(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has taken courage from internal DAP allegations of nepotism against me to continue to repeat these allegations in the hope of distracting national and international attention from the issues of corruption, cronyism and nepotism in top government circles.
He has even become the champion of the right of DAP leaders to attack the DAP leadership, although at the winding up of the UMNO General Assembly on Sunday, he rebuked the UMNO Youth chief Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and issued a stern reminder to UMNO members to use party channels when raising issues that could potentially harm the party and country.
Mahathir branded those who speak behind the back of others as unity wreckers and appealed to leaders and members to use official channels to express their grouses instead of washing the party’s dirty linen in public, and urged party leaders to "suppress their self-interest and work single-mindedly to preserve party unity".
But only one week later, he is saying the very reverse, just because it concerns an opposition party, the DAP. Where is Mahathir’s consistency?
The Mingguan Malaysia (28th June 1998) had the following report under
the heading "Mahathir sifatkan DAP parti ‘sebuah keluarga’":
"Beliau berkata, dalam DAP pemimpinnya tidak boleh ditukar dan kalau ada orang bercakap mengenai pertukaran kepimpinan, ia akan disekat.
"Sambil bertanya kepada Presiden Gerakan, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik sama ada beliau ada anak atau tidak, ataupun adakah anaknya sudah dilantik sebagai Timbalan Presiden Gerakan, Dr. Mahathir dalam nada sinis mengkritik DAP:
"’Ada sebuah parti bila orang bercakap dalam parti itu, mereka disekat jangan bercakap. Demokratik apa? Katanya, Democratic Action tetapi actionnya tidak demokratik langsung.’
"Jenaka bersahaja Perdana Menteri itu mendapat tepukan gemuruh kira-kira 1,800 perwakilan yang menghadiri Persidangan Nasional Ke-27 Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia di sini."
In response to Mahathir’s earlier allegation of nepotism against me, I had challenged the Prime Minister to agree to a DAP motion in next month’s Parliament on the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Nepotism with special focus on the children and associates of all political leaders, whether government or opposition.
I now issue a second challenge to Mahathir, to name all the companies his sons, Mirzan, Mokhzani anjd Mukriz have interests and a full list of government contracts, shares, licences, APs and other interests given to these companies
The mass media and in particular, certain newspapers, had been most unfair in their reporting whether of Mahathir’s allegation of nepotism against me and my response, or on the present crisis in the DAP which is the worst crisis in the party’s 32 year history.
I hope the press would be fair and responsible in their reporting and would give me equal space given to Mahathir’s allegation of nepotism against me.
Another example of unfair mass media coverage against the DAP is Saturday’s New Straits Times "News Analysis" which carried the bold headline "Another cry of victory for Kit Siang but at what price?", the implication being that I derived great joy from a so-called "victory" in the DAP crisis,particularly the resignation of four Penang state leaders from their party posts.
I was completely blacked out by the New Straits Times when I clarified that I did not feel any sense of victory but only great sadness at the latest DAP crisis, the KOKS (Knock-Out Kit Siang and in Penang also Knock-out Karpal Singh) campaign and the resignation of four Penang State leaders from their party posts.
I had said:
"Having worked so hard in the past three years to carry out party reform, renewal and rejuvenation and to make the DAP fully relevant to the needs and aspirations of the new generation of Malaysians - as in promoting information technology, the mass signature campaign on the haze disaster, the anti-corruption movement to create a new culture of zero tolerance for corruption in political and public life, national conferences on important issues like labour, health, education and women's rights, the nation-wide initiative taken by the DAP on the national economic crisis in the past 12 months, the Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign and the latest national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance - I want to see every party leader, member and supporter to give his or her heart and soul to the great battle we are waging for a more just, equal, democratic and prosperous Malaysia."
Was it fair on the New Straits Times’ part to black out my response to a most unfair treatment of the DAP troubles?
The Malaysian mass media should be aware of the low opinion, whether
by Malaysians or foreigners about them. A recent opinion poll, for
instance, posed the following question, with the following responses:
"Only some of them: 40%
I urge the local mass media to improve on their fairness, responsibility and professionalism so that they could command national and international respect.