Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 24th January 2010:
Thank Malaysian Indians for nation-building with deeds in the country by ending their marginalization and status as the new underclass and not go to Chennai to make beautiful-sounding but meaningless tribute
I was flabbergasted by the Bernama report yesterday of what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Chennai on Friday, as follows:
January 23, 2010 18:48 PM
Najib Visits Chennai To Thank Malaysian Indians For Nation-Building
By P. Vijian
CHENNAI, Jan 23 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who made a historic trip to Chennai, said it was to honour Malaysian Indians as a vast majority had cultural bonds with Tamil Nadu from where they originated.
"My trip ends in Chennai, it is not coincidental but intentional because Chennai, Tamil Nadu is the original state where many Malaysian Indians originated from.
"Eighty-five per cent of Malaysian Indians are ethnic Tamils and my visit was to recognise the Malaysian Indian contributions to the development of Malaysia," said Najib.
Speaking at a special dinner held in conjunction with his visit to the city, Najib said it was important to recognise those who contributed to nation-building, irrespective of their ethnic background.
"So, this visit is important...for 52 years, we have no (Malaysian) prime minister who visited Chennai, I am the first one to visit," he added.
He also assured Malaysian Indians that their plights would be addressed and the government had taken and would continue to purse policies to help those in need.
"We have heard your call, Malaysian Indians have some dissatisfaction with the Malaysian Government in the past, but we are going to do more for the Indian community," he said.
It raised eye-brows all round and provoked many questions, such as:
Why go to Chennai to thank Malaysian Indians for nation-building, to “recognize the Malaysian Indian contributions to the development of Malaysia” and to tell Malaysian Indians on behalf of the Malaysian Government “We have heard your call...we are going to do more for the Indian community” when all these should appropriately be said and done in Malaysia, the homeland of all Malaysians regardless of ethnic origin?
Isn’t it most inappropriate for the Prime Minister to make such statements in Chennai, which will give ultras and extremists the ammunition to attack the loyalty of Malaysian Indians to the country, accusing them of divided loyalties when Malaysian Indians like Malaysian Chinese, born, bred and who will die in Malaysia, have only one undivided homeland – Malaysia?
Najib making the first visit of a Malaysian Prime Minister to Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu from where 85 per cent of Malaysian Indians originate from) is memorable and even historic, but why tarnish it by linking with Malaysian politics, which is of no service to the cause of the Malaysian Indians or Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan and policy?
If Najib has to visit Chennai to be credible to thank the Malaysian Indians for their contribution to Malaysian nation-building and development and to acknowledge their cries for just and fair treatment as Malaysian citizens, would he have to visit Xiamen or Guangzhou to similarly thank the contributions of six million Malaysian Chinese to Malaysian nation-building and development as well as to signal that his government has heard their call for justice, fair play and equality so that all are first-class Malaysian citizens without second or third-class categories? Nobody is suggesting that Najib should make such a visit to Xiamen or Guangzhou but this is why his speech in his visit to Chennai is so jarring, out-of-place and inappropriate.
Najib’s speech in Chennai is completely at variance with his 1Malaysia concept and slogan. He should dispense with his highly-paid foreign and local advisers who have been giving him all the wrong advice, reducing his 1Malaysia slogan and concept into a joke and mockery.
My advice to Najib - thank Malaysian Indians for nation-building with deeds in the country by ending their marginalization and status as the new underclass and not go to Chennai to make beautiful-sounding but meaningless tribute.
Let Najib make a true and real beginning by announcing a New Deal to end the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians which is part of a National New Deal in the Tenth Malaysia Plan to end the marginalization of all Malaysians who have been left out of the mainstream of national development after nine five-year development plans, whether Malays, Indians, Chinese, Orang Asli, Kadazan or Iban.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor