Media Conference Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Ipoh on Saturday, 20th June 2009:
Muhyiddin pushing for Umno-Pas unity government makes a total mockery of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept, undoing 52 years of Malaysian nation-building by five previous Prime Ministers
At the meeting of DAP MPs in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, I said that Malaysian politics is in the throes of great flux and even lightning change.
This has been borne out by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pushing for Umno-Pas “unity government” talks, trying to expedite an Umno-Pas meeting “in the next few days, anytime, no problem”, even sugarcoating it by declaring that Umno “will not impose any conditions and we accept whatever terms set by PAS”.
If any political leader or observer had been asked before Muhyiddin’s overture in Kuala Krai yesterday whether the No. 1 or No. 2 Umno leader could have made such a public proposition to PAS, nobody would have answered in the positive.
So what game is Muhyiddin up to?
Muhyiddin’s political gambit is all the more intriguing as his latest mentor, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had on the same day expressed his disapproval of the proposed unity talks between Umno and PAS, saying he did not think that the country wants a government which is 100 per cent Malay.
What makes Muhyiddin’s stand even more intriguing is that the Deputy UMNO President should know that even with their full parliamentary representation, Umno with 78 MPs and Pas withy 24 MPs only total 102, which is still 10 short of the requisite majority in the 222-member Parliament!
Why then is the Deputy Prime Minister publicly making the call for Umno-Pas “unity government” talks, knowing that it is not possible to form an all-Malay Umno-Pas government with only 102 parliamentary seats – when the political and nation-building costs would be phenomenal.
This is because Muhyiddin’s pushing for Umno-Pas unity government immediately discredits by making a total mockery of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept, undoing 52 years of Malaysian nation-building by five previous Prime Ministers.
Why then is the Deputy Prime Minister prepared to be so irresponsible to pay such a heavy price in political and nation-building costs?
There could only be two reasons: firstly, the top Umno leadership sees in the present political scenario a golden opportunity to divide PAS and split the Pakatan Rakyat; and secondly, Umno continues to play the role of the political hegemon in the Barisan Nasional, with the other BN component parties whether MCA, MIC, Gerakan, SUPP, PBS totally irrelevant as mere puppets, digits and ciphers.
This episode illustrates the great difference between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. PR is a coalition of equals among DAP, PKR and PAS. BN however continues to be a political grouping headed by a hegemon, Umno, while the other component parties have no say whatsoever in charting their policies and future directions.
Pakatan Rakyat leadership council will meet on Monday and will discuss for the first time the so-called Umno-Pas “unity government” talks, and the sudden subject of “BN-PR unity government” talks.
I do not see any problem with talks but only with the purpose of the talks.
We are all Malaysians and there is no reason why we cannot sit down to talk about issues concerning the people and nation but “Umno-PAS unity government” is inimical to the whole concept of Malaysian nation-building while “BN-PR unity government” talks is more than premature.
Let the BN and PR parties sit down to talk about the burning issues confronting the country like the protracted political and constitutional crisis in Perak caused by the unethical, undemocratic and illegal coup d’etat in Perak; a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal; how to make Najib’s slogan “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” really meaningfully; restoration of public confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary and key national institutions like the Police, the Elections Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC); parliamentary reforms to have a First-World Parliament; how to unite Malaysians to successfully face the worst global crisis in a century and transform Malaysia into a high-income developed nation; make Malaysia safe for its citizens, tourists and investors; eradicate corruption, etc.
If we cannot even sit down to talk about these burning issues to find solutions to them, any talk of “Umno-Pas unity government” or “BN-PR unity government” is either detrimental to the cause of Malaysian nation-building or utterly unrealistic and just a political ploy to undermine democracy and to impede the process of political change heralded by the political tsunami in the March 8, 2008 general elections.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor