by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, January 29, 1993:
If MCA Ministers want to be positive and constructive, they should urge UMNO leaders to return to the discussion table to resolve the constitutional crisis amicably with the Rulers
The MCA National Vice President and Human Resources Minister, Datuk Lim Ah Lek, is the latest MCA leader to try to ‘politicise’ the constitutional crisis by making baseless attacks against the DAP for our vote of abstention on the 1993 Constitutional Amendment Bill in Parliament.
It is very sad that when the people’s attention are focused on how the constitutional crisis could be resolved amicably without adversely affecting the economic prospects of the country, MCA leaders could only think of how to politicise the issue against the DAP, by distorting the DAP’s stand on the issue of the removal of the Rulers’ immunity.
The DAP had made it very clear that we supported the principles and proposals in the 1993 Constitutional Amendment Bill because the DAP stands firmly on three important principles, firstly that no Ruler is above the law and is at liberty to commit criminal or civil wrongdoing; secondly, that every individual aggrieved by any royal wrongdoing should be able to seek redress and secure justice; and thirdly, that the government is duty-bound to uphold the rule of law and give protection to life and property of every individual in the country.
The DAP MPs would have voted in support of the 1993 Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Dewan Rakyat on January 19 if the Rulers had given their consent or if the Malaysian Constitution had not stipulated the necessity of obtaining the consent of the Rulers in any amendments affecting the privileges, positions, honours and dignities of the Rulers.
The DAP does not expect the MCA Ministers and MPs to have the courage to inform the UMNO leaders that it was premature to force the 1993 Constitutional Amendment Bill through both Houses of Parliament on January 19 and 20 as the Conference of Rulers had refused to give consent and had asked for more ‘deliberation and consultation’ with the Government.
The DAP does not want to ‘politicise’ the constitutional crisis, or we could question why the MCA Ministers and MPs are only ‘brave’ when they are following in the footsteps of UMNO.
If we want to turn the constitutional crisis into a party political issue, we could also question Lim Ah Lek’s credentials, as his political ‘trump-card’ in Pahang had always been his connections with the Pahang Palace – and during the Bentong by-election in 1989, Ah Lek even appealed to the Pahang Sultan to campaign for him in Bentong. As a ‘favourite’ of the Pahang Palace, Lim Ah Lek should know more than anyone else about royal wrongdoings. Why had he been keeping quiet all this time?
I would advise Lim Ah Lek and the other MCA Ministers to play a more responsible, positive and constructive role in the present stage of the constitutional crisis, as in urging the UMNO leaders to return to the discussion table to settle the constitutional crisis amicably with the Rulers.
MCA Ministers should make clear whether they are like the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr, Lim Keng Yaik, in being totally opposed to any suggestion that the Rulers and the Government should return to the discussion table to resolve the constitutional crisis.
If the MCA Ministers are totally opposed to the idea that the Rulers and the Government return to the discussion table, then they should also declare whether they would resign as Cabinet Ministers and pull MCA out of the Barisan Nasional if UMNO leaders should ever return to the discussion table with the Rulers.
The DAP had all along been consistent in urging the Government and the Rulers to return to the discussion table to resolve the constitutional crisis amicably, whereby the Constitution could be amended to remove the Rulers’ immunity with the consent of the Conference of Rulers.
I would advise the MCA leaders to stop being so irresponsible as trying to ‘play politics’ on the constitutional issue, or the DAP would have to expose their true character and show that the DAP is not like the MCA, which supports only what UMNO supports and opposes what UMNO opposes.