Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the new premises of the Bukit Pasir DAP Branch at Jalan Sultanah, Batu Pahat on Saturday, 10th June 1990 at 4 p.m.
Keng Yaik should ask Parliament for a Constitutional amendment to spell out the ‘fundamental right’ of a Cabinet Minister to tell lies
In the past five years, Malaysians suffered grave erosion of their Constitutional rights and fundamental human liberties when the Barisan Nasional launched a series of undemocratic actions to concentrate power in its hand, as marked by the Operation Lalang mass arrests of 106 Opposition leaders and government critics; the assault on the Judiciary with the sacking of the Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges; the enactment of draconian amendments to already repressive laws like the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Police Act, the Printing Process and Publications Act; and the latest undermining of the independence of the Election Commission.
This has created greater awareness among Malaysians of the need for them to stand up for their Constitutional rights and fundamental liberties.
I notice, however, that the Gerakan, and in particular its President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, has also joined the ranks of those who are trying o clarify the Constitutional rights of Malaysians, except that he is maintaining a most novel Constitutional right which is unlikely to get much support.
Keng Yaik is insisting that a Cabinet Minister has a Constitutional right to tell lies about the Opposition, like his lies about the so-called DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta which he made at the Selangor Gerakan Assembly in Petaling Jaya on April 22.
I am not assure and have never heard that any Constitution in the world confers on a Cabinet Minister a fundamental human right to tell lies about the Opposition.
However, if Keng Yaik is serious about his contention, then he should propose an amendment to the Constitution in the coming meeting of Parliament from June 11 to June 22 to spell out clearly and unmistakably that Cabinet Ministers have the constitutional right to tell lies about the Opposition, like the lies about the DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta.
Given an opportunity, I will ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed in Parliament which meets from Monday, whether the Government proposes to support Keng Yaik by amending the Constitution to confer on Ministers the Constitutional right to tell lies.
Keng Yaik does not support the constitutional right and the fundamental liberty of Malaysians to freedom of speech, expression and information, such as the holding of public rallies, a free press, radio and television, access to government information such as the Education Bill 1990, and the freedom from arbitrary detention without trial like the Operation Lalang mass arrests.
All that Keng Yaik is interested in is a new-fangled Constitutional right for a Cabinet Minister to tell lies!