Call on Barisan Nasional
Ministers and leaders to have at least 30% of Toh Kin Woon’s sincerity and
honesty to speak the truth and tell Abdullah that the people’s discontents
and unhappiness are a greater threat to the country’s peace and stability
than peaceful marches, pickets and demonstrations
by Lim Kit Siang
When Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi became the fifth Prime Minister on 30th October 2003, he made the
famous pledge to “hear the truth, however unpleasant”, which he had
infamously dishonored in the past four years.
Recently, Abdulah’s pledge to “hear the truth” was ignomiously revised by
the Information Minister, Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin as applying only to
Barisan Nasional leaders and government officials but not to the media,
the civil society or the ordinary Malaysian public!
In the past four years, however, Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders
had been afflicted by the “Dare not speak the truth to Pak Lah” syndrome.
This has resulted in the least hands-on Prime Minister in the nation’s
history but with the most Ministerial portfolios (trebling as Minister for
Finance and Minister for Internal Security) setting a new record in
Malaysian political history as a Prime Minister who has lost touch with
the national pulse in the shortest time ever since assuming the highest
political office of the land.
It is refreshing that in this ocean of distortions, half-truths and
downright lies passing off as “truth”, Gerakan Penang State Executive
Councillor, Dr. Toh Kin Woon has gloriously broken ranks in a letter to
Malaysiakini yesterday declaring that it is the people’s “discontent and
unhappiness that will be a greater threat to our country’s peace and
stability, rather than the marches, pickets and demonstrations”.
I call on Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders to have at least 30% of
Toh Kin Woon’s sincerity and honesty to speak the truth to the Prime
Minister whether about the “Walk for Justice” of 2,000 lawyers organized
by the Bar Council for restoration of the independence and integrity of
the judiciary; the 40,000-strong Bersih rally in support of electoral
reforms for clean, free and fair elections; the 30,000-strong Hindraf
demonstration on the socio-economic and cultural plight of the Malaysian
Indians particularly the lower strata; or the numerous pickets by the
Malaysian Trades Union Congress and trade unions for higher salaries to
meet rising costs of living so burdensome to the workers.
So far, there is only one Barisan Nasional leader – a state Exco from
Penang -who is prepared to call a spade a spade and tell Abdullah the
Are there no other Barisan Nasional leader, occupying higher and more
important government and party positions whether at the national or state
level, who could back up Toh Kin Woon to start the process of telling the
Prime Minister the truth?
What about MIC’s Samy Vellu, Gerakan’s Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and
Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, MCA’s Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and the other three
MCA Ministers? Is there none from the Barisan Nasional component parties
in Sabah and Sarawak? Is there not a single UMNO Minister or leader who
could be relied upon to speak the unvarnished truth?
That the syndrome of “Dare not tell Pak Lah the truth” is very advanced
and even terminal is highlighted by the refusal of the Minister in the
Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz yesterday to withdraw
and apologize for his offensive and unwarranted slur of the supporters of
the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday as “penyangak” when he
said on Tuesday:
“Some 20,000 penyangak
(crooks) who participated in the rally would not jeopardize our viewpoint
of the entire community”.
Nazri not only compounded the
offence he committed by repeating the slur of “penyangak” but also in
claiming that his action was vindicated by the Cabinet which discussed the
Hindraf demonstration yesterday.
Are there no shadows of Toh Kin Woon among the Ministers and leadership of
the Barisan Nasional component parties – or is Toh a completely lone voice
in the Barisan Nasional wilderness?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman