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Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the launching of the DAP Pasir Pinji Election Operation Centre in Ipoh on Thursday, 31st January 2008 at 1 pm:

3-hr Cabinet meeting yesterday on next general election the latest example of gross abuse of power, lack of integrity and rapid degeneration of ethical quality of Abdullah premiership, which is quickly losing the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong

New Straits Times today carried an exclusive about the three-hour Cabinet meeting yesterday on preparations for impending general election under the heading “Get ready to face election, ministers told”, which reads:

On your marks, get set, go.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told ministers yesterday to get ready to face the general election.

The prime minister touched extensively on the subject during the cabinet meeting.

A minister said Abdullah reminded them in a three-hour discussion on election preparations to be fully prepared to go out on the hustings.

He said the prime minister, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, did not indicate a date for the election.

"We are ready to face the general election and this is the commitment we gave the prime minister. We also gave him an assurance that preparations were in third gear."

The minister said Abdullah was also informed that all BN election operations rooms were ready for the polls.

Another minister said the session also saw ministers reporting the economic situation in their constituencies.

It is sad and even tragic that very few Malaysians seem to realize that this report highlights a very decadent political culture unparalleled in the 50-year history of Malaysia, of further degeneration of the ethical standards of the government-of-the-day to the extent that the Abdullah premiership has quickly lost the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong.

The Cabinet is not a Barisan Nasional outfit but the highest decision-making body of the executive in the country. It has no business to waste its whole morning of three hours to discuss the individual or collective electoral prospects of the Barisan Nasional Ministers.

Why should the Cabinet be discussing the “economic situation” of the individual constituencies of the Ministers, when they should be concerned about the “economic situation” of the whole country and all Malaysians?

The three-hour Cabinet meeting yesterday on next general election is the latest example of gross abuse of power, lack of integrity and rapid degeneration of ethical quality of Abdullah premiership, which makes a total mockery of the National Integrity Plan launched by Abdullah in his first year of premiership.

It is not that there weren’t important national issues for the Cabinet to address yesterday, for instance:

• The latest instance of “body-snatching” aggravating racial and religious polarization in the country, involving 74-year-old Gan Eng Gor of Seremban.

• The jailing of Dr. Basmullah Yusom, the first doctor to be jailed under a technicality under the Private Health Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998 despite assurances of the former Health Minister and Director-General of Health Services that the PHFSA would be amended and that no doctor would be criminalized or jailed over a technicality.

• The endemic crime in the country as illustrated by the failure to locate 5-yr-old Sharlinie Nashar, who had been missing for more than three weeks. The one-week deadline given by bomohs that Sharlinie would be found has come and gone. Clearly, both the terrestrial and supernatural police are of no help to locate and rescue Sharlinie.

Sadly, the issues and concerns of the people were completely sidelined at the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Abdullah and all Cabinet Ministers should apologise for their most unethical conduct in spending a whole Cabinet meeting yesterday discussing the general election preparations which should rightly be held in Barisan Nasional meetings – when they should be proving their Ministerial worth by addressing the problems of the people!

No wonder former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has dismissed this Cabinet as a “half-past six Cabinet”!

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


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