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Police naked ear-squat videoclip scandal - “Shooting  the messenger” syndrome, two myths and one fallacy



Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Thursday):  The police naked ear-squat videoclip scandal has spawned the latest version of “Shooting the Messenger” syndrome  in Malaysia  when Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia  today carried the  screaming headlines “Kit Siang, Teresa patut kena tindakan” and “Kit Siang, Teresa perlu dikenakan tindakan tegas” respectively.

In olden times, a king would behead messengers who delivered bad news to him, but such a backward mentality is still very alive in 21st century modern Malaysia and espoused by the so-called intellectual politician,  UMNO MP for Kemaman Ahmad Shabery Chik and other personalities like the Deputy Information Minister, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, UMNO MP for Bera Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Senatoir Datuk Wira Syed Ali Alhabshee.

Shabery Chik wants  to refer both Teresa and myself to the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges for the enactment of the modern Malaysian version of “Shooting the Messenger”, as he is not actuated by any sense of right or wrong but pure spite because I had described  him as an “intellectual eunuch” for his baseless attacks on me in the recent meeting in Parliament.

Shabery Chik is probably encouraged by the last time the Privileges Committee met which led to the six-month suspension of DAP MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh for breach of parliamentary privilege – which was a travesty of justice and gross abuse of power of the 92 per cent Barisan Nasional parliamentary majority, as members of the  Privileges Committee were individually on record as stating that Karpal had not committed any breach of parliamentary privilege but collectively, the Barisan Nasional MPs on  the Privileges Committee were required to find Karpal guilty.

This is where former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had hit the bull’s eye with his  recent comment that  the Barisan Nasional’s 92% parliamentary majority is “too strong”, as to become a threat to democracy and justice – which is best highlighted by Karpal’s unjustified six-month suspension from Parliament.

May be Shabery Chik is hoping that Teresa and I can similarly be suspended or even expelled from Parliament by the enactment of a modern version of “Shooting the Messenger” melodrama, as with 92 per cent parliamentary majority, Barisan Nasional MPs can turn a wrong into a right and declare black as white!

Apart from being guilty of the “Shooting the Messenger” syndrome, these UMNO personalities have also succumbed to two myths and one fallacy.

There is firstly the myth that Teresa’s showing of the police naked ear-squats videoclip in Parliament on November 24 led to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sending the Home Affairs Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid to China to explain that there is no profiling against Chinese tourists and visitors – when the decision was taken before the videoclip was shown in Parliament as can be confirmed by Abdullah, Azmi and all the Cabinet Ministers.

Secondly, the myth that Teresa had shown the videoclip because the victim was a Chinese national, when both Teresa and I had repeatedly gone on record both inside and outside Parliament  that it was purely a human rights issue and that the nationality of the woman victim was irrelevant.

The fallacy is that now that it is established that the woman victim is  a local Malay woman, the whole matter should rest, as if  a Malaysian, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban is not entitled to full respect of her human rights and dignity as compared to a foreign national.

Any suggestion that  it is acceptable for a local woman, whether Malay or non-Malay, to be subjected to degrading and humiliating police treatment but which should not be allowed for foreign nationals must be rejected and condemned in the strongest possible terms.

I commend the Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil for her statement yesterday that  the central issue in the investigation of a woman detainee by the authorities must be her dignity and integrity and not her nationality or race.

She said: "This issue should be given proper attention and consideration irrespective of skin colour, religion or nationality of the detainee,

"The dignity of the detainee should be protected and respected in whatever kind of case and situation."

Unfortunately, many UMNO leaders including the Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin have failed to grasp this central issue and are only interested in scoring petty political points, even making unjustified criticisms against the media, especially the Chinese language press.

I am surprised that Zanuddin takes objection to my statement demanding explanation from the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Noh Omar  why he had withheld information from  Parliament, the country and the Chinese Government about the nationality of the woman victim of the police naked ear-squat videoclip scandal when he had such information right from the beginning.

As a result, Noh Omar had committed a gross breach of parliamentary privilege, undermined  national interests and disregarded the need to foster the best goodwill and relations with foreign countries, in this case, the Chinese government and people, allowing the general belief that the woman was a Chinese national to persist when it should have been nipped in the bud rrom the very beginning.

I did not raise this issue only now, but even in Parliament during the 2006 budget debate on the Ministry of Internal Security on 6th December 2005, where I demanded that Noh should make public the nationality of the victim as it would have helped the Home Affairs Minister who was then visiting China to help defuse the outrage of the Chinese government and people about profiling and ill-treatment of Chinese visitors and tourists in Malaysia.

I fully agree with Utusan Malaysia’s Awang Selamat in his “Bisik-Bisik” today, who wrote:

“Dari hari pertama lagi, polis tahu wanita yang diarah menanggalkan pakaian dan membuat ketuk-ketampi itu adalah warga Malaysia keturunan Melayu.

“Apa yang Awang tidak faham ialah, kenapa apabila media massa melaporkan wanita itu dipercayai warga China, tiada siapa pun membuat pembetulan. Kini, ada yang menyalahkan pihak media.

Atas inisiatif sendiri, Utusan Malaysia keluaran 1 Disember menyiarkan di muka depan satu berita yang memetik sumber yang menyatakan bahawa wanita itu seorang Melayu. Selepas itu pun masih tiada siapa yang mahu mengesahkannya.”

As a former journalist, Zainuddin should have used his experience and influence as Deputy Information Minister to ensure that the government should have revealed the identity of the nationality of the woman victim at the first available  opportunity.  It is sad that having failed to uphold such journalistic and information principles, Zainuddin relishes his role as part of the pack demanding the modern Malaysian enactment of “The Shooting of the Messenger” instead of grappling with the source and cause of the bad news.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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