Barisan Alternative Presidents/Chairmen can stand guarantee that Anwar will return home to prison on completion of his specialist spinal surgery in Munich

- Barisan Alternative second  anniversary dinner
Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): Events in the past few days  have given special meaning to the second anniversary of the Barisan Alternative.

There was firstly the Internal Security Act (ISA) crackdown against the Reformasi Seven, a reminder that the battle for justice, freedom and democracy is not smooth or  easy but one full of trials and tribulations, which is particularly evident from the sufferings being borne by the families and loved ones  of the seven detainees who are with us tonight.

Secondly, the incredible lies that are being told by the authorities against the Opposition, like  the unsubstantiated allegation of a militant conspiracy for the  violent overthrow of the government - another reminder that although the politically discerning can see through these  "fairy tales", the challenge is how to make everyone of  the 22 million Malaysians question the government's lies.

Thirdly, the smooth and peaceful Black April 14 gathering and handing-over of the human rights memorandum to Suhakam in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, despite the dire warnings of riot,  violence and mass arrests by the government and the police, marking a greater maturity of the reformasi movement and the Barisan Alternative to restore truth,  justice, freedom and democracy in the context of a peaceful, democratic and constitutional struggle.

The Barisan Alternative must be prepared for a long haul and greater trials, as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad seemed to have  made a critical decision to continue as Prime Minister and UMNO President until after the next general election, or as he said last week when responding to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's call in Gua Musang  to continue leading UMNO and country, he is prepared "to do a KSM - kerja sampai mati - or work until I die'.

The ISA crackdown is the first stamp of Mahathir's re-assertion of authority after his "KSM" decision - which also shows that he does not have much confidence in his  deputy, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  as Home Minister.

Early this month, when launching the Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) in Parliament, Mahathir introduced the National Vision Policy but gave a most divisive and unvisionary speech.

If Mahathir is sincere in wanting a National Vision Policy to unite Malaysians in a higher vision of national unity and endeavour, the first thing he should do is to release Anwar Ibrahim and restore to him his civic and political rights to start the process of national healing.

But Mahathir is not even prepared to allow Anwar to go overseas for specialist spinal  surgery claiming that Anwar  would not return to Malaysia if he is  allowed to go abroad.

Anwar has given his personal guarantee that he would not abscond from the country and the Barisan Alternative Presidents/Chairmen can also give a collective guarantee to Mahathir on Anwar's return to prison in Malaysia after his spinal surgery in Munich.

Let Malaysians send a clear message to Mahathir: Let Anwar go to Munich to get the best medical treatment available so that he could come back more fit and better to continue the reformasi battle against Mahathir.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman