Five priority tasks for Abdullah Badawi to establish his mark as the new Deputy Prime Minister

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Yesterday, I proposed five areas where Datuk Seri  Abdullah Ahmad  Badawi should give priority to give the  Home Ministry a human face and start the painful process to restore public confidence in the institutions of government.

I stressed that Abdullah should  provide leadership and stamp a new character and personality on the Home Ministry and not allow the various departments in the Home Ministry to  stamp their character and personality on him.

Yesterday, after his first briefing with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad since his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah said the Prime Minister wanted departments under the Home Ministry to adopt a more people-friendly attitude.

This is as good as an  admission by Mahathir that the various departments in the Home Ministry lack a human face.  It would have been better if the Prime Minister had realised this in the 13 years he had been the Home Minister and had taken earlier action to stem  the slide of public confidence in various institutions of government.   It is now left to Abdullah as the new Home Minister to "humanise" the Home Ministry. I hope Abdullah  would take my five proposals on giving the Home Ministry a human face seriously and with a sense of urgency.

Today, I wish to propose five areas where Abdullah can stamp his  mark as the new  Deputy Prime Minister.

There is no doubt that as the fourth Deputy Prime Minister in the 18-year Mahathir administration, Abdullah  will come under great  pressures  as everybody would want to see whether he could break the jinx of the three previous Deputy Prime Ministers of Mahathir who were so near to the highest political post in the country but which became so far.

Many Barisan Nasional leaders have remarked that Badawi’s choice as Deputy Prime Minister was the reward for his "loyalty" to Mahathir.

But if "loyalty" is going to be Abdullah’s sole attribute as Deputy Prime Minister,  he will not be able  to live up to  the high expectations of Malaysians in the new No. 2 in the country and the surest way for Abdullah to disappoint Malaysians is for him to play safe and   become a pale shadow of Mahathir.

Abdullah must show that he has a vision of his own for the Malaysian  people and society, which  can inspire hope among the new generation of Malaysians.

In assuming his new appointment as  Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah must introduce a fresh air in Malaysian governance and politics. There are five areas which Abdullah should give priority  to establish his mark as the Deputy Prime Minister, namely:


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