Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 10th October 2009:
Three reasons why Najib should officially withdraw the 1Malaysia slogan from the Barisan Nasional Bagan Pinang by-election campaign before polling tomorrow
Election Commission has been taking down billboards and banners put up by Pakatan Rakyat in the Bagan Pinang by-election which offend their sensitivities Ė like those which castigate the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad for corruption because of his history of Umno money politics and the BN government for its record of injustices and gross abuses of power.
If any by-election campaign material should be taken down in Bagan Pinang by-election, it is the 1Malaysia billboards, banners and buntings ad nauseum flooding the constituency with giant portraits and slogans of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
There are at least three reasons why Najib should officially withdraw the 1Malaysia slogan from the BN Bagan Pinang by-election campaign before polling tomorrow.
Firstly, what 1Malaysia can the BN talk about in Bagan Pinang when there is even no 1Umno, 1MCA, 1MIC or 1BN?
If there is 1Umno, Isa would not have become the BN candidate in Bagan Pinang by-election as evident from the strong objections from former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir and Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh.
There is no 1MCA or there will be no MCA Extraordinary General Meeting today in a life-and-death battle between the Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek factions. What 1MCA when there were four separate dinners in Kuala Lumpur last night with 320 tables or 3,200 places prepared for the 2,380 MCA EGM delegates?
Is there 1MIC although there is still 1Samy Vellu! What 1MIC when Najib is publicly giving his blessing for the establishment of another splintered party for the Malaysian Indians, the Makkal Sakti Party today?
When is there is no 1Umno, 1MCA or 1MIC, where is the 1Barisan Nasional?
Secondly, half the voters of Malaysia or more than half the voters in Peninsular Malaysia rejected the Barisan Nasional in the political tsunami of the March 8 general election last year. This has robbed Najib of any legitimacy to claim the support of all Malaysians for his 1Malaysia slogan and policy, which have proved to be largely similar to the very policies which had been repudiated in the 12th general elections. Instead of producing 1Malaysia, 52-years of Umno/Barisan Nasional rule have produced a Half(1/2)Malaysia or 2Malaysia - a clearly DividedMalaysia.
Thirdly, if Najib is trying to craft a new 1Malaysia policy to unite Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, he should be inviting leaders of all political parties, whether in government or opposition, to reach a national consensus of a unifying overarching national policy accepted and recognized by the overwhelming majority of Malaysians as capable of qualifying to be termed 1Malaysia.
The last thing he should do is to turn his 1Malaysia slogan and programme into a divisive partisan question to be trotted out in by-elections as campaign issues.
In the Permatang Pasir by-election, Najibís 1Malaysia theme was the centrepiece of the Barisan Nasional campaign, with the constituency also flooded with posters, banners, buntings and billboards blaring out the same slogan.
Would Najib concede that the BNís resounding defeat in the Permatang Pasir by-election signified an unmistakable rejection of his 1Malaysia motto Ė which would be quite an unique record for a new Prime Minister in having his signature policy suffering such humiliating rejection in its first popular test.
DAP and Pakatan Rakyat are prepared to support a 1Malaysia slogan and policy which really unite Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region but not one which is a mere camouflage for the continuation of the divisive and discredited BN policies of the past.
This is why Najib should officially withdraw the 1Malaysia slogan from the Barisan Nasional Bagan Pinang by-election campaign before polling tomorrow to remove it from the realm of political contention and to place it in a proper nation-building context transcending political party differences.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor