Are UMNO leaders competing in a contest as to who would come out with the most incredible and unbelievable statements?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Since the UMNO Supreme Council’s “no contest” decision for the two top UMNO posts on January 3, 2000, UMNO leaders seem to be competing in a contest as to who would come out with the most incredible and unbelievable statements.

Yesterday’s press, for instance, carried the headline “Law does not discriminate among offenders” quoting Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying that “the law does not discriminate among law-breakers, whether they are in the Government or in the opposition” and that “people who committed offences would not enjoy immunity from the law whether they were from the opposition or otherwise.”

Abdullah did not explain,  if what he said about “no discrimination” was true, why KeADILan Youth chief Mohamed  Ezam Mohd Noor was charged under the Official Secrets Act for disclosing classified information revealing that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)  had recommended that International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and the former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik be arrested and prosecuted for corruption, but Rafidah and Rahim had not been charged with corruption?

A day earlier, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr.  Rais Yatim  warned critics “who allege the Government has a hand in the prosecution of prominent opposition leaders should realise they too can be prosecuted for spreading lies”.

But Rais cannot  explain if it was not the government which had a hand in the 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, who then was responsible in  prosecuting them?

Or is Rais suggesting that the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Police are not part of the government?

In yesterday’s press, Rafidah Aziz was reported as declaring that “any attempt to discourage a contest for the top Wanita Umno post is undemocratic”.

I fully agree with Rafidah but how can she reconcile her democratic statement with her undemocratic action in giving absolute support to the UMNO Supreme Council decision of “no contest” for the two top UMNO posts?

Today, UMNO Secretary-General and Information Minister, Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob announced that UMNO was drawing up a code of ethics  for party elections as a campaign guide for candidates vying for posts in the
election for Supreme Council (MT) seats in May this year, barring kenduris and roadshows or offenders will face disqualification from contesting.  Kenduris and roadshows fall under the “vote buying” and “excessive campaigning” category in the UMNO ethics code for party elections.

This is another eye-opener.  Can UMNO leaders be serious in wanting to end money politics when they had just been responsible for making the recent tenth general election the dirtiest in the nation’s 42-year history, with the politics of money, politics of falsehoods and politics of fear and intimdiation apart from denying the constitutional right of 680,000 new voters to vote in the general eleciton?

There is no doubt that Abdullah is head-and-shoulders above the other UMNO leaders in making the most incredible and unbelievable statements, like his statement a week ago that “democracy is still very much alive in UMNO with members free to voice their views” - at a time when even UMNO Ministers and Supreme Council members dare not freely state their stands and the Kadir Jasins in the mainstream media have to take their enforced leaves!

However, neither Abdullah nor anyone of the other UMNO leaders could come near the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad himself in making the most incredible and outrageous statements and speeches.

All these are symptoms of a serious sickness affecting the top UMNO leadership and therfore governance in Malaysia, after uninterrupted UMNO rule for four decades that UMNO leaders  have become so ingrained with the arrogance of power that they do  not realise and cannot understand that their every word and action are  not only alienating them from the ground but are butts of public jokes and scorn.

Who is going to give the UMNO leadership a full and proper reality check so that they could come down from the stratosphere to the earth?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman