Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, 11th June 1990, on the Condolence Motion on the death of Tun Hussein Onn
DAP calls for bold government moves to strengthen democracy, restore human rights and wipe out corrupt practices as the best way to perpetuate the memory of Tun Hussein Onn
I rise on behalf of my party, the Democratic Action Party, to fully support the motion moved by the Prime Minister, which reads:
Bahawa Dewan ini merakamkan perasaan kesedihan yang amat sangat di atas kembalinya ke Rahmatullah, Allahyarham Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Hussein Onn bekas Perdana Menteri Malaysia pada 29 Mei 1990 dan menyampaikan ucapan takziah kepada Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Suhailah binti Tan Sri Hj. Mohamed Noah dan keluarga Allahyarham.”
When news was first announced by Radio Malaysia about the death of Tun Hussein Onn when undergoing medical treatment in San Francisco, Malaysians of all races and from all walks of life felt a personal loss and mourned the passing of a great Malaysian son, who was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Hussein Onn will shine out in Malaysian history for his impeccable personal integrity and abhorrence of corruption, and his leadership is particularly missed at a time when abuses of power, corruption, financial and moral scandals have become commonplace in the corridors of power.
When he was Prime Minister, Hussein Onn respected the role of the Opposition and the office of Parliamentary Opposition Leader. Before one parliamentary meeting, the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mohamed, who was then Deputy Prime Minister asked me to see him, and he said he was instructed by the Prime Minister to give me an advance copy of the Ibrahim Ali Report on Public Employee Salaries which the Government was going to table in the Dewan Rakyat and to ask for parliamentary approval.
Today, the whole country is still waiting for the Education Bill 1990, although the government had been working on it for several years.
I believe that the best way to perpetuate the memory of the late Tun Hussein Onn is for the country and the government to make bold moves in areas which deeply concern him even after he had stepped down from the highest office in the land because of his health n 1981.
I had the privilege to meet the late Tun Hussein Onn several times after he had stepped down as Prime Minister, and there is no doubt that uppermost in his minds were the problems of democracy, human rights and corruption in Malaysia.
This was why Tun Hussein Onn become one of the leading lights in the formation of the Human Rights Society, together with Bapa Malaysia and the founding Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. Unfortunately, the Human Rights Society has to date not been registered by the Home Ministry although it has submitted its application for close to a year.
The late Tu Hussein Onn was also very concerned about rampant corruption in public life in Malaysia, and in particular with the close and unethical connections of ruling parties in business and government privatization contracts.
In my mind, the best way to perpetuate the memory of the late Tun Hussein Onn is for the country and government to take bold steps in the three areas of democracy, human rights and integrity in public life which had always been close to Tun Hussein’s heart.
In memory of Tun Hussein Onn’s life-long commitments to democracy, human rights and the battle against corruption, let me suggest that the Government take the following measures:
On the democracy and human rights front, the immediate lifting of the four Proclamations of Emergency which are still in force in Malaysia, especially when the South African government had responded to the call f Nelson Mendela to lift the state of emergency in South Africa; the lifting of the ban on public rallies; the immediate registration of the Human rights Society; official government recognition to the six-man Election Watch headed by former Lord President, Tun Mohamed Suffian; and the repeal of all draconian and undemocratic laws like the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act.
On the corruption front, the government should strengthen the Anti-Corruption Agency by making it answerable only to Parliament, and not subject to the Prime Minister’s Department; and a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be formed to look into the problem of ethics and integrity in public life, and in particular to check a great source of political corruption in Malaysia today, the incestuous relationship between political parties and business, like the recent Renong deal involving the Fleet Group, Hatibudi, United Engeneers Malaysia – all connected with the UMNO and top Ministers in the country.