Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 30th September 2009:
Bagan Pinang by-election – a contest between Malaysia’s political past and the future
There was a collective shaking of heads in the country when it was formally announced that Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election in Negri Sembilan on 11th October 2009.
Both the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir and another Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh had spoken out publicly to warn of the adverse implications and larger repercussions of nominating a person who had been found guilty of money politics by his own political party, but these objections and warnings had been disregarded.
Having lost in all the previous seven by-elections in Peninsular Malaysia after the March 8 general elections last year, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Umno leadership are so desperate for a by-election victory that they are prepared to overlook the larger and adverse implications of Isa’s candidature so long they can be assured not only of a by-election victory in Bagan Pinang but a convincing one.
Isa’s candidature has put paid to Najib’s claims when he became Prime Minister that he will give top priority to eradicate corruption, citing it as one of the six top subjects for his KPI (key performance indicators) focus.
Najib’s credibility as an anti-corruption reformer had already suffered grievous blows with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) bogged down in an open war against Pakatan Rakyat as catspaw of Umno/Barisan Nasional to destabilize and topple Pakatan Rakyat state governments when its first and only task is to declare war on corruption.
The mysterious death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters on July 16 stands as an indictment of MACC’s war against Pakatan Rakyat instead of a war against corruption.
Isa’s nomination as Barisan Nasional candidate in Bagan Pinang by-election is a clear affirmation that integrity and good governance do not rate high in the order of priorities of the Najib premiership.
The Bagan Pinang by-election is a contest between the country’s political past and future – between the politics of corruption, injustice and oppression prevalent in the March 8, 2008 and the politics of integrity, justice and freedom struggling to be born after the March 8 political tsunami.
Malaysians shook their heads in dismay at Isa’s nomination. Can the voters of Bagan Pinang salvage the situation to make Malaysians nod their heads in relief and appreciation by ensuring the defeat of Isa and the victory of the Pakatan Rakyat candidate, Zulkefy Mohamad Omar in the by-election?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor