DAP calls for moratorium on party politicking of Al-Ma置nah arms heists tragedy and the holding of all-party roundtable conference  to forge greater national unity among the different races and religions instead of being the most divisive issue under Mahathir痴 prime ministership


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday):  A day after his partisan and unbalanced hour-long television interview on Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, has escalated the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings to another pitch of politicking on the occasion of the 2000 Kedah UMNO convention in Alor Star yesterday by alleging that most of the 1,800 members of Al-Ma置nah deviationist group were also PAS members.

He said:
 

Scrutinising Mahathir痴 allegation, I am reminded of previous  mass media reports most frequently timed  during general elections claiming that hundreds of DAP "members and supporters" had quit  party from a branch, when in actual fact, there were at times none, or at most one or two DAP members, in the crowd!

When Mahathir said that most of the 1,800 Al-Ma置nah members are PAS "members or supporters", he should be specific and state clearly how many of them are members as distinct from those who are "supporters" of PAS.  It is unfair to lump "members" and "supporters" together and I would urge Mahathir to set an example of responsibility as the government has not yet deemed Al-Ma置nah dangerous enough to be banned, three weeks after the arms heists.

At a time when the country is waiting for the White Paper on  the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings, it is most improper for Mahathir to be making all sorts of allegations, which can only compromise the credibility of the White Paper.  At the rate certain information are released selectively, and sometimes in the most  tendentious manner,  the White Paper would be completely irrelevant when published. This is the strongest reason why the White Paper should be completed and made public without any more delay.

In alleging that most of the Al-Ma置nah members are PAS members or supporters, Mahathir openly confessed that he was launching a full-scale "politicking" of the Al-Ma置nah tragedy against PAS, although he justified it as an act of self-defence to the alleged provocation from the PAS claim that the arms heists incident was UMNO-staged.

Mahathir will not be able to pinpoint the PAS leaders who had alleged that the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings were UMNO-staged  but everybody now know that Mahathir is leading the UMNO offensive to politicise the issue.

It would be a national disaster if the Al-Ma置nah arms heists tragedy becomes the most divisive issue  in the country in the past two decades.  DAP calls for an immediate moratorium on party politicking of Al-Ma置nah arms heists and the holding of an all-party roundtable conference to  forge greater  national unity among the different races and religions instead of becoming the most divisive issue under Mahathir痴 prime ministership.

Why should UMNO be launching  a nation-wide campaign on Al-Ma置nah arms heists when it should be an all-party, involving both Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative, campaign to strengthen unity and solidarity, both among the Muslims as well as between the Muslims and non-Muslims.

I and other DAP leaders, and I believe other Barisan Alternative leaders as well,  are prepared to take part in all-party campaign to  weld greater inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and solidarity in the aftermath of the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings, as this is a tragedy which transcends party politics and all Malaysian political leaders and parties must come together as one to give it a national and not a partisan response.

The top leadership of the Barisan Alternative parties of DAP, PAS, Keadilan and PRM which met in Petaling Jaya on Monday  reached a consensus on the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings, unreservedly condemning all forms of religious deviationist cults, whether Islam or non-Muslim, which espouse violence to achieve their purported ends as well as the double murder  of police detective Kpl R. Sagadevan and commando Matew ak Medan.

As the Barisan Nasional parties also subscribe to this two-point consensus, it should be the basis for an immediate moratorium on party politicking on the issue and the holding of an all-party roundtable conference to  forge greater  national unity  and solidarity both within and among the different races and religions in the country.

Time is running out for a non-partisan response in the aftermath of the Al-Ma置nah arms heists tragedy as we seem to be heading towards a situation setting the  stage for the full escalation of the politicisation of the issue - turning a problem of how to identify and check violent  religious cults  into a full-blown war of political parties in the political arena, which can do no credit for any political party whether in government or opposition.

(21/7/2000)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman