Najib’s pledge to respect people’s decision on transition of power, whether federal or state, commendable but it must be backed with deeds and not just empty slogans

The pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak of a peaceful transition of power in the 13th General Elections, whether at the federal or state level, is most commendable.

I had many times in the past four years , both inside and ouside Parliament, asked Najib to make the public commitment that if Umno/Barisan Nasional loses the mandate to form the federal government in Putrajaya, he and UMNO/BN would accept the verdict of the electorate and would assume responsibility to ensure peaceful transition of power from the BN to Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya.

Until today, however, Najib had evaded the subject.

Although Najib’s public commitment is very late in the making, it is better late than never and this is why I commend him for his pledge “to respect democracy” and “to respect the voice of the rakyat”.

Pakatan Rakyat on our part makes a similar commitment to respect the voice of the people in the 13th General Elections and peaceful transition of power, whether at federal or state level.

However, such commitments must be sincere and serious and must be backed up with deeds and not just be empty slogans, and this is why all political parties and leaders must act in conformity with their public commitments and pledges.

There are at least three areas which will put Najib’s commitment to respect the voice of the people and a peaceful transition of power to an immediate test, viz;

  1. No political party or political leaders should use during the general election campaign the threat of May 13 riots or the fear of chaos and mayhem if another political party or candidate is elected.
  2. There must be a total halt to the politics of gangsterim which has been rearing their ugly heads in recent days. I witnessed myself the politics of gangsterism at the PKR ceramah in Kampung Melayu Majidee in Johor Baru where Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the parliamentary candidature of a former four-star general, Tan Sri General Hashim Hussein, former army chief, for Johor Baru constituency.
  3. There was a systematic and deplorable attempt by a group of UMNO and Perkasa elements out to cause disturbance and disruption of the PKR ceramah, which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. I call on Najib to condemn such politics of gangsterism as all political parties and candidates should be able to hold their ceramahs and public meetings to explain their policies and objectives to the voters without any disruption or sabotage from any quarter.
  4. Pledge to conduct clean, honest and fair election campaign, without abuse of publlic resources and funds in keeping with the spirit and conventions of a caretaker government after the dissolution of Parliament.

For a start, the Barisan Nasional control of radio and television facilities should be terminated, and all the state radio and television channels should be run and operated by a caretaker administration to ensure fair and equal radio and television time for all contending parties, 24 hours a day and seven days a week and not just for 10 minutes.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur