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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang Perak DAP Hqrs in Ipoh on Friday, 12th June 2009 at 12.45 pm: 

Ong Tee Keat should explain why he is on the run from my �three questions a day� on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal instead of trotting out �old politics� which had been rejected by Malaysians in last year�s political tsunami

�Kit Siang �misled community�� � New Straits Times

�What�s your stand, Kit Siang asked� � The Star

Screaming headlines attacking me are back in the Barisan Nasional-controlled mainstream media.

Suddenly the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat himself has led a ferocious political charge against me, challenging me to state my stand on the resolutions tabled by PAS at its muktamar last week and wanting me to apologise for misleading and betraying the Chinese community for supporting Pas.

This is the New Straits Times report:

He (Ong) said in the run-up to the general election, DAP had appealed to the Chinese community to support Pas by claiming that the Islamic party was harmless and only interested in setting up a welfare state.

However, the stand of Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on unity talks with Umno has changed the situation.

"Now that the Pas has clearly stated its stand which is contrary to DAP's stand, Lim should answer to the Chinese community.

"The people want to know: are you agreeable to Pas' stand? If not, why did you ask the Chinese to throw their weight behind Pas even before you could make the right judgment about them?" he said at a press conference yesterday, adding that he was holding Lim responsible for misleading the community.

This is the Star report:

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has challenged DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang to state his stand on the resolutions tabled by PAS at its muktamar last week.

Ong said the people would like to know where he stood on the matter.

�PAS has stated its stand, which is contrary to DAP�s stand. Now, the people wish to know whether you (Kit Siang) are agreeable to this. What say you, Kit Siang?�

Ong said this during a press conference at his service centre in Taman Muda, Cheras, yesterday.

At the muktamar, PAS had proposed a unity government between Umno and PAS. It also called for the 30% bumiputra quota to be maintained, opposed the liberalisation of the 27 service sub-sectors announced by the Government and wanted Sisters in Islam banned.

Ong said Lim had appealed to the Chinese community to support PAS in the previous general elections and said the party would take the Chinese community�s needs and wishes into consideration.

�You asked the Chinese community to throw their weight behind PAS. We hold you responsible. You cannot say that your words are meant for the election period only,� he said.

I confess that I would have been very worried if this had happened ten years ago with me as the subject of such massive firepower by the MCA President, enlisting the full support of the infamous mainstream media, totally blacking me out in a one-sided campaign of vilification painting me as a traitor of the Chinese in Malaysia and a stooge of PAS!

But this was the �old politics� of the past 50 years which had been decisively rejected by Malaysians in the political tsunami of the March 8, 2008 general elections.

There are three reasons why, instead of being alarmed I feel amused and even pity for Ong for his politics of desperation in resorting to all the tricks-of-the-trade of �old politics� when Malaysians are ahead of the Ong-led MCA leadership in wanting to see the steady rise of �new politics�.

Firstly, the people know that Ong�s allegations are baseless for they are very clear about the DAP�s stand on various issues.

On the �unity government� issue, I declared the DAP stand at the PAS muktamar when I was asked by the press. Dare Ong get a resolution passed by the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council banning Umno leaders from having any talks or contacts with PAS without specific approval by MCA?

On the call for 30% bumiputra quota to be maintained and opposition of the liberalisation of the 27 service sub-sectors at the Pas muktamar, these do not in any manner affect or alter the DAP�s stands which are different from these calls.

On the call for the banning of the Sisters in Islam, I immediately twittered my reaction the very same day, when I said it was �shocking, ridiculous�.

On 9th June, I received an email from Maria Abdullah, senior manager of Sisters in Islam, asking my endorsement of a joint statement by civil society on the attack from PAS against SIS.

She said that my �support for the statement will mean a lot to the democratic space that civil society, and I believe this is also what DAP is fighting for�.

The following was the draft joint statement:


�We the undersigned are deeply disturbed by the call on the part of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) to have Sisters in Islam (SIS) banned and its members rehabilitated should its activities be determined to be contrary to the Islamic shariah. It is apparent to us that in making the call in the manner that it has, PAS has already formed the view that SIS should be banned and its activities brought to an end.

�While we respect the freedom of members of PAS to associate in a manner that they consider appropriate or warranted as well as their freedom to express a view in association on such matters as they see fit, the members of SIS, or any other organization for that matter, are equally guaranteed those freedoms. No one person or organization has a monopoly over the right to express views on matter of public importance. The call to silence SIS and send its members for rehabilitation is an act of violence against those freedoms and their constitutional underpinnings. It also lends itself to further closure of the already narrow space of public discourse and debate that a slew of anti-expression laws have allowed Malaysians.

�For Malaysia to mature into the democracy that Malaysians aspire to, it is vital that diversity, even of views, be protected and nurtured. Respect for the freedoms guaranteed to all Malaysians by the Federal Constitution, be they members of PAS or any other organization or simply individuals, is crucial to this endeavor.

�The demand for action against SIS culminating in a ban is not easily reconciled with PAS public rhetoric in favour of a more democratic and inclusive Malaysia. On the contrary, the demand is wholly anti-democratic. We reiterate that though members of PAS are entitled to their views, the call for the banning of SIS is wholly unacceptable. As a matter of principle, the question of banning any organization purely for their views should not arise at all. Differences of views must be respected and, if at all, be resolved through constructive engagement.

�In view of this, we urge PAS to reconsider its position and take such steps as are necessary to retract the call for action against SIS.�

This was my immediate reply to Maria:�

�As you would have known from my twitter, I have described the PAS resolution calling for the ban of SIS and rehabilitation of its members as �shocking� and �ridiculous�.

�DAP and I fully support the petition and you can make this public although we are not signatory to this petition concerning another member of Pakatan Rakyat.�

Did Ong endorse the civil society petition against Pas on the SIS issue?

I do not want to play politics here, or I will ask Ong why MCA is still in Barisan Nasional when three out of four who responded to his question on his blog had told MCA to get out of BN?

Or why MCA had not learnt from the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami last year and continues to play subservient role to Umno in Barisan Nasional, whether on ketuanan Melayu; abandonment of the Bangsa Malaysia concept and its replacement with 1Malaysia which nobody knows its real meaning; undermining of the doctrine of separation of powers with the executive usurping the powers of the judiciary and the legislatures; greed for political power in supporting the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak; last but not least, the role of the MCA leadership in the �scandal of scandals�, the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

The second reason why I am not alarmed by Ong�s reversion to �old politics� using the mainstream media in his political onslaught on me is because the mainstream media have lost great credibility and authority in the past decade � and very few Malaysians are going to be influenced by the falsehoods and half-truths against Pakatan Rakyat leaders published in these media, whether New Straits Times or Star.

The third reason is the most potent of all � Malaysians know that the whole objective of the Ong political attack on me is to distract attention from my daily three questions on the PKFZ scandal.

It is more pertinent for Ong Tee Keat to explain why he is on the run from my �three questions a day� on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal instead of trotting out �old politics� which had been rejected by Malaysians in last year�s political tsunami.

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



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