Abdullah is not “alone”, but there are only voices of “go slow” but no voices to step up the crackdown on corruption and to nab the “big fishes”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, yesterday rejected implications that he was shouldering the administration on his own, as his policy initiatives had received widespread support, with newspaper headlines blaring: “Abdullah: I’m not alone”.
He said the measures introduced since he took office on October 31 were backed by the party, the government and the people.
As the new Prime Minister, he is clearly not “alone”, as he is the fount of all government patronage, appointments and decisions, with everyone swarming and queuing up to have access to him.
But the issue in question is whether he has the full backing of his party and the government in the policy initiatives he has pledged to be the hallmark of his administration – a clean, incorruptible, accountable, efficient, people-oriented government which listens to the truth from the people.
For instance, he appears to be very alone in the crackdown on corruption, as there has been no full and solid support from the Cabinet, all the Barisan Nasional component parties and the government in such a crackdown after the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam, with only voices of “go slow” but no voices to step up the crackdown on corruption and to nab the sharks and piranhas despite the colourful admission of the Anti-Corruption Agency director-general, Dato Zulkipli bin Mat Noor last month: “There are so many rivers, the sea is so huge, how can there be no fish?”
There is the observation that if there is a real crackdown on corruption, it may result in the decapitation of the entire political leadership of the Barisan Nasional in one state, leading to a complete political vacuum in the state!
Similarly, Abdullah is very alone in his pledge to want to hear the truth from the people – as the mainstream media continues to be as muzzled and stifled as before, and there is no way for the people to voice their legitimate concerns and aspirations, as the people of Broga new village discovered over the weekend when there was a total media blackout of their objections to the resiting of the RM1.5 billion incinerator from Puchong to their surroundings.
In the past four months, Opposition leaders have found that it is as impossible as in the past to get fair coverage in the mainstream media, in particular the electronic media of radio and television. If Opposition leaders cannot be heard by the Prime Minister, how could he hear the direct voices of the people?
Malaysians wonder whether Abdullah is very alone in his pledge to respect and uphold the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive, legislature and the judiciary and the restoration of public confidence in the independence, integrity and professionalism of important institutions and organs of state?
If not, why is the Election Commission not allowed its constitutional independence and integrity to conduct a free and fair election, including deciding independently the nomination and polling dates after the dissolution of Parliament and the fixing of a fair election campaign period for all contesting candidates and political parties?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman