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Media Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Wednesday, 16th January 2008:

World’s most short-lived guessing-game started by any Prime Minister – whether 12th general election this March or next March?

Will the 12th general election be held in March this year or next year?

This is the guessing game the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tried to provoke from Spain yesterday, but it is a guessing-game initiated by any Prime Minister which must go down in the Guinness Book of Records as having the shortest life-span, expiring the moment it was ventilated – as nobody is biting!

Abdullah, in Madrid for the First Alliance of Civilisations Annual Forum, had announced that he would be in Senegal in March to hand over the chairmanship of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

He raised the possibility of the next general election being held either this March or next March when asked if polls would be held before or after the OIC Summit. (The OIC website gave March 13-14, 2008 as the Islamic Summit Conference in Dakar, Senegal).

If Abdullah is serious that the next general election is not around the corner, then he should send out a clear and urgent message to the Cabinet and the whole administration to return to normalcy, as the whole government has ceased to operate normally but is on an election footing – making decisions and approvals “on-the-run” solely with voter support in mind although such decisions may only last for a few weeks until the next general election is over.

One good example is the announcement by the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting which made Chinese front-page headline news today but totally ignored by all English and Bahasa-language media, of a new Finance Ministry guideline to open school and other government contracts for supplies from RM10, 000 to RM50, 000 to all Malaysians when previously, all such contracts for supplies below RM50, 000 were reserved only for bumiputras.

This is one example of the sheaf of government decisions and approvals which are now being made “on-the-run” just because of the coming general election, which could be easily reversed or set aside after the general election by low-level bureaucrats!

Furthermore, at the implementation level, the so-called new Finance Ministry guideline could be easily circumvented or bypassed during the next few weeks until the general election by the army of “Little Napoleons” teeming in the various Ministries and departments who exercise real powers in the bureaucracy as compared to MCA Ministers.

Thus, if Abdullah has no intention to call general election in March, he should end the election frenzy in the country so that the Cabinet and the administration can get back to normal and serious work to provide efficient service to the people – and not at present be totally engrossed by how to string out a host of election promises which the Barisan Nasional government has no intention to honour after the polls.

The general election frenzy is too far advanced to be dispelled unless Abdullah is prepared to come out with a categorical statement that March polls are not on the cards.

In fact, it is an open secret that Abdullah’s feng shui master has recommended March 15, 2008 as an ideal polling day, with March 3 as dissolution of Parliament and March 7 as nomination day.

Although the OIC Summit is fixed for March 13-14 for Dakar, Senegal, either this date would be pushed off to later March, or Abdullah will have to miss it despite his announcement in Madrid yesterday that he would be attending the OIC Summit in Senegal.

Is Abdullah prepared to end the current election frenzy by a categorical statement that the next general election would not be held in March this year – so that the Cabinet and administration can get back to serious work such as to fight crime, control price increases, ensure quality education and improve Malaysia’s international competitiveness instead of posturing for the next general election to be held within 60 days?

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


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