Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 27th May 2009:
Najib – stop the current police madness, end the debilitating Perak crisis and unite Malaysians to face world’s worst economic crisis in a century with Malaysia in official recession this year
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should stop the current police madness, end the debilitating Perak crisis and unite Malaysians to face the world’s worst economic crisis in a century with Malaysia in official recession this year as the country’s GDP is expected to be in contraction of between one and 2 per cent.
The almost daily reports of current police madness, with the arrest of 21 persons in Ipoh yesterday for involvement in a peaceful hunger strike in protest against the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak has taken gross abuses of police power to a new height.
At a time when the police should be going all-out to combat the endemic crime wave in the country to make Malaysians, tourists and investors safe, a fundamental prerequisite of the nation’s international competitiveness, the police are shocking Malaysians with one outrage after another in launching indiscriminate arrests against peaceful non-violent protestors for wearing black, singing birthday song, taking part in candlelight vigils and trespass of DAP hqrs by conducting a police raid without a search warrant, first time in DAP’s 43-year history and never allowed to be done by the first five Prime Ministers in the country.
Last Sunday, Najib spoke out publicly against the three-day hunger-strike planned in Ipoh to be led by legitimate Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and lawful Speaker, V. Sivakumar to demand the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and the holding of state-wide general elections to return the mandate to Perakians to choose the state government they want.
Najib is entitled to his opinion when he said that the hunger strike “should not happen at all”, claiming that the solution should be left to “the constitutional process”, whatever that means.
However, was Najib’s public disapproval for the hunger strike in Ipoh the signal and “greenlight” for the latest police madness in Ipoh with indiscriminate arrest of peaceful protestors as if “fasting” and not wanting to eat have become a new crime in Malaysia!
I was in Bangkok yesterday for the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) meeting over Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued incarceration in Myanmar, and when I asked Thais, I was told that they go about their lives in Bangkok without any fear of snatch thiefs or snatch-thief killers, and that they are blessedly spared the menace of Mat Rempits.
The Police will never be able to convince Malaysians and investors that they are professional and world-class so long as they continue to be more “efficient” in dealing with peaceful civic-minded protestors than criminals, whether robbers, rapists, snatch-thiefs or snatch-thief killers, and the criminal Mat Rempit elements.
Already some 163 arrests had been made nation-wide by the police over peaceful protests at the unethical, undemocratic and unconstitutional power grab in Perak – more than 50 per cent more than the notorious Operation Lalang mass arrests launched by Tun Dr. Mahathir in 1987.
Why is Najib so keen to demonstrate in his second month as Prime Minister that the Police have his “blank-cheque” to trample on human rights and civil liberties, when Mahathir unleashed such a crackdown only in his seventh year as Prime Minister?
Despite his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, Najib has not been able to capture the imagination of Malaysians in the way his predecessors, whether Tun Mahathir or Tun Abdullah, were able to do with their respective slogans, “Clean, Efficient, Trustworthy” for the former and “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” for the latter.
One important reason why Najib’s slogan has not been able to take-off is because of the heavy baggage of the protracted political and constitutional crisis in Perak which has truly become a “hydra-headed monster” which cannot be resolved in the courts.
With Malaysia in official recession this year, Najib should not tarry any longer to do what is right for the nation and to subordinate Umno and Barisan Nasional interests.
In less than nine months, the economy has plunged from a government forecast of 2009 GDP growth of 5.4% (made in the 2009 Budget presented in Parliament on 29th August 2008) to 3.5% (first RM7 billion economic stimulus package in Parliament on 4th November 2008), then down to the range of minus 1.0 per cent to 1.0 per cent (second RM60 billion economic stimulus package in Parliament on May 10, 2009), to be further revised downwards to a contraction between one and 2 per cent.
This is the time when Najib should give full and total attention to the economy and the conditions to enhance Malaysia’s international competitiveness and to stop playing political games as in Perak which have the far-reaching repercussions of undermining Malaysia’s international competitiveness with the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of one key national institution after another facing unprecedented crisis of confidence.
Let Malaysians tell Najib - stop the current police madness, end the debilitating Perak crisis and unite Malaysians to face the world’s worst economic crisis in a century with Malaysia in official recession this year.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor