Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the Kuala Terengganu by-election nomination in Kuala Terengganu on Tuesday, 6th January 2009: 

Call on Kuala Terengganu voters to send a clear and unmistakable message of a national “sky change” in next general election as UMNO and the BN have failed to learn the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami in the past 10 months 

The great challenge in the Kuala Terengganu by-election on January 17 is for the 80,229 voters of Kuala Terengganu to send a clear and unmistakable message of a national “sky change” in the next general election as UMNO and the Barisan Nasional have not learnt the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami in the past 10 months.

Malaysians were promised after the March general election, which ended UMNO political hegemony, the BN two-thirds parliamentary majority and five Pakatan Rakyat state governments in Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan that the UMNO-Barisan Nasional coalition had heard loud and clear the message of the people in the ballot box and that there would be radical reforms in the country but very little had been accomplished in the past 10 months.

It is clear that the Umno and Barisan Nasional coalition do not have the political will and commitment to bring about far-reaching changes that can transform Malaysia from a country with first-world infrastructure with third-world mentality into one with a first-world infrastructure and first-world mentality.

In fact, Malaysia is not only losing out in the international competitiveness race, straggling behind one country after another, we are in the danger of becoming a third world country with third world mentality.

This must be the sober thought of Malaysians when they read of news report today of the plight of a policeman, L/Kpl S. Paramasivam, 49, who was beaten up by a group of 10 Mat Rempits at 5.30 pm yesterday while on anti-crime rounds in Kuala Lumpur – requiring five stitches for his wound in his head after he was beaten up by the Mat Rempits using helmets and metal rods.

Only three days ago, the Tawau acting OCPD Supt Ramli Ali Mat was seriously injured after being stabbed in his house in an attack by a group of five men and had to be admitted to the intensive care unit of the the Tawau Hospital.

In the past, former top police and government officers had been victims of crime, including a former Inspector-General of Police and a state Governor - with the former Penang Chief Police Officer killed in a burglary.

Now, serving police officers, who are supposed to restore to Malaysians the two fundamental freedoms they have lost - to be free from crime and free from the fear of crime – could not even protect themselves and are now regular victims of crime.

Malaysians do not feel safe about themselves and their loves ones in the streets, public places and even in the privacy of their homes. Now, not only ordinary Malaysians do not feel safe about their personal safety, even public officers are also not safe!

This is a reflection of the serious deterioration not only of law and order but of the general standard of public services in the country - 10 months after the political tsunami last March and half a century after Merdeka!

What were the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami?

The message was very clear – Malaysians want an end to the inefficiency, corruption, abuses and arrogance of power, lack of accountability and transparency, discrimination, injustices and human rights violations which have become a staple diet of Umno-Barisan Nasional rule.

Malaysians want to be proud of Malaysia for being internationally recognised and respected for our plural society, national unity and harmony, social justice, quality of life, international competitiveness, democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance.

Even the two legislative reforms passed by Parliament last month as two of the three reform legacies of the retiring Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Judicial Appointments Commission – are half-hearted and unsatisfactory measures which will not go very far to end the endemic corruption in the country or to restore national and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.

If the MACC is really another ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong) which will bring to book the corrupt however mighty without fear or favour, the Kuala Terengganu by-election should make history as the first clean and honest election in Malaysia where money politics would have become history.

Is this the case? Of course not as money politics have already reared their ugly heads even before today’s nomination.

The voters of Kuala Terengganu have a historic national mission on polling day – to speak up not only on behalf of themselves but of 26 million Malaysians and future generations in endorsing the March 8th political tsunami and sending a clear and unmistakable message of a national “sky change” in next general election as UMNO and the BN have failed to learn the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami in the past 10 months.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor