Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 6th September 2008:
Revolt by Ahmad Ismail and 13 Penang UMNO divisions latest and probably most critical challenge to Abdullah’s power-transition plan
The revolt by UMNO Bukit Bendera chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail and 13 Penang Umno divisions backing Ahmad’s stance of no apology for his offensive, insensitive and racist reference to the Chinese as “orang tumpang” is the latest and probably the most critical challenge to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s power transition plan.
It is even more serious than the defection of support of the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his quitting Umno as it is a direct challenge to the political and moral authority of Abdullah as UMNO President and Prime Minister shaking the very basis of his power base in Umno.
If the Penang Umno example is emulated by Umno divisions in other states, then Abdullah’s days as Prime Minister and Umno President are numbered, forcing him into an earlier departure than the June 2010 timetable he had set for himself under his power-transition plan to hand over power to his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The question now is whether the Ahmad Ismail virus will spread to other Umno divisions in other states to bring an early end to the Abdullah premiership.
Will the leadership of UMNO as well as the other Barisan Nasional component parties, particularly MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP take a strong and uncompromising stand to denounce Ahmad’s offensive, insensitive and racist reference of the Malaysian Chinese as “orang tumpang”?
Ahmad had compounded his offence during the Permatang Pauh by-election in flying against the weight of evidence that he had been guilty of making the insensitive and racist reference to the Chinese as “orang tumpang” as well as engineering a revolt of Penang Umno leaders against the No. 1 and No. 2 of UMNO and the other Barisan Nasional leaders.
The weight of evidence that Ahmad had been guilty of making the offensive, insensitive and racist remarks are:
Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor