(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The Cabinet tomorrow should take firm and decisive action to end the synthetic political crisis over Malay special rights before irreparable harm is done to nation building and economic recovery.
There are at least five decisions which the Cabinet should take tomorrow:
Firstly, reaffirm the Cabinet decision of September 22, 1999 to "receive positively" the 17-point demands by the Malaysian Chinese Organisation Election Appeals (Suqiu) which was tabled in the Cabinet by MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik.
Berita Harian (23/9/1999) in a report under the heading "Kabinet terima petisyen kaum Cina" , stated:
"Presiden MCA, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, berkata mesyuarat Jemaah Menteri kini memandang positif petisyen ‘Hua Tuan’ yang mengandungi 17 perkara dikemukakan oleh persatuan berkenaan.
"Sehubungan itu beliau berkata satu delegasi khas dianggotai pemimpin kanan MCA, Gerakan dan Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak (SUPP), menemui persatuan Cina berkenaan untuk membincangkan kandungan petisyen tersebut.
"’Saya menjelaskan kepada Jemaah Menteri hari ini bahawa petisyen itu lebih bersifat rayuan tanpa syarat kepada kerajaan, yang merangkumi perakuan ke arah pembinaan negara.
"’Selepas mendengar penjelasan itu,Kabinet memutuskan untuk tidak menolak petisyen berkenaan sebaliknya mengarahkan dialog positif diadakan dengan persatuan terbabit,’ katanya kepada pemberita selepas menghadapi mesyuarat Kabinet dipejabatnya di sini hari ini."
Unless, of course, Liong Sik had misled the people in falsely claiming that the Cabinet had "positively received" the Suqui when it never did.
The Cabinet should make clear tomorrow whether it had "positively received" the Suqui as had been announced by Liong Sik last September as it should not take any action which is a gross breach of faith with the Malaysian people and the Chinese community - reneging on a serious commitment after the recent general election.
In any event, what is clearly indisputable is the open endorsement of the Suqiu by the presidents of MCA, Gerakan and SUPP which was blazoned in the local mass media last August with photographs of Liong Sik, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Datuk Law Hieng Ding each proudly holding the Suqiu.
At their joint press conference on August 17, 1999 to declare their support for Suqiu, speaking on behalf of the three Presidents of MCA, Gerakan and SUPP, Liong Sik said:
Ling Liong Sik, Lim Keng Yaik and Law Hieng Ding should be consistent and principled at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow and ask the Cabinet to reaffirm its decision last September on its "positive" response to the Suqiu.
The second decision the Cabinet should take tomorrow is to direct the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai, to uphold the law without fear or favour and not to allow the UMNO Youth and its deputy leader Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir to go on an anti-national rampage undermining inter-racial harmony, when a PAS or Keadilan youth leader would have been detained under ISA for doing half of what the UMNO Youth leader had done.
The Cabinet should be fully conscious that UMNO Youth and Abdul Aziz have placed the police credibility, independence, professionalism and integrity under a very great test and it would be bad not only for the police but for Malaysia’s international reputation if there is repetition of blatant UMNO Youth lawlessness, not only of last Friday’s gangsterish demonstration but also UMNO Youth’s lawless and gangsterish break-up of the Second Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor (APCET) in Kuala Lumpur in November 1996, which was a blot to Malaysia’s international reputation as a civil society.
The Cabinet’s third decision should be to stop the extremist, desperate and bankrupt politicians in UMNO and UMNO Youth from trying to plunge the country into a communal chaos over a synthetic political crisis. If UMNO Youth is not prepared to put the overriding national interests of inter-racial harmony and well-being above its petty political interests, then the Home Ministry should seriously consider proscribing UMNO Youth as anti-national organisation.
Datuk David Chua, who has been used by political desperadoes to precipitate a synthetic political crisis, has said that he had met the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and explained that he had never raised the question of abolishment of special privileges for Malays.
Chua said he was deeply appreciative of Mahathir’s understanding on the matter. To further clarify the matter, the Cabinet should allow David Chua’s views and proposals to the Second National Economic Consultative Council to be made public.
The Cabinet’s fourth decision is to set up an inquiry committee to investigate as to how, as David Chua said in his statement on Saturday, his statement had been "sensationalised" into a synthetic political crisis with extremist, desperate and bankrupt UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders trying to plunge the country into a communal chaos.
MCA Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Ong Ka Ting said yesterday (and which was reported only in the Chinese media today) that Utusan Malaysia was responsible for the most irresponsible journalism in "distorting" and "sensationalising" the issue of Malay special rights as to create a synthetic political crisis.
Such irresponsible journalism in a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society is most reprehensible and must be condemned in the strongest possible manner as it could lead to the most horrendous consequences for the people and country. This is why a special inquiry committee should be set up to expose such irresponsible and dangerous journalism.
Fifthly the Cabinet should decide whether the government is serious
with the 43rd Merdeka Month Celebrations with the theme of "togetherness"
for Malaysians to feel more united by their commonalities than divided
by their differences. If so, the synthethic political crisis being manufactured
by extremist, desperate and bankrupt politicians in UMNO and UMNO Youth
should be put to an end tomorrow itself. If the Cabinet cannot end
the synthetic political crisis, it might as well call off the 43rd Merdeka
Month Celebrations as it would have lost all meaning and purpose altogether.