Whether Election Commission can conduct a free and fair election, with the power to independently fix its own nomination and polling dates, will be a critical test whether Abdullah has the political will to clean up the deeply-entrenched system of corruption, abuses of power, injustices and inequalities after the election
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Parliament will be dissolved from midnight, paving the way for the 11th national general election.
This is the second time in the 46-year history of the nation that a general election is being held where the ruling coalition is banking on the “feel good” euphoria of the people because of a new Prime Minister and his promises to bring about changes to introduce a good, clean, honest and efficient government.
The first time was 22 years ago in the 1982 general election when Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad first became Prime Minister, but his promises of a clean, efficient and trustworthy government turned to ashes in the past two decades – making it necessary for his successor, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make exactly the same promises of a clean, incorruptible, efficient and people-oriented government more than two decades later.
DAP and all Malaysians want Abdullah to succeed in his pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient and people-oriented government which is prepared to hear the truth from the people – but the question uppermost in the minds of all is whether Abdullah can change the deeply-entrenched system which had spawned so much corruption, abuses of power, injustices and inequalities in the country.
There are two great issues in the 2004 general election – firstly, whether Abdullah can personally deliver his promise of a clean, incorruptible, accountable and responsible government, and how Malaysians could strengthen the conditions for such an overhaul of the system after the election.
Secondly, whether the 46-year nation-founding “social contract”that Malaysia is a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic state could be upheld, preserved and promoted or whether it would be abandoned to embark Malaysia on the irreversible road of an Islamic State, whether it be the UMNO and Barisan Nasional “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State or the PAS Islamic State Document.
For a start, let me state that whether the Election Commission can conduct a free and fair election, with the power to independently fix its own nomination and polling dates, and end the 3M abuses of money politics, media manipulation and abuses of government machinery and resources during the election campaign will be a critical test whether Abdullah has the political will to clean up the system of corruption, abuses of power, injustices and inequalities after the election.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman