Mahathir should stop "play with fire" and withdraw and apologise for the most irresponsible and seditious insinuation that non-Muslims would be persecuted by the Barisan Alternative and Opposition parties if they do  not continue to support the Barisan Nasional

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Wednesday): Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said that non-Muslims in the country can be assured of protection against persecution if they continue to support the present government.

He said that the killing of the two non-Muslim hostages - police detective Kpl. R. Sagadevan and army commando Mathew ak Medan - rather than Muslim hostages by the Al-Maunah group which staged the two Grik arms heists on July 2 was deliberate.

The Prime Minister said:

There is nothing wrong in Mahathir calling on the non-Muslims to continue to support the Barisan Nasional government, but to insinuate that without the protection of the Barisan Nasional government, the Barisan Alternative or any of its component parties would persecute the non-Muslims in the country, or even allow non-Muslims to be killed, is the height of irresponsibility and sedition particularly for a multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-religious nation like Malaysia.

If the DAP or any Barisan Alternative leader had made such a similar insinuation in public, declaring that non-Muslims can only be assured of protection against persecution if they support the Barisan Alternative, implying very clearly that the Barisan Nasional would persecute the non-Muslims, the DAP or the  Barisan Alternative leader concerned  would not only be denounced by all the mainstream media, both printed and electronic, police arrest and criminal prosecution would have followed for sedition, publishing false news, criminal defamation, etc.

Why should the Prime Minister be immune from these horrendous consequences of the law which would have been visited on an Opposition leader who had said the same thing against the Barisan Nasional?

If a police report is lodged against Mahathir's irresponsible, inciting and seditious statement, would action be taken by the police and the Attorney-General?

Mahathir should identify who are the non-Muslims who are "playing with fire" by supporting the Al-Maunah Islam deviationist extremists who committed the heinous crime of barbaric torture and gruesome murder of a police detective and an army ranger, as from all the fulsome media coverage since the Grik arms heists, there had not been a single report to show that any  non-Muslim had supported Al-Maunah.

DAP, for instance,  had unreservedly condemned the inhumanity perpetrated by Al-Maunah demanding that the criminals guilty of such inhumanity should face the full wrath of the law.

Or was  Mahathir  referring to other parties and not Al-Maunah when he said that "Some non-Muslims want to play with fire...they are saying they can support this kind of people, and not get hurt"?  Was  he referring to  political parties like PAS, Keadilan and PRM as "this kind of people" and the DAP as the "Some non-Muslims want to play with fire"?

Let Mahathir stop beating about the bush with his irresponsible and seditious statement and spell out clearly and honestly the identity of the various parties he was referring to so that the DAP, PAS, Keadilan and PRM would have the satisfaction of seeking full recompense for the most inflammatory and defamatory statement against them if they were the targets of Mahathir's reference.

During the recent general election, the Barisan Nasional resorted to the politics of fear and falsehoods to frighten and panic the non-Malay voters into believing that there would be a recurrence of May 13 riots and widespread chaos and instability if they did not support the Barisan Nasional.

It would appear that the Barisan Nasional government is now institutionalising such politics of fear and falsehoods, previously used only once in four or five years during general elections, as an integral part of their everyday governance in order to preserve their political hold on the people.

Last month, at the  MCA General Assembly, Mahathir resorted to such "divide and rule" politics of fear when he said that  a non-Malay can one day be the Prime Minister of Malaysia, to raise false hopes among the non-Malays and to instil alarm and fear among the Malays.

The Prime Minister achieved the latter when he spoke to Malaysian students in Cairo a few days after his MCA General Assembly speech warning that  if the Malays stop supporting UMNO, they will become "slaves in their own country" with  the serious and spurious insinuation that the non-Malays would become the "slave-masters".

Mahathir should explain how such a blatant "divide and rule" politics of fear, which will gravely polarise the Malaysian society along ethnic and religious lines, can contribute to Vision 2020 and the concept of a Bangsa Malaysia,  when the country is already  one-third way of the 30-year national goal, or has he abandoned the Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia concept?

Mahathir should stop "play with fire" and  do the honourable thing to withdraw and apologise for his  most irresponsible and seditious insinuation that non-Muslims would be persecuted by the Barisan Alternative and Opposition parties if they do not continue to support the Barisan Nasional and set an exemplary example of leadership for a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman