1993 New Year Message by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang
Malaysia poised on the threshold of its greatest constitutional crisis since Merdeka if there is a constitutional stalemate with the Conference of Rulers over the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill
1992 had been an eventful year for Malaysians as well as for the DAP, when history was made.
Among the history made by the DAP in 1992 were the following:
For the first time since Merdeka, the Barisan Nasional government was denied two-thirds majority to amend the Constitution when the 13 Penang DAP Assemblymen rejected the Penang State Constitution Amendment Bill to increase three state assembly seats.
DAP also created political and legal history when for the first time since Merdeka, the Election Commission was taken to court for illegal and unconstitutional redelineation of the 165 Parliamentary and 452 State Assembly seats;
The DAP expose in Parliament of the $ 130 million MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal involving the MIC President and Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, resulting in the unprecedented suspension of the Parliamentary Opposition Leader from attending Parliament for eight months till the end of the year and the eight-month long investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency into the scandal;
DAP support for government motion in Parliament to censure the assault of the Johore Bahru school hockey coach, Douglas Gomez by the Sultan of Johore and the DAP stand that no Ruler can be at liberty to commit criminal or civil wrong against any ordinary citizen in the country;
The abandonment by Pasir Gudang local authority of its decision to remove signboards of business in the area which are not written in Jawi beginning from next year, within days of the announcement by the DAP on December 13 in Masai, Johore Bahru that any such unconstitutional action would be challenged by the DAP in court.
The withdrawal of the 1992 Federal Territory Islamic Law Administration Bill from the Dewan Rakyat on the last day of the budget sitting on December 24 after the DAP MPs had warned that it would gravely undermine the constitutional right of non-Muslim parents to unfettered custody and guardianship of their children.
Malaysia will enter 1993 poised on the threshold of its greatest constitutional crisis since Merdeka. This will happen if the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill to be presented to the Conference of Rulers on January 16, the Dewan Rakyat on January 18 and 19 and the Dewan Negaraon January 20 to remove the immunities of Rulers from criminal and civil wrongdoings is not handled in full and due regard to the spirit and letter of the Federal Constitution.
DAP reiterates call for an all-party meeting on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill before Conference of Rulers on January 16 and special Parliamentary sittings on January 18 – 20
If the Conference of Rulers does not give its consent to the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill at its meeting on January 16, with at least five Rulers giving their support, then it would be constitutionally improper for both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara to meet on January 18 to 20 to debate the Constitution Amendment Bill.
In such an event, the special sittings of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara would have to be postponed until a formula could be found whereby the consent of the Conference of Rulers to the Constitution Amendment Bill could be obtained.
The constitutional crisis that would ensue from such a constitutional stalemate would render the 1983 Constitutional crisis a minor event.
This is why the DAP had proposed right form the beginning that an all-party committee be established to discuss how the Malaysian Constitution could be amended to uphold the principles that no Ruler has the liberty to commit criminal or civil wrongdoing, and that every person has a right to seek redress and secure justice for any such royal wrongdoing, while giving full and due regard to the position, dignity, status and privileges of the Rulers so as to uphold the system of constitutional monarchy in our parliamentary democracy.
It is still not too late for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, to convene such an all-party meeting before the Conference of Rulers on January 16 and the special Parliamentary sittings on January 18 – 20 and the DAP reiterates our call for such an all-party committee so that all efforts should be made to prevent the country from being plunged into its greatest constitutional crisis in history.