Lim said Abdullah should spend more time in the country to ensure his trips abroad “do not result in the neglect of his duties” as prime minister, internal security minister and finance minister.In a written reply to Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah), the Foreign Ministry reported that the premier went on 83 official and work-related visits overseas over a period of three years and eight months.
Abdullah made 22 trips in 2004, 25 in 2005, 20 in 2006 and 16 in 2007. His most recent visits were to Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy.
“One message from the answer is that Abdullah has not only three portfolios … he has a fourth portfolio as the travelling de facto foreign minister,” Lim told a press conference in Parliament lobby today.
Lim said Abdullah should “revamp his time-management” and focus on fulfilling his 2004 general election pledge to create a cleaner, more efficient government.
“The most important agenda of the Abdullah Administration to wipe out corruption has fizzled out, highlighted by the ignominious dismissal of the Eric Chia corruption case,” said Lim.
Chia, a tycoon charged with running steel company Perwaja in the 1990s, was the first public figure charged for graft in February 2004.
Long list of failures
Abdullah had made pledges to fight corruption and cronyism as part of his campaign drive in early 2004. Chia was acquitted by the High Court on Tuesday on charges that he allegedly misappropriated RM74.6 million.
Lim added that Malaysia has dropped rank in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from 37th to 44th placing from 2003 to 2006 and that the country’s crime rate has soared since Abdullah took office.
He said the recommendations by the Royal Police Commission to set up the IPCMC was ignored.
“Such a list of failures of the Abdullah premiership stems from the hopes and expectations he has raised when he became prime minister … will be quite a long one.
“It will include setbacks to nation-building process arising from worsening religious polarisation because of the lack of political will and leadership to restore inter-religious dialogue as in the first three decades of nationhood,” he said.