(Penang, Tuesday): When on Sunday night, I heard the shocking news that Deputy Land and Co-operatives Minister, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, had in his speech said that "a few days ago, a person in Sungai Bakap market stood up and said, ‘Do you know how Ooi Theng Bok die? He has two wives, one in the Penang island, and the other in Nibong Tebal. Every day he has to drive here and there. He drove too fast, and this is how he was killed in an accident."
Cheng Teik stressed that this was what truly happened, and went on to say that during elections, it is not necessary to use such "dirty tricks", implying clearly that this person who made such a statement at the Sungai Bakap market was none other than the DAP candidate for Sungai Bakap, Goh Kheng Huat.
This was why Kheng Huat reacted immediately and declared that he would accept the party’s directive and withdraw from the Sungai Bakap by-election if Cheng Teik could prove that he had made such a shocking statement about Ooi Theng Bok.
On Sunday, I gave Cheng Teik 24 hours to state and prove that Kheng Huat had made the shocking statement about Ooi Theng Bok. Twenty-fours hours have come and gone - in fact, it is over 48 hours since Kheng Huat had challenged Cheng Teik to substantiate his allegation.
But Cheng Teik has not been able to prove anything. He has not been able to prove that Kheng Huat had made such an allegation against Ooi Theng Bok. Even worse, Cheng Teik has not been able to prove that there was "a person who had stood up in Sungai Bakap market a few days ago" to make such an allegation against Ooi Theng Bok - and that it was not a pure concoction by Cheng Teik himself.
Cheng Teik is a seasoned politician and he should know that he would be challenged to substantiate his allegation, and yet, when challenged, he could not prove a single thing - which could only mean that Cheng Teik was prepared to concoct such an allegation hoping to get sympathy votes for the Gerakan candidate in the Sungai Bakap by-election.
What Goh Cheng Teik has indulged in is the classic "self-torture" trickery, except that it is a new variation never seen in Malaysian politics.
In the classic "self-torture trickery", the person concerned was prepared to submit himself to all sorts of torture and agony, both mental and physical, to gain advantage for himself but in the latest "self-torture trickery" ala-Goh Cheng Teik, it was to gain advantage by submitting others - and what is worse, in this case, a person generally honoured by society who had passed away - to all sorts of calumny and disrepute.
Has Goh Cheng Teik got the consent of the family of Ooi Theng Bok before using such a peculiar variation of "Self-torture trickery"?
It is clear that Cheng Teik has become so desperate politically, that he is prepared to defame the dead in order to try to gain advantage for the living.
If Cheng Teik is prepared to do such a terrible thing to the dead, particularly one whom he has claimed to be one of his closest and best friends, what would’nt he do to his enemies?
I am sure the entire Sungai Bakap society is still trying to recover from the shock caused by Cheng Teik’s speech about Ooi Theng Bok, for the late Gerakan Assemblyman was generally liked by the voters, regardless of political beliefs and political affiliations, and nobody had heard about what Cheng Teik alleged until he himself said it!
I do not know Theng Bok well, having met him only two or three times, but I acknowledge the good public acclaim he enjoys among the ordinary people. Cheng Teik knows Theng Bok well, claims him as his good and best friend, and yet is capable of saying such terrible things about Theng Bok.
It is generally said that under the law, you can defame the dead, but not the living - as the dead cannot file a suit of defamation in the courts. I am not sure whether this is truly the law of defamation in the country, or whether there is room for a test case. If the family of Ooi Theng Bok is prepared, DAP is ready to take up a test case to establish that Cheng Teik cannot defame the dead as well.
In any event, the people of Sungai Bakap, who love Ooi Theng Bok have the opportunity and the duty on polling day on Nov. 8 to clear the name of Ooi Theng Bok to show clearly and unequivocally that they reject Cheng Teik’s defamation of the good name of Ooi Theng Bok, by voting solidly against the Gerakan whose by-election campaign is responsible for besmirching the good name of Ooi Thentg Bok - not even allowing Ooi Theng Bok to rest in peace and to have to become a victim of Cheng Teik’s peculiar "self-torture trickery".
Goh Cheng Teik should publicly apologise to the memory and family of Ooi Theng Bok as well as the voters of Sungai Bakap for defaming the good name of the former Gerakan Assemblyman - and this should be an object lesson for all politicians not to resort to dirty tricks during elections
This is why one of the 20-Point Sungai Bakap Declaration calls on the people of Sungai Bakap to
"CONDEMN AND DEPLORE dirty, unethical and unprincipled politics during elections, especially money politics, abuse of government funds and resources, personal attacks and character-assassination, whether of the living or the dead, whether to malign the reputation of the opposing candidate or as a ‘self-torture trickery’ to win votes for oneself."