Zakariaís assault of Teng in the Selangor Assemblymenís lounge marks the rise of a generation of political gangsters in UMNO caused by panic and desperation that UMNO has lost out the political argument not only in the Malay ground but among all thinking Malaysians

Media statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Penang, Tuesday): The physical assaults of DAP Selangor Assemblyman for Bandar Klang, Teng Chang Khim by the Barisan Nasional Assemblyman for Selat Klang, Datuk Zakaria Mat Derus and his unidentified aide in the Selangor Assemblymenís lounge at the Selangor Assembly yesterday must be condemned by all political leaders, whether government or opposition, and by all Malaysians as completely unacceptable and intolerable behaviour on the part of elected representatives of the people.

In creating notoriety as the first elected representative to commit assault  in the inner sanctum of the Selangor State Assembly, Zakaria has brought shame and dishonour not only to the Selangor State Assembly, UMNO, the Barisan Nasional, but also to the state and people of Selangor as well as the people and nation of Malaysia.

As non-assembly members, including the press, were not allowed into the Assemblymenís lounge,  why was Zakariaís aide allowed into the privacy of the Assemblymenís lounge to assist him in assaulting Teng?  This raises the question whether the physical assaults on Teng by Zakaria and his aide yesterday had the element pre-planning and premeditation.

Zakaria and his aide should be arrested and charged in court for the serious offence of criminal assault of an Assemblyman.  Although Zakaria had later apologised for his assault on Teng, the Penal Code does not provide that an apology is an acceptable or sufficient defence for the commission of a  crime.

Furthermore, how can Zakaria apologise for the assault on Teng committed by his aide?

Up to now, everybody is claiming ignorance of the identity of  Zakariaís aide who punched Teng in the face, as if it is more difficult to establish his identity than the identities of the two hitmen who shot and killed the former Lunas State Assemblyman, Dr. Joe Fernandez in broad daylight in Bukit Mertajam.

If  Zakaria is aware of his responsibilities as an elected representative, he should advise his aide to surrender to the police and own up to the crime of assaulting an Assemblyman.

In bringing disgrace and dishonour to the Selangor State Assembly, the Selangor State and the Malaysian nation, the physical assaults of Teng by Zakaria and his aide is not a matter purely concerning the two Assemblymen which could be "resolved" by one tendering apology and the other accepting it, but concerns the dignity of the Selangor State Assembly and the honour and good name of Selangor and Malaysia.

Severe actions should be instituted against Zakaria, including his suspension as Selangor State Assemblyman and even stripping him of his state title of "Datuk" - as Zakaria has brought dishonour to the Selangor state awards as a "Datuk" gangster.

After four decades of Malaysian nationhood, Zakariaís use of "Cina Babi" against Teng is most deplorable and inexcusable for an elected representative and raised the question of the commitment of the new generation of UMNO elected representatives to the concept of national integration and national unity.

Instead of trying to force the Chinese schools to accept the Vision School concept on the purported objective of promoting national integration, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Education Minister should concentrate on educating UMNO elected representatives, whether at national or state level, to become true Malaysians first.

In fact, the UMNO and Barisan Nasional leadership make an example of Zakaria by sacking expelling him from UMNO for his disgraceful conduct which has brought shame to the nation.

It is however a matter of great concern to all Malaysians as to whether  Zakariaís assault of Teng in the Selangor Assemblymenís lounge marks the rise of a generation of political gangsters in UMNO caused by panic and desperation that UMNO has lost out the political argument not only in the Malay ground but among all thinking Malaysians.

Only last Wednesday, the Barisan Nasional MP for Tampin Shahziman Abu Mansor challenged the PAS MP for Pokok Sena, Mahfuz Omar to a fisticuff outside the House during the emergency parliamentary debate on the police "trigger-happy" firing of tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon, brutality and vandalism against the peaceful crowd at Kesas Highway on November 5, 2000.

In August, UMNO Youth staged an abusive and gangsterish demonstration at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur against Suqiu calling on the Malaysian Chinese to "Balik Tongsan", while the new Selangor Mentri Besar Dr. Mohamad Khir Toyo totally without provocation  issued his "bloodshed" threat about UMNOís preparedness to "make any sacrifice, even bloodshed" to protect Malay special rights.

In March this year, during the Sanggang by-election nomination,  Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob demonstrated his "gangsterish" face when he showed a lewd and indecent gesture at Opposition supporters.

If no severe action is taken against Zakaria for the assaults committed by him and his aide against Teng, as well as the use of the insensitive and insulting term "Cina Babi", it can only mean that Malaysia is heading for a period of very ugly political waters  primarily because of the loss of confidence by UMNO that it could win back political support and  the hearts and minds of Malaysians in general and Malays in particular.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman