Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Tuesday, August 21, 1984 at 11 a.m.
Lim Kit Siang writes to the Prime Minister to ask for action to be taken against Datuk Harris Salleh for violating Sabah State Constitution
I have yesterday written to the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, asking for action to be taken against Datuk Harris Salleh for violating the Sabah State Constitution which prohibited a Sabah Chief Minister from actively engaging in commercial enterprises.
In my letter to the Prime Minister, I expressed grave concern that by the government’s motto of ‘Leadership by Example’ was being observed more by its breach than its adherence.
I cited the instance a few months ago where four MCA Ministers entering Johore from Singapore crashed through the Johore Bahru causeway customs checkpoint even without stopping, showing the most unbecoming example of total contempt and defiance for the laws and regulations of the land.
The second instance I cited was the breach of the Sabah State Constitution by the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris, I pointed out that Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution prohibited the Sabah Chief Minister from actively engaging in commercial enterprises. The DAP has proved from Registry of Companies records, that during his tenure as Sabah Chief minister, Datuk Harris Salleh was director of at least three companies, namely Dua Bersaudara Sdn. Bhd., Empat Bersaudari Sdn. Bhd. and Sejati Sdn. Bhd.
I told the Prime Minister that although this matter had been reported to the Anti-Corruption Agency, I was writing not in connection with whether Datuk Harris Salle’s breach of the Sabah State Constitution involved corrupt practice, but from the standpoint that the breach set a most undesirable example by a political leader who was sworn to uphold the Sabah State Constitution when he took his oath of office as Sabah Chief Minister.
I had argued that if the government’s ‘Leadership by example’ is to have any meaning and credibility, then all bad examples of leadership should be rectified immediately.
Datuk Harris Salleh had violated the spirit and substance of Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution, and a good example of leadership is for Datuk Harris to resign as Sabah Chief Minister to set the highest standards of political property and morality for future holders of the office of Sabah Chief Minister. If Datuk Harris Salleh refuses to resign to set a good ‘Leadership by Example’, I suggested to Dr. Mahathir Mohamed that the top Barisan National leadership should set a good leadership example by removing Datuk Harris Salleh from office.
I also stressed to the Prime Minister that an important principle of political leadership on our system of parliamentary democracy is involved in the Datuk Harris Salleh case, affecting not just the political system and leadership in Sabah, but the entire Malaysian political system and leadership as well.
It is significant that since the DAP’s public disclosure that Datuk Harris Salleh had breached Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution by being a director of at least three companies during his tenure as Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh had not dared to deny. In fact, there is nothing to deny, for the documentary evidence came from Datuk Harris’ companies themselves.
Lim Kit Siang to leave for Sandakan date with Datuk Harris by flying to Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 26th August 1984
I understand that Datuk Harris Salleh is now trying to backtrack from his challenge to me, resulting in the Sandakan date of August 27 at 10 a.m., by trying to impose new conditions.
It is now too late for Datuk Harris Salleh to raise new conditions, for the entire process of the Sandakan date of August 27 at 10 a.m. between us had been raised, conducted and concluded in public, and it is too late for him or for me to raise new conditions.
Following Datuk Harris Salleh’s dare to DAP leaders to repeat outside Parliament what we said in Parliament on the Fung Ket Wing-Harris Salleh Report of the Committee of Privileges, at a Penang Press Conference on August 1. I challenged Datuk Harris Salleh to name the peace, date and time and I would repeat my entire Parliamentary speech on July 23 on the Privileges Committee’s Report on Fung Ket Wing-Harris Salleh without a change in comma or semi-colon.
Datuk Harris responded the next day by naming Sandakan and August 27 at the Dewan Masyarakat at 10a.m. The whole context is very clear in the matter between Datuk Harris Salleh and myself, and it is now too late for him or for me to raise new conditions. He may want Sdr. Fung Ket Wing (MP for Sandakan) and Sdr. Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (MP for Kepng), but that is a separate matter. He should never have accepted my challenge by naming Sandakan on August 27 at 10 a.m. for me to repeat my entire parliamentary speech, and even suggesting how I could get into Sabah, i.e. by the back door via Labuan.
Datuk Harris Salleh accepted my challenged publicly, and it is now too late for him to back out. As an example, he might have entered and concluded a contract thinking he would make $100 million, but after signing the contract he found that he would lose $100 million. There is nothing he could do about it, for the entire deal had been signed, sealed and concluded. Similarly, the Sandakan date had been concluded publicly, whether the challenge, the acceptance of the challenge by naming the date, place and time, and confirmation of the Sandakan date. All that is left is for the performance.
Of course Datuk Harris Salleh could chicken out by banning me from entry into Sabah via Kota Kinabalu.
I had said that the most important issues is no more the question of his Labuan land ownership, but whether as Sabah Chief Minister, he could be allowed to violate the Sabah State Constitution in being a director at least three companies during his tenure as Sabah Chief Minister; and secondly, whether he could be allowed to abuse his powers of control over immigration in Sabah by prohibiting a Malaysian MP and opposition Leader from entering Sabah.
Although Datuk Harris has said that I am still on the banned list, he has still four days to consider whether he wants to be sued in court for his unconstitutional and gross abuse of powers. I am going to test this case, for we cannot allow anyone in Malaysia to act as if powers vested in them is to be exercised in a dictatorial fashion.
Let Datuk Harris Salleh convince the Courts that he was acting reasonably and ultra vires when he would allow me to enter Sabah by the backdoor via Labuan but not by the front door via Kota Kinabalu.
I hereby announce that I would be flying to Sandakan via Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, August 26, by MAS MH 063 from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu (KL departure time 1000 hours), and from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan (MH 277) departure time 1430 hours on the same day.