Cabinet should take a formal vote on Wednesday  to decide whether Keng Yaik’s remarks in Parliament constitute a gross, derogatory and inexcusable insult of the estate workers

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Gerakan President and Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is getting himself into a tighter knot, trying to deny the undeniable when he claimed that his recent remarks in Parliament was a joke and did not constitute a gross and inexcusable insult of generations of estate workers whose blood, sweat and tears had  contributed greatly to Malaysia’s present economic development.

Keng Yaik  even have the cheek to produce the Parliamentary Hansard to try to establish his denial that he had insulted estate workers or alleged  that they were lazy, when anyone reading the Parliamentary Hansard could only be convinced that the outrage felt by the estate workers, trade unions and Malaysians at Keng Yaik’s clear and evident slur against the honour and integrity of estate workers was fully justified and legitimate.

The Hansard extract produced by Keng Yaik, which  contained scurrillous and defamatory remarks against estate workers, is as follows:

Keng Yaik has even provided his own English translation of the passage, which does not help his case at all but further confirmed that he had made derogatory and defamatory reference to estate workers -

I do not know  which is more insulting and derogatory of the estate workers - his original insult of the estate workers in the Senate last Thursday or his repeating his insult by reproducing the Hansard and claiming that it was not insulting at all, which is nothing less than rubbing salt into the wound.

I call on the Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday to take a formal vote to decide whether Keng Yaik’s remarks in Parliament constitute a gross, derogatory  and inexcusable insult of the estate workers.

The Cabinet should let the people know whether it is going to help Keng Yaik "hush" up his derogatory and insulting remarks and reference to the estate workers, by sweeping the whole issue under the carpet and directing the mass media to "black out" the issue, or whether the Cabinet is going to stand up for the honour and dignity of the estate workers by  demanding that Keng Yaik apologise to the estate workers and censure him as well.

Keng Yaik is not a junior Minister but a Senior Cabinet Minister and his bias against estate workers must be taken seriously, and estate workers are entitled to know the Cabinet attitude on  Keng Yaik’s manifest contempt for estate workers.   The Cabinet must dissociate itself from Keng Yaik’s remarks and to do this, I call on the Cabinet on Wednesday to establish a high-powered Cabinet Committee to propose an action plan to introduce minimum monthly wage and adequate affordable housing for estate workers.

Now that Keng Yaik has himself produced the Hansard extract of what he actually said in Parliament, all Gerakan leaders, whether national or state, should declare whether they are prepared to stand up for truth and justice and demand that their President should unreservedly and unconditionally apologise to the estate workers for his slur against their honour and integrity, or whether they fully support him in his derogatory and humiliating reference to the estate workers.


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