Mahathir should apologise to my wife for the poor taste in dragging her into the political arena as if it is not enough to cause her sufferings when her husband and son were detained under the Internal Security Act during Operation Lalang 11 years ago and now her son faces the prospect of 36 months jail as a result of politically-motivated selective prosecution


Speech (1)
- Bagan Lallang DAP Dinner for 
Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Penang, Saturday): I am outraged by the remarks by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday at the Subang Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport in Subang after his visit to Japan where he said that the suspension of two national leaders and the removal of another from their national party positions was an indication that DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang was practises nepotism.

The New Straits Times today quoted him as saying: "It looks like Kit Siang is not concerned about his party.  He is more concerned about his son and his family. This is actually nepotism.

"He chose his son as deputy secretary-general of the party. If others do the same thing, he will call it nepotism.

"DAP has not even formed the Government and he has already given a place to his son.  If DAP manages to form the Government one day, his son, his wife and other family members will be in the Cabinet."
Mahathir should apologise to my wife for the poor taste in dragging her into the political arena as if it is not enough to cause her sufferings when her husband and son were detained under the Internal Security Act during Operation Lalang 11 years ago and now her son faces the prospect of 36 months jail as a result of politically-motivated selective prosecution

I had never dragged the wife of the Prime Minister, Datin Seri Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali into any political controversy and I think the least Mahathir can do is to reciprocate and accord the same respect to my wife in the same way I had always accorded to Dr. Siti Hasmah.

I am surprised that Mahathir had gleefully accused me of nepotism when eyes are focussed on him and other Barisan Nasional leaders.  Nepotism has been defined as "favouritism shown to relatives or friends in conferring offices or privileges" and if I am guilty of nepotism in Guan Eng’s case, it  must be the most unique and unprecedented type of nepotism in the world.

As the DAP National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin, said at a press conference in Petaling Jaya today, the government through Petronas is using hundreds of millions of ringgit of public funds to bail out Mirzan Mahathir’s Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd, while the son of the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, Ling Hee Leong could become a financial boy-wizard at the age of 27 years old in acquiring RM1.2 billion of corporate stakes.  What has Guan Eng got in store for him?  Thirty-six months jail in Kajang Prisons for standing up for the honour, human and woman rights of a 15-year-old girl against the powerful and mighty, and this is after he had been detained for 18 months under the Internal Security Act after a political apprenticeship of 14 months!

Is Mirzan Mahathir or Ling Hee Leong prepared to exchange places with Lim Guan Eng?

As Dr. Chen said this morning, Guan Eng has left his cushy job as a bank officer and would be today leading more than a comfortable life as a banker to plunge into the political maelstrom, forsaking a bed of roses for a crown of thorns. If this is nepotism, I will like to see whether there is a single offspring of the Barisan Nasional leaders, from the Prime Minister downwards, who is prepared to make such a commitment?

As nepotism is defined as  "favouritism shown to relatives or friends in conferring offices or privileges", I would suggest that a Royal Commission of Inquiry be held into the whole question of nepotism and cronyism in Malaysian political life, whether the ruling or opposition parties.

Lim Guan Eng’s case should be one of the subjects of investigation by such an inquiry into nepotism in Malaysia, just as all the relatives and friends of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,  the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ling Liong Sik, the Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu, all Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Ministers and Mentri-Mentri Besar and State Ministers and Executive Councillors with regard to allegations of nepotism.

Mahathir gleefully accused me of nepotism in connection with Guan Eng because he hopes that this would put me on the defensive with regard to Guan Eng and that I would stop taking the offensive in speaking out against corruption, cronyism and nepotism in Malaysia.

I have been the foremost critic against what is now famously known in Indonesia as KKN, i.e. corruption, collusion or cronyism and nepotism, and I would not be deterred from continuing to speak out against KKN, for only those with the most perverted mind can see Guan Eng’s case as a case of nepotism - showing favouritism to Guan Eng for 18 months’ detention under the ISA and 36 months jail in Kajang Prisons?

(6/6/98)


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