Lim Kit Siang, Sabah, Sarawak, DAP

I will interrupt my campaigning for Pakatan Harapan in the Sarawak general election and fly back to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to vote in Parliament on the Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 to undo the Constitutional Amendment 45 years ago to restore to Sarawak its rights under the Malaysia Act 1963.

When the 1976 Constitutional Amendment Bill was voted in Parliament on 13th July 1976, it was carried by 130 votes supporting and nine votes opposing – all the nine votes came from DAP which included myself. Those who supported the Constitution Amendment in 1976 which reduced Sarawak and Sabah from a region comparable to Peninsular Malaysia to one of the 13 states in Malaysia included all the Sarawak Barisan Nasional leaders, like two MPs who became Sarawak Chief Minister and Sarawak Yang di Pertua, Abdul Rahman Yaacob and Taib Mahmud, SUPP leaders Ong Kee Hui and Stephen Yong and SNAP leaders Edmund Langgu, Patrick Uren and Luhat Wan.

The 22-month Pakatan Harapan tried to undo the 1976 Constitution Amendment and restore to Sarawak and Sabah the status of region together with Peninsular Malaysia and not one of the 13 states but this was move was defeated by the opposition of the GPS Members of Parliament who did not support it.

Now, the GPS has another chance to undo the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill tomorrow because the Confidence-Supply-Reform (CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and the four Pakatan Harapan leaders Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, Mohamad Sabu and Wilfred Madius Tangau on Sept. 13, 2021 insisted that the restoration of Sarawak and Sabah as two of the three regions and not two of the 13 states in Malaysia be addressed with priority and should be one of the key issues of the CSR MOU.

Tomorrow will be the implementation of one of the key issues of the CSR MOU, and it is taking place at a time when there is more light at the end of the tunnel in the 23-month Covid-19 pandemic, which was another objective of the CSR MOU as yesterday, Malaysia has finally gone below the 4,000-case daily increase of new Covid-19 cases after struggling for seven months since May this year.

We have stopped the crazy upsurge of Covid-19 cases and deaths, which if not for the CSR MOU, could reach cumulative totals of five million Covid-19 cases and 100,000 Covid-19 deaths at present in Malaysia. But I am not happy with the agonising slowness of decrease in daily new increase of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 3,490 new Covid-19 cases and 17 Covid-19 deaths, but Indonesia recorded lower figures of 163 daily new Covid-19 cases and seven Covid-19 deaths. Indonesia, which has more than eight times the population of Malaysia, has been reporting triple-number daily increase of Covid-19 cases for two months while we have been struggling for seven months to fall below 4,000 cases.

From the latest report, even India which has a population more than 42 times that of Malaysia, has yesterday reported an almost similar number of daily increase of new Covid-19 cases (3,632 cases).

When will the world’s longest Covid-19 wave in Malaysia which must be traced back to September last year end? When will Malaysia return to the pre-Emergency time of January 11, 2021 when the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases was in 2,000-case zone?

I know there is a lot of disappointment with the performance of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government in Sarawak and Malaysia because I myself am disappointed with its performance as I believe the Pakatan Harapan government could have done better.

However, it is unfair to judge the Pakatan Harapan government on its 22-month performance before it was toppled by an undemocratic and unconstitutional conspiracy, the Sheraton Move conspiracy, in February 2020 for the Pakatan Harapan government was given a mandate of five years to executive its general election pledges.

The Pakatan Harapan should be judged whether it has failed to implement its election pledges in five years, and not in 22 months when it was trying to find its footing after more than half-a-century of UMNO hegemonic government.

It is even more unfair to accuse the 22-month Pakatan Harapan Government and the DAP of having betrayed our principles and objectives because such allegations are sheer political demonisations and totally untrue.

I met Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister of Pakatan Harapan government in a private meeting in July 2019 where I expressed my concern about the implementation of the Pakatan Harapan election pledges, and he agreed to the establishment of a Pakatan Harapan review committee on the implementation of the Pakatan election pledges.

As the Pakatan Harapan government had 60 months to implement the election manifesto, I was planning to meet the Prime Minister on the issue after the mid-term of the government, and if there had been delay in implementing the election promises in the first half of the Pakatan Harapan government, steps could be taken to accelerate the fulfilment of the election pledges in the second half of the Pakatan Harapan Government

But the Pakatan Harapan could not even last half-way to 30 months, as it was toppled undemocratically, unconstitutionally and illegitimately in 22 months in the Sheraton Move conspiracy.

There is another reason for the slow progress in the implementation of the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto – DAP is only one of the four component parties of the Pakatan Harapan coalition and we have to convince the other three political parties on the urgency of fulfilling the election manifesto.

I played the Devil’s Advocate in a discussion with a disappointed voter in Sibu yesterday. I asked him whether in his disappointment that Pakatan Harapan government could not have done better in 22 months – as there were a lot of resistance and opposition visible and not visible – does he want to see DAP to disappear and cease to exist.

He said he is disappointed by the Pakatan Harapan government’s performance but he did not want the DAP to disappear, for the future will be really dark and bleak.

I told him that whatever the ups and downs, the fight for a better Sarawak and Malaysia must go on, that one must not give up the hope, vision and battle for a better society and surrender to hopelessness.

I am glad he agreed with me that all is not lost so long as we do not surrender to hopelessness, dejection and despondency.

This is what the Sarawak general election is all about on Dec. 18, 2021.

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Sibu on Monday, 13th December 2021)


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