Zahid Hamidi given 48 hours to decide whether he is standing by his challenge to DAP leaders on declaration of assets or whether he is doing a Lim Keng Yaik by backing down from his challenge
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Tuesday): I am surprised by the 48-hour silence from the Deputy Tourism Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi after I had accepted his challenge to me and other Opposition leaders to declare our assets instead of only urging Cabinet members to do so.
I had only one condition for the acceptance of Zahidi’s challenge that DAP leaders publicly declare our assets –that within two weeks of our public asset declaration, all Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Mentris Besar, Chief Ministers, MPs and SAs publicly declare their assets and those of next-of-kin to be subject to public scrutiny and accountability.
On Sunday, I had also suggested that Zahid should make use of the first meeting of the 650 Barisan Nasional elected representatives – 198 MPs and 452 state assembly members – with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Sunday night to get all the Barisan Nasional Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Mentris Besar, Chief Ministers, MPs and SAs to agree to publicly declare their assets and those of their next-of-kin within two weeks of the public declaration of assets by DAP elected representatives.
Why has Zahid fallen thunderously silent in the past 48 hours after his fierce challenge to me and other Opposition leaders, which had been given such prominent coverage in the media?
I am giving Zahid Hamidi 48 hours to decide whether he is standing by his challenge to DAP leaders on declaration of assets or whether he is doing a Lim Keng Yaik by backing down from his challenge
Last year, Keng Yaik challenged me to a public debate on the “929 Declaration” of UMNO and Barisan Nasional that Malaysia is an Islamic State, which violates the Merdeka “social contract” reached by the major communities on the attainment of Independence in 1957 that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State. When I accepted Keng Yaik’s challenge to a public debate, Keng Yaik backed down and went into hiding.
Zahid now seems to be doing a “Lim Keng Yaik”. He is also confirming that he has become a mouse although seven years ago he had tried to present himself as a “lion” against corruption.
When he was the UMNO Youth leader, Zahid used his UMNO Youth Leader’s address in the June 1998 UMNO Youth General Assembly to denounce KKN – corruption, cronyism and nepotism. It shook up the UMNO leadership as the KKN slogan had caused the downfall of President Suharto of Indonesia and the emergence of Indonesia reformasi, and Zahid’s denunciation of KKN was seen as an attempt to use the slogan to trigger the downfall of the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad – which led to the sacking from office and persecution of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the kangaroo trials and his continued incarceration in Sungei Buloh Prison.
In the event, Zahid proved to be a mouse when after a week’s detention under the Internal Security Act, he was completely “turned over” and has become the exact opposite of his 1998 role – a champion of the high and mighty on their right from having to publicly declare their assets and their next-of-in.
There is nothing great in the Barisan Nasional Code of Ethics which require its elected representatives to declare their assets every two years, the first to be submitted by the end of May.
In failing to require the declaration of assets of be made public, the code is rather unethical, as it does not allow any public scrutiny of the integrity and incorruptibility of Barisan Nasional Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Ministers, Mentris Besar, MPs and SAs.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz has herself told Bernama that there was nothing great in the Code of Ethics. She said:
Barisan Nasional MPs and State Assemblymen should now step forward to save the day and honour of Barisan Nasional in its commitment for a clean, incorruptible and trustworthy government by declaring their preparedness to make public their asset declarations and not just make a private declaration away from the prying eyes and scrutiny of the public.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor