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Mahathir´┐Żs serious allegation against Abdullah for compromising ´┐Żsovereignty´┐Ż of Malaysia in scrapping the Johore crooked half-bridge unfair

 
_____________________________

Speech

at the DAP ´┐ŻNinth Malaysia Plan´┐Ż forum held in Taiping

by Lim Kit Siang  
________________________________

(Taiping
, Sunday) : Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has opened  his salvo against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for scrapping the RM1.1 billion Johore crooked half-bridge.

Mahathir  yesterday accused Abdullah for compromising the sovereignty of Malaysia when the former Prime Minister said Malaysia had ´┐Żlost its sovereignty because it could not even build a road and bridge on its own territory´┐Ż.  This is a very serious allegation against the  present Prime Minister  which is most unfair.

Mahathir has called for a referendum to be held to determine the views of the people regarding the crooked half  bridge project.  Abdullah should accept the challenge thrown by Mahathir and conduct such a referendum to let the people of Malaysia decide whether they want such a crooked half bridge to be constructed unilaterally, with all its ramifications, implications and complications.

During his 22 years of premiership, DAP had made numerous calls for referenda to be held to ascertain the views of the people on important national issues, but they had invariably been rejected or ignored by Mahathir.

I am glad that Mahathir has come around to accept the DAP view that referendum should become part of the democratic tradition and culture of the country as an integral part of the process of participatory democracy in Malaysia.

There are many other issues which should be the subject of national referendum, such as:

  • Whether there should be a restoration of elected local government as the nominated system of local government in the past four decades had proved to be even more unsatisfactory, inefficient and even corrupt;
     
  • Whether anti-corruption laws should be amended to strengthen the war against corruption, as providing for public declaration of assets by Ministers and MPs as well as making the Anti-Corruption Agency an independent body  answerable only to Parliament; and
     
  • Whether the Independent Police Complains and Misconduct Commission should be established as recommended by the Royal Police Commission.

Mahahtir´┐Żs support for referendum is not the only issue which the former Prime Minister has come around to the DAP´┐Żs standpoint.

Yesterday, he again lamented that his views could not get coverage as both the electronic and printed media are under ´┐Żcontrol and censorship´┐Ż to allow them only to have the freedom to support the government.

This had been our complaint in the 22 years of Mahathir´┐Żs premiership as well as the 30 months of Abdullah administration.  Now Mahathir has come around to accept the validity and veracity of our criticism of the lack of press freedom in the country. 

He should have liberalized press control and censorship when he was the Prime Minister so that he would not become its victim after stepping down from the office.


(16/04/2006)     
                                                      


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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