Lim Kit Siang is questioning the clout of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform after Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that the timing of general elections would not depend on the panel’s proceedings.
Lim also accused the prime minister of reneging on his implicit undertaking last Monday — when announcing the panel — that federal polls would not be held until the panel reached a consensus on electoral improvements.
“In just four days, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has done a full flip-flop,” said Lim in a statement today.
The Ipoh Timur MP cited a report from national news agency Bernama on Najib’s remarks last Monday that quoted the PM as saying: “This is so that we can reach a consensus in facing the next election without any suspicion about any manipulation by the government.”
“In declaring that the next general election can be held anytime and is not bound by the work of the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform, Najib is in effect saying that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is now prepared to go ahead with the next general election, although it has failed to put to rest suspicions of manipulation by the government in the country’s electoral process,” said Lim.
“This has vindicated the intense questioning and doubts about the true intentions of the parliamentary select committee proposal, whether it is a genuine and sincere attempt to address and resolve the many flaws in the electoral system or just a gimmick to sidetrack legitimate and growing public demands for electoral reform,” added the veteran politician.
Lim also pointed out that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was not consulted on the panel’s formation, membership, terms of reference and timeline. PR said last Wednesday that it may boycott the select committee if the panel did not meet its expectations.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said yesterday that a BN minister will chair the panel despite PR’s insistence on helming it.
He said the committee will comprise nine members — five from BN, including a minister as chairman, one from each of PR’s three parties and one independent representative.
The Umno minister added that the practice was according to convention and was not a House rule. Lim questioned today if Najib’s “flip-flop” was caused by “hardline pressures”, naming Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin insisted last Tuesday that the current electoral system was fair and transparent and only needed some tweaking.
“Be that as it may, it is now in the court of the prime minister as to whether his proposal of a parliamentary select committee will be stillborn because of his refusal to fully consult with and seek the agreement of Pakatan Rakyat on various important aspects of the committee, as well to assure all Malaysians that it will be a meaningful exercise and not a political ploy to avoid electoral reform,” said Lim.
Najib formed the panel some five weeks after electoral reform movement Bersih 2.0 took to the streets of the capital city to call for free and fair elections. Police locked down the city but nearly 50,000 people still turned up.
A similar rally in November 2007 was credited for BN’s poor showing in national polls held in March 2008, where the ruling coalition lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority and four more states.
Najib broke a TACIT promise? What's so surprising about that? He's a person who'll break a promise at the drop of a hat if it is to his advantage, even if he had made that promise in front of a hundred thousand people and live telecasted to the whole country.
Najib is already infamous because of being held ransom by his colleagues on many of his own skeletons. How can Najib act independently when he is so tainted with baggages. We need a clean leader as PM like our Tok Guru Nik Aziz whereby nobody can hold him at ransom! The BN always win elections only thro' the compromised electoral rolls and not by genuine majority of votes. So reform is a must for fair play. The rakyat must insist on clean and fair elections. PR stays Focus for GE13. Vote for change!