Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Thursday, 14th June 2012:
Any Minister who dare to ask Cabinet tomorrow to openly apologise for the Prime Minister’s wild and baseless allegation?
Now that the Barisan Nasional government, through the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s reply in Parliament yesterday, had as good as confessed that there is not even an iota of evidence to substantiate the wild and reckless allegation of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Gua Musang on May 4 that the Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt by the Pakatan Rakyat opposition to topple the government by force on April 28, the Barisan Nasional Ministers must place this topic on top of the Cabinet agenda tomorrow.
The Cabinet Ministers must come to the rescue of the Prime Minister to save his face by assuming collective responsibility and make an open apology on behalf of the Prime Minister to the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who took part peacefully and patriotically in the Bersih 3.0 rally and the 28 million Malaysians for this wild, reckless and baseless allegation about the Bersih 3.0 rally being a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government by force on April 28.
The question Malaysians want to know is whether there is any Minister, whether from UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Sabah or Sarawak who dare to ask the Cabinet tomorrow to openly apologise for the Prime Minister’s wild, reckless and baseless allegation that Bersih 3.0 was a coup attempt by the opposition to topple the government by force on April 28.
Or will the former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir be proven right that the Cabinet Ministers are no better than “half-past six” Ministers?
After Nazri’s reply in Parliament yesterday, which is distinguished by his complete failure to furnish even an iota of evidence to substantiate Najib’s wild and baseless allegation, there are at least three things the Cabinet should do tomorrow:
Firstly, establish who was responsible for feeding the Prime Minister with the false and baseless information that Bersih 3.0 rally was an Opposition coup by the Opposition to topple the government by force on April 28.
Former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar, who gave immediate support to Najib’s allegation, told the media the next day that the Prime Minister must have received intelligence from the Special Branch before making the allegation.
But this has been denied by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar who said two days later in Kulim that the police were investigating the Prime Minister’s allegation that the Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government.
This is coming to a full circle – if Najib had been briefed by the Special Branch resulting in his allegation in Gua Musang, why was the IGP talking about the police investigating Najib’s allegation two days later in Kulim?
Something is not right. Has the Prime Minister another “Special Branch” to feed him with such security intelligence that has nothing to do with the normal Police force under the IGP and which the IGP knew nothing about?
Secondly, the Cabinet should face up to the reality from Nazri’s parliamentary reply yesterday, that the Barisan Nasional government was afraid of the salt and plastic mineral water bottles that some Bersih 3.0 protestors had armed themselves on April 28 – not as offensive weapons to challenge the police or topple the government but to defend themselves against any reckless and disproportionate use of police tear gas or chemically-laced water cannons, as happened on that day!
In reply to my rejoinder whether the Barisan Nasional government was so fragile that it could be toppled with salt and plastic mineral water bottles, Nazri said salt and water bottles should not be underrated as they could topple governments which have lost the support of the people.
The Cabinet should discuss at length the wisdom of Nazri’s admission - that governments can topple not only by salt and water bottles but by handphones as in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt if they lose the people’s support.
The real issue is not salt, water bottles or handphones which are just symptomatic but the root cause of the government’s loss of people’s support because of rampant corruption, abuses of power, economic injustices exploitation and gross violation of human rights.
Is the Cabinet capable of admitting and finding out why after three years’ of a whole spectrum of transformation policies, the Najib administration is losing out to Pakatan Rakyat in the battle for the hearts and minds of Malaysians to the extent that Najib’s Ministers envisage salt, water bottles and even handphones as “weapons of mass destruction” for continued Barisan Nasional rule and Najib premiership?
Thirdly, the Cabinet must make amends, admit to the fact that the government’s misjudgment and mishandling of Bersih 3.0 rally is an even greater public relations disaster than its initial misjudgment and mishandling of Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, 2011.
Is the Cabinet prepared to take the bold and right decision to end the demonisation of Bersih 3.0 organisers and Pakatan Rakyat leaders in Parliament as well as over the controlled mainstream media, and most important of all, dissolve the Hanif “independent advisory panel” on Bersih 3.0 and give full support to the Suhakam inquiry to ensure a credible, impartial and comprehensive inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 violence and brutality, regardless of whether the victims were police personnel, media representatives or peaceful protestors?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor