Everybody knows her name

By Shannon Teoh (The Malaysian Insider)

SUNGAI PETANI, April 2 — Opposition speakers continue to creatively work around the Home Ministry ban on mentioning Altantuya Shaariibuu at their election ceramahs with Lim Kit Siang last night proving that most people were aware of the Mongolian beauty.

The DAP stalwart questioned the suitability of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister merely by asking the Bukit Selambau crowd "Who? From where?" when bringing up the Umno president's alleged links to her murder.

The crowd got their answers right on both counts.

Two nights ago when opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim began his triple by-elections campaign here, he showed the breadth of topics he could address in attacking Barisan Nasional by bringing up a different deceased — that of suspected car thief A. Kugan in police custody.

Lim last night highlighted the sheer ludicrity of banning the mention of a name and "that of a non-citizen," calling it undemocratic.

He said the Altantuya murder, without mentioning her name, coupled with allegations of abuse of power including an RM500 million commission in the government purchase of submarines, raised doubts over Najib's impending premiership in "35 hours".

"There are question marks over his suitability, integrity, credibility and legitimacy. Never has there been such doubts over a prime minister," he said.

"Everybody knows about this," he said, using his query to the crowd as evidence of how wide the speculation had spread.

The Ipoh Timur MP admitted that he was disappointed that outgoing prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was stepping down as he had promised and failed to deliver extensive democratic reforms before stepping down.

He said that it was imperative for voters in Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang and Batang Ai to send a message to Najib to make him prove his innocence in these scandals and his credibility in carrying out the reforms demanded by the people.

The Home Ministry issued tough guidelines to parties contesting the by-elections to refrain from talking about Altantuya, the Perak Sultan's decisions in switching state government, race and religious issues in ceramahs.

The opposition has called the ban unfair and undemocratic, vowing to defy it in its campaigns.