by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, February 2, 1993:
Ghafar’s allegation that the DAP was ‘cowardly’ in abstaining on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill most ridiculous and laughable
The allegation by the Deputy Prime Minister. Ghafar Baba, that the DAP was ‘cowardly’ in abstaining on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill is most ridiculous and laughable.
If Ghafar Baba claims to be very ‘brave’, why didn’t he support the DAP Deputy Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh, when the latter raised in Parliament in 1984 the criminal wrongdoing of the Sultan of Johore? Instead, Karpal was suspended from attending Parliament for 20 months.
Again, if Ghafar Baba had been that ‘brave’, why did he aid and abet the UMNO sttacks on Sdr. Karpal Singh in 1987 when Karpal brought the Sultan of Selangor to court to seek a declaration whether the Sultan’s statement that he would not pardon drug traffickers in future was unconstitutional?
In fact, the case of Karpal Singh summoning the Sultan of Selangor to court in September 1987 was used as one of the reasons for the mass Internal Security Act detention of DAP leaders under Operation Lallang in October 1987, and it was one of the main issues for he Special Branch officers during their interrogation of Karpal and myself during our first sixty days of detention.
DAP wanted the Yang di Pertuan Agong to raise the issue of the assault of the two Johore Assemblymen to the Conference of Rulers
Ghafar asked why the DAP had not lodged a police report and had instead sought an audience with the Yang di Pertuan Agong over the assault of two Johore DAP Assemblymen by the Sultan of Johore in 1991.
The DAP had not lodged a police report because the assault took place in the presence of the senior police and judicial officers of the state, whose duty would have been to stop such a criminal act. The Federal Government had full knowledge of the assault because the Johore Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin, was also present.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s advice was sought, and he did not advice report to the police, but patience.
In view of the government attitude at the time, condoning all such royal wrongdoings, as well as Article 181(2) of the Constitution which gives the Rulers the immunity not to be brought to the courts, the DAP Central Executive Committee decided that party leaders sought on audience with the Yang di Pertuan Agong to ask him to raise the matter at the Conference of Rulers to put a stop to such royal crimes.
It is significant why Ghafar Baba should criticize the DAP two weeks after it had cost its abstention vote on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill.
The reason is very simple, Ghafar Baba was responding to the ‘SOS’ call of Gerakan leaders, particularly the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, whose attempts to ‘politicies’ the constitutional crisis and play party politics had failed. It is public knowledge that Ghafar was in Penang for a Gerakan Chinese New Year function a day earlier.
Despite repeated DAP prodding, Keng Yaik and the Gerakan leaders dare not publicly say ‘yes’ to the DAP proposal that the Government and the Rulers return to the discussion table to seek a quick and amicable settlement to the constitutional crisis before more harm is done to Malaysia’s economic prospects, nor do they dare to say ‘no’ to the DAP proposal.
The Gerakan leaders dare not agree to the DAP proposal because the UMNO leaders have not given their ‘green light’. They dare not publicly say ‘no’ to the DAP proposal for fear that UMNO leaders might decide later to return to the discussion table with the Rulers.
It is pathetic that the Gerakan leaders had to appeal to UMNO leaders for help, even just to gain political mileage for Gerakan in their attempt to politicize the constitutional crisis!
DAP does not agree with reasons for PAS abstention on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill
The Kelantan Mentri Besar, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, in his comments yesterday, had given the impression in certain press reports that the DAP and PAS had reached a common stand in abstaining on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill.
Nothing can be further from the truth, as the DAP’s reasons for abstention are completely different from the reasons given by PAS/ furthermore, namely, that the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill is not comprehensive and Islamic enough.
The DAP MPs would have voted for the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill if the Conference of Rulers had given its consent, as the DAP agrees with the principles and proposals in the Bill to remove the Royal immunity to commit criminal and civil wrongdoings.
The issue now is how to get this consent of the Conference of Rulers, as required by the Constitution. As the Conference of Rulers had invited the Government for ‘further discussion and deliberations’ and accepted the principle that Rulers cannot be above the law, why can’t the Government and the Rulers return to the discussion table and spare the country a prolonged constitutional crisis which would adversely affect the country’s economy?
The Government has said that constitutional amendments to remove the Rulers’ immunity is a democratisation process. I fully agree. However, if in the process, calls on the Government and the Rulers to return to the discussion table to resolve the constitutional crisis amicably is condemned in the mass media as something irresponsible and anti-national, then the country is not being towards any ‘democratisation process’, but the reverse.