No reason why the new Opposition Leader could not be formally appointed and announced in Parliament latest by Thursday

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday)The Parliament Speaker, Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail said yesterday that there is no time frame for opposition members to appoint a new Opposition Leader to replace PAS president Datuk Fadzil Noor who died Sunday. 

He said the announcement of the new Opposition Leader would probably be made at the next Dewan Rakyat budget  meeting  from  9th September  to 12th November as the current meeting would end on Thursday.

There is no reason why the new Opposition Leader could not be formally appointed and announced in Parliament latest by Thursday, or it would reflect adversely on the Speaker, Parliament as well as the Opposition MPs that the position could not be filled before the end of the parliamentary meeting on Thursday although Fadzil passed away on Sunday.

Malaysiakini yesterday reported Zahir as saying that the Opposition Leader “may not necessarily be a member of the party with the biggest majority”, adding that I was the Opposition Leader in 1995 “although PAS had the most members in the House”. Zahir claimed that PAS “offered” the post to me as  “they were courting each other then”.

Zahir is not only suffering from faulty memory, he is showing a bias against DAP which is most improper and unwarranted for a Speaker of Parliament, who should rise above political party controversies – although such a bias may have stemmed from adverse national and international reactions to his unparliamentary mishandling of the Fong Po Kuan issue where the young woman DAP MP for Batu Gajah was arbitrarily and unjustly suspended as MP for six months without parliamentary allowance for trying to speak up in Parliament against the injustices of the Certificate in Legal Practice examinations scandal.

To put the record straight, and to refresh Zahir’s memory, DAP had the most number of opposition MPs in the 1995 general election, although we did not have a clear majority of the total number of Opposition MPs.  Nine DAP MPs, eight PBS MPs, seven PAS MPs and six Semangat 46 MPs were elected in the 1995 general election.

In 1995, PAS did not “offer” the post of Opposition Leader to the DAP and Zahir’s statement that “they were courting each other then” was baseless and pure figment of his imagination.

In actual fact, in 1995, PAS made a bid for the post of Opposition Leader although it had fewer MPs than the DAP.

On 6th June 1995, New Straits Times reported the PAS President, Fadhil Noor’s nomination of PAS MP for Marang Abdul Hadi Awang for the post of Opposition Leader, on the ground that the Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah (APU) comprising PAS and Semangat 46 had a total of 13 seats out of the total of 30 Opposition MPs.

In the event, PBS supported the party with the largest number of seats for the Opposition Leader while Semangat 46 took a neutral position.

Zahir’s faulty memory and his irrational bias against the DAP raise the question whether he should continue or resign as Speaker of Parliament.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman