Keng Yaik should apologise to the voters of Teluk Intan for insulting their political intelligence by attributing Gerakanís loss in the Teluk Intan by-election to the so-called concocted article by a Chinese newspaper


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP should thank the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik for attributing powers to us which we never knew we had, as he blamed the Gerakanís shock defeat in the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election last Saturday to the DAP "playing up racial issues".

However, I am really amazed at Keng Yaikís allegation and would want to know how the DAP could have "played up racial issues" among the Chinese voters with an Indian candidate.

I personally would like to know this secret of "playing up racial issues" among the Chinese voters when we have an Indian candidate and I hope Keng Yaik would not be miserly in imparting this insight to me.

In actual fact, it is the Gerakan which had launched a "racial campaign" in the by-election by saying that "the Chinese must vote for a Chinese", with the Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri. Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, taking the Gerakan "racial campaign" one step further by publicly declaring that M. Kulasegaran of DAP would know nothing about Chinese education as he is an Indian!

Keng Yaik said he had only complained verbally to the acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and would be pushing for more action to be taken.

I would advise the newly-elected MP for Teluk Intan, M. Kulasegaran to submit an official complaint to the Acting Prime Minister about Gerakan leaders "playing up racial issues" in the Teluk Intan by-election, particularly by the Penang Chief Minister in calling on the Chinese voters of Teluk Intan not to vote for an Indian candidate on the grounds of Chinese education, and I hope the Acting Prime Minister would take the necessary action against the Penang Chief Minister.

Keng Yaik now claims that the so-called concocted article by a Chinese newspaper about his saying that Gerakan did not need Chinese votes to win the seat caused Gerakanís shock loss in the Teluk Intan by-election and was responsible for a 20 per cent drop of support by the Chinese community. I feel very sorry for Keng Yaik for he has insulted the political intelligence of the voters of Teluk Intan who responded to the DAPís call to "write history, create miracle" and he should publicly apologise to the people of Teluk Intan for showing utter contempt of the Teluk Intan 20 Points which were the reason the voters of Teluk Intan voted for DAP and M. Kulasegaran.

The so-called concocted article by a Chinese newspaper was one of the many faux pas committed by Keng Yaik in the Teluk Intan by-election. Nobody knows the rights and wrongs of this issue, although his demand for strong action against "certain vernacular newspapers to see that they do not use racial issues to increase circulation" is most shocking both because of its vindictiveness and one-sidedness, for the following reasons:

In actual fact, if the Gerakan or Barisan Nasional conducts an impartial and unemotional post mortem of the Teluk Intan by-election result, they would find that the so-called concocted article by a Chinese newspaper played a very minor part in the shock defeat of the Gerakan candidate in the Teluk Intan by-election.

When the voters of Teluk Intan rose to the occasion to "write history, create miracle", it is not because of the so-called concocted article in a Chinese newspaper, but the Teluk Intan 20 Points, such as:

I would call on Keng Yaik to respect the Teluk Intan 20 Points or the Gerakan President would be rejecting the historic political message sent out by the people of Teluk Intan on May 17, confirming that the decision of the Teluk Intan voters in the by-election was indeed right and that the Gerakan candidate did not deserve any support as Gerakan has completely been cut off from the fundamental demands and aspirations of the people - whether in Teluk Intan or the whole country.

(23/5/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong