UMNO Youth has acted in a most irresponsible and anti-national manner in casting a dark shadow over 43rd National Day celebrations and the theme of "togetherness" - making this year a Black National Day

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): UMNO Youth has acted in a most irresponsible and anti-national manner in casting a dark shadow over the 43rd National celebrations and the theme of "togetherness" by its refusal to comply with the Cabinet decision on Wednesday to  end the  Malay Special Rights controversy so as to maintain the  good relations among the various races particularly the Malay and Chinese communities. By doing so, UMNO Youth is turning this year’s Merdeka celebrations into a Black National Day.

The Singapore Straits Times today reported:

The UMNO Youth decision is most deplorable and anti-national for two reasons:

On Wednesday, the Transport Minister and MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik emerged from the Cabinet meeting to announce "an end to all open debate on Malay Special Rights" as the Cabinet  "wants the good relations among the various races particularly the  Malay and Chinese communities to be maintained as usual".

After the Barisan Nasional Youth meeting the next day, Hishamuddin announced the end to all discussions on Malay rights after it accepted the explanation by the Elections Appeal Committee (Suqiu) that it had never intended to intended to suggest that the Malay rights which were stipulated under the Constitution be abolished.

He said: "We (Barisan Youth) have discussed the matter and agreed to unanimously accept their (the committee’s) sincere explanation.

"We (BN Youth) have decided that in matters of such nature, we shall not act separately. As for issues affecting the feelings of a particular community, whatever the issues may be, we have to be in consultation and explain our common stand."

Did Hishammuddin and UMNO Youth consult the other Barisan Nasional Youths when they decided to renege on their agreement on Thursday to put the Malay special rights issue to rest and to reignite the controversy, even to the extent on wanting to "show of its strength" at a mammoth gathering at Putrajaya on the eve of National Day.

Has the Police given police permit for such a UMNO Youth rally at Putrajaya which is designed to heighten racial tensions in the escalation of the synthetic political crisis by UMNO Youth over Malay special rights, or will UMNO Youth proceed with the illegal Putrajaya rally?  And will MCA, Gerakan and MIC Youth be invited to take part in this illegal Putrajaya UMNO Youth rally?

It is clear that although Hishammudin had announced after the Barisan Nasional Youth meeting on Thursday that he would ask the Umno Youth to accept the  explanation "as stated clearly in black and white and made in good faith", Hishammuddin had been overruled as he had not been able to persuade the Umno Youth executive council to put national interest above narrow political interests to try to regain lost Malay political support.

Hishammuddin’s "political somersault" is most dishonourble and deplorable for three reasons:

by its latest decision,  UMNO Youth has shown no respect for the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi who chaired the meeting in the absence of the Prime Minister,  Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad overseas.

Now,  it is left to the Prime Minister to bring the UMNO Youth into line to comply with the Cabinet decision to end the synthetic political crisis over Malay special rights and save  the 43rd Merdeka Month celebrations from being turned into a Black National Day by directing Hishammuddin and UMNO Youth put the controversy to rest.

Should Mahathir back Hishammuddin and UMNO Youth on the issue, then it will be a grievous blow to the authority and  credibility of the entire Cabinet which met on Wednesday and Cabinet Ministers should seriously consider whether they should remain in such a Cabinet.

The Police on its part must ensure that UMNO Youth is not allowed again to undermine inter-racial harmony by holding illegal public rallies or demonstrations as happened at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last Friday where racist and inflammatory placards were displayed, a reporter assaulted and threats issued to burn down the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

What the Police must do is to immediately initiate action to arrest UMNO Deputy Youth leader, Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir and other UMNO youth demonstrators who had conducted an unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last Friday to serve as a warning to UMNO Youth leaders that they do not enjoy any immunity to break the laws of the land.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman