DAP to move a motion in June Parliament for a realistic and wide-ranging appraisal of 20-month Abdullah premiership on how the Prime Minister’s promises for a clean, incorruptible, accountable, people-oriented, progressive and prosperous Malaysia could be delivered
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi defended his 18-month premiership in his address to the Harvard Club dinner on Thursday night. He conceded that while “not everything had gone according to plan, with malaise and inertia still a problem in certain sectors”, he reiterated that he is committed in realizing the “solemn promises” made in the Barisan Nasional general election manifesto last year – “not made in the heat of electioneering, but rather after careful thought about what needed to be done for Malaysia.
Abdullah’s defence of his 18-month premiership has been hailed by the New Straits Times as “arguably one of his most important speeches since becoming Prime Minister in November 2003” while The Star headlined “Pak Lah comes out fighting” in its editorial comment.
Such unthinking adulation for Abdullah’s speech and 18-month premiership, however, is contrasted by unqualified disdain in many Malaysian blogs, e.g. http://www.jeffooi.com/ who see no hope in the rhetorics becoming reality, with comments such as:
“i agree the PM could do more. however, the real problem is …that the inmates are the ones who run the asylum.”
“every few weeks, he comes up with a speech written by his political secretary and the mainstream papers like the good pr people they are, will make a big hoohaa over it in the front page. but after that, does anyone (anyone at all! - himself included!) take any solid action to see the ideas/opinions through to realisation?”
“Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, ad infinitum.”
“Too late for crying wolf. The wolf is inside the house.”
I take a middle position, no unthinking adulation and yet not wanting to yield to unqualified disdain, hoping that despite my disappointments at his failures in the past 18 months of premiership to deliver his pledges, Abdullah could still work up a “second wind” for a renewed commitment to fulfill these pledges.
For this reason, DAP will move a motion in the June Parliament for a realistic and wide-ranging appraisal of the 20-month Abdullah premiership on how the Prime Minister’s promises for a clean, incorruptible, accountable, people-oriented, progressive and prosperous Malaysia could be delivered – not to condemn the Abdullah administration but to help Abdullah to honour his pledges contained in the Barisan Nasional general election manifesto last year.
It would be an occasion to debate Abdullah’s speech at the Harvard Club dinner in defence of his 18-month premiership, on issues such as knowledge-based economy; culture of excellence, integrity and social responsibility; press freedom; corruption; foreign labour; the subsidy mentality; rent-seeking, etc.
Has Malaysia made progress in the past 18 months to develop a new culture of political and public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption? Then why the advice by the former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba at his 80th birthday celebration in Kota Bharu last month proposing the auction of top UMNO posts to the highest bidder – with UMNO division chief probably fetching RM50,000 while a UMNO Vice President bidding RM5 million – if there is no way to resolve the problem of money politics in UMNO? (Berita Minggu 17.4.05)
Is there greater press freedom in Malaysia? Then why is Malaysia falling way behind Indonesia in world rankings on press freedom in the past eight years, when Malaysia was indisputably recognized internationally as enjoying more press freedom than our large neighbour for decades earlier?
Is the government the model for a culture for excellence, integrity and social responsibility? Then why the crisis of confidence enveloping so many Ministers whose words and undertakings carry no credibility, such as the “assurances” by the Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Shafie Apdal that there will be no inflationary price spiral or that the diesel shortage crisis has been resolved with the price increases for petrol and diesel yesterday?
These and other nettlesome issues pertaining to the effectiveness and success of the Abdullah administration to deliver its pledges of a clean, incorruptible, accountable, efficient, trustworthy, progressive and democratic government should be the main agenda of the next 14-day Parliamentary meeting from June 20 to July 12, 2005.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman