intervene to overrule the police to allow the Kit Siang-Nazri debate on
“ISA – Yes or No” on Monday as it is a major test of his administration’s
commitment to democratic good governance - open, trustworthy,
people-oriented and prepared to hear the “truth” from the people
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should intervene to overrule the police to allow the Kit Siang-Nazri debate on “ISA – Yes or No” at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur on Monday to be held as it is a major test of his administration’s commitment to democratic good governance - open, trustworthy, people-oriented and prepared to hear the “truth” from the people.
This is in fact a twin test for Abdullah, as he is also the Minister for Internal Security directly responsible for the police – whether under his leadership, the Police could be fully reminded and made conscious of its responsibility to uphold the Rukunegara, i.e. to foster the democratic way of life in Malaysia, by promoting democratic values and practices while upholding law and order.
Does Abdullah, who is set to leave for an official visit to the United States next week which includes a meeting with President Bush at the White House on July 19, want the world to get the impression that democracy and security in Malaysia under his premiership are so fragile and uncertain that a public debate like the Kit Siang-Nazri debate on “ISA – Yes or No” is unanimously regarded by the government and police as a grave security threat seriously imperiling law and order?
It was only on Thursday that Abdullah, in his interview over RTM 1 on his 252 days as Prime Minister, reiterated the importance of the Barisan Nasional government delivering its election pledges after its unprecedented general election victory in March, winning an unheard-of nine-tenth parliamentary majority.
One such election pledge made by Abdullah is an open, accountable, trustworthy, people-oriented administration which is prepared to hear the “truth” from the people – in other words, more democratic space for the people to express their views.
When the Kit Siang-Nazri public debate on “ISA – Yes or No” to be held in a peaceful and orderly manner in an enclosed compound like the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall is regarded by the police as a grave security threat to law and order, how can Malaysia stand tall in the world as Chairman of both the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Conference as an example of democratic good governance?
I am very surprised by the police rejection of the DAPSY application for permit for the ISA debate when the police officials had earlier indicated that they would give approval. The Police have missed the woods for the trees, and Abdullah should remind them that the best way to create the conditions where there is true public respect for law and order is for the police to set an example of upholding the Rukunegara principle of promoting a democratic way of life, where public debates are routine and run-of-the-mill events and not regarded as a grave threat to the national security of the country.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman