DAP praises Gerakan for opposing the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 and hopes that this is a serious and sincere stand, and not a one-upmanship to get temporary political mileage at the expense of MCA before toeing the Barisan Nasional line

By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, Nov 3, 1986:

DAP praises Gerakan for opposing the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 and hopes that this is a serious and sincere stand, and not a one-upmanship to get temporary political mileage at the expense of MCA before toeing the Barisan Nasional line.

I raise this question because the Gerakan President, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, when announcing the decision of the Gerakan Central Committee yesterday urging the Governemnt to withdrawal the 1986 OSA (Amendment) Bill or refer it to a Parliament Select Committee, refused to comment when asked whether the Gerakan MPs would support the Bill in Parliament if the government refused to withdrawal it or refer it to a Select Committee.

If the Gerakan is serious and sincere on its stand on the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986, the Gerakan Minister and MPs have no other choice but to oppose it in Parliament if the Government refuses to withdraw it or refer it to a Select Committee. Dr. Lim Meng Yaik has never been shy in declaring what he thinks and wants – and why should he be so shy now?

Dr. Lim Keng Yaik in fact owes the Malaysian people an explanation why he did not give deep and full study to the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 before giving his support in the Cabinet that the Bill be tabled in Parliament.

If Dr. Lim Keng Yaik had not understood the implications of the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986, he should have asked the Cabinet for time for him to refer to his experts in Gerakan, or even convene an emergency meeting of the Gerakan Central Committee, before committing the country to the grave step of a Cabinet decision to present the Bill to Parliamnet.

Former Cabinet Minister, Datuk Michael Chen, had said that if there is a single Minister who dare to oppose a proposed legislation, such a measure would not be pursued as the Cabinet operates on consenses. This had been confirmed by other top Barisan Nasional leaders, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, before the recent general elections.

This means that if Dr. Lim Keng Yaik had been more responsible, sharp and alert as a Minister, and had raised his objection when the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 was raised in the Cabinet, it would be not have been tabled in Parliament in the first place.

But it is not too late for Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to make amends for his bungle in Cabinet resulting in the tabling of the pernicious and horrendous OSA (Amendment) Bill, which usurps the powers of the Parliament and Judiciary, concentrates powers in the hands of the Executive, turn newspapers into government gazettes, strikes at the very basis of democracy in Malaysia, while giving full protection to corruption, breach of trust, abuse of power and all forms of government wrongdoings.

At the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday, November 5, Dr. Lim should courageously and bravely inform the Cabinet that he could not in all conscience support the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986, and that as there is no consensus in Cabinet for the enactment of OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986, the OSA (Amendment) Bill should forthwith be withdrawn from Parliament.

Is Gerakan having two stands on OSA – one as a political party and the other as a member of the government?

Or is the Gerakan taking two stands on the 1986 OSA (Amendment) Bill – one as a political party opposing the OSA Bill and the other as a member of the Barisan Nasional government, giving support in Cabinet and Parliament to it?

Otherwise, how can we explain Dr. Lim’s support of the OSA (Amendment) Bill in Cabinet, as well as that of another Gerakan Deputy Minister Alex Lee?

Alex Lee said last Wednesday that the people should give the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 a chance. He said:” Let it be passed and we will see what public opinion is. The OSA can always be amended if the amendments are too rigid.”

Alex Lee has got a entire process upside down. The government should find out what is the public opinion first before passing a draconian law, instead of finding out what is the public opinion after its enactment. In any events, Alex Lee must be the most insensitive politician in the country if he is not aware of strong public opinion that the existing OSA, even without the amendments, are already too rigid and should be liberalized!

Alex Lee gave a very spirited defence for the mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence for any offence under the OSA that we must have some form of deterrent to check any leaks of vital and important government information.

With such support from Gerakan Ministers and Deputy Ministers, no wonder the Government proceeded to table the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 in Parliament.

If the Gerakan Central Committee is sincere and serious in its view that the OSA (Amendment) Bill 1986 is not supportable and should be withdrawn, it may have to consider whether it should demand for the replacement of Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Alex as Gerakan Minister and Deputy Minister for their failure to represent the Gerakan political objectives and interests.

Why is Government ‘keeping an eye’ on a social organization for getting $1 million from overseas, while not doing anything about local politicians who get $20 million and even larger loans locally which they do not have to service or have proper security?

Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob, said yesterday that the government was keeping an eye on the activities of a social organization which has received $1 million from a Western organization to conduct a smear campaign against it. He said the Western organization had connections with the Zionist movement and an international Christian organization.

Firstly, I want to ask Datuk Megat Junid that as a Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-religious society, what is wrong with Malaysian having connections with international Christian organizations, or even international Buddhist or Hindu organizations, if there is nothing wrong with Malaysians having connections with international Islamic Organisations?

I find the insinuation and imputation in Datuk Megat Junid’s statement that it is akin to being disloyal to Malaysia to have any connection with international Christian organization as most deplorable, and most unbecoming of any political leader who espouses to be a leader of Malaysians of all races and religions.

Surely Malaysia has not reached a stage where Malaysians can only have contacts with international Islamic organizations, but not with international Christian, Buddhist or Hindu organizations? Is the government going to decree that only Islam is the universal religion, while other religions are denied their universal values, basis and connections?

Datuk Megat Junid’s statement about the $1 million contribution to a social organization by a Western organization is part of a government smear campaign against social groups critical of the various policies, by tarring them with ‘Zionist’ brush.

To be fair to this social organization, if there is one, Datuk Megat should identify it publicly so that it could defend itself.

In any event, Malaysians are entitled to ask why the government is ‘keeping an eye’ on $1 million contribution to a social organization, when it is utterly unbothered about the $20 million or even larger loans, which need not be serviced and are poorly seared, taken by local politicians.

The harm that such untrammeled use of the politics of money could do to the Malaysian body politic by corrupting moral and political values in the country has probably no equal in the country, and this is the area that the Ministry of Home Affairs should concentrate and give priority attention.

The Deputy Home Minister also referred to the threat to Malaysia’s security and sovereignty posed by pro-Russian communists agents who operate within the country and abroad, instigating students to oppose the Government. He said that the pro-Russian communist movement was assisted by 17 former leaders of the Indonesian Communist Party who fled to Peking after the couple in 1965 and had since settled down in Europe.

In this connection, Datuk Megat should be aware that the people are still waiting a full government explanation of the real status and reason for the detention of former Deputy Minister and currently UMNO MP for Kok Lanas, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad in 1976 for ‘pro-Russian communist activities’.

Datuk Abdullah has denied in Parliament that he was ever a pro-communist, communist or communist sympathizer. Was Datuk Abdullah falsely framed? Was the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, wrong when he told the nation in February 1977 that the government had proof that Datuk Abdullah was a ‘pro-Russian communist’ operator?

Datuk Megat Junid and the Government cannot expect the Malaysian people to take their pronouncements about the ‘enemies’ of Malaysia seriously if the government is not prepared to give the Malaysian people a full and satisfactory explanation as to whether Datuk Abdullah Ahmad had been arrested as a pro-communist Russian sympathizer under the Internal Security Act, and if not, why he was detained for nearly five years.

Or is the labeling of persons or organizations as ‘threats’ and ‘enemies’ just a political game, which happened to Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, and which is happening to the social organization which Datuk Megat alleged has received $i million to smear the Malaysian government?