Speech by Lim Kit Siang when taking part in the debate on Government motion to set up a Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform in Dewan Rakyat on Monday, 3rd October 2011:
Speech when taking part in the debate on Government motion to set up a Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform in Dewan Rakyat
The DAP welcomes the setting up of this Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform but we have a lot of doubts and reservations.
Since 70s in Parliament, DAP has been calling for free, fair and clean general elections, e.g.
For four decades these calls for a free, fair and clean electoral system had been ignored by UMNO and Barisan Nasional because they have been able to perpetuate their political power through such an undemocratic, unfair and even corrupt electoral system."
Is there now a genuine “change of heart” by the Prime Minister, UMNO and BN represented by the formation of the PSC for electoral reforms before Parliament today.
Although Datuk Seri Najib Razak is now wearing the mantle of political and democratic reform, Malaysians are entitled to question the bona fides of the Prime Minister’s sudden conversion to the cause of electoral reforms.
This is because of the government’s repression and undemocratic handling of the 709 Bersih 2 peaceful rally for free and fair elections.
If someone had been assigned beforehand to a special task to script the worst-possible scenarios for the Najib administration in relation to the July 9 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for fair and free elections, nobody could be so creative as to pre-plan the basketful of faux pas committed by the Barisan Nasional government before, during and after “709” and still ongoing.
The basketful of faux pax before 709 included:
How is it possible for any government to commit such a basketful of faux pas before, during and after the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally?
As a result, the overseas visit of the Prime Minister to the United Kingdom, the Vatican and France has proved to be quite a disaster with the Prime Minister pursued by the international media over the government’s mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally.
Has the Prime Minister finally woken up the fact that he had grossly mishandled 709 Bersih 2 rally, which had further alienated Malaysian voters as a whole?
DAP, Pakatan Rakyat, the civil society and Malaysians as a whole have therefore more than legitimate grounds to doubt the government’s sincerity and real purpose with this PSC proposal – whether there is a genuine change of heart or political ploy.
Since we are setting up the PSC, this motion is not the proper occasion for a full debate for the reform of a free, fair and clean electoral system as this should be addressed by the PSC, but Malaysians are entitled to firm assurances that the PSC is not a political ploy but a genuine ‘change of heart’ to reform the electoral system.
Can the Prime Minister give such assurances, which should include the following:
Let me declare that despite our differences, and what had happened in the past, including the recent 709 Bersih 2.0 episode, and whatever doubts and reservations about the bona fides of the proposed PSC, DAP PR and Malaysians as a whole want the PSC to succeed in bringing about electoral reforms so that we have a free, fair and clean electoral system.
We pledge our full support to make the PSC a success and not a failure like the two Select Committees of the previous Parliament, one of National Integrity and the other on National Unity, with both unable to submit their full final reports when the Parliament was dissolved. In fact, in the case of the Parliamentary Select Committee on National Integrity, the Minister who chaired it, then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, had to resign in frustration when he encountered resistance, opposition and even boycott by government departments and senior government officers when seeking information, particularly on Project Mahathir on the illegal massive legalisation and enfranchisement of illegal immigrants in Sabah, through the issue of false citizenship documents and the right to vote!
Can the Prime Minister give an assurance that there will be no such resistance, opposition or boycott by any government department or senior government officer and that the PSC on electoral reforms will be given the fullest government co-operation including Project Mahathir, the illegal enfranchisement of illegal immigrants not only in Sabah but throughout Malaysia?
While DAP and PR representatives on the PSC will fully cooperate to ensure that PSC is a meaningful, successful and historic exercise in the process of democratisation in Malaysia, we will not be a party if the PSC turns out to be a political ploy just to allow the Prime Minister and the BN to gain political mileage and score political points without any intention and sincerity to carry out meaningful reforms to ensure a free, fair and clean electoral system in time for the next general election.
I will conclude by calling on the Prime Minister by “walking the talk” of his recent statement of wanting to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” by retracting his “crushed bodies, lives lost” declaration (“walau berkecai tulang dan juga badan, walau bercerai jasad dari nyawa”) to the UMNO General Assembly last year and make a public commitment that he, UMNO and Barisan Nasional will accept the verdict of the people, including a change of government in Putrajaya in the next general election.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor