Liong Sik, Keng Yaik, Hieng Ding and UMNO Youth should apologise over the Malay rights  controversy and not the Suqiu Committee

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): If anyone should apologise for the Malay special rights controversy, it should be the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, Gerakan President Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, SUPP Deputy  President Datuk Law Hieng Ding and the UMNO Youth in that order and not the Suqiu Committee.

This is because the top MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers in the Cabinet have let down the Suqiu,  the Chinese community and the Malaysian society generally in their failure and impotence to prevent the blow-up of a synthetic political crisis over  Malay special rights by UMNO Youth and certain extremist, bankrupt and desperate UMNO leaders using Suqiu as an excuse.

On August 17, 1999, at a joint media conference, Ling  Liong Sik, Lim Keng Yaik and Law Hieng Ding publicly announced  the endorsement the three Barisan Nasional non-Malay parties for the 17-point Suqiu with the  MCA President declaring that

After the  Cabinet on September 22, 1999, Liong Sik announced that the Cabinet had "accepted" the Suqiu, as reported by Berita Harian (23/9/1999) in a report under the heading  "Kabinet terima petisyen kaum Cina".

It is most shocking that with this background, the three senior MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers could allow UMNO Youth and certain UMNO leaders to go on anti-national rampage for two weeks alleging Suqiu as challenging Malay special rights, sabotaging the 43rd Merdeka Month celebrations with the theme of "togetherrness" and unity of 22 million Malaysians without taking firm and effective actions to stop such  irresponsible politicking.

Liong Sik, Keng Yaik and Hieng Ding should jointly apologise for three failures:

Firstly, for failing to remind the Cabinet that the 17-point Suqiu had been presented to and "accepted" by the Cabinet on Sept. 22, 1999, which is the best proof that Suqiu could not have challenged Malay special rights which is an entrenched "sensitive" issue making any questioning of Malay special rights a crime of sedition.

Secondly, for failing to explain to UMNO and UMNO Youth that the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP had publicly and openly endorsed the 17-point Suqiu and an attack on Suqiu by UMNO and UMNO Youth tantamounts to an attack on MCA, Gerakan and SUPP and consequently on the Barisan Nasional as a whole.

Thirdly, for defending and justifying the decision of UMNO Youth to defy the Cabinet and backtrack from the Barisan Nasional Youth decision to end the Malay special rights controversy by blaming Suqiu for its unreasonableness, with Keng Yaik even openly warning of another Operation Lalang mass arrests.

If the three MCA, Gerakan and SUPP top leaders in the Cabinet had acted with responsibility, there would have been no Malay special rights controversy over Suqiu in the first place - which had done long-term damage not only to the nation-building process but also the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

UMNO Youth also owes a full and unreserved apology to the nation, not for defending Malay special rights, but for its unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on August 19, 2000, where inflammatory and racist placards were displayed, reporters abused and assaulteld and threats uttered  to "burn down" the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, its defiance of Cabinet decision and reneging on its commitment to end the Malay rights controversy and its anti-national attitude in sabotaging the 43rd Merdeka Month celebrations.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman