He said that lessons must be learnt from the results of the last general election.
He said: "Even though we all acknowledge that the BN has won, there was deterioration in many constituencies. The question is why."
It is very sad that the heir-apparent to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is still groping for an answer as to the reasons for UMNO suffering its worst electoral setback in party history in the recent general election.
A greater misfortune than UMNO’s suffering its worst electoral setback in party history is its inability to read correctly the reasons for such a electoral debacle.
Abdullah does not have to go very far to look for the answer to his question. He should heed the views of his colleague, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who had said that what the people wanted was not just physical development but also freedom.
Tengku Razaleigh spoke out against banning the Harakah and made a very pertinent point when he said: "Some people feel it is an insult to their intelligence when reading mainstream newspapers".
The question is whether Abdullah can provide the leadership and example to other UMNO leaders not to give way to visceral reactions to UMNO’s worst electoral performance in history by looking for scapegoats and striking out at the Opposition and dissent, but to respond positively to the aspirations of Malaysians for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
After the general election, the Home Ministry cracked down on the circulation of Harakah with daily reports of seizures and confiscations, with Abdullah claiming that such actions were lawful and democratic.
The Deputy Prime Minister is wrong as such actions, though lawful in a very technical sense are not democratic, fair or just. This is a case where the law is being used to stifle freedom of expression and in its widest sense, constitute a violation of the rule of law.
Editorial and feature writers in the mainstream media churn out articles like the one in the Sun today under the heading “Harakah must come down to earth and obey the law” but why is it none of them has the intellectual honesty and moral courage to demand that the law must be democratised to allow Harakah, Rocket and publications of political parties free circulation to the public, subject to the ordinary laws of the land? Why is Abdullah leading the obscurantist campaign against Harakah, which is the modern-version of book-burning of the dark ages of human history?
Abdullah should realise that the recent Barisan Nasional crackdown,
involving the arrest and prosecution of 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 are only alienating more people from the government as they mark a massive assault on the rule of law, press freedom, the right to information, fundamental liberties and democracy
More and more, Malaysia has increasingly become the object of condemnation in the international civil society.
The Barisan Alternative leadership meeting next week will consider
a five-prong response to the latest arrests and prosecution of Opposition
leaders and activists, namely:
DAP will suggest a general campaign to uphold democracy and three specific campaigns to uphold the rule of law, defend press freedom and protect the right to information.
DAP has formed a “Support Karpal, Uphold Rule of Law" Campaign Committee headed by DAP National Vice Chairman Lim Guan Eng to conscientise Malaysians on the need for them to stand up to close the widening gap between law and justice in Malaysia.