Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Sandakan DAP Ceramah held in Sandakan on Friday, 11.7.1986 at 9 pm
Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed deferred the Parliamentary meeting of July 14 to avoid answering DAP questions about the indefensible Barisan Nasional actions about unlawful assembly charges for the Sabah March criminals as well as about UMBC scandal, EPF scandal and the billion-dollar mysterious tin-buying scandal
Parliamentary was to meet for two weeks beginning from Monday, July 14 till July 25, but suddenly, for the first time in Parliamentary history, the first week of the two-week parliamentary meeting was cancelled.
This is another good example of the high-handedness and arrogance of power of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Monamed, and the Barisan Nasional Government, which treated Parliament with utter contempt because it possesses 90 per cent majority in Parliament.
The Prime Minister later explained that the Parliamentary meeting beginning on July 14 had been postponed for a week to July 21 because the Government’s Bills were not ready.
The Prime Minister was not being truthful with the people of Malaysia as well as Members of Parliament. Firstly, if Parliament were meet on July 14 as originally scheduled, there is enough parliamentary business to occupy the entire week. I have, for instance, given notice for motion calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the widespread public allegation and belief of rampant corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places- which could easily take two-days’ of debate.
I checked with Parliamentary today, and as of today, the Government has sent five Bills to Parliament. The first Bill is the Official Secrets Amendment Bills which was tabled for first reading at the last parliamentary meeting, but the second reading was deferred to next meeting.
By parliamentary practice, the Official Secrets AMENDMENT Bills will be the first item of business and could easily take one whole day.
The next bills is a Supplementary Estimates Bills, which under the Standing Orders, can take three days. Other Bills are amendment to the Engineers Act, National Library Act and Stadium Negara Act.
It is clear that there are enough business to occupy Parliament for a whole week even if Parliament starts on schedule on July 14. Why then did Dr.Mahathir postpone it?
Has Dr.Mahathir’s mastery and control of government become so weakened that he does not know what is happening in government, whether there are enough Bills for Parliament or not ?
Or was he deliberately telling a lie to MPs and to the people of Malaysia.
Dr.Mahathir has shown contempt for Members of Parliament, and I propose to move a motion of censure against him for parliamentary contempt for arbitrarily postponing Parliamentary meeting and giving an untrue reason.
DAP MP for Sandakan, Fung Ket Wing, was suspended from Parliamentary for six months in 1984 because he spoke up for the people of Sabah and in particular, the people of Labuan, protesting against the dictatorial and undemocratic manner Harris Salleh gave Labuan as a gift to the Federal Government.
Using his influence with Dr.Mahathir and the Barisan leadership, Datuk Harris exploited the two-third Barisan Nasional majoirty in Parliamentary to charge and declare Fung Ket Wing guilty of parliamentary contempt, and have him suspended.
But Fung Ket Wing has not been cowed, and has proved as courageous in standing up and championing the rights of the people of Sabah despite his six-month parliamentary suspension.
If anyone is really guilty of parliamentary contempt, it is none other than the Prime Minister himself, who has cancelled the July 14 Parliamentary meeting by giving untruthful reasons.
What is the real reason for the Prime Minster taking the unprecedented action of cancelling a per-arranged Parliamentary meeting, which had never happened before in Malaysia.
I can think of many reasons.
Firstly, the cancellation of the parliamentary meeting scheduled to begin on July 14 is to enable Dr.Mahathir to avoid embarrassing DAP questions about the Barisan Nasional’s indefensible actions and scandals.
For instance, I had publicly stated that I intend to raise the issue of the Attorney-General charging some 37 people for the inconsequential offence of unlawful assembly, which involves an maximum fine of % 500 or six months jail, when heinous crimes of bomb blasts, arson and rioting were committed, killing five persons and destruction of $10 million property.
I had intended to move a motion of urgent definite public importance on Monday, July 14, 1986 itself to proposed that the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Othman Talib, should resign if he could not charge the arsonists, bombers and rioters and their political masterminds for more serious offences for the 12-day anarchy in Sabah in March.
The cancellation of the July 14 parliamentary meeting will help Dr.Mahathir Mohamed to escape from having to give an answer, which clearly could not satisfy the Sabah people and right-thinking Malaysians.
There is a second reason why Dr.Mahathir would want to cancel the parliamentary meetings from July 14 to July 18. I had given notice to the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, that during these five days. I would be asking oral questions about the numerous scandals which have rocked the Barisan Nasional government, such as the Finance Minister’s UMBC Scandal, the EPF Scandal where the five million EPF members lost $200 million because of EPF’s shares operation last year, the $1 billion mysterious tin-buying operation,- not to mention the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal!
BY cancelling the five days of parliamentary sittings form July 14-19, my questions on these several scandals had been ‘killed’!
If the latest speculation that Parliament will be dissolved, and general elections summoned next week will in correct, then Dr.Mahathir and his other Barisan Nasional leaders would be able to escape a parliamentary and public accounting for these scandals.
The third reason is to enable Dr.Mahathir to avoid mu motion calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the widespread public allegation and belief of rampant corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places.
In 1982, Dr.Mahathir’s rallying cry was a ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Government, but in the past four years, the greatest scandal involving the largest amount public funds has shaken the country. All sorts of allegations about corrupt practice and abuse of authority and power by political leaders abound in the country.
If Dr.Mahathir is really serious about his slogan of a ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Government, then he should support the DAP call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into all allegations of corruption, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places. The DAP is prepared to serve on the Royal Commission and help clear the Barisan Nasional leadership of allegations, if they have no basic.
If section 21(2) of the 1961 Education is not amended before general elections, then Tan Koon Swan should honour his pledge to pull MCA out of Barisan Nasional
There is of course the fourth reason, for the cancellation of the July 14-18 parliamentary sittings.
MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, had promised that Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act would be amended in the next general parliamentary meeting, or it would be included in the Barisan Nasional general elections manifesto.
He had even said that if is not done, then MCA would quit the Barisan Nasional.
If the latest speculation about dissolution of Parliament next week is true, then the cancellation of the July 14-19 parliamentary meeting will enable the Barisan Nasional government to avoid having to demand Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act.
This is another political deception. The MCA leaders and Minister should have protested loudly against the cancellation of the July 14 Parliamentary meeting, for they had already promised the amendment of Section 21 (2) of the 1961 Education Act at the next parliamentary meeting.
If Parliament is now dissolved without amending Section 21 of the 1961 Education Act, then the MCA must honour Tan Koon Swan’s public commitment to pull out of the Barisan Nasional. This is because the Barisan Nasional had evaded its promise on amending Section 21 (2) at the next parliamentary meeting, by the irresponsible act of cancelling the parliamentary meeting!
The Barisan Nasional and MCA leadership should realise that Chinese community are to satisfied with the amendment of Section 21(2) which gives power to the Education Minister to convert Chinese and Tamil primary schools as it deems fit.
That they want is the repeal of Section 21(2) although so as to preserve for all time Chinese and Tamil primary schools
However, if the MCA and Tan Koon Swan cannot even honour its own public pledge about amending Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, then the public must draw their own conclusions about the entire Barisan Nasional Government in the coming general elections.
Democracy will be under a great test in the next general elections, especially as Dr.Mahathir will make it the most undemocratic, unfair and unjust elections in Malaysian history by shortening the campaign period to seven or nine days between Nomination and Polling Day.
They voters of Sabah and Malaysia must make a resolution that they must stand up to save democracy from the arrogance of power and tyranny of majority of the Barisan Nasional even if the next elections is the most undemocratic one in Malaysian history.
Let all Malaysians from Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia have on common objective for
the next general elections: which is to deny Barisan Nasional two-third parliamentary majority.