Pathertic that the collective intelligence of all the SUPP Ministers cannot match the intelligence of the ordinary voter in Bintulu


SMedia Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): It is pathetic that the collective intelligence of the SUPP Ministers cannot match the intelligence of the ordinary voter in Bintulu.

SUPP Chairman and Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Dr. George Chan must have thought that his announcement that the Sarawak state government had approved the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua school is to be the coup de grace of the SUPP Kidurong by-election strategy.

Unfortunately, the collective intelligence of the SUPP Ministers cannot match the intelligence of the ordinary voter in Bintulu, who knows that the Sarawak state government has no such powers under the constitutional separation of powers between the Federal and the state governments to approve the establishment of any school. All that the Sarawak state government could do is to approve a piece of land for school purpose, but this does not amount to the establishment of the school. I have just returned from Bintulu where on Wednesday night, I had given Dr. George Chan24 hours to produce proof in "black-and-white" that the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, had approved its establishment.

If Najib had signed such an approval letter, why is George Chan so shy in producing it in public to establish its existence. Under normal circumstances, the SUPP leadership would have printed hundreds of thousands of copies of the approval letter to flood Bintulu and even the whole state of Sarawak to show off the SUPPís achievement.

I understand that the press were shown a letter purporting to be Najibís approval letter for the establishment of the second Chung Hua school, but the press were too far away to see the actual contents or nature of the letter. Why is the SUPP leadership behaving so strangely?

In any event, my 24-hour notice to George Chan to produce Najibís letter of approval is up, and it is most regrettable the SUPP Chairman is unable to do such a simple thing, if he claims that Najib had already signed approval for the establishment of the school.

There was another instance where the collective intelligence of the SUPP Ministers are less than the intelligence of an ordinary voter of Bintulu. This was when all the SUPP Ministers issued a challenge to me yesterday, declaring that they would all resign from the State Government whether as Deputy Chief Minister, Minister or Deputy Minister if the SUPP could not honour its promise about the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, and that I should resign as Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament and retire from politics if SUPP could honour its promise on the construction of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School.

This was the classic case of distraction of an issue and was to be another "ace" strategy by the SUPP on the eve of the Kidurong by-election, but is danger of becoming the butt of jokes of the people of Bintulu. This is because the people of Bintulu understand very well that the issue is not whether SUPP could honour its promise on the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, but whether the Education Minister had given his approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School.

George Chan is creating political history in finding the greatest difficulty to produce a letter of approval by the Education Minister which he said had been given. Has he lost it?

I want to publicly congratulate George Chan if he could produce proof that the Education Minister had given approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, although without the DAP in Kidurong by-election, such approval would have been unthinkable. Unfortunately, I cannot praise him yet as I am still waiting to see Najibís letter of approval.

If the Education Minister had given approval for the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, then the question of its approval cannot be an issue in the by-election and the by-election result can have no bearing on the question of the approval of the school.

This is because after giving official approval for the establishment of the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, the Education Minister has no powers to revoke its approval, and whether SUPP loses or the DAP wins in the by-election would not affect the official approval given for the Bintulu Chung Hua School.

On the other hand, there would be stronger reason why the voters of Kidurong should vote for the DAP and Wong Sing Ai, as the time would have come for the second phase of getting the second Bintulu Chung Hua School become a reality Ė i.e. by sending a clear message in the by-election that the government, Federal and State, should bear the full costs of building the school and not burden the people further.

George Chan had said in the by-election that anyone who requires money should see him as he is the Finance Minister. Let the voters of Kidurong make it very clear on polling day that they require money for the second Bintulu Chung Hua School, and that they want George Chan as Sarawak Finance Minister to commit responsibility for the Sarawak State Government for at least RM500,000, or half the estimated cost of the school. The other half should come from the Federal Government.

(24/10/97)


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