Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 21st April 2009:
Why there should be by-elections in the three state assembly seats of Jelapang, Behrang and Changkat Jering in Perak and the parliamentary seat of Kulai
When it was reported in the press this morning that Kedah Gerakan Youth had proposed amendments to the current elections laws, imposing monetary penalty of RM50,000 for state assemblymen and RM100,000 for MPs who resigned except in cases of death, illness or other conditions causing them unfit to perform their duties, I dismissed it as another example of scatterbrained ideas from those competing as to who could come out with more stupid suggestions.
However Bernama reported midday that the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is also making the same proposal, saying that the Election Commission should fine state assemblymen or Member of Parliament who resign without just cause or valid reason.
Mukriz said the resignation of assemblymen and MPs has become a trend among the opposition, “apparently to continuously hog the limelight”.
Apparently, Mukriz and Kedah Gerakan Youth belong to a substantial group in the Barisan Nasional quite lacking in grey matters as to have such silly ideas – imagine Opposition MPs or Assemblymen resigning just to “hog the limelight” when his father, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had amended the Constitution in 1990 to bar anyone who resigns as MP or State Assembly member from the right to stand for re-election for five years!
In Perak, there are three state assembly members who have not dared to return to the constituencies for close to three months because they had betrayed the trust of the electorate when they defected from their respective parties to effect the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak, creating an ongoing political and constitutional scandal of two Perak Mentris Besar, two State Assembly secretaries and the Ipoh Democracy Tree.
When these three Perak Assembly members, Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong, Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu dare not walk their constituencies let alone serving their constituents, aren’t these sufficient grounds to require them to resign to return the mandate to the voters instead of just “hogging” their seats?
I was in Kulai on Saturday night to attend a thousand-people DAP Branch dinner, and was told that the Barisan Nasional MP for Kulai, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting had clearly no “heart” and interest to continue as the MP for the area, which was why he is not seen in the constituency or heard in Parliament after giving up his position as MCA President following the MCA debacle in the “political tsunami” in last year’s general election.
In such circumstances, isn’t it best for the Kulai voters and the country that Ong Ka Ting resign and that a by-election held to elect the new MP for Kulai?
There can be no good reason why the three Perak assembly “frogs” or Ka Ting should be prevented by law from resigning as this would be tantamount to denying and depriving the people in these four constituencies proper representation in Parliament or State Assembly.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor