I will go on a nation-wide tour of the various DAP states and branches to address head-on the vicious falsehood that I have betrayed my principles and the DAP cause by being very supportive of Mahathir for an ulterior personal agenda


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): I will go on a nation-wide tour of the various DAP states and branches in the next two months to address head-on the vicious falsehoods that I have betrayed my principles and the DAP cause by being very supportive of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for a ulterior personal agenda.

It is very unfortunate that a time when the entire energies of the people should be focussed on how to bring about a scenario where the Malaysian government, society and people could respond as one unit to tide through the economic crisis in the shortest possible time and with the minimum of avoidable pain, hardships and sufferings to the people, there are such vicious and unproductive falsehoods.

According to these falsehoods, I have changed since the 1995 general elections and have betrayed my principles and the DAP cause as shown by my 'fulsome' support for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in the national economic crisis, as illustrated by the following instances:

What I find particularly galling is the allegation of some people that I have an ulterior personal agenda or is seeking high office in the Barisan Nasional Government by being uncharacteristically supportive of the Prime Minister, as in the confidence motion in Parliament last November, and that my meeting with the Prime Minister in Langkawi last month was in pursuit of such an ulterior personal agenda.

What is overlooked is that I had declared support for Mahathir in rejecting any foreign attempt to interfere in the domestic political affairs of Malaysia as in the case of a few US Congressmen's draft resolution demanding for Mahathirís resignation as Prime Minister, as whether Mahathir should resign as Prime Minister is something to be exclusively decided by Malaysians and not by foreigners, whether Americans, British or Europeans.

However, while DAP was prepared to give full support to Mahathir to reject foreign attempts to interfere in the domestic political affairs of Malaysia, DAP MPs did not participate in the voting of the confidence motion, for we wanted a separate motion and debate on the confidence question - which should be a verdict on the record of Mahathirís premiership and national stewardship and which had nothing to do with the impudent US Congressmenís resolution asking Mahathir to resign as Prime Minister.

On behalf of the DAP, I had always maintained the stand that in the larger national interest, the DAP is prepared to co-operate with the Barisan Nasional government led by Mahathir without compromising our principles or our right and duty to articulate the aspirations and concerns of Malaysians.

Such a preparedness to co-operate with the government of the day is even more essential at a time when the country is faced with an unprecedentedeconomic crisis. We do not agree with Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional government on many areas with regard to their management of the economic crisis - and we had not flinched from speaking our minds and expressing our criticisms inside and outside Parliament although these are too "sensitive" to be reported in the mass media - but the duty of the DAP and in fact, all Malaysians, is to extend our hand of co-operation to the government, not for the sake of Mahathir, the government or the DAP but for the sake of all Malaysians!

The question is whether the government is prepared to reciprocate and co-operate with the people and the DAP so as to restore confidence in the management of the national economic crisis!

I will not allow vicious falsehoods that I have an ulterior personal agenda to stop me from expressing support for Mahathir so long as he remains Prime Minister on matters which are in the larger interest of the people and nation, nor would I be deterred from the prospect of a third detention under the Internal Security Act from continuing to speak up on behalf of the people in their unhappiness and dissatisfaction with government policies and measures. In Penang on Friday, I had referred to my being torn between those who are concerned that I may again be jeopardising my personal freedom for speaking up fearlessly during the national economic crisis should there be another crackdown like the Operation Lalang mass arrests under the Internal Security Act ten years ago and others who allege that I have betrayed my principles and the DAP cause for being too supportive of Mahathir

My strong advocacy of Information Technology and support of the government's ambitious Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) plan to leapfrog the country's transformation from an industrial-based society into an information-based society - although I have strong reservations about the way the government is going about implementing the MSC idea - has also been corralled as lending support to the allegation that I have now become a fervent and uncritical supporter for Mahathir because of an ulterior personal agenda.

Another argument being used to fortify the allegation that I have betrayed my principles and the DAP cause is that I have deviated from the DAP's objectives of a Malaysian Malaysia.

These are some of the disgusting aspects of public political life which have discouraged many good and decent people from dedicating their life or even taking an active part in politics.

I will go on a nation-wide tour of DAP states and branches in the next two months as it is important that such vicious falsehoods are not allowed to undermine the party's response at national, state and local levels to play an active part to help rally and galvanise the government, society and people into one nationally unifying force to address the economic crisis, the worst of which has yet to come.

(18/1/98)


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