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Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the Penang DAP Open House at Cheah  Association, Penang on Sunday, 10th February 2008 at 11 am:

Abdullah's five famous sayings and pledges in his first 10 days as Prime Minister 51 months ago � everyone broken and dishonoured

The front-page headline of the mainstream media yesterday was on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's speech at the Gerakan-MCA joint Chinese New Year open house in Penang on the first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rat, viz:

"LISTEN � Heed what the people say and correct your mistakes" � New Straits Times;

"Listen �Hear out the people and correct mistakes, PM tell leaders" � The Star; and

"Dengar masalah rakyat � Arahan Perdana Menteri kepada pemimpin BN supaya terus dapat sokongan" � Utusan Malaysia.

Which Gerakan or MCA national leader present at the Gerakan-MCA joint Chinese New Year open house would have dared tell or just  whispered to Abdullah that it was the Prime Minister himself who needed such advice most!

Let me here tell the Prime Minister what Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and no Gerakan or MCA leader dare to say � Pak Lah, you are the one who need most  to heed the  advice to listen to the people, which you promised to do when you  first became Prime Minister more than 51 months ago but have failed to honour!

This was one of the five famous sayings of Abdullah in his first 10 days as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia  in November 2003 which  completely swept Malaysians off their feet and gave him the unprecedented landslide general election victory in March 2004, achieving what no other Prime Minister had ever done � crushing the Opposition and  winning over 91 per cent of the parliamentary seats!

 Malaysians will never forget the five famous pledges of Abdullah in his first 10 days as Prime Minister in November 2003, viz:

  • "Work with me and not for me" �1.11.03
  • "I will work very hard" �  1.11.03
  • "I'll serve with integrity, efficiency and fairness" � in Parliament 3.11.03
  • "Top two issues � Government to focus on education and corruption" � 7.11.03
  • "Tell me the truth" � 9.11.03

Something is very wrong when a Prime Minister at the end of his first term in office had to plead  publicly: "I work very hard. I really mean it and you know it."

The press reported that  when Abdullah said this, he was greeted with applause from those who attended the Chinese Assembly Hall's Chinese New Year Open House.  But how many of those who politely applauded him believed him?

No one would have  imagined that Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad would ever have to make such a declaration at any stage of his 22-year premiership that he had to work very hard � whether one agrees with his policies and actions or not.  This had not happened to previous Prime Ministers. Why is it necessary for  Abdullah to plead that he is hard-working after four years as Prime Minister?

Before Abdullah  asks other Barisan Nasional leaders to conduct a self-examinination of their performance, Abdullah should do it to  himself.  I believe I dare say without contradiction that for the  past full  year of parliamentary meeting from March last year, Abdullah would have gone down in  history as the Prime Minister who had the least parliamentary attendance of any Prime Minister in the 50-year history of Parliament although he holds the most number of Ministerial portfolios!

Similarly, before Abdullah  could credibly ask other Barisan Nasional leaders to "listen" and heed what the people say to correct their mistakes, he must himself set a good example. Abdullah has said that he has "Big Ears" but his "Big Ears" have not ensured that his famous saying, "Tell me the truth" is taken seriously in Cabinet, Barisan Nasional or the Malaysian press � or the country would not have been plagued with so many nation-building, political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious problems.

This is not the time to assess in detail Abdullah's five famous sayings and pledges made in his first 10 days as Prime Minister. Suffice it to say that Abdullah has broken and dishonoured everyone of them � aided and abetted by the entire Cabinet (rightly dismissed as "half-past six" Cabinet by Tun Mahathir) and Barisan Nasional leadership.

The Prime Minister must rightly be reminded of his five famous sayings and pledges  � a task which could not be performed by any Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP or any Barisan Nasional  leader.   This is what the DAP and Malaysian voters must do, forthrightly, vigorously and critically, in the 12th general election campaign.

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


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