Mahathir should consider the possibility of holding fresh general elections for Selangor so that there is not only a new Mentri Besar but a new team of Exco members to make a new start in state government and politics

Media Comment
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): Selangor Mentri Besar-designate Datuk Abu Hassan Omar yesterday expressed the hope for a no-contest in the by-election for the Permatang state seat, saying that it would merely be a waste of time and money for any opposition to contest.

Datuk Abu Hassan should realise that he has to thank the DAP for his new political office. If not for the pressures applied by the DAP, both at the Parliamentary and the Selangor State Assembly levels, on Tan Sri Muhammad Taib demanding for full and satisfactory accounting for his unusual wealth and extraordinary expenditures, Muhammad Taib would still be Mentri Besar today!

Malaysians remember that when Muhammad Taib was first arrested and charged in court in Brisbane last December for not declaring RM2.4 million worth of foreign currency, Abu Hassan had told the press that Muhammad had told him that the money was meant for "shopping". However, Abu Hassan's statement was immediately contradicted when the Mentri Besar's office issued a two-paragraph statement denying that Muhammad had mentioned in his telephone conversation with Abu Hassan that the money belonged to him.

May be, this is why the Sultan of Selangor's advice to the new Mentri Besar is particularly pertinent. Asked by the press as to what advice he would give to the new Mentri Besar, the Sultan said he must exercise greater care when carrying out his duties, be honest and sincere, must not tell lies and, most important, he must be trustworthy when dealing in matters of public interest.

Regardless of the outcome of the result of the by-election, even in a situation where Abu Hassan is sure to win, a contest in the Permatang by-election would not be meaningless or a waste of time and money, as it could be used to highlight the need for a clean and honest administration - and the scandalous situation where there is not a single Selangor UMNO Exco member or assemblyman who is "clean and honest" as well as capable enough to become Mentri Besar.

In view of the fact that there is not a single UMNO Exco or Assembly member who is regarded as clean, honest and capable enough either by the Prime Minister or the Sultan of Selangor to take over the office of Mentri Besar, should they all continue as Exco members and/or Assembly members?

May be the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should seriously consider that there is a need, not only in having a new Mentri Besar for Selangor, but for a new team to have a new start in Selangor government and politics - and to seriously consider dissolving the Selangor State Assembly to hold fresh general elections in the state. Get Muhammad Taib to resign as Batang Kali Assemblyman and I will recommend to Selangor DAP State Committee not to contest in Permatang by-election

A contest in Permatang would also be meaningful in highlighting the unresolved issue of Muhammad Taib, who had not only failed to institute legal proceedings against the Brisbane Courier Mail as he had threatened the day he stepped down as Mentri Besar three weeks ago on 12th April, but had failed to give any satisfactorily public accounting of his vast properties in Australia and extraordinary expenditures.

If Abu Hassan can get Muhammad Taib to resign as UMNO Vice President or at least as Batang Kali Assemblyman, I would recommend to the Selangor DAP State Committee not to contest in Permatang by-election.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong