Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the “Solidarity and Support for Tony Pua vs Syabas” fund-raising dinner at MBPJ Civics Centre Banquet Hall on Tuesday, 17th July 2012 at 9 pm:
Najib Razak has lost best timing for dissolution of Parliament and his window to choose the best time for 13GE has closed
Firstly, let me pay tribute to Malaysians, particularly in Petaling Jaya and Selangor, for their public-spiritedness, powerful sense of justice and the ability to distinguish between public right and wrong, in their splendid one-week response online and offline in coming to the support of DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua, among the foremost warriors for the water rights of the people of Selangor, who had lost in the first round of the defamation suit by Selangor state water concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) with the Kuala Lumpur High Court awarding RM200,000 damages to Syabas.
Tony is appealing against the KL High Court judgment but Syabas is demanding payment of the RM200,000 damages.
If Tony is finally vindicated and wins the defamation suit against Syabas, the collection will go to the Party’s national funds to be expended for the forthcoming general elections or other public interest litigation cases.
Tony’s defamation suit is one of the many tests and challenges DAP leaders have to face after the 308 political tsunami of the 2008 general elections, which saw an unprecedented change in the national political landscape with the formation of five state governments (Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Perak – although an unconstitutional coup subsequently robbed Pakatan Rakyat of the Perak state government but we are confident winning Perak in the next general election) and the unprecedented denial of BN’s two-thirds parliamentary majority).
The whole country and all Malaysians will be faced with two critical tests when the long-delayed 13th General Election is finally held, whether in another two or three months or next year.
Time has run out for Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his window of choosing the best time for dissolving Parliament to seek his own mandate as the nation’s sixth Prime Minister has long been lost, particularly after Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, 2011 and Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 this year.
Najib should be aware of his plight, which explain his desperation to the extent that he has to hijack the National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations as part his 13GE election campaign - insisting that the BN campaign theme of “Janji Ditepati” (Promises Fulfilled) is adopted as this year’s theme for National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations.
National Day and Malaysia Day should be national occasions where Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, class, gender, age and most important of all, political beliefs and affiliations, can come together as Malaysians first and last to celebrate the attainment of Merdeka on August 31, 1957 and the formation of Malaysia on Sept. 16, 1963.
But when the Prime Minister is politically desperate, he cannot see anymore the clear and important distinction between the nation and the parties-in-power or among the government, political parties and private personal interests.
It is the failure to make the important distinction between the nation and the parties-in-power , or among the government, political parties and personal interests that is the real cause of the overwhelming misgovernance in the country, whether gross abuses of power, massive corruption or rampant cronyism.
From now to Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, let the “Janji Ditepati” slogan all over the country be a powerful and constant reminder to all Malaysians that they must stand united to demand for change in the 13th general election if they want the promises of democracy, justice, progress, clean and honest governance in Malaysia to be fulfilled!
In retrospect, the best time for Najib to dissolve Parliament was either to hold the 13th general election simultaneously with the Sarawak state general election on April 16 last year, or in the three months after the Sarawak state general election and before the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, 2011.
But with his characteristic indecisiveness, Najib has lost the initiative to choose the best timing for dissolving Parliament. He can only choose the next best timing in the remaining nine months that is left before the 12th Parliament is automatically dissolved on April 28, 2013 with 13th general election to be held latest by middle of May next year.
The 13th General Election is a critical test for Najib, not only whether he could lead UMNO/BN to win the next general election to get his own mandate as the sixth Prime Minister, but whether he could win with better results than his predecessor Tun Abdullah so as to fob off and foil any UMNO attempts to topple him in the way Abdullah was toppled in 2009.
Malaysians will decide whether they are sufficiently impressed by Najib’s premiership, his “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” slogan; various transformation programmes whether government, economic, political or social; and finally, his “Janji Ditepati” roadshows.
Have Najib “walked the talk” of his 1Malaysia slogan and made Malaysians more united than ever or is there greater polarization whether or race or religion in his three years as Prime Minister?
Do Malaysians feel safer in the streets, public places and even the privacy of their homes despite all the publicity about Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and National Key Result Areas including reducing crime?
We have the scandalous situation where fighting crime is increasingly outsourced as witnessed the mushrooming of gated and guarded communities, but the fear of crime is even more palpable in many places than in the past!
Have we achieved the other NKRA in fighting corruption? Only two days ago, we marked the third death anniversary of Teoh Beng Hock, victim of cruel injustice perpetrated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which must bear full responsibility for the death Teoh Beng Hock because of abuses of power by MACC officers.
Can Teoh Beng Hock’s family expect justice as promised by Najib to them that “no stone would be left unturned” to find out Teoh Beng Hock’s killers? The answer is no, that only a Pakatan Rakyat government is prepared to open a high-powered investigation to get to the bottom of the killing of Teoh Beng Hock and to bring the killers to justice.
Has MACC succeeded in fighting corruption, bringing to book the “big fishes”, as is happening in Indonesia, Philippines, India, Hong Kong and China?
That Malaysia has fallen to the lowest 60th ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2011 with the lowest CPI score of 4.3 is a double indictment of the failure of Najib’s GTP and NKRA to fight corruption in the past three years.
Although the 13GE will be a critical test for Najib, it also poses two critical tests for Malaysians, whether Malaysia has matured as a democracy and as a nation 55 years after Merdeka.
For the first time in the nation’s electoral history, Malaysian voters will be going to the ballot boxes knowing that they have the power to effect a democratic change of government at the federal level.
Will they dare to do so and will they be allowed to do so.
Already forces are at work to disseminate lies to create fear, hatred and distrust, with UMNO/BN raising an army of 10,000 cybertroopers to stoke racial tensions with dishonst and unethical “spins” and downright falsehoods.
I have just seen the latest issue (Mei 2012) of Selangor Kita, clearly a BN/UMNO publication although it does not carry the identity of either the printer or publisher.
Blazoned on page 2 in a special box are the words:
“KOMEN LIM KIT SIANG TERHADAP AGONG KITA
“SUMBER DAP: Lim Kit Siang dalam komennya berkata Raja-Raja Melayu semuanya Lanun. Semuanya Perompak. Kata Lim Kit Siang lagi, buat apa hormat Agong, buat habis wang ringgit cukai rakyat sahaja beri pada Raja-Raja Melayu.”
These are downright lies and falsehoods as I have never made any such comments.
Through the Internet, UMNO/BN cybertroopers spread the vicious lie that I was responsible for the May 13 riots in 1969 and that I had roamed the streets of Kuala Lumpur after the 1969 general elections results, hurling anti-Malay abuses resulting in the May 13 riots.
In actual fact, I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 10, 11, 12 and 13, 1969, something which could be easily verified in the media at the time and by the police records.
I was standing for parliamentary election in Bandar Melaka in 1969 and on the morning of May 13, 1969, I had taken the morning flight to Kota Kinabalu to help in the election campaign of Sabah Independent candidates as polling for Sabah/Sarawak in the 1969 general elections was staggered for two weeks after that in Peninsular Malaysia.
I was in fact advised not to return to Kuala Lumpur after I was evicted from Sabah by the then Sabah Chief Minister, Tun Mustapha because of my public rally speech in Kota Kinabalu.
On the morning of 14th May 1969, a team of Immigration officials came to my hotel in KK to serve the eviction order on me. But I did not leave Kota Kinabalu until 15th May as I missed the outgoing flight on 14th May. As there was no connecting flight to Subang as curfew had been imposed, I stayed in Devan Nair’s house in Singapore for two nights.
I kept in contact with party leaders and my family by phone and they advised me not to return as I was on the Internal Security Act “black list” and would be arrested.
I told party leaders that not returning to Malaysia was not an option for me, that I would be failing in my duty as a just elected MP if I did not return to the country to be with the people at their hour of need.
On 17th May, 1969, I took the flight back from Singapore and was arrested at the Subang Airport, starting my first ISA detention.
Would I have returned to Malaysia if I had caused the May 13 riots?
In fact, during my first and second ISA detentions in 1969 and 1987 respectively, I was never asked any question about my whereabouts on May 10, 11, 12 and 13 of 1969 during the intense Special Branch interrogations, for the simple reason that the police knew that I was never in Kuala Lumpur.
But what is even more monstrous is the accusation by these UMNO/BN cybertroopers that Lim Guan Eng was also responsible for the May 13 riots of 1969 on the ground that Guan Eng was the DAP Youth leader at the time and was in the forefront of anti-Malay attacks.
In actual fact, Guan Eng was only eight years old in May 1969 – and it illustrates how dirty and unprincipled politics has degenerated in Malaysia in the run up to the next general elections that such a despicable and contemptible accusation could be levelled against an eight-year-old child!
I understand that there is a new film on May 13 which would be making its premiere in the various theatres on Sept. 13. Is this part of the diabolical conspiracy and campaign to demonise the DAP and the Pakatan Rakyat to plant racial distrust, fear and hatred among Malaysians in the run-up to the 13th General Election.
I will not jump to any conclusions but I would like to know whether it is possible to have a private screening of the film before its premiere so that we know where we stand.
Be that as it may, the critical test for the Malaysian people in the next general election is whether Malaysian democracy and Malaysian nation building have matured sufficiently to debunk all these dirty politics and ensure that Malaysians would not succumb to the irresponsible and diabolical politics of fear and lies.
Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, should stand up as Malaysian patriots who are prepared to cast their vote because of their love of the country and for the sake of their children and children”s children in a common national endeavour to use the democratic process to bring about peaceful political changes.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor