(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Cabinet should reconsider whether it is appropriate for the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to move a Parliamentary motion on a vote of confidence in Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister just because some 30-odd United States Congressman had given notice of an outrageous draft resolution calling for Mahathir’s resignation.
Furthermore, the draft resolution in the name of Robert Wexler, has not been introduced or discussed in the House of Representatives but merely referred to the Committee on International Relations and circulated to members, and the US Congress has gone into recess for 11 weeks.
According to a congressional observer, such a resolution would probably "die" or "get killed" before it gets a hearing at the sub-committee level and such a resolution is not binding nor is it a piece of legislation that could be enforced, but merely states the sentiment of congressional members about a certain issue.
All Malaysians would find the draft Wexler resolution arrogant, presumptuous and an international outrage.
The Wexler draft resolution referred to the Committee on International Relations on October 22 reads:
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the anti-American and anti-Semitic remarks of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
Whereas over the last several weeks, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia has publicly made inflammatory anti-American and anti-Semitic statements;
Whereas his characterization of a ‘Jewish agenda’ to destroy the Malaysian economy is hateful bigotry recalling the horrors of Nazi doctrine and history’s darkest moments;
Whereas it is the responsibility of the United States Congress to respond to the dangerous scapegoating of ethnic, religious and cultural groups throughout the world; and
Whereas the United States and Malaysia have had a close and enduring relationship since 1957, and the negative and volatile remarks of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed violate the spirit of friendship and co-operation between our two nations: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that -
1. the democratically-elected Government of Malaysia should, on behalf of the Malaysian people, specifically condemn the verbal attacks articulated by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed;
2. the Prime Minister of Malaysia should himself apologize and acknowledge the destructive and divisive nature of his words, or as an alternative, resign as the Prime Minister of Malaysia; and
3. the United States and Malaysia should continue to strengthen their bilateral co-operation and work to ensure the human rights of all ethnic, religious, and cultural groups.
The language in the draft Wexler resolution is highly offensive and intemperate and not used by one who cherishes good and friendly Malaysia-United States relations, and the calls for the resignation of Mahathir as Prime Minister and the government of Malaysia to condemn Mahathir are unacceptable interference with the sovereign right of Malaysians to decide their domestic political affairs.
Whatever their differences of political opinion, Malaysians cannot tolerate such arrogant and presumptuous Amercian attitude which violates the fundamental international norms of conduct not to interfere in the domestic political affairs of another country.
The DAP position is very clear right from the very beginning - that the DAP would give full support to Mahathir if there is an international conspiracy to force him to resign as the decision whether he should continue or resign as Prime Minister is a matter which should be decided by Malaysians themselves and no others.
This was why on Oct. 17, I had suggested that if Mahathir felt it necessary to demonstrate to the world that he still commanded the confidence of the people to continue as Prime Minister, the proper way to do so is by way of a motion of confidence in Parliament rather than to hold public meetings, demonstrations, placards, car stickers and even wearing of badges expressing support for Mahathir.
I reiterated my proposal in Parliament but apparently, Mahathir did not feel it necessary to ask Parliament to move a confidence motion to demonstrate to the world that he still commanded the confidence of Malaysians as Prime Minister.
In fact, despite attempts by certain Barisan Nasional leaders to place Mahathir in a no-win situation in turning the Sungai Bakap by-election into a confidence test for Mahathir, the DAP saved the Prime Minister from national and international embarrassment as the Barisan Nasional majority was certain to be reduced by making it very clear that DAP did not regard the by-election as a confidence test for Mahathir!
Why should things change just because some 30-odd US Congressman acted with outrageous arrogance, presumptuousness and temerity by giving notice of a draft motion against Mahathir. Is the Malaysian Parliament to be asked to pass a confidence motion in Mahathir every time a handful of legislators in the United States or some Western countries circulated a draft motion which uses intemperate language attempting to interfere in the political domestic affairs of Malaysia?
The Government should fully consult with the Opposition in Parliament before presenting any motion of confidence to ensure that there is no over-reaction or inappropriate response to the draft Wexler resolution.
While the DAP has made it very clear that we would give full support to Mahathir as Prime Minister if there is any international conspiracy involving foreign powers, whether the United States or any Western nation, seeking to topple the Prime Minister as unwarranted and intolerable foreign interference in domestic political affairs, we have also made it clear that the DAP's full support would not be blind or uncritical, reserving our right to criticise and even oppose policies and measures which are wrong, misguided or counter-productive to the national interest.
In this connection, I would suggest that before any Parliamentary debate on the confidence motion, MPs should be allowed a viewing of the RTM recording of Mahathir's speech in Kuala Trengganu about the purported international Jewish conspiracy and agenda to sabotage the Malaysian economy, which had been denied by Mahathir - so that MPs know what was actually said by Mahathir in Kuala Trengganu.
Malaysians should also brook no interference with the sovereign right of Malaysians, whether individuals, companies or corporations, to do business with other countries, whether they are friends or enemies of the United States.
For this reason, the US attempt to statutorily apply the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act 1996, a piece of US domestic legislation, on Malaysia because of Petronas' dealings with Iran must be dismissed summarily as an intolerable violation of Malaysia's sovereignty.