Cabinet should not again play truant tomorrow and should address the many pressing issues facing the people and  country

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The Cabinet should not again play truant tomorrow and should address the many pressing issues facing the people and country.

Last Wednesday, when the Cabinet meets weekly, the Cabinet declared a holiday after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad departed from KLIA at 1.05 am that   morning for vacation in Argentina and the Caribbean.

This was not a good sign, as how could Ministers be expected to be “hands-on” in discharging their duties when the Cabinet can be so irresponsible as to “ponteng” from its weekly Cabinet meeting just because the Prime Minister had flown overseas earlier that morning - ignoring the many urgent matters awaiting its decision.

When Parliament reconvenes on February 14, 2000, Barisan Alternative MPs would pose questions to demand an explanation as to why the Cabinet declared a holiday last Wednesday, just because the Prime Minister had left earlier for holidays overseas.

Another question which would be asked in Parliament would be why Dr. Mahathir is taking holidays in Argentina and the Caribbean when he and other Barisan Nasional Ministers are encouraging Malaysians to take holidays at home in local holidays destinations.

The Cabinet tomorrow should produce a report card on its first month in office as many Malaysians are very disturbed that the new Cabinet is  Jurassic rather than millennial, with Cabinet members devoid of a millennium mindset necessary
to break the shackles of the past to lead Malaysians to a new direction and vision for the future.

The Cabinet should either come out with an overall  Cabinet statement or direct the various Ministers concerned to give post-Cabinet media conferences on the matters uppermost in public mind, including the following:

  1. What action the government is taking to legalise the  new tenth Parliamentary meetings which are infected with illegality and unconstitutionality as the first meeting of the Tenth Parliament on December 20, 1999 was convened  not in accordance with the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders. As a result, all proceedings of the tenth Parliament, including bills and businesses enacted in the next five years, are open to constitutional challenge as being unlawful and therefore null and void.
  2. Lack  of Cabinet sense of urgency on the need to initiate the process of national healing as by establishing a Royal Commission on National Unity  to undo the great harm done to nation-building in the recent  dirtiest general election campaign in history.  The Royal Commission should comprise   representatives from various political parties, religions and the civil society  to draw up a Blueprint for National Unity for the next two decades.
  3. Cabinet refusal to address public outcry at lack of independence,  professionalism and failure of the Election Commission to carry out its constitutional mandate to conduct a free, fair and clean general election.
  4. Restoration of independence of judiciary.
  5. An all-out war against corruption and develop a new culture of zero tolerance for corruption in high political and public life.
  6. Urgent  Cabinet decision to withdraw all charges against  DAP Deputy Chairman and former five-term MP for Jelutong Karpal Singh, Parti Keadilan Nasional  Vice President Marina Yusoff, KeADILan Youth chief Mohamed  Ezam Mohd Noor, Harakah editor  Zulkifly Sulong and Harakah printer Cheah Lim Thye under the Sedition  and Official Secrets Acts.
  7. Direct  Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Mohd Ali Rastam to resign as President of Malacca Municipal Council and  to comply with  Cabinet decision that  Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar should not head Municipal Councils.
  8. Immediate action plan to alleviate  socio-economic sufferings and hardships  borne by the poor and low-income groups as a result of the  ill-planned rent decontrol of 33,000 pre-war premises on 31.12.99.
  9. Review and reconsider proposal to  raise retirement age of civil servants from 55 years to 60 years.
  10. Adopt a new national policy to reduce road carnage and death toll by 50 per cent within 12 months.
Abdullah should also make public a full list of the Cabinet Committees which have been set up since the first Cabinet meeting on December 15, 1999, with their respective terms of reference and composition, with the public informed
periodically about their activities and successes.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman