Mahathir is the "puppet master" pulling the strings of the Barisan Nasional-controlled mass media to orchestrate an attack on Barisan Alternative MPs for staging Mondayís  walkout against the statutory rape of the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya,  Wednesday): On Monday,  the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  accused me as being the "mastermind" and "puppet master pulling strings" in Parliament  over the walkout by Barisan Alternative MPs  in protest against the statutory rape of the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders by the unconstitutional convening of the first meeting of the tenth Parliament.

He  said opposition MPs, "most of whom are new", would  not have touched on the legality of Parliament being convened not in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution  if I had not raised it.

The Prime Minister was insulting the intelligence and integrity of Barisan Alternative MPs thinking that just because Barisan Nasional MPs could be led by the nose by the Barisan Nasional  leadership, turning them into Parliamentary "yes-men" and "yes-women", Barisan Alternative MPs are the same.

The collective walkout by all the  Barisan Alternative  and PBS MPs on Monday was not pre-planned, as although the DAP, PAS and KeADILan MPs had a pre-council meeting on Sunday night, this had not involved the three PBS MPs who also joined in the walk-out on Monday.

The pre-council meeting of the Barisan Alternative MPs on Sunday night focussed on the issue of the legality of Parliament not convened in accordance with the Constitution and the parliamentary standing orders, and although the possibility of a protest walkout was raised, no decision was taken for a collective walk-out by the Barisan Alternative MPs the next morning as there were differences of opinion on the matter.

The collective walk-out by all  the BA and PBS MPs in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday was the  spontaneous protest and outrage of the Opposition MPs in their disgust at the Barisan Nasional's arbitrary and high-handed contempt for the Constitution, Parliament and the Yang di Pertuan Agong in refusing to  cancel parliamentary  meeting and  convene instead on Dec. 29, 1999, so as to
comply with the provisions of the Constitution and the Parliamentary Standing Orders as well as in time to approve the contingency finance bill to authorise government expenditures for the first six months of next year until approval of the 2,000 Budget.

It is clear from todayís local press that there is indeed a "puppet master" pulling strings, and he is none other than Mahathir himself, who is pulling strings to orchestrate an attack on the Barisan Alternative MPs for staging Mondayís walkout in protest against the statutory rape of the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders.

Mahathir is "pulling strings" to orchestrate a two-prong attack on the Barisan Alternative MPs, firstly by schooling the other Barisan Nasional leaders, both at national and state level, to parrot his allegations that I was the "mastermind" and "puppet master pulling strings" for the Opposition walk-out on Monday, that the Ďwalkout" was an attempt to "sabotage" Parliament and represented "samseng culture".

The first to parrot Mahathir was none other than the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who immediately told reporters in Parliament on Monday that the walk-out was planned by the Barisan Alternative MPs in their pre-council meeting on Sunday for the sake of local and international mass media.

The second to parrot Mahathir on the same day was the Minister for Rural Development, Datuk Azmi Khalid.

In todayís press, we can see other "parrots" responding to the "puppet master pulling his strings", and this is  why the Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir,  Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Wira Mohd Ali Rustam and the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohamad Isa Abdul Samad came out with statements denouncing the walk-out as well as accusing me of being responsible for it.

I am not surprised by these "parrots" in UMNO, but am surprised by certain NGO personalities parroting the same line, like FOMCA President Professor Hamdan Adnan and the MTUC President, Senator Zainal Rampak.

Malaysians must expect more "parrots" in the next few days to respond to Mahathirís puppet-strings!

The second prong of the "puppet masterís string-pulling" is to orchestrate an attack in the Barisan Nasional-controlled mass media, and this is why New Straits Times, Star, Sun, Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian all carried  biased and one-sided editorials,  special write-ups and "letters to the editor"  to castigate  the walkout by Barisan Alternative MPs.

This is all very reminiscent of the primary role played by the mainstream mass media in the eight-day campaign of the  1999 general election in making it the dirtiest election in the nationís 42-year history with the  most unbelievably  unethical and irresponsible journalism where there is no respect for truth and facts whatsoever.

Normally such unethical and irresponsible journalism by the Barisan Nasional-controlled mass media are orchestrated to release their vicious power only during a general election campaign period, and are immediately ended until the next general election campaign four or five years later.

But now, for the first time in Barisan Nasional history, such a vicious and malicious orchestration of the Barisan Nasional-controlled mass media are being redeployed  against the Opposition less than a month after the last general election -  which is an eloquent testimony of two things:
 

The New Straits Times for instance carried a "News Analysis: Opposition aggression in Parliament a harbinger of things to come" in Page 2 by Chok Suat Ling which is a harbinger that the New Straits Times is going to be as biased and vicious against the Opposition as during the election campaign period using loaded terms like "ill-omen",  "antics", "ruckus" and parroting Mahathir brand-name term with the closing paragraph:  "Opposition MPs should be reminded that the samseng culture has no place within the halls of the Parliament".

But this purported "News Analysis" which should more truthfully be described as "News Distortion" is mere child-play compared to the trash in the New Straits Times editorial entitled "Death of Decorum", which oozes with pomposity and hypocrisy.

The editorial intoned:
 

Where was the NST when Barisan Nasional MPs brought  the last Parliament into disrepute by the lack of "decorum, dignity and discipline" using foul language, offensive ethnic jokes as well as sexist remarks?  When did the NST wake up to realise that Parliament should be "a place for coherent and meaningful debates and exchange of ideas, not to inflame the baser instincts of politics" when it did not publish one per cent of my "coherent and meaningful debates and ideas" during my 30 years in Parliament!

The NST editorial used Mahathirís brand-name term of "street-brawling" and other offensive terms like "mob language", "show of muscles", "subverting the parliamentary process and proceedings", "rebel-rousers" and  "political whims".

The NST produced its "Cant of the Century" with the following close in its editorial:
 

Let me tell the NST editorialist that there are no "scroundels".  There are however "scroungers" apart from "scoundrels" - and both fit description of those who are unmoved by the statutory rape of the Constitution and Parliament and yet could talk glibly about their fear that nothing will remain "sacrosant" (sic) again, (when they do not even  find the English language sacrosanct!)

Utusan Malaysiaís editorial "Pembangkang Tidak Konstruktif"  and Berita Harian editorial "PAS tidak wajar teladani DAP di Parlimen"  have an additional agenda apart from parroting Mahathirís baseless allegations, to try to create division and mistrust between PAS and DAP by alleging that PAS had been misled by DAP to stage the walkout.

Someone made this perceptive posting on the Internet today:
 

I would make a final call to the mainstream mass media now that the general election is over, let us put  an end to such one-sided, biased and poisonous  reporting and writing in the Malaysian mass media and have a return of decent and civilized journalism - or they are going to forfeit all credibility and respect by the Malaysian people and their journalistic counterparts in the rest of the world.

(22/12/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman