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Happy 70th Birthday, Taib – Change lifestyle and get a “first-class mentality”


Media Statement
Lim Kit Siang

Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : Let me start with a greeting to the Sarawak Chief Minister - “Happy 70th Birthday, Taib – Change lifestyle and get a  ‘first-class mentality’”!


Taib had asked as his  70th birthday present today a “clean sweep” of the ninth Sarawak general election yesterday to have a one-party Sarawak State Assembly for the next five years.


I salute the voters of Sarawak particularly in the nine seats who had elected Opposition candidates as State Assembly representatives for giving Taib the most appropriate birthday present – firmly rejecting his  “third-world” demand for a Soviet-style one-party legislature and taking the first step for Sarawak and Malaysia to become a normal democracy where, in the words of  Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, “opposition is the essence of democracy”!


The message the voters of Sarawak want to convey to Taib on his 70th birthday is that he should “change lifestyle” and get a “first-class mentality”.


The standard response of Barisan Nasional leaders to public complaints about unreasonable and unconscionable price hikes especially the fuel price increases is that the people should  “change lifestyle”.  Taib should be the first to “change lifestyle” as the  role model in Sarawak – and such “lifestyle change” must be immediately visible and tangible to all Sarawakians. Then all State Ministers should follow suit.


Acquiring “first-class mentality” is the key thrust of the Ninth Malaysia Plan to pave the way for Sarawak and  Malaysia to become a “first-world developed nation”.


But before  we can acquire “first-class mentality”, we must become a normal democracy and a normal country.  It is an adverse reflection of how far we are from a normal democracy that the underlying theme  of the Barisan Nasional campaign in the Sarawak state general election was  whether an opposition is needed, whether the opposition should be totally wiped out in the Sarawak state assembly and whether Taib should be rewarded for his 25-year tenure as Sarawak Chief Minister  with a special 70th birthday present with  a ‘clean sweep’ and one-party legislature for the next five years.

In first-world developed countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Australia – which we aspire to join in 14 years time under Vision 2020 – if the leader of the ruling party seeking re-election of his government asks the electorate in the general election to give him a special birthday present of a one-party legislature with a total “knock-out” of all opposition candidates, he would be regarded as a pseudo democrat, a threat to democracy, a joker if not a “crazy”! Such request for a special birthday present with the total wiping out of the opposition would have certified his unfitness  for democratic office and  ensured his rejection and defeat in the polls!

With  the Sarawak general election result yesterday,  democracy in Malaysia has started the painful process of growing up where such undemocratic calls to wipe out the Opposition  are  no more  regarded as legitimate, acceptable  and normal.

Malaysia cannot  be treated like  some African countries where the Opposition is regarded as inherently disloyal, anti-national and destructive and deserves to be discriminated and persecuted as distinct from “first-world developed” countries where the Opposition are given full respect by the government-of-the-day.

Taib should demonstrate his acquisition of  “first-class mentality” by fully co-operating with the newly-elected Sarawak Opposition Assembly representatives to work for the welfare of all Sarawakians, respecting  their fundamental right to development, regardless of race, religion, gender, political beliefs or vote.

Barisan Nasional elected representatives have become “mindless robots” under  the “third world” BN  Party Whip barring them from supporting  Opposition motions whether right or wrong and from voting  according to conscience.  Yesterday, the voters of Sarawak have shown that they are superior to BN elected representatives as they can differentiate between right from wrong and could vote according to conscience when they supported DAP and Opposition candidates.

The second “first world mentality” initiative  is for Taib to restore to the other 61 Barisan Nasional Assembly representatives the right to differentiate between right and wrong by removing the Whip to forbid  support for Opposition motions in the State Assembly and to vote according to conscience, unless they concern specific and declared  Barisan Nasional  party policy stand and programme.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had asked from Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt during the teleconferencing last night why Barisan Nasional lost the urban areas and directed a “thorough analysis” to be done.

One reason why Barisan Nasional lost the urban voters is because they are disappointed by the failure to deliver the Prime Minister’s reform pledge and programme in the past 31 months and their support of  the DAP call to turn  a vote for the DAP into  a  vote of support for  Abdullah’s anti-corruption campaign.

Is Taib prepared to work with the six DAP Assemblymen and women to give solid and meaningful support to Abdullah’s reform pledge and programme to uphold integrity and combat corruption by introducing an anti-corruption agenda and an anti-corruption action plan in the Sarawak State Assembly?

Will  the Prime Minister take heart from the election of six DAP Sarawak Assembly members as endorsement for his anti-corruption campaign, whether in Sarawak State Assembly or  Parliament, to ignite a new momentum for the national integrity drive - instead of being bogged down by the comparatively minor question of the Barisan Nasional  loss of nine seats which represents only 12.7% in the 71-member  Sarawak State Assembly?


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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