Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP State Leadership Conference held in Penang on Monday, 23rd July 1990 at 10 a.m.
DAP challenges Group of Concerned Citizens (GOCC) to a public debate on why Malaysia should not invite a Commonwealth Observer Mission for the general elections
The Chairman of the Group of Concerned Citizens (GOCC), Tun Haji Omar Ong Yoke Lin, said yesterday that he hoped that the Cabinet would agree with the ‘impartial’ views of the GOCC that there was absolutely no need for any foreign or local observer group for the general elections.
The views of the GOCC in opposing any foreign or local observer group for the coming general elections in Malaysia are not ‘impartial’ but biased, prejudiced and pre-conceived.
The views advanced by the GOCC opposing any foreign or local observer group for the elections is not meant to influence the Cabinet or the Prime Minister, but were aimed to create the public opinion and atmosphere to enable the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to have the excuse to backtrack on his announcement in Parliament on June 21 that the Government agrees to invite a Commonwealth Observer Mission to Malaysia.
I challenge Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin to deny that the GOCC was not formed with the blessings, approval and in fact directive of the Prime Minister himself.
Who will believe that Tun Omar, the former Senate President, would dare to form a GOCC to oppose any foreign or local observer group for the coming general elections in Malaysia, if Dr. Mahathir is fully committed to the idea of a Commonwealth Observer Mission? Tun Omar will be the last person who would ever thought of rocking the boat of Dr. Mahathir!
I have no doubt that the whole GOCC is the creation of Dr. Mahathir or his ‘think-tank’ and that the idea of a GOCC must have been put to Tun Omar and the other five members as their service and contribution to the Barisan Nasional Government.
Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin cannot believe in the statements that he had been making that foreign or observer groups would undermine the position, authority and integrity of the Election Commission.
If Tun Omar Ong is confident of the authorship and rightness of his views, the DAP challenges the GOCC to a public debate on why Malaysia should not invite a Commonwealth Observer Mission for the next general elections, and how a Commonwealth Observer Mission could undermine the position, authority and integrity of the Election Commission.
The five-man GOCC comprises members with very distinguished backgrounds in both the political and academic fields, and I am sure they are able and eloquent people who could defend their public positions in any public debate, unless they are not free agents on this issue and merely spouting views of other people.
Dr. Mahathir orchestrating a synthetic public opinion exercise against Commonwealth Observer Mission
It is highly significant that today the list of those who are opposing the Commonwealth Observer Mission is getting longer.
The Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, went on TV 3 last night to denounce the Election Watch and the Commonwealth Observer Mission. UMNO Vice President, Datuk Abdullah Badawai, the Johore Metri Besar, Tan Sri Haji Muhyiddin Yassin, a UMNO Baru Youth Executive Council member, Haji Mohd. Nazeri Abdul Aziz have also joined the chorus of opposition to the Commonwealth Observer Mission.
In the next few days, the MCA, MIC, all the Mentri-Mentri Besar and Chief Ministers, as well as various Barisan Nasional – influenced organisations would swell the chorus of opposition to give the impression that the whole country is against the Commonwealth Observer Mission.
The final act will be for the Dr. Mahathir and the Cabinet to announce that they bow down to public opinion in Malaysia which is against a Commonwealth Observer Mission, when it is Dr. Mahathir who orchestrated this synthetic public opinion exercise in the first place with the formation of the GOCC.
If Dr. Mahathir wants to renege on his earlier commitment to invite a Commonwealth Observer Mission, he should have the honesty and courage to do so without orchestrating a mass media exercise to engineer a synthetic public opinion movement.
The question Dr. Mahathir must answer is what has he got to hide that he is openly attacking the two Commonwealth Secretariat representatives here for the technical purpose to find out how big the size of the group should be and who should make up the group, and when the Commonwealth Observer Mission had not been established yet!
The synthetic public opinion exercise led by the GOCC opposing foreign and local observer groups is no justification for the Prime Minister changing his views on the Commonwealth Observer Mission. Dr. Mahathir must give a convincing reason for changing his mind about inviting the Commonwealth Observer Mission, or his credibility will suffer another serious blow. A big question mark will also arise as to how ‘free, fair, clean and honest’ the general elections can be when the government is so frightened of local and observer groups.