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Is the Umno Supreme Council’s “verbal ticking off” for extremist, incendiary and seditious Umno general assembly speeches the end of the matter – including foreclosing any action by police and Attorney-General for criminal prosecution of the seditious utterances?


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Saturday) : The Star’s front-page headline today screamed  “Fiery trio ticked off”   for its report on what Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said after yesterday’s Umno Supreme Council meeting.


Abdullah said  the Umno  management committee had called Kedah delegate and Umno Youth information chief Azimi Daim, Malacca delegate Hasnoor Sidang Hussein, and Perlis delegate Hashim Suboh on Wednesday to explain their remarks, which had slighted the non-Malays and that they  were given pedas dan keras (caustic and strong) advice to be careful with their words.  They were told not to go overboard until they risk running foul of the law.


It is no exaggeration to say that public reaction to the outcome of the Umno Supreme Council meeting is one of disbelief, asking “Is that all?”  Could Opposition politicians who had threatened May 13 riots, bloodshed and running amok got off so lightly?

Last month’s  “fire and brimstone” Umno assemblies with keris-wielding and May 13 threats of bloodshed, amok and riots had caused adverse and far-reaching repercussions detrimental  to the national and international interests of the country, including:

  • Undermining half-a-century of nation-building and national unity efforts, casting a huge shadow over the 50th Merdeka Celebrations next year whether such anniversary celebrations could be really meaningful or they would all  just be financial extravaganza with “a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing”;

  • Triggering off a new round of exodus of Malaysian professionals – both Malays and non-Malays – migrating overseas, which is inimical to national efforts to enhance global competitiveness;

  • Scaring away foreign investors, undermining the Visit  Malaysia 2007 campaign and generally weakening Malaysia’s global competitiveness because of a spate of adverse international reports.

The two latest  international media reports as a result of the extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious Umno general assembly utterances painting Malaysia in a  most negative light are:

1. Newsweek (Nov. 25, 2006) “Drifting Towards Extremism – Malaysia and Indonesia are known for their gentle version of Islam. So why is the mainstream worried”.  The Newsweek article started off with the Umno general assembly, which it described as “a shocking display of divisiveness”, because of  the keris-waving by Education Minister Hishammuddin Hussein  and where some Umno delegates “gave speeches that, either explicitly or in veiled terms, were racist or called for violence as a means of settling religious or political differences”.  

The Newsweek report said:

“Indonesia and Malaysia are thought to be models of multicultural democracy. And yet, say mainstream Islamic scholars, political analysts and even former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, Southeast Asia's two most important countries are both drifting toward fundamentalism—a trend made scarier by the inability or unwillingness of some senior political leaders to condemn those promoting the shift. Some analysts are already calling this the ‘Arabization’ of the region.”

2. Economist (30th Nov. 2006) report  on “Putting the malaise into Malaysia”, which began on “UPROAR is still raging in Malaysia over inflammatory speeches at the annual congress of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in mid-November” and raising the very question Malaysians have been asking for over two weeks – the meaning of next year’s 50th Merdeka celebrations.

The article said: “But with Vietnam, China and India competing harder for investment, Malaysia has to build on its strengths as a relatively advanced, liberal country and seek more high-technology and creative businesses. Such businesses need talented people—and the widening ethnic and religious gap is encouraging a brain drain, says Azmi Sharom, a law lecturer at the University of Malaya.”

The two questions all Malaysians are asking are  firstly, whether  the Umno Supreme Council’s “verbal ticking off” for extremist, incendiary and seditious Umno general assembly speeches is  adequate and commensurate with the gravity of the offences involved, and therefore the  end of the matter; and secondly, whether the “ticking off” foreclosed  any action by police and Attorney-General against the Umno delegates concerned  for criminal prosecution for sedition.

Is the Umno Supreme Council’s “ticking off” a message to the Police and Attorney-General that no further action needed be taken on the various  police reports on sedition which had been lodged as a result of the extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious Umno general assembly utterances?


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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