Transition period for Mahathir to remain as Prime Minister is unlikely to be long and the possibility of year-end  general election cannot be ruled out

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday) CNN this morning reported the Reuters speculation  that Deputy UMNO President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will this evening be announcing after UMNO and Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meetings  a long transition period for Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to continue as Prime Minister  before passing the baton to his deputy as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia. 

I do not think the transition period for Mahathir to remain as Prime Minister is likely to be long and the possibility of year-end general election cannot be ruled out. 

The plunge of the Kuala Lumpur stock market yesterday, with the KLSE Composite Index recording its biggest loss in a day this year, falling 2.26 per cent or 16.85 points to 726.50, shows how jittery is the market to the political uncertainties triggered by Mahathir’s sudden resignation announcement at the UMNO General Assembly on Saturday and the maze of contradictions and confusion surrounding Mahathir’s position as Prime Minister, the transition and the succession issues. 

The biggest but little-noticed casualty of these political turmoils is Parliament,  establishing its utter political irrelevance, although it was described as the “heart of the nation” by the Parliament Speaker, Tun Mohd. Zahir Ismail only yesterday when opening a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) South East Asia Region seminar. 

The proper place for any announcement about the future of Mahathir as Prime Minister, and the transition plan for Mahathir to pass the baton of government leadership to Abdullah, should be Parliament, especially when Parliament is in session – although  the event can be telecast live to the nation. 

The very fact that Parliament has been completely forgotten as the most proper forum for such an announcement, and for a parliamentary vote of confidence for such a transition plan for the transfer of powers of the Prime Minister, calls for an urgent fundamental review by the nation and people of the role of Parliament in the political process in Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman