Mahathir has deliberately timed the general election to play the Chinese card when Chinese premier Zhu Rongji visits Malaysia on  Nov. 22/23 on his way to ASEAN Summit in Manila


Media Conference Statement (3)
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya,  Monday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been trying to create a foreign bogey, alleging that the Barisan Alternative is a tool and puppet of foreign powers and Opposition leaders are unpatriotic and disloyal who, if elected, would undermine and even destroy  the sovereignty and independence of the country.

This is my eighth general election, having been a Member of Parliament for over 30 years, being first elected in 1969.

Surely, if I am unpatriotic, disloyal, a threat to the sovereignty and independence of the country,  the Barisan Nasional government should have discovered it in the past three decades and not now, when I am contesting in the eighth general election!

At the end of September,  Mahathir went to  the Council on Foreign Relations in New York where he set aside  national honour, pride and dignity to plug for foreign support for the ruling political parties in the Barisan Nasional as against the Malaysian opposition.

Mahathirís speech was  a disgraceful first in the nationís 42-year history  where the Malaysian  Prime Minister had to go to a foreign land to appeal to foreigners to intervene in our domestic politics and support the ruling coalition against the Opposition.

Mahathir had been accusing the  Opposition parties and leaders of disloyalty for being stooges of foreign powers and countries, but we have never done what he had done, appealing in a forum in a foreign country for support for the Barisan Nasional against the Barisan Alternative.

If any Barisan Alternative leader had done what Mahathir had done  at the American Council of Foreign Relations, he or she would have been accused of disloyalty and even charged with treasons.  Why should it be any different with the Prime Minister?

Now, Mahathir is again planning to solicit foreign support in the tenth general election when the future of Malaysia should be solely determined by the 9.6 million voters.

It is clear that Mahathir has deliberately timed the general election to play the Chinese card when Chinese premier Zhu Rongji visits Malaysia on  Nov. 22/23 on his way to ASEAN Summit in Manila.

It is most inappropriate to involve a foreign leader in the domestic elections, whether directly or indirectly.

This would in fact be the first time in the history of Malaysia where a foreign leader is scheduled to make an official visit to the country in the midst of a general election.

Such a "first" for Malaysia by Mahathir is not for the larger interest of Malaysia but to try to anchor the Barisan Nasionalís chances of retaining its two-thirds parliamentary majority in the tenth general election.

I would urge the  Malaysian and Chinese governments to seriously reconsider the implications of Zu Rongjiís visit to Malaysia, as he would be drawn into the Barisan Nasionalís  general election campaign.

Is the Barisan Nasional so worried about its chances of retaining parliamentary two-thirds majority that it had to involve a foreign leader, and in this case the Chinese Premier, to win votes?

(15/11/99)


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