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Ten tasks for Mahathir to accomplish in the next nine-and-a-half months before he steps down as Prime Minister to pave the way for an united, tolerant, progressive and prosperous Malaysia


Speech
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13th DAP National Conference
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): Recently, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said many people want him to do in ten months what would normally take three or four years.

Undoubtedly, at this juncture of the nation's history, there are many things which only Mahathir and nobody else in the Barisan Nasional government can do, including rectifying numerous grave errors of government policies and measures.

Mahathir has only nine-and-a-half months left to complete the 16-month transition plan to hand over the office of the Prime Minister to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the OIC Summit in October.

There are at least ten tasks which Mahathir should accomplish in the next nine-and-a-half monrhs before he steps down as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia after more than 22 years 3 months in the highest office of the land, which are important to nation-building to restore a proper and solid foundation for an united, tolerant, progressive and prosperous Malaysia.

These ten tasks which Mahathir should accomplish in the next 9 months are:

  1. National unity - end the division of Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, a division not sanctioned by the Malaysian constitution.

  2. Founding constitutional principle - uphold the 1957 Merdeka Constitution/social contract/1963 Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO, by withdrawing the "929 Declaration" that Malaysia is an Islamic state which Mahathir made at the Gerakan national delegates conference on Sept. 29, 2001.

  3. Quality of tertiary education - Prioritise as top national agenda international recognition and acclaim of quality and excellence of tertiary education in Malaysia, with the objective of positioning one university among the top 10 best universities in the Asia-Pacific, one in top 20, one in top 30, one in top 40 and one in top 50 (i.e. five best universities among the top 50 in Asia-Pacific, as compared to the present where the University of Malaya, the country's best, is placed No. 47 in the Asiaweek's 2000 ranking of Best Universities in the region) with the adoption of meritocracy for all academic appointments, beginning with the appointment of qualified non-Malays and women as university vice chancellors and deans of faculties.

  4. Restore English proficiency in the country to the standards and attainments three decades ago to equip Malaysians to face the challenges of globalisation and information and communications technology with full regard for Article 152 of the Federal Constitution on Malay as the official language and the protection and promotion of mother-tongue languages and education - as building new Chinese primary schools to meet increased student needs.

  5. End corruption, cronyism and nepotism to give fillip to economic growth.

  6. Involve all political parties, religious groups and NGOs in a national effort to eradicate the international perception that Malaysia is a "terrorist centre" which threatens Malaysia's economic growth, development and prosperity by frightening away foreign direct investments (FDIs) and tourists.

  7. Restore the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the integrity and credibility of important national institutions such as the Election Commission, the Anti-Corruption Agency, Suhakam, the Attorney-General's Office, Police, etc.

  8. Introduce a new democratic culture where Parliament can play a meaningful role as the highest political and legislative chamber of the land, and an end to all forms of political discrimination and abuses of power.

  9. Respect human rights by restoring the fundamental liberties of freedom of speech, assembly, association, a free press and the right to information and development.

  10. Proper and solid preparation to transform Malaysia into a K(knowledge) economy and I(nformation) society starting with a new national information policy where the government uses ICT to reveal and not conceal information as is currently the case with the heap of government 'cobwebsites' passing off as homepages and the withholding from the public important reports including studies commissioned by the government.

(12/1/2003)


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman