By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 4th February 1990:
Challenge to Election Commission to deny that if had sent out instructions, to State Election officials on the snap 21-day voters’ registration exercise beginning on March 1 with the primary objective of registering the 300,000 UMNO Baru members who had not registered as voters
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had denied after the UMNO Baru Supreme Council meeting yesterday that UMON Baru had directed the Election Commission to conduct a snap voters’ registration exercise next month to pad the Electoral Roll with pro-UMNO Baru voters for the next general elections.
Nobody expects the Prime Minister to admit that UMNO Baru or the Barisan Nasional Government had directed the Election Commission to conduct such a snap voters’ registration exercise, for it would mean an open confession that UMNO Baru or the Government had blatantly violated the Constitutional provision and guarantee about the independence of the Election Commission.
Similarly, when the Government violated the constitutional guarantees on fundamental liberties and democratic freedoms by the mass arrest of Opposition MPs and critics, or trampled on the principle of the Independence of the Judiciary by sacking the Lord President and Supreme Court judges, nobody expected Dr. Mahathir to plead guilty of constitutional violations.
Dr. Mahathir’s denial that UMNO Baru and the Barisan Nasional government had directed the Election Commission to conduct snap voters’ registration exercise to register pro-UMNO Baru voters for the next general elections is therefore of little meaning.
The fact is that UMNO Baru is very worried, for instance, that 300,000 of its members had not been registered as voters, as the UMNO Baru leaders feel that theses 300,000 UMNO members who are not registered as voters could decide whether UMNO Baru can beat Semangat 46 and whether Dr. Mahathir could retain two-third parliamentary majority in the next general elections.
I challenge the Election Commission to deny that if had sent out instructions to State election officials to conduct a snap voters’ registration exercise for 21 dsays beginning on March 1, 1990, with the primary objective of registering on the Electoral Roll these 300,000 UMNO Baru members and other UMNO Baru-inclined voters.
I also challenge the UMNO Baru leaders, from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers and leaders at all levels to deny that in the past two weeks, they had been conducting a special national campaign in UMNO Baru to get these 300,000 unregistered members to be ready to register as voters in the 21-day snap voters’ registration campaign.
It is is indeed scandalous that even before the Election Commission could complete the preparation of the 1989 Electoral Roll, it had already been instructed to conduct a snap voters’ registration campaign because UMNO Baru wants 300,000 of its unregistered voters to be on the Electoral Roll.
Clearly, snap voters’ registration campaign by the Election Commission next month is just to serve the political interests of UMNO Baru. If this is not interference with the constitutional independence of the Election Commission, I do not know what is.
Finally, I challenge the Election Commission to deny that it had been instructed by UMNO Baru and the Government to change elections rules and regulations, which will come into force for the next general elections, and that these new regulations had already been completed and are merely waiting for the date for the next general elections to be decided before they are gazetted and made public.
Mahathir’s attitude on Vijandran’s position as Deputy Speaker is most surprising and disappointing
Dr. Mahathir’s attitude on the position of D.P. Vijandran as Deputy Speaker in the wake of the Vijandran pornographic videotape scandal is most surprising and disappointing.
Commenting on the statement by the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail that Parliament could remove Vijandran as Deputy Speaker by way of a motion without having to wait for the outcome of any court case, Dr. Mahathir said: “If the Speaker had said they can, I suppose they can”.
The Prime Minister is the Leader of the House and is expected to provide leadership on all matters affecting the dignity, reputation and privileges of the Dewan Rakyat.
As Tan Sri Syed Zahir Ismail has rightly pointed out, the Parliamentary motion to remove Vijandran as Deputy Speaker can be by way of a government motion or a private member’s motion.
As Leader of the House, the Prime Minister must explain why the government is not prepared to table such a motion to remove Vijandran as Deputy Speaker. This is not a case of convicting a person before he is found guilty.
Vijandran has been accused of featuring prominently in the Vijandran videotape, which had been destroyed on the directive of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman. The government knows what is on these Vijandran tapes.
If there is nothing amiss on the Vijandran tapes, then the Government should advise Vijandran that there is no need for him to go on leave as Deputy Speaker, and that the Government gives him full backing and support, even ‘sing or swim’ with him.
Letter to Dr. Mahathir on why he, as Leader of the House, should move the motion to remove Vijandran as Deputy Speaker
In allowing Vijandran to go on leave as Deputy Speaker, the government is admitting that the Vijandran videotape are not that innocent and harmless. In this case, Vijandran should be removed as Deputy Speaker.
Dr. Mahathir said the Barisan Nasional would hear the arguments put forth before deciding whether to support a motion to remove Vijandran as Deputy Speaker.
This is not good enough, for it tantamounts to an evasion of government duty and responsibility to protect the good name, reputation and dignity of Parliament.
I will write to Dr. Mahathir tomorrow to list out the reasons why he, as lEader of the House in the Dewan Rakyat, should move such a motion to remove Vijandran as Deputy Spekaer when Parliament meets on February 26.
DAP calls for White Paper on destruction of Vijandran videotapes and 2,000 photographs
I am also very disappointed by his statement that he would not even ask the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, the reasons for his directive to destroy the eleven Vijandran videotapes and four envelopes of 2,000 photographs. This can only mean that the Prime Minister is fully aware that there is no legal, moral or ethical justification for the destruction of the eleven Vijandran videotapes and photographs.
However, I must remind the Prime Minister that unless he repudiates the unlawful and highly improper action of the Attorney-General in destroying crucial evidence in the from of the eleven Vijandran videotapes and 2,000 photographs, he must be taken as giving full support, authority and ratification for the act of destroying important evidence by the Attorney-General.
The Prime Minister has to justify such unlawful action by the Attorney-General in destroying the eleven Vijandran videotapes and four envelopes of 2,000 photographs in Parliament. The DAP calls on the Government to present a White paper in Parliament on February 26 to justify the Attorney-General’s actions to destroy the eleven Vijandran videotapes and four envelopes of 2,000 photographs.