Speech by Lim Kit Siang at Pakatan Rakyat Penanti by-election ceramah at Jalan Berapit, Bukit Mertajam on Sunday, 24th May 2009 at 10.30 pm:
Although no BN candidate, Najib is undoubtedly the primary target in the Penanti by-election, which is a referendum on the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of Najib in his second month as Prime Minister
The Penanti by-election has been described as a dull and unexciting contest because of the absence of the Barisan Nasional candidate.
The PKR and PR candidate, Mansor Othman is challenged by three independent candidates. The real battle however is not between Mansor and the three independent candidates, but with the main protoganist publicly “ hiding” from the contest, the Barisan Nasional and its leader, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Although there is no BN candidate, Najib is undoubtedly the primary target in the Penanti by-election, which is a referendum on the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of Najib in his second month as Prime Minister.
Last night, Najib allowed the police to do what five previous Prime Ministers, Tengku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah had never done – police raid on DAP Hqrs in Petaling Jaya, the first time in 43 years, as if the DAP is a terrorist organisation when we had demonstrated our commitment to peaceful, democratic and constitutional change for over four decades.
The 15,421 Penanti voters have the opportunity to use their votes to condemn such gross abuse of powers and total disrespect for political parties like the DAP which has a 43-year record of fighting for all forms of injustices in the country so as to create a better, more fair, just, democratic and prosperous Malaysia.
When he became Prime Minister, Najib coined the slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”
Previous Prime Ministers also had their respective slogans like Mahathir’s “ABC” slogan of “Clean, Efficient, Trusworthy” government and Abdullah’s “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” but Najib had beaten them all in having his slogan shredded and discredited in the shortest time ever – less than two months!
Let me mention four instances which have become powerful symbols of how empty and hollow is Najib’s slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” in less than two months.
Firstly, and the most lethal example against Najib’s slogan is the nearly four-month-long Perak constitutional and political crisis and stalemate, caused by the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak personally orchestrated by Najib in early February.
How can Najib’s 1Malaysia evoke response and resonance when he could not even ensure 1Perak, and is in fact the chief cause why Perak has been plunged into such a constitutional and political stalemate that a well-known law professor has described it as a “hydra-headed monster that cannot be eliminated by ding-dong judicial decisions”?
The searing image of the Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar, in Speaker robes and in Speaker chair, being physically dragged out of the State Assembly on May 7 Day of Infamy, is a standing condemnation of the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak which had led to one national institution after another – whether police, election commission, Malaysian Anti-corruption Agency Commission (MACC), the civil service both Federal and State, the Judiciary or the Royalty – facing a crisis of confidence.
Secondly, the gross abuses of power by the police, failing in its fundamental duty to ensure that Malaysians are safe from crime, and yet could deploy massive and excessive police presence to arrest some 140 people in the past two weeks, more than the number of people arrested in Mahathir’s Operation Lalang in 1987!
When the police find peaceful protestors at candlelight vigils upholding human rights as greater threats to society than big time criminals, rapists, robbers and snatch-theft killers, the police are making a total mockery of Najib’s slogan of “People First. Performance Now”.
Thirdly, the annual scandal of the country’s top scorers, with 11 to 14As in SPM unable to get PSD scholarships as compared to students with 6As is another debunking of Najib’s slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”.
Malaysians were promised that this year, there would be no repeat of such injustices in the PSD scholarship selection system but this year is even worse than last year!
Is the Cabinet prepared to announce on Wednesday an increased allocation of RM300 million for this year’s PSD scholarships so that all top scorers are given scholarships and a fair, just, meritocratic and transparent system for PSD scholarships immediately put in place for future years?
Fourthly, the RM12 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
Despite repeated pledges by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, to “tell all” and make public the PricewaterhouseCooper audit report, letting Malaysians know how a RM1.8 billion PKFZ project in 2002 under Datuk Seri Ling Liong Sik could balloon into RM4.6 billion scandal under Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy and now mushroomed into a RM12 billion scandal under Ong Tee Keat.
And let all those responsible for the RM12 billion PKFZ scandal, regardless of position or political party, be prosecuted for one of the country’s biggest financial scandals!
All these four instances should not happen if Najib’s slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” is taken seriously by the Cabinet and its Ministers.
The voters of Penanti should use their votes to speak up on behalf of 27 million Malaysians to convey the message, loud and clear, to Najib that his first two months as Prime Minister had been a great failure and disappointment and Malaysians demand change!
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor