Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the ‘Towards Tanjung 2’ Dinner held at Hotel Merlin Subang, Subang Jaya on Thursday, August 16, 1990 at 9 pm.
Can Anwar Ibrahim give an assurance that there would be no dissolution of Parliament before the Consultative Council on Education Bill has completed its recommendations and report.
Yesterday, the Cabinet decided to invite seventy political, educational and social organisations to send representatives to the Consultative Council on the Education Bill 1990.
The Government had first annouced that the Education Bill would be presented to Parliament last October, but this was delayed from one parliamentary meeting to another. Finally, the public was promised that the Bill would be presented in the June meeting of Parliament, but nothing came
out of it.
It is clear that there is only reason why the Education Bill 1990 had not been presented to Parliament:
fear that if its contents are made public, it would lose the Barisan Nasional votes as well as
parliamentary and state assembly seats in the next general elections.
As a result, the Education Minister and the Cabinet had to think of a way to justify the continued suppresion of the contents of the Education Bill, under the Official Secrets Act.
This is where the Consultative Council on Education Bill comes in for with its formation, the
Barisan Nasional Government has found a new excuse why it could not release the Education
Bill to the public before the next general elections.
The formation of the Consultative Council on the Bill at this late stage not only smacks of
insincerity and chicanery, but also raises the question as to whether it is constitutionally proper.
A Consultative Council on the Education Bill is formed to advise the Cabinet and Government
about the new education law, before its presentation, to Parliament.
However, if Parliament is dissolved in September or before the Consultative Council had
completed its deliberations, then the Consultative Council has no constitutional basis for it
would have no more role to play. It would be put in a vacuum as it could not be advising a
caretaker government on whether it should present the Education Bill to a Parliament which has been dissolved!
This would make the Consultative Council on Education Bill a farce. If the Consultative Council
on Education Bill is not to be such a constitutional farce, then the Education Minister, with the full authority of the Prime Minister, must be able to give an assur¬ance that there would be no dissolution
of Parliament before the Consultative Council on the Education Bill completes its recommenda¬tions
and report to the Cabinet, Government and Parliament.
Is Anwar Ibrahim in a position to give, such an assurance to all members of the Consultative Council
on the Education Bill that there would be no dissolution of Parliament before the Council com¬pletes
its work? Or is Anwar forming the Consultative Council on the Education Bill to advise the next Government and the next Parliament after the general elections?