UMNO and Barisan Nasional should suspend all nation-wide information campaigns giving one-sided explanations  about Al-Ma置nah issue  until publication of White Paper

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Saturday): UMNO is now in full swing in a nation-wide information campaign to "aggressively explain to its members and the people on the Sauk incident to deflect lies spready by PAS". (UMNO information chief Datuk Mustapha Mohamad in Star, 24.7.2000).

Gerakan will use the party痴 State delegates conferences to explain the arms heists in Grik and subsequent events in Sauk to its members (Gerakan deputy president Kerk Choo Ting in New Straits Times today) while Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik said at the Gerakan Perak annual delegates conference on Sunday that the party would  hold seminars, dinners and talks to spread the word to the  people to fight "extremist terrorist groups".

The MCA has also launched a nation-wide campaign to "counter the ill-effects of the deviant Al-Ma置nah movement".

Right-thinking Malaysians are asking as to what the UMNO, MCA and Gerakan are telling the people all over the country about the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings when the White Paper on the incidents are not yet ready. If any nation-wide campaigns are to be launched, they should only come after the full facts are known with  the publication of the  White Paper - unless the White Paper would only repeat  what the UMNO, MCA and Gerakan leaders are now going round the country to tell the people about the Al-Ma置nah incidents which will make a total mockery of credibility, authenticity and integrity of  the White Paper.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should direct UMNO, MCA and Gerakan and all other Barisan Nasional parties  to suspend  their nation-wide information campaigns giving one-sided explanations  on the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings until the publication of the White Paper, so as not to  prejudge its contents and undermine its  credibility.

The Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings and their  blatant politicisation by the Barisan Nasional in the past three weeks, spreading its particular brand of  politics of hatred against the Opposition,  have caused the greatest setback to the cause of national unity in Mahathir痴 20 years as Prime Minister.

It  is a missed opportunity of great national and historic consequence to the process of nation-building  that the Al-Ma置nah atrocities and  murders were not translated into a catalyst to forge greater national unity and solidarity among Malaysians of  different races,  religions and political beliefs and to  send a clear message out to the world that Malaysians are going to be more united instead of being more divided.

Instead, the Al-Ma置nah issue is being handled in a manner which can only sow greater suspicion and aggravate  divisiveness among the multi-faith population of Malaysia as well as in the Muslim community itself.

This unfortunate outcome is the result of the obsession of  the Barisan Nasional in wanting to "play politics" with the Al-Ma置nah issue, refusing to override party interests and respond to the DAP call that political leaders must respond to the issues raised by the Al-Ma置nah arms heists not as UMNO, MCA, MIC, PAS, Keadilan or DAP leaders but as leaders representing all  Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation who cherish security, peace, harmony and tolerance in our multi-racial and multi-religious nation and who are prepared to work in unison for these goals.

Is it too late for Mahathir to end the politicisation of the Al-Ma置nah issue, act with statesmanship to accept the offer of co-operation of the Barisan Alternative to turn the Al-Ma置nah atrocities  and tragedy into a wake-up call for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion and political beliefs to demonstrate their preparedness to  work as one Malaysian team to forge stronger bonds of understanding and solidarity among and within the different communities and religions in the country?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman