The Cabinet reshuffle a great disappointment when Malaysians are entitled to a dynamic and dedicated new Cabinet to lead the country into the new millennium

- launching of the DAP nation-wide  "Justice for All" Campaign 
in the Federal Territory

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday): The choice of Jalan Petaling in Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency to hold the first launching of the DAP nation-wide  "Justice For All" campaign after its official launching by the DAP National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin yesterday is most meaningful and symbolic.

This is because the DAP wants  to see the people of Kuala Lumpur, and in particular the people in Bukit Bintang, to take the lead in the new national campaign to bring justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to all Malaysians.

In the past five months, two glaring injustices have haunted the conscience of Malaysians and sullied Malaysia’s international reputation - the imprisonment of DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng for diligently and courageously discharging his parliamentary duties to defend the honour, dignity, human rights and women’s rights of an underaged 15-year-old girl and the police beating of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, while under police custody until he still spotted a "black eye" and other bruises on his body ten days after the police assault.

These two glaring cases of injustices bring home to Malaysians the frightening thought that if an elected Member of Parliament and a Deputy Prime Minister cannot get justice and fair play in the Malaysian system of governance, how can ordinary Malaysians be safe and secure under the Malaysian sun?

This is why the time has come for Malaysians, regardless of race, religion,  gender, status or political beliefs to stand up and demand for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance as their fundamental rights which must be respected by the government of the day.

The "Justice For All" campaign  is not just about the injustice suffered by Lim Guan Eng or the "black eye" of Anwar Ibrahim, but is about the rights of all Malaysians regardless of race, religion, gender or  status to justice whether political, economic, educational, social, cultural, religious or in the sphere of human rights.

The purpose of the "Justice For All" campaign is to mobilise and galvanise all Malaysians to stand up for their democratic and fundamental  rights to justice, freedom, democracy and  good governance not only for themselves, but also for their children and children’s children.

Last Friday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad reshuffled the Cabinet with the appointment of Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi as Deputy Prime Minister.  Mahathir relinquished the Home Ministry which he had  held for 13 years, passing the portfolio to Abdullah Badawi, while Tun Daim Ibrahim was re-appointed Finance Minister.

Generally, the cabinet reshuffle last week is a great disappointment as the same old and even tired faces are all in the Cabinet, when Malaysians are entitled to a dynamic and dedicated new Cabinet  to lead the country into the new millennium.

Exactly a year ago, I had suggested to the Prime Minister that he should carry out a major cabinet reshuffle to remove the deadwoods in the Cabinet and to form a National Economic Crisis Cabinet with technocrats and experts as members of the Cabinet with the expertise and knowledge to deal with the national economic crisis, and most important of all, who can command public confidence in their integrity, competence and professionalism.

 How many of the Cabinet Ministers can pass the triple tests of public confidence in their "integrity, competence and professionalism"?

If there is Cabinet integrity, competence and professionalism, the scandal of Anwar’s "black eye" and other injuries while under police custody would not have been dragged out for four months, with still no answer as to who were the police person or persons who had assaulted Anwar in the very inner sanctum of the police high command in Bukit Aman on the night of Sept. 20! If there is Ministerial "integrity, competence and professionalism",  the RM9 billion Kuala Lumpur International Airport, described as the "airport of the next century", would not continue to be an object of ridicule in international aviation circles six months after its official opening. Last Friday, a MAS B747-400 aircraft with 241 passengers bound for Perth was forced to return to KLIA half an hour after take-off because of the discovery of a rat on board.  This is not the first time a rat has been found on a MAS aircraft from KLIA, as another MAS B747-400 aircraft was delayed for 15 hours last July after a rat was spotted in the plane.

The "Justice For All" campaign to bring to all Malaysians justice, freedom, democracy and good governance would include the right of all Malaysians to a government of integrity, competence and professionalism, in particular  a dedicated and dynamic new Cabinet to take Malaysia into the new millennium.


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