The 911 fear syndrome should not be allowed to drown out the legitimate aspirations of Malaysians for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance

- Kota Bharu PAS "Solidarity with Fong Po Kuan Dinner" 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kota Bhary,  Sunday):  Firstly, DAP thanks Kota Bahru PAS for its support for democracy in organizing the "Solidarity with Fong Po Kuan Dinner" tonight as Fong is the latest victim of the high-handed and undemocratic brute majority of the Barisan Nasional in Parliament, which became a kangaroo court last December to punish the young woman DAP MP for Batu Gajah to suspend her as MP for six months without allowance for courageously discharging her parliamentary oath of office to speak up for the people.  

DAP and PAS have separated with the DAP's withdrawal from the Barisan Alternative, but our differences should  not stand in the way in our co-operation on issues of common concern to all Malaysians, especially in the areas of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - just as tonight, we have come together for a common  cause in support and solidarity with Fong Po Kuan to uphold her democratic rights and those of  all Malaysians. 

This was why the DAP leadership had steadfastly held that although we are no more in the Barisan Alternative, on the issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, the DAP will continue to co-operate with the Barisan Alternative parties both inside and outside Parliament.  

In fact, if  there are Barisan Nasional component parties whether UMNO, MCA,  Gerakan or MIC which  are committed to the cause of democracy and are prepared to organize "Solidarity with Fong Po Kuan" functions, Fong and DAP leaders would have no hesitation in  accepting their invitations.  

The Malaysian political landscape had undergone a sea-change after the events of September 11.  The Indera Kayangan by-election result is a good example.  There is no doubt that if the Indera Kayangan by-election had been held before September 11, its outcome would have been very different from the actual by-election result on January 19 this year. 

UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders are now using their victory in the  Indera Kayang by-election to claim that  they have restored their pre-eminent political strength and that the political wind is blowing in their direction rather than against them.

Very soon, Malaysians would be facing another great political test which would decide whether the Barisan Nasional victory in the Indera Kayangan by-election is a fluke or represents a new political trend, with far-reaching implications for the political future of the country.  

On the eve of the Indera Kayangan by-election on January 18, I had proposed that opposition parties should  meet and discuss after the by-election the sea-change in Malaysian politics after 911 and how not to allow the Barisan Nasional to camouflage an anti-democracy campaign behind an anti-terrorism campaign all the way to the next general elections. 

The Opposition and the civil society in Malaysia must come to grips with the 911  fear syndrome which is being fully exploited by the Barisan Nasional so as  not  to  allow it to  drown out the legitimate aspirations of Malaysians for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, causing further   setbacks to  the timetable for the long-awaited  democratic changes and reforms in the country.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman