KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang urged Barisan Nasional (BN) senators today to quit the Dewan Negara, following the party’s defeat in the 14th general elections.
The Iskandar Puteri PM said in a statement that 31 BN senators who were appointed by the former government had to accept the fate of the party by letting go their post.
Currently, BN has 54 senators, 19 of whom were appointed at the recommendation of different state assemblies while the remaining members were selected by the previous administration.
Senatorship is for a three-year period and the same individual may be appointed for two terms only, which is not affected by dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat.
After Gerakan quit BN today, Lim questioned whether its senators, Datuk Ng Chiang Chin and Datuk Teo Eng Tee, would also relinquish their posts.
He said incumbent Umno Youth vice chief Khairul Azwan Harun, whose senatorship ends in December 2019, has pledged to donate 50 per cent of his salary as a senator to the movement’s coffers should he be elected as Umno Youth leader.
“How can Azwan help restore Umno’s credibility and moral authority when he should have resigned as Senator, since he was appointed senator by the BN government which had been defeated in the historic and watershed 14th General Election on May 9, 2018?
“Will Azwan lead the 31 Umno senators to resign from the Dewan Negara, fully accepting the verdict of the electorate in the May 9, 2018 Polling Day of the 14GE?” Lim posed in the statement.
Citing the example of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lim pointed out the difference between the current Umno leadership as compared to when it was first formed, when the first Prime Minister sold his house in Penang to fund Umno’s operation when he took over Umno from Datuk Onn Jaafar in 1951.
“Tunku’s integrity was undoubted and never challenged. Najib is a kettle of fish who is now mentioned in the ranks of kleptocrats like Ferdinand Marcos of Philippines and Suharto of Indonesia,” he said in reference to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Sixty-seven years later, we do not have an Umno president who had to sell his house to fund the running of UMNO, but instead there was the international spectacle of nearly 300 boxes of designer handbags and dozens of bags filled with cash and jewellery among the items taken away by police in raids at properties linked to the former Prime Minister’s family,” he said.
Lim said there were currently 31 Umno senators, two from PAS, and 11 from Pakatan Harapan, and 26 vacancies in the Dewan Negara.
He said Dewan Negara has 70 senators, 44 of which were appointed by the Najib administration and 26 others elected by the respective state assemblies.
Each senator draws a monthly salary of RM11,000.
Many of the 54 are either midway through their term or were appointed about six months ago.