by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 19th October 2008:
Why is DAP blamed for Ka Ting’s “Umno is
bully in Barisan Nasional” speech at MCA General Assembly yesterday?
Why is the DAP blamed for the outgoing MCA
President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting’s “Umno is bully in Barisan Nasional”
speech at the MCA General Assembly opening ceremony yesterday?
Ong’s speech led to denials by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi resulting in newspaper frontpage headlines like “UMNO IS NO
BULLY” (New Sunday Times) and “Umno bukan pembuli: PM” (Berita Minggu),
who instead blamed the DAP for “stirring up the issue to see the split
of the MCA or Gerakan” as well as Hindraf for targetting the MIC.
Abdullah caught everyone by surprise by his bald denial.
He said Umno “is not a ‘bully’ party” or many component parties would
have left BN by now, and asked:
“Do you think Ka Ting allows himself to be bullied? You think (MIC
president) Samy (Vellu) can be bullied? You think (Gerakan president Dr.
Koh) Tsu Koon wants to be bullied?”
Abdullah has forgotten an elementary rule of life – “don’t ask if you
don’t want the answer”!
Does he really want the answer to that loaded question of his? Don’t
have to ask the Malaysian public. Just ask the MCA, Gerakan and MIC
delegates or members through secret ballot whether they think their
leaders have been bullied by Umno in Barisan Nasional, and I have no
doubt that the answer would be a resounding and thundering “yes’!
In fact, one of the saddest political episodes of Barisan Nasional
post-March 8 “political tsunami” is the response of the leaders of the
BN component parties when asked by the press for their response to
Abdullah’s “Umno is no bully” response.
Neither Tsu Koon nor Samy Vellu dared to fully back up Ka Ting, who
himself backed off subsequently by saying that he never said Umno is a
What I find most disturbing is Abdullah’s statement: “People say that
Umno is a party that likes to bully. I actually have no idea how to
bully. There is no such thing as bullying.”
I believe Abdullah was speaking the truth that there is not a bone of a
bully in him.
That is what is frightening. After half-a-century of Umno political
hegemony, Umno bullying in BN has become so institutionalized to
perpetuate and increasingly aggravate such travesty of “power sharing”,
even though the top No. 1 UMNO leader like Abdullah does not know how to
be a bully!
There is no need for the top No. 1 or No. 2 Umno leader to be a bully,
when the UMNO bullies at the various hierarchies of the party are
allowed a field day!
Abdullah’s denial about Umno bullying in BN does not bear scrutiny – as
there is a long catalogue from the recent past, whether the keris-wielding
by Umno Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin
Hussein or the offensive and insensitive statements by the Deputy Umno
Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin or to the most recent times, such as Umno
Bukit Bendera division chairman, Ahmad Ismail’s “Chinese are penumpang”
outburst or the tearing up of Tsu Koon’s photograph by Penang Umno
In fact, Abdullah gave an illustration of the irrelevance of the views
of top leaders of MCA and other BN leaders yesterday when he summarily
dismissed the MCA President’s call for a review of the Internal Security
Act, as it is “obsolete and should be replaced with one that is not
subject to abuse or cause people to feel insecure”.
Last week, the 37th Gerakan national delegates conference also adopted a
resolution calling for a review of the ISA.
If the Barisan Nasional is a coalition of equals, and Umno is not a
bully, will the considered views of leaders of BN component parties and
the resolutions of their party conferences be dismissed so derisively
and summarily, like the call for the review of the ISA?
What happened yesterday at the MCA General Assembly was doubly pathetic:
• firstly, no leader of the BN component
parties dared to stand up to admit boldly about Umno being a bully
which should end it “bully” ways in BN; and
• secondly, none of them dared to correct Abdullah by pointing out
that was most unfair to use the DAP as a “scapegoat” for the public
perception that MCA, Gerakan and the other BN component parties were
being bullied by Umno when it represented the true situation.
Maybe the MCA delegates in their debate in
the 55th MCA General Assembly would dare to speak up what their leaders
have failed to do about the truth of Umno being a bully in BN and the
need to end such lop-sided power relationship in the BN coalition.
Be that as it may, it is quite obvious from the MCA party election
results that Ong Ka Ting was well-advised to withdraw from the MCA
presidential contest, for he would have been defeated – and quite
decisively - had he decided to defend his post as MCA President.
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor