Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the beginning of the second series of national joint DAP-Semangat 46 ceramahs held in Taiping on Saturday, 23rd June 1990 at 9 p.m.
It will make a mockery of the Commonwealth observer mission to Malaysia if representatives come from countries which are ruled by military juntas, one-party or no-party governments
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, announced in Parliament last Thursday that the Government was prepared to invite a Commonwealth observer mission for the next general elections, provided it has the support of the Opposition.
The DAP welcomes such an Commonwealth observer mission, for we have been pressing for such a mission in accordance with the Kuala Lumpur CHOGM Communique of the Heads of Government last October on the need to strengthen democratic institutions and processes in Commonwealth member countries.
However, such a Commonwealth observer mission must come from countries whose democratic practices and traditions are universally recognized.
It will make a mockery of the whole concept of a Commonwealth observer mission to strengthen the ethics of democracy and ensure meaningful democratic processes, if members of the mission come from countries which have no respect whatsoever for democratic practices and the human rights of their people.
There will be no meaning for instance if having a Commonwealth observer mission if the members come from countries which are ruled by military juntas, or one-party or non-party governments.
I checked on the information provided to Malaysians about facts and figures of the Commonwealth countries during the Kuala Lumpur CHOGM last October, in particular about their political systems, and found the following interesting data about some Commonwealth nations.
Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda are run by military juntas. Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Sierra Leone and the Seychelles with a population of 70,000 are one-party states. Maldives with a population of 200,000 does not allow political parties at all.
If the membership of the Commonwealth observer mission is drawn from these types of countries, it is clearly unacceptable and will make Malaysia a laughing stock in the world.
DAP calls for the establishment of an All-party Committee to finalise all details and arrangements for the Commonwealth Observer Mission for Malaysian general elections
In order to ensure that the Commonwealth observer mission, when constitutes and sent to Malaysia, would not face problems of unacceptability, I propose the establishment of an All-Party Committee to finalise all details and arrangements for the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the Malaysian general elections.
The DAP has no objection if one of the Barisan Nasional ledgers head this All-Party Committee for the Commonwealth Observer Mission, provided all political parties are represented on it.
If Dr. Mahathir is sincere in wanting Malaysia to set the world example of voluntarily inviting international observer missions for our general elections, then he should have no objection to the establishment of an All-Party Committee to handle all the details and arrangements for such a Mission.
Call on Malaysians to elect a meaningful Parliament and not a rubber stamp as at present
One of the great challenges to the people in the next general elections is to elect a meaningful Parliament and not a rubber-stamp as at present.
On Monday, which is the last day of the June meeting of the Dewan Rakyat after an extra day of extension, MPs will have before them nine government Bills and two Opposition motions, one by the DAP MP for Kota Melaka, Sdr. Lim Guan Eng, to confer Malaysian citizenship to the 300,000 red-identity-card holders who fulfill the citizenship requirements and the other by DAP MP for Bukit Bintang, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye, to refer the Deputy human Resources Minister, Datuk K.Pathmanaban, to the Committee of Privileges for telling lies about him over the GSP issue.
A government which could ask Parliament to pass nine Bills in one day cannot have much respect for MPs or for the institution of Parliament. Clearly, the government does not expect the MPs to gave a full and thorough debate of the laws they are expected to pass.
I understand that in 1988, MPs were given three minutes each to debate the Internal Security Act Amendment Bill, which seriously eroded the right of ISA detainees to go the court to challenge the Home Minister’s illegal use of the detention without trial powers. This is most shocking.
The reason why Parliament has become a rubber stamp is because of the two-third parliamentary majority of the government. With such two-third parliamentary majority, the Barisan Nasional government could do what it liked without regard to the legitimate views of the people or even the MPs.
This is why the removal of the two-thirds parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional is the first step to the restoration of a meaningful Parliament and healthy democracy in Malaysia.
For the first time in Malaysian history since the nation achieved Medeka in 1957, the people have the unique opportunity to bring about real political changes in the country.
If there is a 12 per cent swing of the votes against the Barisan Nasional, Dr. Mahathir will lose the traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament. If there is a 20 per cent swing of the votes against the Barisan Nasional, a new Federal Government may be formed with a new Prime Minister.
Malaysians of all races must grasp this great and historic opportunity and introduce a new political order in Malaysia, where Malaysians enjoy freedom, justice, unity, and a clean and good government.