Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a meeting of DAP Penang State Assemblymen at Penang DAP Hqrs on Tuesday, 8th June 1993 at 8.30 p.m.
If Tsu Koon has the humility to admit that he is wrong in trying to violate and circumvent the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution and promises not to repeat it, Penang DAP Assemblymen are prepared to let the matter rest
The undemocratic and unconstitutional attempt by the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to violate and circumvent the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution and the Penang State Assembly Standing Orders is the most dishonorable chapter in the 24-year history of the Gerakan State Government of Penang.
When I first publicly exposed this undemocratic and unconstitutional violation of the six-month rule, which requires the State Assembly to meet at least once in six months, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon was so at a loss to give a credible explanation that he kept silent for over a week – hoping that this issue will die down on its own.
However, when he found that this issue was becoming bigger with his ‘thunderous silence’, he had no choice but to come out publicly with his explanations – which have make the issue even bigger because they are so week and self-serving that they are not believable at all.
What is most pathetic and regrettable is the attempt by Gerakan leaders to communalise the issue – when there is no communal dimension at all as the question is strictly about an undemocratic and unconstitutional attempt to violate and circumvent the Penang State Constitution and the Penang State Assembly Standing Orders on the six-month rule.
Gerakan leaders claims to be non-communal but they are proving to be the most communalistic and irresponsible politicians in the country when they are trying even to communalise the issue over the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution requiring the Penang State Assembly to meet at least once in six months.
Tsu Koon’s attempt to play ‘the China card’ to justify his undemocratic and unconstitutional violation of the Penang State Constitution on the six-month rule. This is also most pathetic and regrettable
Tsu Koon initiated the Gerakan attempt to play ‘the China card’ to justify his undemocratic and unconstitutional violation of the Penang State Constitution on the six-month rule. This is also most pathetic and regrettable.
He suggested that I was opposed to his joining Dr. Mahathir’s China visit from June 13 to 22, and this line was developed by other Gerakan leaders claiming that I am anti-China and that I wanted to sabotage Dr. Koh Tsu Koon’s joining the 350-man delegation accompanying the Prime Minister on his visit to China.
Penang DAP is not opposed to Dr. Koh Tsu Koon’s joining the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister to China, for we think this is good for Penang.
However, Dr. Koh’s joining Dr. Mahathir’s delegation to China cannot be used to violate and circumvent the Penang State Constitution and the Penang State Assembly Satnding Orders on the six-month rule!
Up to now, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon has not been able to give any cogent and convincing reasons why on being informed in April that he would be joining Dr. Mahathir on the China visit, he could not re-schedule the Penang State Asssembly so that it could complete its meeting before the Prime Minister leaves for China on June 13.
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon has come out very badly from this sorry episode of trying to violate the Penang State Constitution, because it highlighted the following negative and deplorable features:
Firstly, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had been quite dishonest as he had tried to conceal from Penang DAP assemblymen the separation of the official opening of the Penang State Assembly on June 12 and the working State Assembly meeting 11 days later on June 23.
Tsu Koon was also dishonest when he claimed that State Exco members were too busy with their respective duties to bring forward the Penang State Asssembly meeting in view of the China trip – as Tsu Koon was busy in April and May not with his duties as Penang Chief Minister, but his campaign to get elected as one of the three Gerakan Vice Presidents, which proved to be an abortive campaign in the end!
The Speaker, Datuk Rahman Abbas, consulted the DAP Opposition before the announcing the 12-day adjournment last June while Tsu Koon tried to conceal the 11-day adjournment after the official opening
Secondly, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is also getting quite unprincipled, when he could suggest – again developed by other Gerakan leaders – that DAP was afraid of UMNO and only bully the Gerakan. We are accused of not protesting when last year, the Penang Speaker, Datuk Adbul Rahman bin Haji Abbas, adjourned the State Assembly for 12 days after meeting from 2 to 5 – resuming only June 17.
There is however a great difference between these two adjournments. Last June, the State Assembly met for four days from June 2 to 5 and could not complete all the State Assembly business.
The State Assembly had to be postponed to June 17 because immediately after the June 5, the majority of the State Exco members including the Penang Chief Minister had planned long holidays outside the State on the occasion of Hari Raya Haji.
The Penang DAP Assemblymen were consulted and informed of the June 17 date before the announcement by the Speaker who had spoken to the Penang DAP State Assembly Deputy Leader, Sdr. Teoh Teik Huat and the DAP Assembly Whip, Sdr. Peter Dason.
In contrast, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon never consulted the DAP Assemblymen and had tried in fact to conceal for 11 days after the official opening by the Tuan Yang di Pertuan Negeri on Saturday.
This is because the separation of the official opening of the State Assembly and its working meeting by 11 days was specifically designed to violate and circumvent the six-month rule in the Penang State Constitution and planned many months earlier.
Thirdly, this sorry episode shows that Dr. Koh’s commitment to democratic principles and ideas are questionable, when he is prepared to violate the constitution to evade the six-month rule meant to render the State Government answerable and accountable to the Penang State Assemblymen at leat once in six months!
The Penang DAP has highlighted this important issue strictly from the democratic and constitutional point of view, and we have no personal or political axes to grind.
If Dr. Koh Tsu Koon has the humility to admit that he is wrong in trying to violate and circumvent the Penang State Constitution and the Penang State Assembly Standing Orders on the six-month rule, and promises not to repeat it, the Penang DAP is prepared to let the matter rest.
Why must Tsu Koon enlist the help of UMNO Youth Deputy Leader, Senator Nazri, to attack the DAP in the Senate on our proposal to increase six state assembly seats?
In this connection, Tsu Koon should explain why he must enlist the help of UMNO Youth Deputy Leader, Senator Nazri Tan Sri Aziz, to attack the DAO in the Senate yesterday on the DAP proposal to amend the State Constitution to increase six state assembly seats?
Tsu Koon should face the Penang DAP Assemblymen in the Penang State Assembly on this issue during the debate on my private member’s bill to amend the Penang State Constitution to increase six state assembly seats and not ask for help from the UMNO Youth to attack the DAP in the Senate, where the DAP is not represented.
Is Tsu Koon prepared to give an assurance that there would be a full debate in the State Assembly on the DAP private member’s bill to amend the State Constitution to increase six state assembly seats and that the Penang State Government would not sabotage the private member’s bill altogether by not allowing even a debate to take place?