Is UMNO leadership prepared to submit to a referendum by UMNO members whether the UMNO Supreme Council  "no contest" decision should be scrapped?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Thursday): The statement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah  Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya yesterday that "Democracy thrives well and flourishes in Umno"  after the UMNO Supreme Councilís "no contest" decision must go down as the Malaysian  Cynical Quote for the year 2000.

He gave this gem of a quote after claiming that there is  increasing endorsement by state  Umno liaison committees for  the "no contest" rule and Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir  Mohamad's re-nomination for the UMNO presidency and Abdullah's nomination for  the deputy president's post in the coming party elections in May.

There can be no doubt that if a secret ballot had been allowed at the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on January 3, 2000 to decide on the proposal of "no contest" for the two top UMNO posts, the majority would have rejected it.

As a result, there is the spectacle of UMNO national leaders and Supreme Council members publicly declaring support for the "no contest" decision but privately distancing themselves from it on the ground that they had no choice but to support it at the Supreme Council.

Similarly, if there is a secret ballot among UMNO divisions, the majority would reject the "no contest" proposal as not only undemocratic, but for exposing UMNO to ridicule for being  distrustful of UMNO grassroots democracy.

Is the UMNO leadership prepared to trust the democratic spirit of the UMNO membership by holding a referendum among UMNO members as to whether the "No Contest" decision should be scrapped? If the UMNO leadership is not prepared to trust the UMNO membership, who then will they trust?

Malaysians, and not just UMNO leaders and members, should ponder as to how and why UMNO has become so undemocratic,  Stalinist and authoritarian.

Why is it that the majority of UMNO leaders and members oppose the Supreme Councilís "no contest" decision but are too fearful to speak up?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman