Abdullah should show a new authority as fifth Prime Minister-designate  to seek parliamentary sanction for the 16-month power transition plan before end of Dewan Rakyat tomorrow

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(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 Highway Assembly. 

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. 


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman