By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, 28th August 1990;
Anwar Ibrahim was telling a lie when he said I only faxed to him yesterday my letter asking for five clarifications on the Consultative Council on Education Act.
Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, told a lie he said that he only received my letter by fax yesterday asking for five clarifications about the Consultative Council on Education Act 1990.
On 20th August, the DAP received the Education Minister’s letter inviting the party to nominate a representative for the Consultative Council by August 21.
On behalf of the DAP, I immediately replied to Anwar Ibrahim seeking five clarifications about the Consultative Council, as why the Consultative Council was established at this late stage when it should have been formed right at the very beginning of the process of drafting a new education law; whether members would be bound by the Official Secrets Act and given full time to study the thousand-over memorandum that had been submitted; the status of the Consultative Council if Parliament is dissolved before it has completed its work; and whether the government could give an assurance that there would be no dissolution of Parliament before the Consultative that there would be no dissolution of Parliament before the Consultative Council had submitted its report to Government and Parliament.
This letter was hand-delivered to the Education Minister’s office on August 22 at 9.10a.m. And there is acknowledgement of receipt by the Secretary to the Minister of Education as proof.
Why then did Anwar Ibrahim tell a lie yesterday that he received a fax of the letter from me yesterday (27th August), when (i) I never faxed the letter to him; and (ii) the letter was hand-delivered to his office five days earlier on August 22?
The reason for Anwar Ibrahim’s bald-faced lie is very clear; he was playing politics with the Consultative Council on Education Act.
For instance, in my letter to Anwar, I sought five clarifications to enable the DAP to decide on his invitation, but Anwar first claimed that he never received my letter, later told a lie that I had faxed it to him only yesterday, and further claimed that the DAP was imposing conditions which we had not done.
If Anwar Ibrahim is prepared to go to the extent of telling lies about the DAP letter to him, it is an indication of the extent he is prepared to go to play politics with the Consultative Council on the Education Act.
This has confirmed the general public view that the Consultative Council on the Education Act is purely a political ploy by the Barisan Nasional Governmnet to have an excuse not to make public the contents of the Education Act 1990 to the people during the general elections.
After four years of finalizing the new Education Bill 1990, the proper forum for a public debate is the electorate in the general elections. Let the people decide whether they agree and support the new Education Bill 1990 in the next general elections. Why is the Barisan Nasional so frightened of letting the people know about the contents of the Education Bill 1990, if it is so good for the people?
The DAP must have the five clarifications we have sought from the Education Minister before we could decide on his invitation to send a representative to the Consultative Education Council.
No good reason why DAP, Semangat 46, PRM and AMIPF should join the Consultative Council if Anwar Ibrahim is only interested in playing politics and deceive the voters about the 1990 Education Bill.
The DAP was considering sending our representative to the first meeting of the Consultative Education Council next Monday to state our views and to seek clarifications before deciding on our position in the Consultative Council.
However, with the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in Klang wanting to put the blame on the DAP for participating and pulling out of the Consultative Council, and the open lie by Anwar Ibrahim yesterday showing that he is primarily interested in politicizing the Education Bill, the DAP will now wait for the Education Minister’s reply before deciding on our position.
The central issue on the establishment of the Consultative education Council at this final stage of the four-year formulation of the new education law is whether the Consultative Council is just a political ploy of the Barisan Nasional Government to deny the voters the right to express their views on the new Education Act in the general elections.
There is no reason why Opposition should be made use of by Anwar Ibrahim in his plot to have a good excuse not to make public the contents of the new education law in the general elections. This in fact tantamount to deceit of the voters in the general elections.
If Anwar Ibrahim is only interested in playing politics and deceive the voters about the Education Bill 1990, than there is no good reason why the DAP, Semangat 46, Parti Rakyat Malaysia and AMIPF should join the Consultative Council.