Keng Yaik has turned out to be one of the most mischievous and irresponsible Barisan Nasional  leaders who is a key player  to make the tenth general election  the dirtiest in the nationís history

by Lim Kit Siang

(Air Hitam,  Tuesday): Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik has turned out to be one of the most mischievous and irresponsible Barisan Nasiona leaders who is a key player  to make the tenth general election  the dirtiest in the nationís history.

He is a Cabinet Minister who is prepared to tell the most preposterous of falsehoods just to serve the ends of Gerakan and Barisan Nasional.

Berita Harian of 22nd November 1999 quoted the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying in Tasek Gelugor that PAS had betrayed its Islamic State objective to befriend DAP.

According to the Berita Harian report, (p.2) Abdullah Badawi said that "Pas tidak mempunyai apa-apa sekarang kerana semuanya sudah dikorbankan semata-mata untuk mendapat sokongan dan kerjasama DAP".

The Berita Harian report said:

However, in the same issue of Berita Harian (page 7), Keng Yaik sang a different tune. He was quoted as alleging  in Ayer Tawar that I have sold out DAP principles in agreeing to the PAS objective of an Islamic state.

Berita Harian reported Keng Yaik as accusing me of "tidak menghiraukan pengundi Cina apabila bersetuju dengan cadangan Pas untuk mendirikan negara Islam jika pakatan pembangkang memenangi pilihanraya umum kali ini."

Who is right, Abdullah Badawi or Keng Yaik?  One of them is telling a falsehood, as  both cannot be right. Either DAP had sold out to PAS on Islamic State, or PAS had sold out to DAP - as both could not have sold out to each other!

In actual fact, both assumptions are wrong - for neither the DAP nor PAS had betrayed or compromised on their basic principles.  DAP remains constant and consistent in our stand that an Islamic state in unsuitable and unacceptable for a plural society like Malaysia while the Islamic State objective of PAS remains it ideological objective.

However, the coming-together of DAP, PAS, KeADILan and PRM in the Alternative Front has nothing to do with the issue of Islamic state, but on the common platform to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

What should be disturbing is that  the Berita Harian reports on the contradictory statements show that Keng Yaik has no respect for Abdullah Badawi, telling an entirely opposite version from what the Deputy Prime Minister had said.

This is one reason why there is no public confidence that Abdullah Badawi could succeed Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister, when even now, Cabinet Ministers like Keng Yaik could openly counter and contradict Abdullah Badawi saying that DAP had sold out to PAS when Abdullah Badawi had said that PAS had sold out to DAP!

Keng Yaik would not have dared to counter and contradict a public statement when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was a Deputy Prime Minister!

Last night, I responded to Keng Yaikís challenge to me to declare my stand on PAS Deputy President Hadi Awangís  private memberís bill, "Control and Restriction of Propagation  of Non-Muslim Religions (Federal Territories) 1999",  in the last Parliamentary meeting.

I accepted Keng Yaikís challenge and invited him to  a joint media conference on 25th November at a place and time of his choice on whether Gerakan really opposed Hadiís private memberís bill on  "Control and Restriction of Propagation  of Non-Muslim Religions (Federal Territory)", or whether it was just because a PAS leader had moved it and Gerakan would have supported such a legislation if it had been moved by UMNO.

There is no doubt this constituted the great  difference between the DAP and Gerakan.  DAP takes a stand on principle, whether on the freedom of religion or a secular democratic state, and we will defend these principles and oppose any proposal or bill which contravenes them, whether they are made by UMNO or PAS.

The Gerakan under Keng Yaik however does not take any stand on principle but is guided by sheer political opportunism.  It will oppose any measure put forth by PAS and support any measure presented by UMNO.

I do not believe  Keng Yaik would dare  to deny this statement by appearing  at a joint media conference with me on Nov. 25.

Let me serve notice on Keng Yaik that if he does not accept my invitation to appear at a joint media conference on November 25 for him to clarify his stand on Hadiís private memberís bill, I reserve the right to expose Keng Yaik and Gerakanís true stand on an Islamic state and hukum hudud.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP Secretary-General, Parliamentary Candidate for Bukit Bendera and State Assembly candidate for Kebun Bunga