(Ipoh, Saturday): I object in the strongest possible terms at today's issue of the Star on its three reports on "troubles" in the DAP, which clearly serves the agenda of its political masters to give a most dishonest and vicious slant in its reporting as well as the use of headlines, which are totally against the fundamental tenets of honest, truthful, non-partisan and professional journalism.
In its first report, the Star today gave the following headline "Do it openly, Kit Siang dares critics", using words like "challenge" and "dare" in the report, to try to reinforce the impression that I am very confrontational, truculent, uncompromising and therefore unreasonable, when I had never used the word "challenge" or "dare" in my media statement or media conference yesterday.
All I said yesterday was to ask the KOKS (Knock-out Kit Siang and in Penang also Knock-out Karpal Singh) campaign leaders to explain the slogan "32 is Enough" to the party membership.
Another Star report carries the headline "DAP's prodigal son Lau returns to back Kit Siang", which was a highly tendentious and negative piece of writing aimed at discrediting and vilifying the DAP and its leaders, when in its report about a DAP ceramah at Jeram, Perak on Thursday night, it states:
"Former Perak DAP chief Lau Dak Kee, who had kept a low profile in the party after falling out with Lim Kit Siang five years ago, surprised the crowd when he was embraced by the secretary-general a 'father welcoming back his son'.
"On his part, Lau said he had all the while been Lim's 'blue-eyed boy'."
I find this highly offensive as I never regarded or treated Dak Kee "as a son". He is my contemporary in the DAP, one of the founder-members of the DAP all the way back to 1966. In fact, his political life is even longer than mine. We had always been comrade-at-arms in the great DAP struggle for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
A third Star report carried the heading "Ex-DAP staff complains of wrong dismissal" where an internal DAP staff matter was given even greater prominence than my call to Tun Daim Zainuddin not to assume his new Cabinet appointment as Minister for Special Functions until he had given up all his business interests, or he would be guilty of conflict of interest and gross impropriety actionable under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, and that the DAP would consider taking legal action to uphold public integrity and interests.
In fact, at the media conference yesterday, the Star reporter even came to the media conference to ask what would be my response if the former DAP National Publicity Secretary, Wee Choo Keong, should take the staff concerned, Tan Lee See, to lodge a police report.
I urge the mass media to stop serving the agenda of any Barisan Nasional party and to carry out their great responsibility to expand the horizons of press freedom in Malaysia to ensure that our country enjoys a free, independent and responsible press!
I will not dare or challenge the KOKS campaign leaders or members, but merely ask them to explain the reasons for their campaign.
I have already said that it is the democratic right of anyone
to support or lead the KOKS campaign and there is no reason for the campaign
to go underground. At the next Central Executive Committee meeting
next Thursday, July 1, 1998, I will ask the CEC for a consensus that
there will definitely be no purge or disciplinary action against anyone
for joining the KOKS campaign.
The Penang, Perak, Selangor, Federal Territory, Sarawak and Sabah leaders of the KOKS campaign, who had been having "strategy meetings" in various states for the past several months, should promote a culture of open, fair, clean and democratic party election campaign by explaining their "32 is Enough" slogan so that their reasons can be extensively discussed and debated inside the Party.