Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, on arrival in Kuching on Monday, 2nd July 1990 at 3 pm
DAP to discuss with Semangat 46 next week the proposal to convene a meeting of all Opposition parties in Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, on the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Malaysia for the next general elections
I welcome the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in Sepang yesterday about his preparedness to meet Opposition leaders to discuss the role and modus operandi of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Malaysia for the next general elections.
I have written to the Prime Minister last week suggesting the formation of an All-Party Committee on the Commonwealth Observer Mission to be responsible for all decisions and details about the Mission, for the invitation should be in the name of all political parties in Malaysia and not just the ruling parties.
It is also essential to observe the following three basic guidelines in the appointment of the Observer Mission so as to ensure that the Mission would not face any problem about its acceptability, credibility and legitimacy:
Firstly, members of the Commonwealth Observer Mission should come from countries with meaningful parliamentary democracies, as it would be completely unacceptable if Observer Mission members come from countries which are run by military juntas, one-party or no-party states where there is no free multi-party general elections;
Secondly, members of the Commonwealth Observer Mission must be individuals who are qualified and competent to monitor the conduct of a free, fair, clean and honest general election;
Thirdly, the members of the Commonwealth Observer Mission must be given the full freedom to observe the conduct of a free, fair, clean and honest general election, including receiving, investigating and reporting on complaints about electoral irregularities and undemocratic practices.
Dr. Mahathir said in Parliament that the Government was prepared to meet the expenses of the Commonwealth Observer Mission. The DAP fully supports this government expenditure.
However, apart from the Commonwealth Observer Mission, international organisations including the United Nations and others concerned about the holding of fair and free general elections to strengthen democratic processes and institutions in the world, should be welcome to send observer missions, although at their own expense.
Furthermore, internal organisations like the Election Watch, should be given all assistance and co-operation by the Government and the Election Commission to ensure that the general elections is honest and above-board.
The DAP and Semangat 46 leaders will be having their next meeting in Kuala Lumpur next week, and I will discuss with the Semangat 46 President, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the proposal for a meeting of all Opposition parties, including from Sabah and Sarawak, on the Commonwealth Observer Mission.
I also urge the Prime Minister to fix an early meeting with Opposition leaders to discuss the details of the Commonwealth Observer Mission.
If voters should only choose government-backed candidates, then Malaysia might as well do away with general elections and have a One-Party State
During his pre-election tour of Sepang in Selangor yesterday, Dr. Mahathir said the people should choose government-backed elected representatives because they could bring development to them.
If voters should only choose government-backed candidates in the general elections, then Malaysia might as well do away with general elections and have a One-Party State.
I am surprised that while expressing the government’s preparedness to invite a Commonwealth Observer Mission for the next general elections, Dr. Mahathir should be going round the country expressing such undemocratic sentiments.
Dr. Mahathir said that it was the Barisan Nasional which brought the country stability. Dr. Mahathir cannot be more wrong. It is not the Barisan Nasional, but the system of parliamentary democracy of which the Opposition is an important part, which brought stability to Malaysia.
Dr. Mahathir is suggesting that if all the MPs in Parliament come from the Barisan Nasional, and there is a de facto One-Party rule in Parliament, then there will be even more stability.
This is a great fallacy. If Dr. Mahathir is right, then the Communist governments in Soviet Union and the East European states must be the most stable in the world. But the fall of these communist governments and the great changes going on in Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have proved Mahathir wrong.
Real stability does not come from more power concentrated in the hands of the government, but more power in the hands of the people to control the government through their elected representatives.
Dr. Mahathir said that the Barisan Nasional manifesto for the general elections will stress political stability, economic development and to check politicking.
It is the Barisan Nasional leaders who are most guilty of politicking. If Dr. Mahathir is serious about reducing politicking, then he should look at the internal party mess in UMNO Baru, MCA and MIC, where there is unrestrained politicking.
Call on Dr. Mahathir to set a good example and stop using the politics of fear such as the May 13 issue
Dr. Mahathir is also guilty of irresponsible politicking, as during his current pre-election tour of parliamentary constituencies.
Yesterday, Dr. Mahathir again used the May 13 theme to try to frighten the voters. This is most irresponsible and I urge the Prime Minister to set a good example and to stop using such politics of fear and intimidation.
Another example of irresponsible politicking by the Barisan Nasional leaders is the GSP issue. The Barisan Nasional Government is not really interested in the GSP issue, or to demonstrate to the United States Government that all the political parties in Malaysia are united in wanting the GSP privileges of Malaysia to be retained.
The Barisan Nasional leaders are only interested in using the GSP issue for politicking, to attack the Opposition parties although the DAP and Semangat 46 have made it very clear that they support the retention of GSP.
Call on Dr. Mahathir to direct Pathmanaban to apologise for questioning Lam Thye’s integrity and loyalty
Yesterday, Dr. Mahathir praised DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Bukit Bintang, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye, for being close to government and government officers. However, just for the sake of politicking, Dr. Mahathir allowed the Deputy Human Resources Minister, Datuk K. Pathmanaban, to question in Parliament Lam Thye’s integrity and even loyalty by accusing him of conniving and colluding with the American, Terry Collingsworth, to get Malaysia’s GSP privileges removed.
Dr. Mahathir knows fully well that what Pathmanaban said in Parliament, including his claim that he had a photograph of Lam Thye and Terry Collingsworth together, were a pack of lies. Is Dr. Mahathir going to ask Pathmanaban to own up that he had told lies in Parliament and apologise to Lam Thye for questioning his integrity and loyalty? Or is Dr. Mahathir only interested in politicking, regardless of what is right, fair, honest and true?
If Education Minister assumes final power to close down schools, then the repeal of Section 21(2) becomes meaningless
The Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim is going round the country attacking the Opposition parties on the Education Bill 1990, challenging the Opposition parties to give their views and better proposals. All along, however, the Education Minister has hidden the Education Bill 1990 under the Official Secrets Act, denying the Opposition parties and the public access to the proposed new education law.
How can Anwar expect the Opposition to give their views on the 1990 Education Bill when he is not prepared to make them public.
In Taiping yesterday, Anwar Ibrahim said that although the government would repeal Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, which gives power to the Education Minister to close down Chinese and Tamil primary schools and convert them to national primary schools, under the new Education Bill 1990 the Education minister would have the final power to establish or close down any school.
If under the proposed Education Act 1990 the Education Minister is to assume new and absolute powers to close down schools, then the repeal of Section 21(2) becomes meaningless.
DAP calls on Anwar Ibrahim to immediately release to the public the Education Bill 1990.