Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance calls on Mahahtir to convene a Round-Table Conference of political parties and NGOs to work out a programme of political reforms to enable the country to better overcome the economic crisis


Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament House, Monday): The signatories to the Pantai Kundor, Malacca Declaration on Tuesday, 2nd June 1998,  namely Dr. Sanusi Othman (Parti Rakyat), Mohamad Sabu, MP (PAS), Dr. Mohamad Nasir (Socialist Party Malaysia), Dr. Chen Man Hin (DAP), Ahmad Nor (DAP), Lim Kit Siang (DAP),Lim Guan Eng (DAP) and Abdul Muluk Daud (DAP) have decided to constitute ourselves as the Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance.

The Pantai Kundor Declaration was made after the Police had refused to  grant a permit for the holding of a  Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng Forum at Pantai Kundor, Malacca on June 2, 1998.

             In the Pantai Kundor Declaration, we had drawn attention to the danger  of  the country moving towards a police state, trampling on the civil liberties and democratic freedoms of Malaysians, by disallowing peaceful gatherings and public meetings, whether on the issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance or on the water shortage crisis.

The Barisan Nasional parties may have reason to be worried that more and more Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, outraged by the Lim Guan Eng case,  are uniting in their concerns for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, but we want to reiterate that this should be no concern or business of the police - for it  does not pose any security problem but at most a challenge to the government of the day to be more responsive to the aspirations of the people for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

In pursuit of our commitment and resolve to  the cause of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, we have constituted ourselves into a Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance to mobilise popular support for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

We hope like-minded individuals and groups would join us in our struggle for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to form a Coalition of Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance, whether it be on the injustice of the LimGuan Eng case, the threat to freedom and democracy arising from  the high-handed and undemocratic police actions to stifle the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and assembly as in the three recent incidents where the police disallowed the holding of the "Gathering of Legal Eagles'" in Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng and the Pantai Kundor forum on justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, and the FOMCA forum on the water crisis.

We will unite forces to highlight issues of the need for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, whether it be the Lim Guan Eng case, the need for greater democratisation in Malaysia rather than a crackdown of civil rights and democratic freedoms, corruption, abuses of power, the water crisis, the need for greater accountability and transparency especially in the proposed Assets Management Council.

UMNO Youth chief Datuk Zahid Hamidi today made headlines when he called for the elimination of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power at the UMNO Youth Congress on "Strengthening the National Economy".

While Zahidís call for the elimination of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power is most welcome, UMNO Youth seems to be very slow in taking a strong stand against these scourges of society.

Furthermore, Zahid's call yesterday does not seem to be a fulsome and completely unqualified call for the elimination of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power  as he gives the impression that  he was merely demanding  a "fairer distribution"  of the present system rather than the complete rooting out of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power.

If UMNO Youth is now seriously concerned and committed against corruption, nepotism and abuse of power, is UMNO Youth prepared to restore the nation-wide movement against corruption, which lasted briefly for two months llast year, when everybody, whether in government, opposition or civil society, came forward to condemn and demand strong action against corruption.

There were conferences, roundtables, seminars on corruption, when  even Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs stood up to  talk about the cancerous effects of graft, but  suddenly the whole anti-corruption campaign fizzled out.

In any event, we propose to convene a Round Table Conference Against Corruption, Nepotism and Abuse of Power and we will invite Zahid to represent UMNO Youth to be a panellist.  We can invite either the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to declare open the 1998 Round Table Against Corruption, Nepotism and Abuse of Power.

I hope UMNO Youth and UMNO are prepared to join hands with all other political parties and NGOs on the common fight against corruption, nepotism and abuse of power.

(8/6/98)


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