Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit. Siang, in Parliament House -Committee Room One on Thursday, July 29, 1993 at 12 noon
Two Challenges to Anwar: Firstly, to take legal action for what I had repeated outside Parliament on Monday and secondly, to specify what other things I had said during my speech in Parliament on the Sewerage Services Bill which he wants me to repeat outside Dewan Rakyat so that I could do so within 24 hours
Last Monday, in the Parliament press room, l accepted challenge of the Finance Minister, Dat.uk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and repeated outside the Dewan Rakyat chambers what I said in the debate on the Sewerage Services Bill last Thursday, that Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who had been awarded the privatisation for the national sewerage services system through Indah Consortium, is ‘ kawan karib’ of Anwar Ibrahim.
It has taken Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim more than 48 hours to respond to my acceptance of his challenge to repeat outside Parliament what I had said inside the Dewan Rakyat.
The reason why an MP is challenged to repeat his statement outside Parliament is because what an MP says in Parliament is protected by the parliamentary privilege of immunity and no legal action could be instituted against him. In repeating his statement, outside Parliament, the MP would have waived his parliamentary immunity to allow the challenger to take legal action against him.
When Datuk Anwar Ibrahim challenged me to repeat outside Parliament what I had said in the House, there is only one purpose to give him the opportunity to take legal action against me for what I had said in Parliament. This was why when I heard last evening that Anwar Ibrahim would be giving a press conference 48 hours after I had accepted his challenge, I had expected him to announce that his lawyer’s have filed legal action against me.
Anwar created Commonwealth parliamentary history in being the first and only Minister- to challenge an Opposition MP to repeat outside Parliament what had not been said inside
I must confess utter surprise when Anwar Ibrahim developed a complete innovation to this challenge to an Opposition MP to repeat outside Parliament what he had said inside the House – to ask me to ‘repeat’ outside the House what I had not said at all.
I do not know how Anwar Ibrahim could in all seriousness ask me to ‘repeat’ outside the House what I had never said in Parliament.
Anwar Ibrahim has created Commonwealth Parliamentary history in being the first and only Minister not only in Malaysia but in all Commonwealth Parliaments who challenged an Opposition MP to repeat, outside Parliament, what he had not said in the House.
Anwar Ibrahim accused me of ‘dodging’ the issue, when he is the one who is dodging the issue. He challenged me to repeat outside Parliament what I had said in the Dewan Rakyat last Thursday, and when this challenge had been accepted, dodged the issue, by making a new challenge in wanting me to ‘repeat’ outside Parliament what I had not said in the debate on the Sewerage Services Bill.
Anwar claimed that what, I had repeated in the Parliamentary press room outside the Dewan Rakyat on Monday has nothing to do with his challenge. Who is he trying to bluff? Everyone who were in the Dewan Rakyat to witness his ‘famous1 intervention during my speech on the Sewerage Services Bill last Thursday know that the whole episode stemmed from my making the remark that Tan Sri Vincent. Tan was ‘kawan karib’ of Anwar Ibrahim,
Anwar Ibrahim must have become so preoccupied not only with his duties as Finance Ministry but the UMNO ‘battle of the decade’ that he has forgotten the simple meaning of the ‘word ‘repeat’. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current, English (low-priced edition), “repeat.” means “say or do again”.
Anwar should fight his own battle without having to fall back on the Prime Minister
In his press conference yesterday, Anwar Ibrahim was giving me another chance to repeat outside the Dewan Rakyat allegations against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and himself over the awarding of the contract for the national sewerage system.
I have three things to say about his giving me ‘another chance’. It is interesting that for the first time since his ‘famous’ intervention during my speech on the Sewerage Services Bill in Dewan Rakyat last Thursday, Anwar Ibrahim is bringing in the Prime Minister, Anyone who heard Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament last Thursday knows that he did not say a single, word about the Prime Minister but only himself. The reason why he has dragged in the Prime Minister one week after the event is very obvious. I would advice Anwar Ibrahim to stand on his own feet to fight, his own battle without having to fall back on the Prime Minister.
Secondly, the question of ‘another chance to repeat outside Dewan Rakyat what I had said inside1 does not arise, as I had already done so in the Parliament press room on Monday.
Thirdly, I did not say during my speech on the Sewerage Services Bill in Parliament last Thursday that the Prime .Minister or Anwar Ibrahim “had personal interests or that there were abuses and corruption in awarding the project to Indah Consortium”.
Does Anwar Ibrahim want me to repeat what I had not said in Parliament? Or does he want me to repeat what he himself had said?
It is not for Anwar Ibrahim to give .me ‘another chance’, taut for me to give Anwar Ibrahim ‘another chance1 to redeem his political credibility, as:
Firstly, to take legal action against me for what I had repeated outside Parliament on Monday in response to his challenge; and
Secondly, to specify what other things I had said during my speech in Parliament on the Sewerage Services Bill which he wants me to repeat outside Dewan Rakyat so that I could do so within 24 hours.
In fact, there is a third matter which Anwar Ibrahim must do urgently in order to redeem his political credibility, especially with regard to his commitment not to compromise in the battle against corruption, unethical practices and all forms of abuses of power.
Anwar Ibrahim should realise, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee against Corruption and Malpractices, that there is a revolt against corrupt and money politics in many Asian countries, and this is why there is the historic political development in Japan where Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) faces the prospect of being ousted from government after 38 years in power following the agreement in pie by seven Japanese Opposition parties to form a coalition government.
The development in Japan should serve as a warning to UMNO and Barisan Nasional that if they continue to countenance corruption and money politics, they could go the way of the LDP in Japan.
In South Korea, the first civilian president in three decades, Kim Young-sam is waging a clean-up of awesome proportions and 3,000 Government officials, businessmen and politicians have been fired, reprimanded or jailed on bribery charges.
In Taiwan, a new “sunshine law” had been enacted requiring some 23,000 civil servants, military officers and judges to report their family assets. Nearly 1,000 ranking officials must do so publicly, while 629 top political leaders, including the president, the premier and members of the cabinet, and all legislators, must deposit their financial holdings in blind trusts,
In Thailand, a Cabinet with too many Ministers who had accumulated “extraordinary and unusual wealth’ disproportionate to the known sources of income “was toppled.
Challenge to Anwar Ibrahim to prove by deed and action that he is ‘Mr. Clean and Mr. Clean-Up”
But Malaysia appears to be going against the trend to clean up politics in Asia, although Anwar Ibrahim presents himself not only as ‘Mr. Clean’ but also as ‘Mr. Clean-Up1 as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Corruption and Malpractices.
It is very disturbing therefore that one of Anwar Ibrahim’s standard-bearers in the UMNO ‘battle of the decade’, the Malacca Chief Minister and candidate for the UMNO Youth Leadership, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik listed two days ago the three qualities of leadership for vision 2020: kepimpinan yang teruji, berprestasi dan berwawasan. There was no mention about the most important quality of all – kempimpinan yang bermoral dan berakhlak tinggi!
Other disturbing proofs of the weakening and downsliding in the government’s commitment to clean, moral and honest politics could be seen from the following:
*After 16 months, the Anti-Corruption Agency could still not conclude its investigations into the MIC President and Minister for Energy, Telekoms and Post, Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu in connection with the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal;
* The scandal of the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, accumulating extraordinary and unusual wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. The Barisan Nasional leadership has not only failed to take any action against Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, but he has become the standard-bearer of ‘Mr. Clean and Mr. Clean-Up’ in the UMNO ‘fight of the decade’;
* The blatant attempt by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Othman Abdul in Parliament yesterday to mislead Parliament and the country when he claimed that, the Anti-Corruption Agency had not submitted a draft legislation for expanded powers so as to be snore effective in the fight against corruption. The Director-General of ACA, Tan Sri Zulkifli, himself told me when 1 met him last year that the ACA had submitted draft legislation for a more effective fight against corruption to the Government, and that it was with the Attorney-General’ s Chambers. Tan Sri Zulkifli had also made such an announcement to the press.
Last night, the Prime Minister, at the Harvard Club dinner, spoke of the importance that decision-makers appreciate the ethics and morality.
As ‘Mr. Clean and Mr. Clean-Up’, Anwar Ibrahim’s commitment the on ethical arid moral politics cannot be at be at the “talk level’ but must deed and action level.
I challenge Anwar Ibrahim to prove by deed and action that he is “Mr. Clean and Mr. Clean-Up’ declaring his stand on the following five issues:
1. His stand on the case of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik and the question of top political leaders who have accumulated vast wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income and for which they could not account for publicly;
2. Whether he supports the new Anti-Corruption draft legislation submitted by the ACA to the government to enable a more effective war against corruption, as well as confiscating the vast wealth accumulated by political leaders disproportionate to their known source of income like Tan Sri Rahim Tambv Cik unless of they could publicly account for the lawful origins of such vast wealth;
3. A sun-shine law requiring the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister,, all Ministers, Chief Ministers, Mentri-Mentri Besar, MPs and Assemblymen to publicly declare their family assets;
4. Elevation of Anti-Corruption Agency into an Anti-Corruption Commission to be answerable only to Parliament; and
5. Establishment of a Parliamentary Committee the Opposition to monitor and supervise the Corruption Commission.
DAP pledges full and total support if Anwar spearheads a nation-wide campaign to clean up the politics of money and corruption in Malaysia
In keeping with his image as “Mr. Clean and Mr. Clean-Up’, I invite Anwar Ibrahim to spearhead a nation-wide campaign to clean up the politics of money and corruption in Malaysia to show that Malaysia is not left behind in the Asian revolt against the politics of money and corruption. He -would then have shown the qualities needed for leading Malaysia into the 21st, century.
If Anwar Ibrahim is prepared to spearhead such a nationwide campaign to clean up the politics of money and corruption in Malaysia, the DAP pledges to give him full and total support!
Anwar accused me of having ‘run out of political capital and bankrupt of ideas’. If Anwar Ibrahim wants to be the political leader of tomorrow, he should show more originality of ideas.
I have been accused of being ‘bankrupt, of ideas’ for more than two decades, and if these accusations are right, I must hold the world record as the political leader whose ‘political bankruptcy’ is most enduring.
In fact, 1 can count the scores of Barisan Nasional political Ministers and leaders – both in UMNO and MCA – who had accused me of being ‘bankrupt of ideas’ who had preceded me in actual bankruptcy – both political and financial.
Let me advise Anwar to maintain higher standards in political arguments and exchanges, especially as he has Prime Ministerial ambitions.