Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 14th April 2009:
Now Muhyiddin owes a second apology and Ong Tee Kiat too should apologise
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has resorted to the classic but contemptible ploy of unprincipled politicians of blaming the press for twisting his words when he should have been honest and humble enough to own up and apologise for making what former Penang Gerakan Exco member, Dr. Toh Kin Woon, had rightly described as “insulting” and “distasteful” statements in the Mingguan Malaysia interview about the role of the Malaysian Chinese voters in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections and the “new political scenario”.
Muhyiddin had compounded his mistake and now owes a second apology – the first apology for the most retrogressive, racist and offensive remarks about the Chinese in the Mingguan Malaysia interview and the second apology to the Chinese media, for wrongly blaming them for distorting what he had said in the interview.
Even worse, he had dragged the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat into the cauldron who should also make a public apology.
It has been reported that Muhyiddin today hit out at the Chinese papers for twisting his words and putting him in a bad light among the Chinese community.
The Malaysian Insider reported:
In the first instance, did the Chinese media twist what Muhyiddin said in the Mingguan Malaysia interview? Muhyiddin denied that he had used the word “ungrateful” and only used the word “unappreciative”. Is Muhyiddin right?
In my statement responding to Muhyiddin’s Mingguan Malaysia interview, I had referred to the headlines in the Chinese press like“Muhyiddin – Chinese ungrateful to BN” (Sin Chew); “Chinese fooled Barisan Nasional. Muhyiddin – Get benefits but do not vote in support” (Nanyang); “BN feels tricked. Muhyiddin - Satisfy Chinese demands still no support” (China Press)
Did the Chinese press distorted what Muhyiddin said?
I had re-read Muhyiddin’s Mingguan Malaysian interview and I found that what the Chinese press reported was a fair and accurate translation of what Muhyiddin actually said, and Muhyiddin’s denial that he had not described the Chinese as “ungrateful” do not hold water!
This is what Muhyiddin said:
Muhyiddin said both, “unappreciative” (“tidak ada penghargaan terhadap apa yang kita lakukan”) and “ungrateful” (“sepatutnya mereka membalas budi” but did not).
Who should now be sent back to school, Muhyiddin himself or the Chinese media reporters and editors?
If it is true that Tee Kiat had told Muhyiddin that the former had found “nothing wrong with his statement in Mingguan Malaysia”, then the MCA President owes the public a fulsome apology for failing in his pledge to “stand up and speak the truth”! Otherwise, a full clarification from Tee Kiat denying Muhyiddin’s claim cannot be further delayed.
Any re-reading of Muhyiddin’s Mingguan Malaysia interview will find it doubly irresponsible, disgusting and reprehensible, raising the question as to how MCA, Gerakan and non-Umno Ministers could accept Muhyiddin’s exposition of the “1Malaysia” slogan of the Najib premiership.
Muhyiddin falsely accused the Chinese and Indians of trying to the “kingmakers” to deny the Malays of their political rights. Is Muhyiddin prepared to withdraw and apologise for such an outrageous accusation or is this the official stand of the Najib Cabinet?
Muhyiddin also purveyed the distasteful and disgusting canard that there were “racists” among the Chinese in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau who viewed the illegal power grab in Perak as “the toppling of a Chinese government by a Malay government”.
(Saya fikir paling jelas terbukti masyarakat Cina dan India belum bersedia menerima apa-apa bentuk pimpinan kerajaan yang seperti ada sekarang ini, lebih lagi agak terlalu menonjol ialah terhadap apa yang berlaku di Perak itu sendiri. Sesetengah masyarakat di sana, melihat ia dari sudut yang rasis, kerajaan orang Cina ditumbangkan oleh kerajaan orang Melayu walaupun tanggapan itu tidak betul.)
I am most outraged and shocked by such downright racism. I have never come across anyone discussing or perceiving the undemocratic, unethical, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak in these racist terms and I challenge Muhyiddin to substantiate his canard that there is the racist perception of “a Chinese government being toppled by a Malay government”.
The Pakatan Rakyat Perak State government led by Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin is a fully Malaysian government comprising leaders from DAP, PAS and PKR, and is no Chinese, Malay or Indian Government.
Which MCA, Gerakan or MIC leader had misled Muhyiddin into believing that MCA, Gerakan and MIC had failed to swing the Chinese and Indian voters in favour of the Barisan Nasional candidates by feeding him with such a canard?
If Muhyiddin cannot substantiate his canard that the toppling of the Pakatan Rakyat Perak state government is regarded as “a toppling of a Chinese government by a Malay government”, this is a third apology he should make to all Malaysians.
Muhyiddin’s attempt to blame the Chinese media for what he actually said in the Mingguan Malaysia interview as well as his irresponsible interpretation as to why Barisan Nasional lost in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections have come as the latest blows to the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of the Najib premiership and Cabinet.
Malaysians expect a satisfactory accounting by the Najib Cabinet at its first meeting tomorrow.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor