Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 24th March 2010:
With 10 days to his full-year as PM, Najib has lengthened his list of “dubious firsts” – this time, interfering with Perlis Speaker’s duties to act on the resignation of MCA Titi Tinggi Assemblyman
With only 10 days to go to complete his full year as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has lengthened his list of “dubious firsts” – this time, interfering with the Perlis Speaker’s duties to act on the resignation of the MCA Titi Tinggi Assemblyman Yip Sun Onn.
This week saw the Najib premiership chalking up two “dubious firsts” apart from the many in his 11+ months as Prime Minister – the other being the public spat between the Inspector-General of Police and the Home Minister, with the head of police making the very serious allegation in a newspaper interview of a “third party” undermining his authority in the police, by giving directives to the police personnel behind his back, saying that the third party could be “politicians” or “certain individuals”.
Although both the Home Minister and the IGP had appeared jointly for a sudden photo-shoot yesterday to claim that relations between them had never been better, expecting Malaysians to be so simple-minded as to be taken in by their play-acting and to believe that the public spat between the two had never happened, the episode had gravely shaken public confidence not only in the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police, but raised fundamental questions about the cohesiveness and sense of purpose of the Najib premiership.
Najib had to reached in Hong Kong where he was attending an investment conference to give the last word on the latest flip-flop of his premiership – that Yip Sun Onn has not quit his seat although the Perlis Speaker, Datuk Yazid Mat, the Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Isa, the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and the MCA Perlis Chairperson Datin Chew Mei Fun had all publicly confirmed that Yip had sent and the Speaker received the resignation letter.
The Perlis Speaker openly admitted an unlawful act in withholding Yip’s letter of resignation and betrayed his petty outlook and lack of understanding of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept when he scoffed at my statement that the speaker had no right to try and convince an assemblyman to retract a resignation letter and should instead exercise standard protocol by submitting it to the EC.
Yazid told Malaysian Insider: “Anyway, it is none of his business…this is not even his state.”
It would appear that the Umno is even more afraid of MCA if there is a Titi Tinggi by-election in Perlis, although both have regarded Titi Tinggi as a safe seat for Barisan Nasional.
In the March 2008 general election, Yip won with a 1,814-vote majority polling 3,399 votes as against 1,585 votes secured by independent candidate Mohd Razi Mustapha and 846 votes by PKR candidate Keria Senawi.
It is clear that both Umno and MCA leaders are afraid of a by-election in Titi Tinggi for if MCA candidates loses or does badly, it would not only be a barometer of the fall of the Barisan Nasional government in Perlis but also in Putrajaya in the next general election.
This mortal fear for a by-election cannot however be an excuse for the Perlis Speaker to act improperly and unlawfully in withholding Yip’s resignation until all avenues are exhausted – including invoking the name of the Prime Minister - to compel Yip to withdraw his resignation.
As a result of the Perlis Speaker’s unlawful action, any voter in Titi Tinggi can institute a legal challenge questioning the legality of Yip’s status as State Assemblyman.
If there is a legal challenge, it will be another crucial test for the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Malaysian judiciary against the backdrop of the intervention of the Prime Minister in interfering with the proper and lawful discharge of the Perlis Speaker’s powers and duties.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor