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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the Jalan Duta Courts on Monday 4th Febrary 2008 when filing the �caretaker government� suit for a declaration to hold uphold good and democratic governance of a first-world developed nation:

Call on Abdullah to respect Chinese New Year celebrations and not to dissolve Parliament to launch the 12th general election campaign during CNY period

Last  Wednesday, the Cabinet  spent three hours discussing the next general election � which is a failure of integrity of the Abdullah premiership as it is another  example of the inability of government leaders to respect the important distinctions among the government, party and personal and the root cause of rampant corruption in Malaysia -

At the last Cabinet meeting, the least  the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should have done is to issue a clear directive to all the Ministers that they should set an example of ethics and integrity once Parliament is dissolved, and should not abuse their �caretaker� responsibilities to misuse  government positions, resources, manpower and funds for Barisan Nasional electioneering purposes.

Abdullah should have reminded all the Cabinet Ministers of the case in  India, where a Prime Minister � Indira Gandhi � was disqualified as a Member of Parliament by the Indian court because she had misused government facilities in using a state aircraft for party electioneering purposes.

I am today instituting court proceeding asking for a declaration that when Parliament is dissolved,  the concept of a caretaker government between dissolution of Parliament and the election of a new legislature and the formation of a new government must be honoured and upheld in Malaysia.

Under the caretaker government concept, which has become commonplace in first-world developed nations,  Cabinet Ministers should not abuse government positions, machinery, resources and funds for any electioneering purpose for a political party or candidate.

A candidate who benefits unfairly from any �unhealthy� and dishonest practices, as campaigning assistance by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Cabinet Minister through the abuse of their government positions or misuse of public funds and resources, should be subject to disqualification. Cabinet Ministers who abused their �caretaker� roles should also be penalized.

This case puts three important issues under test:

        Firstly, whether the National Integrity Plan launched by Abdullah in May 2004 is just all empty talk or whether he is serious about the principles of ethical and good governance and is prepared to set a personal example;

        Secondly, whether Malaysia is serious about the Vision  2020 objective to become a fully-developed first-world nation, by demonstrating the government has the mindset and mentality of a first-world developed nation in abiding by the concept of a �caretaker government� between dissolution of Parliament and the formation of a new government after election; and

        Thirdly, whether the judiciary can take the first step to restore national and international confidence as  the bulwark of good and constitutional governance after nearly two-decades of a long series of one judicial crisis of confidence after another.

In this connection, I call on Abdullah to respect the forthcoming Chinese New Year celebrations beginning on Thursday and not to dissolve Parliament to launch the 12th general election campaign during CNY period.

This is because various dates had been bruited for the dissolution of Parliament, from the seventh day of the Chinese Year all the way to Chap Goh Mei.

The Umno general assembly was held during Deepavali in November last year, a shocking display of insensitivity of the diverse races, religions and cultures in plural Malaysia. 

UMNO leaders, branches and members would be the first to take offense if MIC, MCA or Gerakan should hold their national delegates� conferences on Hari Raya Haji for instance � underlining the insensitivity of Umno leaders in giving offence to Hindus and all right-thinking Malaysians in holding the Umno general assembly last year on Deepavali Day.

This insensitivity  of the diverse and great cultures and religions which have found confluence in plural Malaysia should not be repeated by dissolving  Parliament during the Chinese New Year. 

The Chinese New Year spirit and mood should not be spoiled by the dissolution of Parliament and the formal start of the general election campaign. Let all Malaysian Chinese and Malaysians, regardless of political affiliation,  complete their Chinese New Year celebrations before they go for the hustings!

If MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders are unable to persuade the Prime Minister to respect the Chinese New Year festivities, and let the CNY celebrations be over first before the dissolution of Parliament and the launch of the general election campaign, then Malaysians are entitled to ask as to what is their real influence, relevance and purpose  in the highest policy-making circles in the Barisan Nasional government.


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


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