Media statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 12th July 2011:
Was Tiong Lai “blackmailed” into telling untruths about police tear gas and water cannon shooting into Tung Shin Maternity Hospital
DAP MP for PJ Utara and National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua was rightly outraged and accused the MCA Deputy President and Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai of “lying through his teeth” when the latter denied that police had fired tear gas and water cannons into the Tung Shin Maternity Hospital during the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally on Saturday.
Pua has also rightly demanded the Health Minister apologise to the hospital authorities and Malaysians for his statement as Pua is not only an eye-witness but a victim of the wanton, reckless and unforgivable police attacks on the Tong Shin Maternity Hospital.
Liow’s action was cowardly and indefensible, going against the weight of eye-witness accounts and increasing pile of videos and pictorial evidence.
It is at these trying moments when truth cries out for defence against power and authority that the ordinary rakyat expects their political leaders to stand by them – but the MCA leader and Minister has chosen to go against the people, the facts and the weight of evidence.
The question I want to ask Liow is whether he had been blackmailed into telling untruths denying that there were police tear gas and water cannon shooting into Tung Shin Materniy Hospital on Saturday, although he knew they were untruths.
I formed the conclusion that Liow himself did not believe his denial that police had fired tear gas and water cannon at Tung Shin Hospital on Saturday because the MCA-owned Star newspaper completely blacked out every word about what he said in his visit to Tung Shih Hospital yesterday, but the UMNO-owned New Straits Times gave it prominent coverage with a page lead in P7, viz:
'Police did not target Tung Shin Hospital'
KUALA LUMPUR: The police did not fire tear gas and water cannon at Tung Shin Hospital in Jalan Pudu here during Saturday's rally to disperse the crowd, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said this was confirmed by the Tung Shin Hospital board of directors, who attended a one-hour meeting with the ministry at the hospital yesterday.
"We can confirm that the police did not fire tear gas and water cannon at the hospital. They were instead aiming at the crowd on the main road to disperse them."
When asked about videos and photos showing otherwise, Liow clarified that the hospital was not directly hit by tear gas canisters and water cannon.
"They were not aimed at the hospital but at the main road. The fumes and water might have spread to the hospital but I can assure you that they were not directed at the hospital compound."
Liow said a hospital should not have been caught in such a situation, and that the protesters should not have gone into the hospital to seek refuge.
"It was not a good idea (for them to go inside the hospital). Hospitals should be kept away from such problems and they (the protesters) should not have gone there in the first place."
He said police had to take action against the protesters as it was an illegal gathering that was creating problems for the public.
"The police had handled this situation in a professional manner to preserve peace without injuring any party."
Liow took a swipe at DAP for taking advantage of the situation by painting the police force in a bad light.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and other party leaders visited Tung Shin Hospital on Sunday and highlighted the alleged police action.
"Why do they want to implicate the police?
"It is very irresponsible of them to say that the police had fired tear gas at the hospital. This is uncalled for. If it's not the truth, then it is not the truth."
MCA-owned Star only carried a three-para filler placed inconspicuously in page 10 under the heading: “Tung Shin Hospital not affected” which did not quote Liow at all.
The question Liow should answer is whether he was “blackmailed” into telling untruths about police tear gas and water cannon shooting into Tung Shin Maternity Hospital during 709 Bersih 2.0 rally when he knew they were untruths and if so, his justification for such political chicanery.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor