By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Sept. 27:
DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to reconsider and attend the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in Melbourne, or send the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam in his stead.
According to press reports, Malaysia will be the only country which will not be represented at the Melbourne Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference by its Prime Minister.
Although the DAP fully supports the grievances that Malaysia has against the Commonwealth countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, who while on the one hand endlessly platter about their desire to help the developing Commonwealth nations, yet on the other hand without end raising university fees of Malaysian students in their universities, Malaysia should not be the first country to cause the beginning of the end of the Commonwealth.
Despite the many unhappy aspects of the Commonwealth relationship, it is still to Malaysia’s advantage to maximize her contacts and relations with as many nations as possible, including the traditional Commonwealth relations.
The call by the UMNO Youth Leader, Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin, that Malaysia should abandon the Commonwealth tries and fully associate itself with the Islamis Bloc of Nations is something which must be repudiated as short-blighted and detrimental to Malaysia’s long-term national and international interests.
Malaysia should strengthen her relations with the Islamic Bloc of Nations, as with other regional or international groupings, but not at the expense of weakening her traditional links and ties as we have the with the Commonwealth.
The grievances Malaysia has about the Commonwealth countries can best be made at forums like the Melbourne Commonwealth Conference rather than by absenting from it.
I call on the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to reconsider his earlier decision and to attend the Melbourne Commonwealth Conference to put up Malaysia’s case and grievances. If it is really impossible for the Prime Minister to attend the Melbourne Conference, then he should ensure that the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, go in his stead.