by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, 25th January 1993:
Keng Yaik should stop playing party politics with the constitutional crisis
I advise the Gerakan President, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, to stop playing politics with the constitutional crisis.
Keng Yaik had alleged that the DAP’s abstention during the voting for the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill in the Dewan Rakyat “showed that the party was putting its interest above that of the people”.
He went on to make other ridiculous allegations, such as DAP MP for Jelutong, Sdr. Karpal Singh, was not allowed to vote in favour of the Constitution Amendment Bill and that the DAP was taking orders from Semangat 46.
It is most unfortunate that there are political leaders like Dr. Lim Keng Yaik who wants to play politics with the present constitutional crisis.
The constitutional crisis concerns fundamental issues and principles and responsible political leaders should rise above party considerations in their approach to this matter.
It is precisely because the DAP had put the interest of the people above everything else that the DAP abstained during the voting on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill.
The DAP had clearly and unequivocally declared our support for the principles and proposals in the Bill to remove the immunities of the Rulers to commit criminal and civil wrongdoings.
The DAP’s vote of abstention is not a negative or destructive stand, but a positive, responsible and constructive position and reflects the wishes of the people on this issue.
If there is a referendum, the majority of the people will agree to the removal of the Rulers’ immunity and that the controversy be resolved through amicable settlement at the discussion table
I have no doubt that while the majority of the people support the removal of the Rulers’ immunity, they also wish to see this problem resolved amicably in accordance with constitutional provisions as to avert a protracted constitutional stalemate and crisis which will undermine the economic prospects of the country.
I believe that if there is a national referendum, the majority of the people will agree to the removal of the Rulers’ immunity and that the controversy should be resolved through amicable settlement at the discussion table between the Government and the Rulers.
Keng Yaik is entitled to take the position that the Gerakan supports UMNO in slamming shut the door for any amicable settlement of this constitutional crisis as well as opposing the idea that the Government and the Rulers return to the discussion table, even if this means a protracted constitutional crisis.
I will not ascribe any political motivation for Keng Yaik’s stand, just as he should not try to play politics on this issue, making ridiculous allegations against the DAP, because we should all rise above party politics on this important question.
Utusan Malaysia reported today that the Yang di Pertuan Agong would not be giving the Royal Assent to the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill. Such a constitutional crisis cannot be good for Malaysia’s economic prospects.
DAP understands if Keng Yaik cannot urge the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the UMNO leaders to respond to the invitation of the Conference of Rulers for further discussion and consultation, but he should not be so petty and small-minded as to doubt the sincerity of the DAP as well as large segments of the Malaysian people who would urge the Government and the Rulers to return to the discussion table to resolve the constitutional crisis amicably.