Speech (Part 3) by Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP ‘Be A Voter For Tanjong 3’ Ceramah held at Penang Chinese Town Hall on Saturday, 7th August 1993 at 8 p.m.
DAP declare that it will not take sides in the Ghafar Baba-Anwar Ibrahim ‘battle of the decade’ in UMNO
When asked after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on Thursday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed declined to comment on my emergency motion on the last day of the Dewan Rakyat to determine whether Ghafar Bbaba commands the confidence of Parliament, in particular the majority of UMNO MPs, to effectively, honourably and credibly continue as Deputy Prime Minister.
He said it was up to me to say what I wanted and added: “He speaks when he feels like speaking, After speaking he will say the country is undemocratic. In an undemocratic country, he could be arrested.”
By Mahathir’s logic, a country where a person could be arrested for speaking his mind is undemocratic. I had been detained twice under the Internal Security Act for speaking my mind and Mahathir must agree therefore that the Barisan Nasional Government is undemocratic.
Be that as it may, Mahathir was correct in declining to comment on my motion in Parliament on Ghafar Baba’s position as Deputy Prime Minister, for it was perfectly in accordance with Parliamentary tradition and convention as the announcement that the majority of the UMNO MPs, who form the backbone of Barisan Nasional MPs, had withdrawn their support for Ghafar Baba in favour of Anwar Ibrahim had created a parliamentary, government and constitutional crisis.
How can a Deputy Prime Minister function effectively, honourably and credibly inside and outside the country when he has lost the confidence of Parliament – in particular the majority of UMNO MPs?
However, there is a saying that ‘fools’ jump in where angels fear to tread’ – and this what the MCA President, Datuk Dr.Ling Liong Sik has done.
In Perak yesterday, Liong Sik accused me of ‘interfering with UMNO elections’ when I introduced the motion in Parliament.
Liong Sik wants to give the people the impression that UMNO leaders cannot look after their own interest and that they needed the MCA President’s help.
In actual fact, Liong Sik is the most unqualified MCA President to make such a accusation. Firstly, there is no truth in the allegation that I am interfering in UMNO party elections.
Liong Sik will not be the MCA President today if MCA had not been virtually taken over by Ghafar Baba during the Neo Yee- Tan Koon Swan MCA power struggle in 1985
Secondly, everybody will remember that if any political party had interfered with the internal affairs of another political party, it is UMNO which had interfered with the internal affairs of MCA.
In fact, Liong Sik will not be the MCA President today if the MCA had not at one time been effectively taken over by the UMNO Deputy President, Ghafar Baba, in 1985 who virtually operated as the MCA President during the height of the MCA power struggle between the Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan factions.
Did Liong Sik stand up and tell Ghafar Baba not to intefere with MCA’s internal affairs in 1985 as this is a violation of the integrity, dignity and self-respect of the MCA leaders and members?
Of course, if Liong Sik had done that, he would not have become MCA President today.
I would therefore advise Liong Sik to stay away from subjects he do not understand very much and stick to things he is good at, like frying kway teows or singing karaoke!
DAP wants to make it very clear that we will not take sides in the Ghafar Baba-Anwar Ibrahim ‘Battle of the Decade’ in UMNO.
It has been reported that my Parliamentary motion had ‘saved’ Ghafar Baba from the onslaughts of the Anwar Ibrahim camp. I am very flattered by such articles which seem to credit me with extraordinary political powers to influence the outcome of UMNO party elections. However, I am modest enough to state that I do not have such power or influence – and in fact, no one outside UMNO has such power or influence.
It is the UMNO delegates who must decide who is to become the UMNO President after the November UMNO party elections and I am not interested in ‘saving’ Ghafar Baba or in promoting Anwar Ibrahim.
UMNO leaders should not use the UMNO party elections to claim ‘immunity’ from critism if their actions or statements are against the interest of the people
The DAP, however, will not allow anyone contesting in the UMNO party elections to claim ‘immunity’ from critism if their actions or statements are against the interest of the people and nation.
The Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, for instance, should not think he could accuse the DAPSY National Chairman and MPs for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, of interfering in UMNO party elections because of Guan Eng’s continuing revelations of Rahim Tamby Cik’s unusual wealth and assets, Afater all, Guan Eng started his revelations in early April while Rahim Tamby Cik announced his candidature for UMNO Youth Leader’s post on 12th July.
The Anwar challenge to Ghafar for the posts of UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister appears to be unavoidable
Anwar Ibrahim’s challenge to Ghafar Baba for the posts of UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister appears to be unavoidable. Furthermore, it would appear that the odds are in favour of Anwar Ibrahim.
In view of Mahathir’s repeated advice to avoid a contest for the post of the UMNO Deputy President in the November UMNO elections, the battle is likely to be decided in the UMNO divisional nominations for the Deputy UMNO President’s post in September.
If Anwar Ibrahim secures the nomination of over 70 per cent of the UMNO Divisions and their delegate support for the post of UMNO Deputy President in September, then the battle is all but over, and all that is left to be done is to find a graceful exit for Ghafar Bbaba.
Come UMNO November party elections, there would probably be only one nomination for the UMNO Deputy President – that of Anwar Ibrahim.
Non-UMNO members cannot and should not interfere with UMNO party elections, but as the election of the UMNO Deputy President by tradition also means the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister, public interest will increase in intensity until the outcome is decided.
Call on the people of Penang to ‘Look East’ as exhorted by Mahathir and follow the Japanese example to change government
One of Dr. Mahathir’s slogans when he became Prime Minister was ‘Look East’. In the next general elections, the people of Penang should literally take him at his world, ‘Look East’ and follow the Japanese example to change government.
The main argument advanced by Gerakan leaders against the DAP Tanjong 3 project is Penang’s development. If this is an acceptable argument, then the Japanese, whose GNP per capita is ten times higher than that of Malaysians, would never have changed government in last month’s general elections and toppled Liberal Democratic Party from power after 38 years of uninterrupted rule.
In fact, Barisan Nasional leaders are fond of boasting that corruption in Malaysia is very much under control as evidenced by the fast pace of development and wealth enjoyed by Malaysians.
It is clear that these Barisan Nasional leaders do not understand the historic changes taking place in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan where corruption had been declared as Public Enemy No.1.
In terms of wealth, Malaysia is still in the smell league as compared to South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. For instance, the GNP per capita for South Korea is US$6,635, Taiwan US$10,215, Japan US$29,500 as compared to Malaysia US$2,965.
DAP calls on Anwar Ibrahim to explain the latest position of Bank Negara’s RM16 billion forex ‘paper losses’: whether the ‘paper losses’ have increased or they have turned into ‘paper profits’.
However, Malaysia’s financial scandals are in the world’s big league, led by Bank Negara’s RM16 billion foreign exchange losses last year.
Both the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and Bank Negara have failed to give the Malaysian nation a satisfactory explanation for the causes of this mammoth financial scandal – which is six times the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal – apart from claiming that they are “paper losses”, that “the Bank Negara’s loss is the nation’s gain” and that with regard to its RM2.7 billion contingent liabilities in the 1992 Bank Negara Report, “eventually, the bank can end up with a profit or a loss, or it just squares.”
In reply during question time on Bank Negara’s forex losses in Parliament last month, Anwar said that as a result of the RM16 billion forex scandal, he is studying the Bank Negara figures weekly.
Parliament is not asking for a weekly report of Bank Negara’s forex transactions, and it is not being unreasonable that Parliament should be informed of the latest position of Bank Negara’s foreign exchange trading and speculation on a half-yearly basis – unless Bank Negara has nothing cheery and optimistic to report about.
If Anwar persists in refusing to give the latest figures of Bank Negara’s foreign exchange position, whether the losses have further accumulated or been recovered, then this is another failure of Anwar’s claim that he is committed to a responsible, accountable and transparent government.