Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 10th September 2008: 

Will Umno disciplinary action be taken also against the 13 Penang Umno division leaders who had publicly backed Ahmad Ismail in his provocative, inflammatory and racist reference of Malaysian Chinese as “penumpang” in two press conferences

What action will the Umno Supreme Council take at its emergency meeting today to end the15-day national furore over Ahmad Ismail’s provocative, inflammatory and racist “penumpang” reference to Malaysian Chinese – a simple and straightforward issue which should have been nipped in the bud when it surfaced publicly on August 26 instead of being allowed to snowball into a “no-holds-barred” political and nation-building crisis escalating into the Bukit Bendera Umno divison chairman:

• Warning the Chinese in Malaysia not to mimic American Jews in seeking to control the country’s economy but also its political power;

• Wanting Gerakan to leave the Barisan Nasional;

• Demanding that Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should be stripped of his post as the state Barisan chairman and the post be given to the MCA; and

• Public tearing of a picture of Tsu Koon.

What would have ensued if there had been a public tearing of the picture of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuik Seri Najib Razak by a Gerakan division leader of Chinese or Indian descent?

Armed Forces Chief Jeneral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal yesterday made a most uncustomary public intervention when he proposed at a Wanita Umno function that the Government take stern action against those who stoke racial sentiments, the country’s main security threat.

Is Abdul Aziz referring directly to Ahmad Ismail and the 13 Penang Umno Division leaders who had given full backing to the Bukit Bendera Umno division chairman in his inflammatory, irresponsible and racist acts and rants, or is the Armed Forces Chief referring to those aggrieved by Ahmad Ismail’s provocative outbursts?

Ahmad Ismail’s grandparents migrated to this country from India. Why should a Malaysian who is a second-generation locally born in the country be so irresponsible, provocative and racist as to question the loyalty of a Malaysian Chinese like seventh locally-born generation Tan Siok Choo, daughter to Tun Tan Siew Sin, causing her to declare most justly and legitimately in her Sun column, “Politically blind and tone deaf?”:

“And for some Malaysian Chinese like myself, to be called a ‘squat’ is an insult. My forefathers came to Malacca in 1771. Even in August 1957, my family had been living in Malacca for 186 years. How many other Malaysians can claim this long period of residence? “

Ahmad Ismail however belong to the “dinosaur” generation when their narrow-minded racist views meant to protect their “pot of gold” as an Umnoputra rather than to advance the welfare of all Malays is rejected by young and progressive Malaysians from all races, including young Malays, as reflected in this posting on my blog:

What happen to this country? Please stop and stop this racial issues llaaahh… Im a Malay, 22 years old and Im a University of Malaya student. In my class, Im really happy I can interact with each other as a Malaysian. Sure!!! In my class from 30 students, there are only 5 Malay and the other 25 are Chinese. Even after class, there’s not a big deal we can makan-makan and minum-minum together without realized that we are all “penumpang”, “pendatang” or wuteva the damned thing you call it. If I dont understand anything or facing any difficulties in the subject that I learn, my Chinese friends dont even hesitate to teach me and so when they ask me, I will share my knowledge also. Then again, we makan-makan again at mamak stall eating a roti canai and glass of teh tarik. EERRGGHH!!!

Do you think the current our politician leaders never experienced this warmth moment with their friends different in races during their study period on youth time??? How come? We live in Malaysia laaahh… Its healthy when you getting know each other… Come and visit their house during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and so on…. Even Im a Malay, I really hate when UITM students “berarak”, “berdemo” or “berpekik-pekik” when Selangor MB suggested at least 10% quota for UITM students opened for non-bumis. AARRGGHH!!! They are stupid, really-really stupid. In UM, in our college activities, we Malay dont even have any problem to hold any occasion collaborating with Chinese or Indian. We engineered an event together until it success- for example, a choir competition, a Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Competition, an Annual Dinner of the college. We work together. But when I read the newspaper, puuuff!!!! Seems every single of my joy losssttt, destroyed!!!! Eeeevvvveryday racial tense issues!!!! AAAARRGGHH!!! Cant we respect each other….??? Im a muslim and my religion teach us, in Holy Quran - “Nor will you worship that I which worship, to you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islamic monotheism)” - Surah Al-Kafirun : sentence 4-5…. Means that even you are from other religion - can applied also other races, there’s nothing to do with that. You are free to apply or live with your own life and religious style if you are different than a Muslim also. So, just respect other races or religions laaahh… Cant our leaders do that?? Its really makes me paaaiinnn heeelll!!!

The real personalities being tested in the Ahmad Ismail furore is not the Bukit Bendera Umno division chief but the Prime Minister and the Umno leadership – whether they are capable of and prepared to redeem themselves for their dereliction of duty to the nation and people in the past 15 days in allowing a comparatively small issue over Ahmad Ismail’s inflammatory, provocative and racist statement to blow up into a full-scale political and nation building crisis!

This is why Malaysians are waiting for the decision of the Umno Supreme Council emergency meeting to see what disciplinary actions would be meted out to firstly, Ahmad Ismail and secondly, the 13 Penang Umno division leaders who had supported and egged on Ahmad in his inflammatory, provocative and racist acts and rants.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor