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Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 5th March 2012: 

Najib’s apology for BN’s mistakes – a test of Najib’s authority and leadership as Prime Minister and UMNO President

“Najib apologies for BN’s past mistakes” (3/3/12)

“PM”s apology shows humility, says Muhyiddin” (4/3/12)

“Umno info chief: BN needs mandate to fix its mistakes” (4/3/12)

These three Malaysiakini headlines in 24 hours raise a thousand questions – whether the Prime Minister is genuine and sincere in extending an apology for Barisan Nasional’s past mistakes, what exactly are the mistakes Najib is apologising for but most poignant of all, Najib’s authority and leadership as Prime Minister and UMNO President.

Right from the beginning, I have taken the position that Najib’s apology for Barisan Nasional’s past mistakes should be accepted, provided it is genuine and sincere.

My position has not changed. This was why I said in my media statement yesterday that Najib should be given an opportunity to enumerate the past BN mistakes for which he is extending an apology and his undertaking not to repeat them.

Although Najib said in Kedah on Saturday that he apologised for BN’s past mistakes, he failed to identify or particularise them whether it is for the abuses of power, corruption, cronyism and lack of accountability which had increasingly worsened under the Mahathir, Abdullah and Najib premierships; the destruction of the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of major national institutions whether the civil service, the judiciary, police, elections commission or anti-corruption agency; the worsening race and religious polarisation in the country or for the illegal and undemocratic power grab in Perak state from Pakatan Rakyat in February 2009.

But the Prime Minister was not allowed to demonstrate that he was sincere and genuine in making the apology by enumerating the BN’s past mistakes, as the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy UMNO President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin stepped into the limelight the very next day to rule out all such possibility, declaring that Najib’s apology shows humility and that “the crucial thing now was to look ahead”.

As if Muhyiddin’s message was not clear enough, another UMNO leader, its information chief, Datuk Ahmad Maslan declared that “UMNO needs mandate to fix its mistakes” – which was an open and public rubbishing of Najib’s “apology” as it tantamounts to a proclamation that UMNO need not and would not be able to correct its “mistakes” unless Barisan Nasional wins a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the next general elections!

This reminds me of the occasion two years ago when Najib’s 1Malaysia policy to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian regards himself/herself as Malaysian first and race, religion, geography and socio-economic status second was publicly rubbished and repudiated by his Deputy Prime Minister who declared that he was Malay first and Malaysian second.

Najib’s apology for BN’s past mistakes has again been reduced into a farce by the other UMNO leaders led by Muhyiddin.

This has also been the fate of Najib’s other grandiloquent programmes like the New Economic Model.

The ball is in Najib’s court. Is he going to spell out the BN’s mistakes for which he is promising not to repeat them so that Malaysians can decide whether his apology is genuine and sincere or is he going to succumb to the UMNO voices led by Muhyiddin that there is no need to particularise the mistakes and that the “fixing” of the mistakes is even conditional on the BN winning the “mandate” in the next elections?

How will Najib acquit himself in this test of his authority and leadership as Prime Minister and UMNO President on the eve of his third anniversary as sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia?

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



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