Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 20th January 2009: 

Does Cuepacs' Omar know what he's saying?  

"Cuepacs: Nizar doesn't know what he's saying" - New Straits Times today reported the Cuepacs president Omar Othman denying that civil servants had contributed to Pas' victory in Saturday's Kuala Terengganu by-election.

The NST reported:

He (Omar) said public services employees, both those serving the federal and state governments, fully supported the Barisan Nasional and Umno leadership.

He was commenting on a claim by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

"Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin claimed government staff serving the federal and state governments sympathised with and supported Pas," Omar said yesterday.

"He also said they had become more daring to vote for Pas in the by-election despite being threatened or forced.

"This is a big lie by a man who knows nothing about the public services or its system.

"The more than 1.2 million civil servants in this country have been loyal and supportive of the government. There is no doubt about that."

He said civil servants appreciated what the government had been doing for them all these years.

"They know who has been fighting for their welfare and paying their salaries to enable them to feed and support their family. Leave them alone," Omar said.

Does Omar know what he is saying?

If Nizar's statement that government servants, both federal and state, sympathized and supported PAS is to be challenged, it should come from UMNO and Barisan Nasional and not from Cuepacs.

How does the Cuepacs President know who the government servants voted for in the by-election?

Is there no secrecy of the ballot and the constitutional right of every voter, including a civil servant, to vote freely?

In saying that Nizar had told "a big lie" in claiming that government servants have become more daring to vote for PAS in the by-election despite being threatened or forced, Omar has strayed into a territory which is no business of the Cuepacs President, as it concerns the constitutional and citizenship right of a government servant to vote freely without coercion or inducement.

Is Omar seriously suggesting that civil servants in Pakatan Rakyat state governments should unite and vote against the Pakatan Rakyat candidates in by-elections or the next general election?

What has happened to the important principle that the civil service should be non-partisan in political party preferences and should loyally serve the government-of-the-day which has won the mandate of the people?

If the Cuepacs President can act in repudiation of these fundamental principles of a functioning democracy, no wonder Malaysia is lagging behind so many countries in maturing as a normal and healthy democracy.

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