Five areas which Abdullah Badawi should give priority to give the
Home Ministry a human face, starting the painful process to restore public
confidence in the institutions of government
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): I welcome
the positive and humble response of the newly-appointed Deputy Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he said he would
take note of all comments of political leaders and non-government organisations,
including those from the Opposition, when he assumes his new
Abdullah’s unassuming personality, his reputation as "Mr. Clean", and
his stint in the "political wilderness" when he was out of the mainstream
of UMNO and government politics when he sided with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s
"Team B" challenge against Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s Team A in
UMNO elections in 1987 should hopefully make him be more responsive
to dissent in the country.
There are at least five areas which Abdullah Badawi should give priority
to begin to give the Home Ministry a human face, starting the painful
process to restore public confidence in the institutions of government,
Act decisively to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate
into the police beatings of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar
Ibrahim while under police custody as well as police lawlessness in general,
consulting with the Opposition on the composition of the commission.
Ensure the early and speedy approval of registration of Social Justice
Movement or ADIL, which was submitted on December 19, to show that there
would be no abuse of government powers through inordinate delays to serve
the political objectives of any party in power. There is no reason
why ADIL could not be registered before the Hari Raya when the Registrar
of Societies could approve the registration of UMNO Baru in February 1988
within minutes of submission of the application.
Loosen up and remove the press controls in the country to usher an era
of free, fair and responsible press in Malaysia.
Initiate prison reforms so that criminals are reformed to become useful
citizens of society instead of graduating to become more hardened criminals
on their release - by ensuring that all prisoners are treated as human
beings as well as upgrading the salaries and conditions of service of the
prison service to enable it to carry out such a mission.
Granting permanent residence status to foreign wives married to Malaysians.
Abdullah is right when he said that there are so many important departments
in the Home Ministry and that he would have to be briefed first by the
However, time is of the essence for any radical change to begin the
painful process of restoring public confidence in the institutions of government
which had suffered unprecedented damage and erosion in recent times.
Abdullah must ensure that he could stamp a new character and personality
on the various departments in the Home Ministry, rather than allow them
to stamp their character and personality on him. In other words,
he must provide new leadership to the Home Ministry, rather than be led
by the various Home Ministry departments.
*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member
of Parliament for Tanjong