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Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 10th August 2012: 

At least former PM Abdullah would have the basic decencies not to countenance UMNO and Utusan Malaysia's anti-national "Haram Sokong DAP" campaign

For the third consecutive day, UMNO’s newspaper Utusan Malaysia is plugging its anti-national “Haram Sokong DAP” campaign calculated to create racial and religious hatred and undermine national unity.

Unlike the last two days when Utusan Malaysia’s anti-national campaign was front-page headline stories, Utusan today devoted one full page on its campaign in page 9, with incendiary, inflammatory and seditious headlines like “DAP satu ancaman kepada umat Islam”.

From recent developments, it would appear that the UMNO leadership has become so desperate about UMNO prospects in the next general election that it has developed a most despicable two-pronged strategy:

  • using the government-funded film “Tanda Putra” as part of a campaign to falsely paint me as responsible for causing the May 13 riots in 1969, even the lie that I had urinated at the flagpole of the Selangor Mentri Besar’s house at the time, when I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969; and

  • the Utusan Malaysia “Haram Sokong DAP” campaign to falsely paint the DAP as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers.

I have been asking myself as to why the UMNO leadership, and in particular the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, have to resort to such unprecedented lies and falsehoods when Najib had been telling UMNO officials that he was confident of winning a two-thirds parliamentary majority and even winning back the states lost to Pakatan Rakyat when elections are called!

Is this because of the recent survey by independent pollster Merdeka Centre showing that Malay voters’ satisfaction with Barisan Nasional had dropped from 65 per cent in May to 58 per cent in June and that the approval ratings for the Prime Minister himself among the Malay community had dipped from 79 per cent to 75 per cent in the same period?

Only yesterday, former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has described Najib as a leader of a weak government.

An even more pertinent question is whether Najib is a weak leader himself – a weak leader of a weak government or a strong leader of a weak government?

One thing for sure is that former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawai, who is generally regarded as a “weak” leader, would have the basic decencies as a Malaysian leader and the strength of character not to countenance UMNO and Utusan Malaysia’s anti-national “Haram Sokong DAP” campaign which is clearly calculated to create racial and religious hatred and undermine national unity.

In fact, as the DAP’s consistent stand that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion is no different from the positions taken by the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein, is UMNO and Utusan Malaysia trying to portray not only DAP but also the first three Prime Ministers as threats and enemies to Islam?

I would urge Najib and UMNO leaders to take note of two important historic events: firstly, the speech by Tunku Abdul Rahman on his 80th birthday on 8th February 1983 at the grand dinner hosted by the Barisan Nasional, which Najib must have attended with all the top Barisan Nasional leaders including the then Prime Minister Mahathir, where Tunku’s most important message to the Barisan Nasional leaders was not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State.

This was in fact the front-page headline in all the language newspapers the next day. The Star of 9th February 1983, for instance, carried the following front-page headline: “The Tunku Turns 80 – Don’t Make Malaysia An Islamic State: Tunku”.

Tunku stressed that Malaysia was set up as a secular State with Islam as the official religion and this was enshrined in the Constitution, which must be respected and adhered to.

Secondly, the full public support to Tunku’s call to Barisan Nasional leaders not to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State given by the third Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, four days later when celebrating his 61st birthday on 12th February 1983.

This was the Star’s front-page headline on 13th February 1983: “Hussein Says No To Islamic State Too”. Hussein said it was “neither wise nor practical” to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State as Malaysia could still be functional as a secular state with Islam as its official religion.

Let Najib and the UMNO leadership declare whether in launching the UMNO and Utusan’s “Haram Sokong DAP” campaign, the ground is also being prepared for Utusan to mount an attack on the first three Prime Ministers on the same grounds?

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



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