Selambau state assembly (Kedah) by-elections – which was a second political tsunami in Malaysian electoral politics in 13 months.
The Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-election results, with increased majorities for the Pakatan Rakyat candidates as compared to last year, are a clear and unmistakable endorsement of the March 8, 2008 political tsunami telling the nation and the world that what happened in the 12th general elections in March last year was neither accidental nor a fluke, to disappear like fireworks in the skies, but a major political paradigm shift representing the deep-seated and widely-held aspirations of Malaysians regardless of race or religion for democratic change.
Furthermore, that such fundamental political change is here to stay!
Although UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders had claimed after the March 8 political tsunami, which toppled Barisan Nasional governments in five states and ended its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority, that they had heard and learnt the message of the voters, the verdicts in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections were loud and clear – that UMNO and Barisan Nasional had failed in the past 13 months to heed the message of the 12th general election results.
This was why these two by-elections as well as the Penanti by-election in Penang early this month where the Pakatan Rakyat candidate, Mansor Othman who is now Penang Deputy Chief Minister, won with a 5,558-vote majority although Barisn Nasional did not dare to field a candidate, were a multiple referendum, viz:
With every passing day, public confidence in the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of the Prime Minister has worsened, as illustrated by the two following indicators:
Now Malaysians have even more reasons why they have no confidence, the credibility integrity and legitimacy of Najib as Prime Minister – the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal; galloping crime in the country with Malaysians, tourists and investors losing their fundamental rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime; worsening of the crisis of confidence in independence of the judiciary.
This was why I had called on Najib to seek a vote of confidence when Parliament reconvened on June 15.
This was what Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did when he became the fifth Prime Minister in 2003, with Parliament passing a motion of confidence in him in his first week in office. This was also what Datuk Hussein Onn did when he took over as Prime Minister in 1976 when Tun Razak died of leukaemia in London, convening an emergency meeting of Parliament to secure a motion of confidence in him in his first fortnight in office.
But Najib has shied away from seeking a confidence motion in the House. Is Najib afraid that he would not be able to get the solid and united support for such a confidence motion from the BN MPs, who still constitute a comfortable majority although the BN has lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority?
The first Najib Cabinet saw the removal of seven Ministers in the old Abdullah Cabinet, namely Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Home); Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Tourism), Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Rural and Regional Development), Senator Datuk Amirsham Abdul Aziz (Prime Minister’s Department), Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (Housing and Local Government), Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Works) and Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (Federal Territories).
No one shed any tears for the dropping of the seven Ministers in the Abdullah Cabinet.
What outraged Malaysians is the new set of Ministers in the Najib Cabinet, for they are not only another set of “old faces” but include 11 new Ministers or Deputy Ministers who entered Parliament from the backdoor of the Senate.
Worse still, they include “political rejects” like Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussin who were trounced by the electorate in last year’s political tsunami in the March 8 general elections, making the Najib Cabinet even more unrepresentative and unpopular than the second and last Abdullah Cabinet.
This morning, when answering the seventh question in the 90-minute question time, the KPI Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon gave such a long answer that he killed supplementary questions as question time was up.
This was why I told Tsu Koon over the well of the House that he had failed his KPIs and KRAs, in hogging time in his long answer when he should have allowed supplementary questions to be asked.
What is the use of talking about KPIs and KRAs (key result areas) for the government servants when there is simply no high-performance culture among Cabinet Ministers?
This morning, when Tsu Koon was giving his long answer to the question on KPIs for Ministers and ministries, the Ministerial front-benches were totally empty except for three Ministers who could not get elected and had to enter Parliament through the backdoor.
Is the Najib Cabinet serious about a KPI culture of high-performance?
If so, then no Minister should be allowed to abscond or go overseas from his or her responsibility of accountability to MPs when Parliament is meeting, except for important international functions which could pass muster with Parliament!
When Parliament reconvened last Monday on June 15, the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat deliberately avoided parliamentary responsibility for the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal by flying off to France to attend the Paris Air Show.
Why is Ong’s attending the Paris Air Show more important than his appearance in Parliament to give a full, proper and satisfactory accounting for the PKFZ “mother of all scandals”?
The Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget Exhibition Centre from June 15-21, 2009 celebrated its hundred anniversary, and is held biennially in odd-numbered years. Can Parliament know what were the previous Paris Air Shows which were attended by a Malaysian Transport Minister? Or is Ong the first Malaysian Transport Minister to attend the Paris Air Show.
Can Ong give a report on what benefits had been achieved from his visit to the Paris Air Show and why he could not have sent the Deputy Transport Minister to set an example of giving top priority to parliamentary accountability duties?
Don’t tell me that attending international air shows is the top priority for the Malaysian Transport Minister!
I have here a list from Wikipedia of 33 international air shows, like the Paris Air Show, the Australian International Air Show, Berlin Air Show, Canadian International Air Show, Danish Air Show, Dubai Air Show, Farnborough Air Show, Iran Air Show, New York Air Show, the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon.
Have the Transport Minister to attend all these Air Shows? Poor Transport Minister or poor 27 million Malaysians?
(to be continued)
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor