Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Sunday, July 29, 1990:
Kit Siang sends letter to Dr. Mahathir asking for a second meeting as even Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, has not been properly briefed on their meeting of July 9
I am very surprised at the various statements that are being made by Cabinet Ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, on the Commonwealth Observer Mission, which shows that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had not properly briefed them on what Dr. Mahathir had agreed with me at our meeting on July 9.
Ghafar Baba said yesterday that the sole task of the Commonwealth Observer Mission is to monitor whether the coming general elections complies with the law.
This is totally incorrect. A day after our meeting, Dr. Mahathir had publicly announced during his pre-election tour of Malacca on July 10 that he agreed with me that the terms of reference of the Commonwealth Observer Mission is to monitor as to whether the general elections meet the four criteria of ‘free, fair, clean and honest’.
The scope to be covered by the Commonwealth Observer Mission is not confined to the field of jurisdiction of the Election Commission, but well beyond areas under the purview of the Election Commission, such as public rallies, fair press coverage on radio, television and press, and no politics of money or corruption.
In my second meeting with Dr. Mahathir, I will also ask him to clarify what he actually meant when he said after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting that the Commonwealth Observer Mission will be asked to watch the general elections in the same way that the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom invited foreign dignitaries to watch their elections.
Dr. Mahathir may have been misinformed about the practices of the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom to invite foreign dignitaries to watch their elections, which are strictly study tours for the visitors.
We do not want the Commonwealth Secretariat to send representatives to our general elections to study our electoral practices, but to monitor to ensure that the general elections is ‘free, fair, clean and honest.’ We are not inviting the Commonwealth Observer Mission as part of the Visit Malaysia Year 1990, but to safeguard the legitimacy and integrity of the next general elections.
There is a lot of muddled thinking, resulting in very confused statements, by many, including government leaders and other self-proclaimed protectors of the public interest. The best example of such confused and muddled thinking is to be found in the statements made by the GOCC, which describes itself as the Group of Concerned Citizens headed by Tun Omar Yoke Lin. In fact, the GOCC is more appropriately defined as the Group of Confused Citizens.
Dr. Lim Chong Eu is another example of muddled and confused thinking about the Commonwealth Observer Mission
Another example of confused and muddled thinking and statement on the Commonwealth Observer Mission is the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu.
Dr. Lim said on Friday that the Commonwealth Observer Mission must not come with the attitude of trying to instruct Malaysians regarding the holding of election. Dr. Lim said the observer team must also be willing to learn.
Dr. Lim also said: “Malaysia’s record of parliamentary democracy may even provide a lesson, which the observers can take back to their home country. If they come with such an attitude, then we will certainly welcome them.”
Dr. Lim has missed the whole point of the Commonwealth Observer Mission which, according to the Kuala Lumpur CHOGM Communique of October 24, is to reinforce the democratic ethics and institutions of Commonwealth member nations.
I think Dr. Mahathir should summon a meeting of all Chief Ministers and Mentri-Mentri Besar to explain to them the true purpose of a Commonwealth Observer Mission, so that these Chief Ministers and Mentri-Mentri Besar would not continue to be make foolish and confused statements on this subject.
I sent my letter to Dr. Mahathir asking for a second meeting on Friday, and I hope the Prime Minister can fix an early date for the meeting.