Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang
in Parliament on Tuesday, 29th January 2008:
Mahathir should be recalled to the RCI on Lingam Tape as his comments
on Suharto’s death shows that he has recovered his “elephant memory”
Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has clearly recovered
his “elephant memory” from his comments on the death of former
Indonesian President Suharto.
Mahathir told Bernama that accounts the former Indonesian leader killed
some 500,000 people after taking power in 1965 were "absolute nonsense".
He said: "I know this for a fact. I knew what happened. Indonesia was in
a state of anarchy then and he has no authority. At the time of the
killings, he was not even the president. He did not order the killing."
Mahathir, who ruled for two decades before stepping down in 2003, said
he regarded Suharto as a friend of Malaysia and a personal friend.
"We looked up to him as a great leader and as an international
statesman. For me, it's quite personal. I know him and I have worked
with him for a very long time.
"Even though Indonesia was not an ideal democracy during Suharto's time,
the fact remained that he brought stability to Indonesia."
Mahathir added: "Of course, there is a price to be paid," acknowledging
that some people had suffered under Suharto's administration.
Without getting into a debate on Mahathir’s assessment of Suharto’s
leadership of Indonesia, it is good to see Mahathir’s recovery from his
recent lapse of memory. He gave his comments on Suharto with confidence
and authority, in total command of his memory.
This was very unlike his appearance before the Royal Commission of
Inquiry (RCI) on Lingam Tape eleven days ago on January 17, when he had
to repeatedly plead loss of memory in his 90-minute testimony.
Asked why he rejected the recommendation of the then Chief Justice, Tun
Dzaiddin Abdullah to appoint Dr. Andrew Chew Peng Hui and Zainuddin
Ismail as judges, Mahathir replied: “I don’t remember my reasons.”
Asked whether he could recall that before Ahmad Fairuz was recommended
as chief judge of Malaya, Dzaiddin had nominated Malek Ahmad, Mahathir
said: “I can’t remember precisely.”
There was this Q & A between Mahathir and Dzaiddin’s counsel, Wong Chong
Wong: Do you remember whether,
when Dzaiddin recommended Malek Ahmad, you rejected his suggestion?
Dr Mahathir: I can't remember him recommending to me.
Wong: A letter dated Aug 19, 2002, from Dzaiddin to you, suggests that
he had made an earlier recommendation for Malek Ahmad to be chief judge
of Malaya. Did you agree to Dzaiddin's recommendation at that stage?
Dr Mahathir: I don't remember whether I agreed or not. I've read this
letter but I don't recall any decision I made on Malek Ahmad.
Now that Mahathir has recovered his
“elephant memory” he should be recalled to the RCI on Lingam Tape to
throw light on the many dubious and devious decisions he made affecting
the judiciary particularly during the last 15 years of his 22-year
premiership where he single-handedly destroyed national and
international confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman