Cabinet has the last chance
tomorrow to act with statesmanship and maturity to put the Wee Meng Chee
Negarakuku rap controversy to rest in view of his apology or the 50th
Merdeka anniversary will be held under a dark cloud and the worst
generational polarization in 50 years
by Lim Kit Siang
The Cabinet tomorrow has the
last chance at its meeting tomorrow to act with statesmanship and maturity
to put the Wee Meng Chee Negarakuku rap controversy to rest in view of his
apology or the 50th Merdeka anniversary will be held under a dark cloud
and unprecedented dissension particularly from the young generation.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had often said that he wants to be Prime
Minister for all Malaysians and not for any one racial group and that he
wants to hear the “truth” from the people however unpleasant.
It is time he walks the talk in both by ending the orchestrated campaign
led by Umno Ministers and leaders to demonise, criminalize and crush a
24-year-old Malaysian undergraduate in Taiwan for articulating the
frustrations and grievances of his generation and in fact of all
Malaysians, particularly about police corruption, public service
bureaucracy and inefficiency as well as government insensitivity to the
rights and interests of all communities.
Wee may be faulted for his rough language, irreverent expressions and lack
of sensitivity in dealing with religious matters – but all these
shortcomings do not add up to the capital crime of treason or sedition or
the grave charges of being unpatriotic, disloyal, anti-Islam or
The 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations run the risk of becoming a
mockery, both national and international, when the whole power and
machinery of the state is being deployed as a sledgehammer to demonise,
criminalize and crush Wee, despite his public apology.
In declaring war on Wee, the Cabinet and government is declaring war on
Malaysians and in particular the young generation of Malaysians, causing
one of the worst generational polarizations in the nation’s history.
Umno Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein
was again in the forefront demanding a “pound of flesh” from Wee, as
reported by today’s Utusan Malaysia: “Meng Chee tetap kena tindakan”.
The two salient points made Hishammuddin in Johor Baru yesterday demanding
a “pound of flesh” from Wee are:
• Although he sympathise with Wee, the Muar undergraduate must be punished
for his offence.
• Wee cannot escape legal consequences just because of his apology.
Can a person who murder or burn the national flag be let off scotfree just
because of an apology?
Was Hishamuddin speaking as Umno Youth leader or Education Minister? The
views expressed by Hishamuddin is typical of an Umno Youth Leader, who
could brandish the Malay keris in utter contempt of the rights and
sensitivities of the non-Malay communities in the country – but completely
unacceptable for an Education Minister who should set an example of
national unity instead of dissension.
This is why I had told Hishammuddin in Parliament last year that he should
choose whether he wants to be Umno Youth Leader or Education Minister,
because he cannot be both, with his former position requiring him to
pander to Malay communal impulses and sentiments resulting in his weidling
the Malay keris while the latter office demands a person who is a model
and symbol of unity of races, religions and generations instead of
Hishammudin’s conflicting and contradictory roles are again highlighted by
the Wee Meng Chee Negarakuku rap controversy.
As Umno Youth leaeder, he is leading the pack trying to demonise,
criminalize and crush Wee, throwing.all the books at him, whether National
Anthem Act, Sedition Act, Internal Security Act and even demands to cancel
Wee’s passport, extradite him back from Taiwan and to revoke his
From his statement in Johor Baru yesterday, Hishammuddin had already
pre-judged Wee as a criminal guilty of breaking the laws of the country -
assuming the multiple roles of prosecutor, jury and judge!
However, as Education Minister, he should be a voice of reason and wisdom
to point out that although Wee could be faulted for his rough language,
irreverent expressions and lack of sensitivity in treating religious
matters, Wee should be told where he had gone wrong and his apology should
be accepted to end the controversy. Furthermore, the Cabinet and
government should listen to what Wee had to say in his rap!
Instead Hishammuddin added oil to the fire by equating Wee’s rap as murder
and burninhg the Jalur Gemilang, which is not only baseless but the height
of irresponsibility and a great shame for any Education Minister mindful
that he should be the nation’s No. One Educator instead of being the No.
The Wee Negarakuku rap controversy had also brought to the fore the
double-standards in law and enforcement, how those in authority could on
the one hand demand the application of the full rigours of the law for
others when they themselves enjoy the cultu8re of impunity despite
numerous police reports lodged against them for criminal offences.
The Cabinet should rise up to the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary
at its meeting tomorrow to lay to rest the Wee Meng Chee Negarakuku rap
controversy by accepting Wee apology, listen and respond to the messages
in Wee’s rap and end the shameful campaign to demonise, criminalize and
crush Wee with the whole weight and power of the state.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman