(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should show a new
authority as the fifth Prime Minister-designate to seek parliamentary sanction
for the 16-month power transition plan before the end of the current eight-day
Dewan Rakyat meeting tomorrow.
If the UMNO Supreme Council, the Barisan Nasional Supreme
Council and even Barisan Backbenchers Club could be convened and their approvals
sought yesterday for the power transition plan, it would be most extraordinary
that Parliament, which the Speaker Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail had described as
“the heart of the nation” only on Monday, is completely bypassed especially
when it is in session!
Parliament will be the right and proper place for
a full debate on the 16-month power transition plan, whether it is the
best transition plan possible or whether there are other options and why they
were not considered or adopted, such as: Mahathir
resigning as Prime Minister with instant effect but remaining as UMNO President
and Barisan Nasional Chairman (whether retaining Finance Ministry portfolio or
otherwise) or alternatively, Mahathir remaining as Prime Minister during this
16-month period to be able to preside over the Non-Aligned Conference in
February and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Kuala Lumpur
on Oct 24 and 25, 2003, but otherwise going on leave as Prime Minister with
Abdullah taking over as Acting Prime Minister for the entire transition period.
Abdullah should also show new authority by assuming
responsibilities that should have been performed by Mahathir in the current
meeting of Parliament if not for the dramatic chain of
events which precipitated his 10-day Mediterranean leave, as for
instance, in giving a full and satisfactory account as to the exact nature of
the assurance given by the Swiss government during Mahathir’s recent visit to
Switzerland which could break the back of the six-year stalled Anti-Corruption
Agency (ACA) investigations into the RM10 billion Perwaja scandal.
As the new Prime Minister-designate, Abdullah should also
ensure that the government give a proper response in Parliament
to the Suhakam annual report 2001 tabled at the start of the current
Parliamentary meeting, as well as to
the other Suhakam reports and recommendations – and in particular, to
inform Parliament before it adjourns tomorrow of the outcome of the
government and police studies on two Suhakam reports and recommendations
last year, the first one on Freedom of Assembly and the second, on the Kesas
It will be ridiculous if the government and police should
take a longer time to study the Suhakam reports than the Suhakam took
to complete its inquiry and reports.