Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 17th
November 2008 at 11 am:
Why is the 30-year standing rule or of
longer vintage that both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
should not be out of the country at the same being broken this week?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi is in Uzbekistan for a four-day official visit, accompanied by
his wife and Cabinet Ministers including Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and
Senator Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz (both from the Prime Ministerís
Department), Datuk Shafie Apdal (Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage) and
Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin (Higher Education). Abdullah will only
return back to office for duty on Friday, 21st November 2008.
Tomorrow, the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will leave
with another team of Cabinet Ministers for the 16th Apec Economic
Leaders Meeting (AELM) in Lima, Peru, starting this week.
It has been reported that Najib will go ahead to New York from Peru and
will only be back home early next month.
This would mean that for at least two days on Wednesday and Thursday,
both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister would be out of the
country at the same time Ė which will run counter to the 30-year
standing rule or of longer vintage that both the Prime Minister and
Deputy Prime Minister should not be out of the country at the same.
Why has this standing rule been broken this week?
Who will be the Acting Prime Minister in these two days when both the
Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister will be out of the country? It
cannot be Tan Sri Muhyideen Yassin, who is the front-runner for the
election for the Umno Deputy President, as he, together with the Home
Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, will be leaving together with
Najib tomorrow for Peru.
Can it be the most senior Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department,
Tan Sri Bernard Dompok or the newly elected MCA President, Datuk Seri
Ong Tee Kiat?
This is of course anathema particularly to UMNO MPs who cannot even
accept the clear-cut constitutional position that the post of Prime
Minister is open to any Malaysian regardless of race, religion or
I do not know who will be minding the Prime Ministerís Office, but let
the Prime Ministerís Office disclose to all Malaysians the number times
since the past 30 years when both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime
Minister had been out of the country at the same time!
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor