Speech by Lim Kit Siang n Parliament on the
Ninth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review on Tuesday,
Barisan Nasional has not learnt the lessons of the March 8 "political
tsunami" to be a government that inspires unity than foments disunity
among Malaysians of diverse races, languages, cultures and religions
The heading of one blog today,
BN's Credibility to Rule Disappearing by
the day!, reflects the feelings of increasing number of Malaysians that
although the Barisan Nasional had survived the political tsunami in the
March general election, it has not learnt any lesson at all.
The post-general election claim by the Prime Minister that he has
finally heard the voice of the people is not true at all.
This is best reflected by the first 100 days after the March 8 general
election, where at the state level, the five state governments under the
Pakatan Rakyat becomes more stronger and more consolidated while in
contrast, at the national level, the second Abdullah premiership seems
to be tottering from Day One, under siege in Umno and Barisan Nasional
internally as well as externally.
Although the March 8 general election suffered a historic defeat in
losing its hitherto unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority, it still
enjoys a strong 58-seat majority with its 140 MPs against 82 from
In other democracies, a ruling coalition with a 58-seat majority in
Parliament would be as safe and fit as a fiddle. Why is this not the
case in Malaysia?
This highlights the abnormality of the Malaysian democratic process, the
importance of the political tsunami of March 8 general election to start
the long and hard process to make Malaysia a normal democratic country
with the end of two-thirds parliamentary majority for the ruling
coalition and the dismantling of the arsenal of draconian and
undemocratic laws, unaccountable and corrupt governance and the creation
of a united and forward-looking Bangsa Malaysia by returning to
Malaysians their fundamental democratic rights and freedoms as enshrined
in the Merdeka Constitution of 1957.
Where are the evidence that the Barisan Nasional government has learnt
the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami and has begun to be more an
unifier than divider of Malaysians, more Malaysian-centric and less
communalistic, more democratic, fair and just to be a government of all
Malaysians than just half the population in the country?
In other words, a government that inspires unity rather than foments
disunity among Malaysians of diverse races, languages, cultures and
The Ninth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review is a good illustration. The
120-page 9MP MTR is the slimmest of all Five-Year Plan mid-term review
documents, with some previous Mid-Term Reviews like that of the Eighth
Malaysia Plan review running into four times the length of the 9MP MTR
of over 500 pages. Is it because there is very little to say and inspire
Malaysians in the 9MP MTR?
When the Ninth Malaysia Plan was launched in Parliament in March 2006,
it was hailed as a historic document finally delivering the Prime
Minister's reform pledge and programme which at the time had been
stalled for 30 months – or to quote the words of an MP in the present
Parliament, "a blueprint not merely for the next five years, but for the
next few decades", and that the Prime Minister "has set in motion
reforms that will reverberate for generations to come".
In the event, the Ninth Malaysia Plan had not "reverberated" for a
single day! This person had even written in the article "From short-term
lucre to long-term wealth" that the Ninth Malaysia Plan would not see
"the return of the gravy train" but I do not think there would be much
disagreement if he is described as the "driver" of the RM220 billion
(now increased to RM250 billion under the MTR) "gravy train" as to
become the world's richest unemployed – creating a new class of the
bumiputra wealthy at the expense of both the bumiputra and non-bumiputra
I am on record as saying during the debate on the Ninth Malaysia Plan on
3rd April 2006 that this was not the case, as apart from a lot of hype,
most Malaysians could not see how the Ninth Malaysia Plan could make any
difference in their lives from previous five-year plans as to become a
national agenda or national mission for all Malaysians!
The March 2008 general election has not only proved me right, but it
went further – as it was a decisive vote by Malaysians against the Ninth
Malaysia Plan as failing to come to grips with the dreams and
aspirations of Malaysians to have an united, just, democratic,
prosperous and progressive Malaysia.
In these circumstances, one would have thought that the 9MP MTR would be
the most important document of the second Abdullah administration to
demonstrate that it has heard loud and clear the message of the voters
in the March general election as well as its political will and
commitment to carry out comprehensive reforms to usher in good and
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, Parliament and the country
was treated to an afterthought by the Cabinet requiring the Deputy Prime
Minister yesterday to take the extraordinary step to supplement the
speech of the Prime Minister when tabling the 9MP MTR in Parliament last
Thursday – publicly demonstrating that the Prime Minister's speech was
not as adequate and comprehensive as it should have been.
What evidence are there in the past four months, the message of the
March 8 "political tsunami" has been fully heard and understood by the
Barisan Nasional government?
What we have are rhetoric but precious little action and results.
First, nation-building. What proactive actions have the government taken
to forge greater unity among Malaysians from diverse races, languages,
cultures, religions and territories?
It is most shocking that after half-a-century of nationhood and the
great government's expenditures at nation-building, including the
billions of ringgit recently spent on National Service, a Barisan
Nasional state legislator in Perak could utter the highly racist,
insensitive and offensive statement that when you meet an Indian and a
snake, you hit the Indian first!
If the Umno elected representatives could be so racist and insensitive,
what is the future for Malaysian nation-building?
What have the MIC Ministers and leaders been doing in the past 50 years
in the Barisan Nasional and previously Alliance? No wonder there is the
phenomenon of Makkal Sakti from last year, the expression of sheer
outrage and despair by the Malaysian Indian community at their
long-standing discrimination and marginalisation in the Malaysian
political, economic, educational, social and cultural scheme of things –
resulting in Parliament not having a single MIC backbencher!
The second illustration that the past four months were lost months in
national healing were some of the speeches in Parliament yesterday,
attacking the Bar Council for its forum on social contract.
What has happened to Malaysia where advocacy of Article 11 of the
Constitution on freedom of religion is regarded as an attack on Islam as
the official religion while a forum on social contract is regarded as an
attack on ketuanan Malayu and therefore anti-national?
Even more shocking is the agreement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that there is no need for any debate on the
"social contract" as it will create animosity!
Has Malaysia become a more open society or heading in the opposite
direction when more and more issues are being regarded as "sensitive
issues" which should not be discussed and swept under the carpet?
On the one hand, there are strident calls for ketuanan Melayu, even
kedaulatan Melayu, when this is clearly against the Merdeka social
contract, a quid pro quo bargain reached by the major communities that
Malaysia is a democratic, secular, plural society with Islam as the
official religion where racial differences are recognised and diversity
encouraged, with affirmative policies to help the socio-economically
backward groups; on the other hand, there are increasing demands for the
issue of the "social contract" to be removed from the domain of public
Hasn't the proper lesson been drawn over the wielding of the Malay keris
by the Umno Youth leader, Hishammuddin at previous Umno Youth general
assemblies, which even Umno national leaders have attributed as an major
factor for Barisan Nasional's electoral debacle in the March general
Are the leaders of MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other BN component parties
prepared to take a strong stand that the Merdeka social contract is the
basis for the Vision 2020 for a Bangsa Malaysia leading to "ketuanan
rakyat" for all Malaysians – which is the very antithesis of ketuanan
Melayu or kedaulatan Melayu?
Or have the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other BN component parties to
acquiesce with such communalistic utterances and approaches, both inside
and outside Parliament, proving the truth of the confession by former
Gerakan President and Minister, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik that Umno does not
accord equal status to the other BN component parties reducing MCA,
Gerakan, MIC and others to what he described as "beggar politics" with
Umno in Barisan Nasional?
Is this the reason why the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, has
stayed out of the Cabinet after the March general election and announced
that he would not seek re-election as MCA President – because he sees no
hope in changing the "beggar politics" position of MCA in Barisan
Nasional – which is also the opinion of MCA leaders as expressed in the
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor