Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 3rd September 2008: 

Five reasons why Najib's apology on behalf of Ahmad Ismail for the latter's deroginatory and racist reference of Chinese as "squatters" and untrustworthy Malaysians inappropriate, inadequate and unacceptable

There are at least five reasons why Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Najib Razak's apology on behalf of Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail for the latter's derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist reference of the Chinese as "squatters" and untrustworthy Malaysians is inappropriate, inadequate and unacceptable.

Firstly, why is there no public response from Ahmad Ismail himself, who have shown no sense of contrition or remorse whatsoever in the past nine days for his racist slurs of the Malaysian Chinese? Is Ahmad Ismail fully confident that he has the mainstream support of Umno leaders and members, encouraging him to show contempt for the nation-wide furore?

Secondly, how can Najib's second-hand apology on behalf of Ahmad Ismail be acceptable when Ahmad continues to be defiant and unrepentant? Even if Ahmad Ismail tenders an apology, the question of its adequacy will arise, following the precedent set by the Cabinet in the Wee Meng Chee case over his "Negaraku" rap video-clip last year, when the Cabinet rejected Wee's apology as inadequate.

Many police reports have been lodged against Ahmad for violating the Sedition Act. Is Najib's apology meant to be a message to the Police and the Attorney-General that Ahmad should get off scot-free instead of having to face the full weight of the law?

Thirdly, Najib should apologise on behalf of himself and not on behalf of Ahmad as Najib had failed to take immediate or prompt action to reprimand Ahmad for the latter's racist and seditious speech at a Permatang Pauh by-election ceramah on August 24 which was attended by Najib.

Fourthly, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi himself should make a public apology for trying to protect and excuse Ahmad Ibrahim for the racist and seditious speech, with the totally unacceptable claim that the Bukit Bendera Umno division chief had not meant what he said and that he would "tell him not to do it again".

The Prime Minister's attempt to condone Ahmad's racist speech caused outrage among right-thinking Malaysians especially as it is the latest example of a series of extremist, racist and seditious outbursts by Umno leaders, such as Umno MPs shouting "Balik Cina" in Parliament and a keris-wielding Umno Youth leader-cum-Education Minister.

Fifthly, the bona fide of Najib's apology comes into question when this news is blacked out in the Malay mainstream newspapers owned and controlled by UMNO, in particular Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian. A check with Bernama online shows that Najib's apology is reported in Bernama's English news but blacked out in Bernama's Bahasa Malaysia news.

With such media manipulation of his apology, how much is one to believe Najib when he said that Ahmad's statement did not reflect the position and attitude of Umno or the leadership of Umno?

If Najib is fully sincere and serious about this statement of the stand of Umno and Umno leadership in dissociating from Ahmad's speech, why is his statement only allowed to be reported in the non-Malay mainstream media but not in the Malay mainstream media?

*Statement on "Apology for mistake that Najib’s “apology” blacked out by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian"

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor