Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 14th January 2009: 

First five reasons why MCA owes not only the Malaysian Chinese in Kuala Terengganu but all Malaysians a fulsome apology  

In rejoinder to the demand by the MCA Vice President and Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai that the DAP apologise to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu for misleading them on the hudud issue, DAP had challenged MCA to a debate on “Who should apologise – MCA or DAP?” in Kuala Terengganu before the by-election on Saturday.

While DAP awaits the MCA response, let me give advance notice to the MCA leadership that there is a long catalogue of things MCA must apologise not only to the Malaysian Chinese in Kuala Terengganu but to all Malaysians, and it is most appropriate that this is done in Kuala Terengganu.

The catalogue of MCA failures and misdeeds range from the dismal performance of the current MCA leadership, the pathetic MCA record in Barisan Nasional, the shameful MCA failure to live up to the ideas and ideals of the MCA founding fathers like Tun Tan Cheng Lock to its shocking betrayal of the cardinal nation-building principles for Malaya and later Malaysia as embodied in the Merdeka “social contract” of 1957.

For a start, let me just cite five reasons why MCA owes not only the Malaysian Chinese but all Malaysians a fulsome apology.

Firstly, the failures of the present batch of MCA leaders in government.

1. RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal. The continued cover-up of the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bail-out scandal by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat, although Ong had promised when he was appointed Transport Minister 10 months ago that he would “inform the rakyat about the true situation” about the PKFZ scandal.

Up till today, Ong is unable to answer the Five Questions about the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal which I had posed to him nine months ago after his public pledge to “tell all” about PKFZ, particularly about the history of impropriety in land transactions, illegal issue of Letters of Support, Cabinet bailouts and retrospective ratification of illegal decisions by the two previous Transport Ministers, Tun Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chong Kong Choy although he had all the answers without having to await the outcome of the PricewaterhouseCooper audit report.

Let Ong answer the Five Questions about the RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal in Kuala Terengganu.

2. Worst dengue epidemic in Malaysia. Another MCA Ministerial failure, this time by the MCA Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, who had shown shocking indifference, unconcern and irresponsibility at the worst dengue epidemic in the nation’s history, recording the highest number of dengue cases and dengue deaths with 112 casualties last year.

3. Malaysians are no more safe in their own country. MCA boasts as the second most important party in the Barisan Nasional coalition. It has also a Deputy Home Minister. MCA must apologise and bear full responsibility for the serious breakdown of law-and-order in Malaysia, where with soaring crime, no one can feel safe any more in the country whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes, and Malaysian citizens, tourists and investors have lost the two fundamental rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime.

MCA must also come forward to apologise for

(i) failing to stand up for meaningful police reforms to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional and world-class police service dedicated to the three core functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights as by implementing the key recommendation of the Royal Police Commission, establishing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC); and

(ii) the abuse of police powers like the recent arbitrary arrests under the Internal Security Act of Sin Chew senior reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng, DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin; the police harassment of Jerit cyclists demanding national reforms and the arrests of peaceful demonstrators against the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and Tamils in Sri Lanka.

4. Deteriorating education standards. Apart from being part of the Barisan Nasional government, MCA has also a Deputy Education Minister, pinning direct responsibility for the increasing educational woes in the country, with deteriorating educational standards as highlighted by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 results (blacked out by the Education Ministry for over a month), continuing “brain drain” of the best and brightest in Malaysia at all levels of education and the continued discrimination against Chinese and Tamil primary schools in terms of fair and equitable government funding and development for all schools.

MCA owes Malaysian Chinese and all Malaysians an apology for the Barisan Nasional government’s failure to fully appreciate that a country’s educational system is a key element in establishing competitive advantage in an increasingly global economy – highlighted by Malaysian universities falling out of the world’s top 200 Universities (Times Higher Education Supplement ranking) and even the world’s best 500 Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong Univeristy ranking).

5. Corruption. As part of Barisan Nasional, MCA cannot disclaim responsibility for the deplorable state of corruption in Malaysia, with Malaysia’s ranking on Transparency International Corruption Perception Index plunging from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 in 2003 and lower to No. 47 in 2008 - with the high risk of Malaysia falling below the 50th ranking in coming years. Is MCA prepared to apologise to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu and all Malaysians for such dismal record in accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance after half a century in power at the national level?

These five instances are just openers for there are many more reasons why MCA owes an abject apology not only to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu but to all Malaysians for its dismal political record in government whether for the present or the past – which would be enumerated if MCA dares to accept the DAP challenge to a public debate in Kuala Terengganu on “Who should apologise – MCA or DAP?”

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