I will accept a public debate with the Prime Minister or any senior UMNO leader on “Who is a Malaysian Patriot” or “What are the challenges of a Malaysian Patriot in 2017”

I feel sad that my appeal yesterday to UMNO leaders and Utusan Malaysia to stop insulting or running down their own Malay race by suggesting that top Malay leaders who had been Presidents or Deputy Presidents of UMNO, or Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers or Ministers, are men and women of such low character and morals that they are susceptible to become stooges or puppets after stepping down from their high office!

I am not a Malay, but I think this is a calumny of the worst kind about the Malay race, and I want to protest against it in the strongest possible terms.

It is shocking and ironic that such calumny of the Malay race is coming from the incumbent Malay leadership in government and Utusan Malaysia, which are facing a life-and-death struggle to retain popular Malay support!

The founding President of UMNO, Datuk Onn Jaafar, was once denounced as a traitor to the Malay race. So was once Tunku Abdul Rahman, even Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah when he formed and headed Semangat 46, and now Tun Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

It is time that Malaysian politics, on the 60th anniversary of the country achieving Merdeka on August 31, 1957, become less infantile and racist and more mature and Malaysian.

Can we expect the present UMNO/BN leadership in Putrajaya grow with the times to lead Malaysia towards this era of more mature and Malaysian politics?

I said yesterday that Tun Mahathir and I are patriots who have joined forces to save Malaysian from degenerating into a political and economic basket case and save Malaysia from the curse, ignominy and infamy of being regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy – which if not addressed, will result in Malaysia becoming a failed and rogue state.

The Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak thought he was very clever and wrote a blog post ridiculing those who claim themselves as patriots, citing for example that “most historians agree that Adolf Hitler was a patriot…and 100 million people died because of this”.

I am surprised that Salleh did not seem to know the famous quote “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” by Samuel Johnson, but we are of course differentiating between genuine from false patriots.

Malaysia has today become the “Sick Man of Southeast Asia” – the joke of comedians in neighbouring Singapore and the people in neighbouring Indonesia, to the extent that the people Riau, who agitated to be annexed to Malaysia in the early 2000’s, have only contempt for Malaysia today especially over the 1MDB scandal.

Is this the work of patriots?

Will a patriot allow Malaysia to be ridiculed throughout the world as a “global kleptocracy”, doing nothing to clear such infamy and ignominy, in fact doing the very opposite, persecuting and silencing those who want to get to the bottom of the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal?

It is clear that the UMNO/BN demonization against me is going on full-swing, with the Utusan Malaysia still using its logo, with images of myself, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Tun Dr. Mahathir, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Mohd Sabu and the wordings in a red-boxed caption “ASALKAN BUKAN PAKATAN KIT SIANG”.

I had previously worked with former Prime Ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn when they were no more Prime Minister and UMNO President.

Are Tunku and Hussein’s pictures to be added to the Utusan Malaysia logo “ASALKAN BUKAN PAKATAN KIT SIANG” on the ground that like Mahathir, Anwar, Azizah, Azmin and Mohd Sabu, Bapa Malaysia and the third Prime Minister had also been my puppets or stooges?

Clearly, I have more faith and respect for the Malay race than the present UMNO Ministers and leaders, or the Utusan Malaysia.

UMNO leaders can disagree with their former UMNO Presidents and Deputy Presidents, but they should not malign their character as if UMNO leaders, once they relinquish their positions, become morally worthless characters. Are they reflecting on their own moral character and worth?

This is not only an era of lies, fake news and false information, but of “rent-a-crowd”, “rent-a-Minister”, “rent-a-newspaper”, “rent-an-NGO”, “rent-a-spokesperson” or even “rent-a-worm” to do dirty jobs in politics, such as issuing debate challenges with all sort of ridiculous topics.

I have no time for such “rented” operations.

I am prepared to take part in a public debate with the Prime Minister or any senior UMNO leader on “Who is a Malaysian Patriot” or “What are the challenges of a Malaysian Patriot in 2017”.

For Salleh’s information, I had said that there are at least 10 areas where there must be “reset” of nation-building directions and policies, and the support of these ten “Reset” objectives will be an important test of whether a Malaysian is a patriot or not.

If Salleh as Minister for Communications and Multimedia dare to organize such a public debate, I would accept the challenge without hesitation.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah