Media statement by Lim Kit Siang on Thursday, 16th August 2012:
Why then am I featured and defamed in Tanda Putera’s official Facebook page as provoking May 13, 1969 riots?
I am supposed to be assured by the clarification of the director of the May 13 film, Tanda Putera, Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba that I am not even featured in the footage of the film, but I am not.
This is because Shuhaimi has failed to give a satisfactory explanation why I had been featured and defamed in Tanda Putera’s original official Facebook page as having urinated at the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the residence of the then Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Harun Idris and provoking the May 13, 1969 riots.
The caption of a photo portraying me being manhandled, which were later taken down, read: “Lim Kit Siang telah kencing di bawah tiang bendera Selangor yang terpacak di rumah menteri besar Selangor ketika itu, Harun Idris” . The photo and caption was posted in the album in the “Tanda Putera” Facebook titled “Peristiwa-peristiwa yang dimuatkan di dalam filem ini” (Events depicted in this movie).
Shuhaimi’s explanation that the creators of the film had received many photographs from netizens which were shared on the Facebook page, including the offending picture, and that it was removed from the Facebook page after complaints were received about the photo, is neither credible nor acceptable.
This is because the defamatory and baseless allegation that I had urinated at the flagpole at the Selangor Mentri Besar’s residence, and provoked the May 13, 1969 riots, was made by Tanda Putera official Facebook page itself, and not a “shared information” from netizens – conveying the very clear impression that it was abstracted from the film proper itself.
Unless there is a satisfactory and adequate explanation or accounting for the defamatory reference featuring me in the Tanda Putera official Facebook page, I reserve the right to take legal action against such defamation.
It is most deplorable and reprehensible that Shuhaimi had taken almost four long weeks since the first publication by Malaysiakini of its report “New May 13 movie courts controversy” on 20th July 2012, to state that I am not even featured in the footage of the film – allowing the legion of UMNO/BN cybertroopers to escalate their campaign of downright lies and dangerous falsehoods based on the movie’s alleged “urination” episode to accuse me of provoking the May 13, 1969 riots although I had repeatedly explained that I was not in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969.
I was in Sabah on July 20 on a three-day visit with DAP MP for Segambut Lim Lip Eng when Malaysiakini first carried the report on the May 13 film.
On the very same night at the DAP Inaman Sepanggar ceramah, I referred to the Malaysiakini report on the May 13 film and denied in the strongest possible terms:
Yesterday, Shuhaimi said much research had gone into ensuring her film was historically accurate, such as studying documented materials and photographs to make sure the scenes were backed by historical facts. She referred to the NOC report and interviews with former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar.
Did the White Paper issued by the National Operations Council (NOC) on 9th October 1969 or the book by Tunku Abdul Rahman “May 13 – Before and After” or interviews with Hanif, who was the Special Branch officer attached to the NOC, or Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was then the secretary of NOC, produce any information on my urination at the Selangor Mentri Besar’s house or any such urination incident by anyone for that matter?
I have not seen the film “Tanda Putera” but from the trailer, legitimate questions are raised as to whether the film can lay claim to being “historically accurate” with reference to the May 13 riots.
For instance, there was a scene of a procession of participants carrying posters bearing Mao Tse Tung’s picture. Is this historically accurate when in 1969 it was an offence even possessing Mao’s books, let alone carrying Mao’s photograph poster?
Shuhaimi said that the controversial May 13 riot scene only lasts about 10 minutes of the 115-minute film, but she should know that any unfair and tendentious portrayal of the May 13 riots in these 10 minutes is not only capable of overshadowing the rest of the 105 minutes of the film, but have the disastrous effect of dividing instead of uniting Malaysians.
Do we want to continue to allow the May 13 past to haunt and divide Malaysians or do we want to move forward as one united people building a better and brighter future for all Malaysians, learning from the lessons of May 13?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor