Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Semangat 46 ceramah at Kedah Road Flats, Tanjung, Penang on Friday, 19th January 1990 at 9 p.m.
Challenge to Anwar Ibrahim and all Cabinet Ministers to make a solemn declaration that they have not viewed and have not been informed of the contents of the Vijandran videotapes and photographs.
The Government has declared 1990 as the Visit Malaysia Year, and is going all out to make Malaysia well-known internationally in order to attract tourists. As far as international publicity is concerned, there is no doubt that Malaysia has been having a very high international publicity profile since the beginning of the new year.
More and more people all over the world have come to know about Malaysia, not because of Malaysia’s achievement or tourist attractions, but because of the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal, which was taken to a new climax by the shocking disclosure by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, on 10th January that the eleven Vijandran videotapes and four envelopes of 2,000 photographs had been destroyed.
But all these international publicity about the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal are not doing Malaysia’s international image any good. In 1987, Malaysia’s international reputation plunged to its lowest depths in national history when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, violated wide-ranging human rights in launching the Operation Lalang for mass arrests of Opposition MPs and leaders, critics, dissenters and closed down newspapers.
In 1988, Malaysia was put in the dock of international opinionas a nation which had no respect for the Rule of Law and the Independence of the Judiciary by the sacking of the Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court Judges, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah.
In 1989, the pornographic videotape scandal of Deputy Speaker, D.P.Vijandran, hit the international news; but it was only in early days of the new year, 1990, that the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal took a new development raising fundamental issuesinside the country as well as internationally, questioning the integrity of the government,and in particular the impartiality and independence of the administration of justice.
The question everyone asks is, if the Attorney-General can unilaterally, arbitrarily and without lawful authority, direct the Police to destroy evidence to favour a politician in the government, how can anyone have confidence in the integrity of the system of government and the process of justice in the country?
Why are the Cabinet Ministers backing Vijandran instead of removing him as Deputy Speaker and Barisan MP?
The question the Cabinet Ministers have failed to answer to the satisfaction of the people is why they are backing Vijandran instead of doing their duty to remove him as Deputy Speaker and Barisan National MP.
The explanation that has been given so far by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the Deputy Prome Minister, Ghafar Baba, and the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, that the government must wait for the outcome of the court case in the defamation suit Vijandran had failed against Karpal Singh does not bear examination. If the case take ten years, is the government going to wait for ten years before deciding what to do with Vijandran?
Anwar, who is also the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee to check Malpractices in Government, said that there was no reason why the government should support anyone guilty of corrupt or immoral practices, but the government should not prejudge anyone before the court case.
Nobody is asking Dr. Mahathir, Ghafar and Anwar to prejudege Vijandran as to whether he could win in the court case against Karpal Singh, but Malaysians have a right to expect and demand that they protect the integrity of the government and the good name of the country by acting on the basis of the information in the government’s possession about the nature of the contents of the eleven Vijandran videotapes and 2,000 photographs.
Are Dr. Mahathir and all Cabinet Ministers, including Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim, Samy Vellu, Ling Liong Sik, Lim Keng Yaik prepared to ‘sink or swim’ with Vijandran?
As the police and the Attorney-General knew about the exact nature of the contents of the eleven Vijandran videotapes and 2,000 photographs, the Prime Minister and the Government cannot claim ignorance about the contents of the videotapes and photographs, as the Police and Attorney-General act on behalf of the Government in everything they do. Under these circumstances, the failure of the government to remove Vijandran as Deputy Speaker and Barisan National MP can only mean that the Cabinet and Government fully back and support Vijandran in the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal.
If this is the stand of the Government and Cabinet, then let all the Cabinet Ministers, including Dr. Mahathir, Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, Datuk Dr. Ling Keng Yaik, Datuk Samy Vellu, declare that they will sink or swim with Vijandran on this issue.
D.P. Vijandran has created another nation-wide furore with his press conference statement yesterday denying that he was resigning as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, saying that he was only going for an indefinite period of leave of absence as Deputy Speaker.
All the language-media national dailies yesterday carried front-page headline stories about Vijandran resigning as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and although these newspaper stories did not quote the sources, it was very clear to the knowledgeable that these sources were very high-level Cabinet Ministers.
It is precisely because of the authoritative nature of these sources that all language-media national dailies dare to give this news front-page headline treatment. In fact, I have very good idea who these Ministerial sources were who told the various language-media newspapers about the impending Vijandran resignation as Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Now that Vijandran had come out openly and publicly to deny that he was going to resign as Deputy Speaker, and was only going on indefinite leave of absence, the Malaysian public have a right to know what actually happened? Did the various high-level Ministers deliberately lie and misinform the press that Vijandran was going to resign as Deputy Speaker, or has Vijandran the power to challenge the Barisan National leadership and even hold it to ransom?
The latest twist to the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal- the Vijandran resignation and later no-resignation episode – would have been a good farce if not for the grave political, ethical, moral and legal issues involved.
DAP is not really interested in whether D.P.Vijandran was going to resign as Deputy Speaker. What we are more interested in is why the Cabinet failed in its duty to take hard and necessary decisions on the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal on Wednesday, 17.1.1990, as in deciding to expel Vijandran as Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament as well as removing Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman as Attorney-General.
In any event, as far as the matter of Vijandran’s going on indefinite leave of absence as Deputy Speaker is concerned, the DAP’s stand is that because of the extraordinary circumstances of the case, the Speaker, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, should not grant permission for the leave, but should instead submit Vijandran’s application to Dewan Rakyat when it meets on Feb. 26 for the MPs themselves to decide whether to approve or reject the application for extended leave of absence. In fact, the DAP contends that the Speaker has no power or authority to grant such leave, in view of the extraordinary circumstances of the case.
The DAP’s position is that the Dewan Rakyat should not only reject Vijandran’s application for extended leave, but should go further to expel Vijandran both as Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament.
After Vijandran had been expelled from Parliament, he could stand for re-election in a by-election to seek a new mandate from the voters of Kapar. If that should happen, I have no doubt that Vijandran would lose his deposit in Kapar, whether he stands on a Barisan National ticket or otherwise.
Why did the Prime Minister and Cabinet abdicate their responsibility to take a stand on the AG/VIJI videotape scandal
What happens to Vijandran is in fact only a small side issue in the AG/VIJI videotape scandal, which has become bigger than the Vijandran question.
Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, has claimed that the Cabinet did not decide on the question as to whether Vijandran should resign as Deputy Speaker at its meeting last Wednesday. Ghafar Baba even claimed that the pornographic videotape scandal is Vijandran’s ‘own problem’. Ghafar cannot be more wrong, and the Cabinet could not have been more irresponsible than on Wednesday when it abdicated its responsibility to take a stand on the AG/VIJI videotape scandal.
As a result of the Cabinet’s irresponsibility, the Vijandran videotape scandal has also become the Barisan National’s videotape scandal.
Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, sail the Government had no reason to support anyone guilthy of corrupt or immoral practices, but it is against passing judgment before the court does.
Anwar’s position immoral, unethical and irresponsible
This is a lame excuse which is completely unacceptable to all thinking Malaysians. How can Anwar Ibrahim, who has always talked about moral and spiritual values and courage, justify the failure of the Cabinet and Barisan National government from taking a clear-cut position on the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal, when the Cabinet and Government had full information as to the nature of the contents of the eleven Vijandran videotapes and 2,000 photographs stolen from Vijandran’s house in August 1988 and destroyed on the Attorney-General’s directive in January 1989?
If the police had never recovered the eleven Vijandran videotapes and viewed them, the Cabinet and Government’s position that they have to await the outcome of the Vijandran/Karpal defamation suit is correct and proper. But in the present case, where the Government, through the Police and the Attorney-General, knew the exact nature of the contents of the eleven Vijandran videotapes, for the government and Anwar Ibrahim to take a ‘wait- and -see’ attitude is immoral, unethical and highly irresponsible.
A responsible, moral and ethical government has only two options in these circumstances: being fully in the know as to the nature of the contents of the eleven Vijandran videotapes, the Government should either dismiss Vijandran as Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament, or fully back Vijandran as Deputy Speaker and MP.There can be no honourable , moral and ethical third option for the Cabinet and Barisan National government-as they knew what are on the eleven Vijandran videotapes.
I am surprised that Anwar Ibrahim can be a party to such a immoral, unethical and irresponsible position by the Cabinet and the Barisan National Government – trying to pass the buck to the Courts, when the responsibility lays firmly and squarely on all the Cabinet Ministers.
The Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal has become a full-blown Barisan National pornographic videotape scandal
In refusing to take firm action against Vijandran although they know the exact nature of the contents of the eleven Vijandran videotapes, the Malaysian people must conclude that all the Cabinet Ministers, whether advocates of Islamic values and moral uprightness like Anwar Ibrahim, are all fully behind Vijandran in this issue. These Ministers are not interested in right and wrong, moral and immoral, justice and injustice, but somehow Vijandran can win in the court case against Karpal Singh!
This is why after the Cabinet meeting of Wednesday, 17.1.1990, by its failure to take firm action, the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal has become a full-blown Barisan National pornographic videotape scandal.