Speech (Part II) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Alor Star Ceramah held at Tou Moo Kong, Alor Star on Friday, 27th July 1990 at 9 p.m.
Kit Siang to ask for another meeting with Dr. Mahathir on Commonwealth Observer Mission as the Prime Minister seems to have gone back on his commitments given at our meeting of July 9
I will be asking for another meeting with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed on the Commonwealth Observer Mission, as Dr. Mahathir seems to have gone back on his commitments given at our meeting on July 9.
During our meeting, Dr. Mahathir agreed that the terms of reference of the Commonwealth Observer Mission should be to observe that the coming general elections meet the four criteria of being ‘free, fair, clean and honest’.
Dr. Mahathir himself mentioned this when he met the press the next day during his pre-election visit to Masjid Tanah in Malacca. Dr. Mahathir said I had wanted four basic, or “FFCH”, principles to be the terms of reference of the Commonwealth Observer Mission, and that he agreed with me.
However, since then, and in particular after Dr. Mahathir said in Muar that the government was having second thoughts about the Commonwealth Observer mission, he has not referred again to the four “FFCH” principles.
Instead, he has changed the character of the Commonwealth Observer Mission from a group to monitor as to whether the general elections comply with the four principles of “free, fair, clean and honest”, into just a study group to watch how Malaysia conducts its general elections.
We do not support or recommend that the Government spend the people’s money just to invite Commonwealth representatives to come to Malaysia to watch the general election, with no other purpose, role or function. This will be an absolute waste of public funds.
We want the Commonwealth Observer Mission to come to Malaysia to ensure that the general election is ‘free, fair, clean and honest’ to help strengthen Malaysia’s democratic ethics and institutions.
Dr. Mahathir is assigned by the KL CHOGM last October to promote and popularise the idea of Commonwealth Observer Missions for general elections of member countries
Is this interference with Malaysia’s domestic affairs, as claimed by the Group of Concerned Citizens headed by former Senate President, Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin?
If this is the case, then Dr. Mahathir must be blamed for putting his signature to the Kuala Lumpur CHOGM Communique of October 24 last year, which resolved that Dr. Mahathir head a 10-nation high-level Commonwealth Study Group to strengthen the democratic institutions of member Commonwealth nations by sending observer teams during their general elections.
Why did Dr. Mahathir accept the assignment by the KL CHOGM last October to head this Commonwealth High-level Study Group to promote and popularise the idea of Commonwealth Observer Mission for general elections of member countries? Or is Dr. Mahathir suggesting that it is all right to send Commonwealth Observer Mission to other countries except for Malaysia?
What has the Group of Concerned Citizens and Tun Omar got to say about his KL CHOGM Communique. Is the GOCC going to suggest that Dr. Mahathir should announce to the world that he is retracting his signature from the KL CHOGM Communique and resigning as Chairman of this Commonwealth High-Level Study Group?
When I met the Prime Minister on July 9, Dr. Mahathir had agreed that for a general election to be ‘free, fair, clean and honest’, the Commonwealth Observer Mission must not confine itself to the voting process on polling day, but should observe the entire election campaign and deal with issues like freedom of speech and assembly for the competing political parties and candidates, public rallies, fair treatment by the mass media whether radio, television or newspapers, and even the issue of campaign funding and expenditures.
Dr. Mahathir had also undertook that the Government would not put any restriction or limitation on the activities and access of the Commonwealth Observer Mission.
However, from the recent statements by the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba and other Cabinet Ministers, it would appear that the Prime Minister had not fully briefed them as to the commitments he had given on the Commonwealth Observer Mission when we met on this issue on July 9. This is why I am asking for a second meeting with Dr. Mahathir.