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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 10th May 2009: 

Najib gave a great Vesak Day message but it fell flat because government actions in his first month as Prime Minister failed to match his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”

I commend the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for a great Vesak Day message, when he called on Malaysians not to focus on differences between one another, but to look for similarities and common ground.

Although Najib invoked the call “In the spirit of human progress, in the spirit of developing this great country, in the spirit of 1Malaysia”, it unfortunately fell flat because the actions of his government in his first month as Prime Minister failed to match his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

Despite his attendance at the Vesak celebrations at the Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Buddhist Temple in Jenjarom yesterday, Najib had not been able to evoke the electrifying effect his predecessor, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi created in his first Christmas message as Prime Minister in his second month in office in December 2003, and when he was guest-of-honour at the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)’s Christmas reception in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur six years ago.

Najib and his think-tank should give deep and serious study as to why his premiership has not been able to launch off successfully despite various goodies and promises of more to come.

One important reason is that Najib came to the premiership with very heavy political baggage which he failed to unburden himself. Secondly, his slogan could not catch fire like Tun Mahathir’s “Amanah, Bersih, Cekap” or Tun Abdullah’s “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” during their respective premierships simply because government actions in his first month of Najib premiership were the very opposite of his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

Just three examples.

Firstly, the May 7 Day of Infamy at the Perak State Assembly. As Najib rightly said, the pandemonium at the Perak State Assembly was shameful, tragic and tarnished Malaysia’s image. However Najib did not complete the sentence, as it was Najib who must hold the greatest responsibility for the Day of Infamy for Perak and Malaysia as the “original sin” of these infamous events was the February 5 unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak which he had personally orchestrated.

This has produced two Mentris Besar, two Perak Speakers, even two Assemblies.

Is it any wonder that Najib’s 1Malaysia could not produce resonance or inspire meaning among Malaysians, as all the people see is 1Divided Malaysia, even 1Black Malaysia. How can there be 1Malaysia when he had played the most critical role in ensuring that there is no 1Perak?

Secondly, police misconduct and gross abuse of power in the first month of Najib premiership, reminiscent of the return of Mahathirism with arbitrary arrests of 116 people in three days last week, while Malaysians are exposed in peril of their life because of endemic crime as highlighted by the death of two pregnant women, Saripah Mohd in Kota Baru and Jamilah Selamat in Batu Pahat within 72 hours, both killed in two separate snatch thefts when they fell off their motorcycles!

Furthermore, how could the police be so crass and high-handed as to:

(i) arrest anyone in black in the Ipoh lockdown on May 7, as if the peaceful “1Black Malaysia” protest campaign is a greater threat to national security and public safety than big-time criminals and snatch-theft killers?

(ii) Arrest five lawyers, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Murnie Hidayah Anuar, Puspawati Rosman, Ravinder Singh Dhalliwal and Syuhaini Safwan, all members of the Bar Council legal aid centre for going to the aid of those arrested in candlelight vigils in Kuala Lumpur in protest at the detention of BERSIH spokesman Wong Chin Huat for sedition?

(iii) Violate the sanctity of the Perak State Assembly in bodily dragging the Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar in Speaker robes and in the Speaker Chair, recorded on camera and video, from the Assembly?

Now the police are ashamed as their misdeeds at the PeraK State Assembly on the May 7 Day of Infamy are recorded on camera and video, available nation-wide and world-wide on the internet, resulting in even more crass police actions, as in the arrest of one person and police confiscation of one DVD player, three projectors, two move-screens and other equipment at the thousand-people DAP dinner in Sitiawan last night for playing the video clip of the “Day of Infamy”!

When the police become full-time video, lap-top and mobile handphone snatchers, like the book-burners of tyrants and emperors in olden ages, does Najib really expect Malaysians to buy his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”?

Thirdly, Najib is grossly mistaken if he thinks that he had reached out to the aggrieved and marginalized Indians who have been awakened to their rights by the Hindraf and Makkal Sakti phenomena with the release of the five Hindraf leaders under the Internal Security Act – the trio, P. Uthayakumar, DAP Selangor Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan and K. Vasanthakumar yesterday while Ganapathi Rao and R. Kenghadharan were released a month ago.

Najib should not behave like the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, expecting Makkal Sakti to “membalas budi” for the release of the five Hindraf leaders for two reasons.

Firstly, the five Hindraf leaders should not have been detained under the ISA in the first place as they should be tried in court if they had committed any offence against the law of the country.

Secondly, by imposing restrictive and draconian conditions for the release of the five Hindraf leaders, the government is sending out a clear, unmistakable and unacceptable message that it is not prepared to fully address the long-standing grievances of marginalization, discrimination and alienation suffered by the Malaysian Indians in the country.

Instead of praising Najib sky-high for the ISA releases, MIC President Datuk Seri Samy Vellu should tell Najib that what the Prime Minister had done were just not good enough, that more is expected, including:

  • Removal of all the conditions imposed on the five Hindraf leaders for their ISA release;

  • Lift the government ban on Hindraf as an unlawful organisation so that it could take part in the nation-building process; and

  • Appoint Uthayakumar as a member of Royal Commission of Inquiry into the marginalisation of Malaysian Indians which have reduced them into a new underclass in Malaysia after half-a-century of nationhood.

Samy Vellu should boldly and bravely inform Najib that unless these three conditions are met, his “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” would not have much meaning for the marginalized Malaysian Indians who are the backbone of the Makkal Sakti movement.

Similarly, Najib should wake up to the brutal truth that unless there is a total change of mindset among the Barisan Nasional political leadership and the government institutions so as to address outstanding problems like the May 7 Day of Infamy for Perak and Malaysia and the police gross abuses of power, the slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will be regarded as a cruel joke among Malaysians even before the end of Najib’s First 100 Days.

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



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