Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 29th October 2011:
Mahathir has won the shadow power battle of three Prime Ministers on the sidelines of Perth 2011 CHOGM
The fourth Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir seems to have won the shadow power battle with the fifth Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the sixth Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razaki on the sidelines of the Perth 2011 CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) 2011 on the Eminent Person Group's (EPG) proposal for a Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights.
The latest news from the Perth 2011 CHOGM is that the Commonwealth heads of government have not only rejected the EPG's proposal for a Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights, they have taken the shocking decision not to publish the EPF report on Commonwealth reforms to make it relevant and not an anachronism.
This has led to the unprecedented unanimous criticism by the seven-member EPG in Perth against the CHOGM decision.
It is good to see Abdullah, who is chairperson of the seven-member EPG, leading the EPG attack against CHOGM and issuing the warning:
"After very careful study over 16 months the EPG is convinced that there is an urgent need for bold initiatives to reform and strengthen the Commonwealth as a beneficial force for the future.
"If CHOGM does not deliver such reforms, it is our duty to sound the caution to you that this CHOGM will be remembered not as the triumph it should be, but as a failure."
The Perth CHOGM decision to reject the EPG Report and its reform recommendations, particularly for the appointment of a Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights, must have delighted Mahathir and former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor in vindicating their warnings of "a human rights wave" as a new threat, akin to a new religion, comparable to the previous "wave" of communism and threatening "the principles upon which the nation was built".
It is shocking and most deplorable that as the current Prime Minister, Najib had failed to give full support to the EPG proposal for a Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights and played a leading role to push for its adoption as well as acceptance and implementation of the EGP Report: "A Commonwealth of the People: Time for Urgent Reforms".
When the Prime Minister of Malaysia is not prepared to give full-hearted support to the EPG Report which is chaired by his predecessor the previous Prime Minister, how could one fault the other Commonwealth Heads of Government who opposes the EPG and its reform recommendations?
Abdullah is right. Perth CHOGM 2011 will go down in Commonwealth history as a failure when the Commonwealth heads of government were not visionary and bold enough to act on the EGP Report to make the Commonwealth relevant to changing times.
Is the triumph of Mahathir against his two predecessors in the shadow power battle of three Prime Ministers on the sidelines of the Perth CHOGM 2011 a foreshadow of the political developments in Malaysia, casting a very dark shadow on the promises of democratization and political transformation which Najib had pledged to carry out in the country?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor