Liong Sik,  Keng Yaik and Hieng Ding should resign from Cabinet if they cannot convince Mahathir to withdraw and apologise for his 43rd Merdeka Day Message which hurt the feelings of the Malaysian Chinese despite the support for Barisan Nasional in last general election

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik,  Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and SUPP Deputy President, Datuk Law Hieng Ding should resign from the Cabinet if they cannot convince the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to withdraw and apologise for his 43rd Merdeka Day Message which hurt the feelings of the Malaysian Chinese despite their  support for Barisan Nasional in the  last general election.

As Liong Sik, Keng Yaik and Hieng Ding had publicly declared MCA, Gerakan and SUPP endorsement for the 17-point Suqiu demands on August 17, 1999  as "universal principles accepted by all" and Liong Sik had  declared after the post-Cabinet meeting on Sept. 22, 1999 that the Cabinet had "accepted Suqiu  in principle", the three  Barisan Nasional Chinese leaders and senior Ministers owe the nation in general  and the Chinese community in particular  a full explanation as to how the Suqiu Committee  could be equated to the extremist and fanatical Al-Ma’unah movement which brutally tortured and killed two Malaysians after the Grik arms heists and to those of the "communists in the past..for fanning racial sentiments".

As Mahathir had told the Chinese community that he would always have ears from the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Chinese leaders and could even hear them  if they whisper while he would  be hard-of-hearing as far as the Opposition is concerned, Liong Sik, Keng Yaik and Hieng Ding should explain why they had failed their parties and members, the Chinese community and the Malaysian nation in allowing the Prime Minister to be under the mistaken notion that  the Suqiu Committee is a dangerous, communalist and extremist group which could plunge the country into  a racial conflagration like the Al-Maunah extremists and fanatics.

Liong Sik, Keng Yaik and Hieng Ding must declare whether they fully endorse Mahathir’s 43rd Merdeka Day Message likening the Malaysian Chinese Organisations’ Election Appeals Committee (Suqiu) to the Al-Ma’unah movement and to those of the "communists in the past …for fanning racial sentiments".

If they do not agree with Mahathir in his condemnation of the Suqiu Committee, why are they so silent when they should be  publicly speaking up for justice for Suqiu? Or is Suqiu only to be exploited to get votes for the last general elections but to be discarded and even betrayed after the polls?

For a start, Liong Sik, Keng Yaik and Hieng Ding should openly apologise for their gross failure of political leadership and representation in allowing the Prime Minister to believe that Suqiu is a dangerous and extremist Chinese demand as to make such an offensive and outrageous 43rd Merdeka Day message which hurt the Chinese community when they themselves had endorsed it on behalf of their political parties.

They should next convey to Mahathir, whether by whispers, quiet talk or loud proclamations, that Suqiu has the overwhelming support of the Malaysian Chinese and  is not an extremist and chauvinist demand or  challenge to Malay special rights,  that the Prime Minister’s 43rd  Merdeka Day message had deeply hurt the Malaysian Chinese who had been largely responsible for ensuring that the Barisan Nasional was returned to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the last general election, and persuade Mahathir to  apologise and withdraw the 43rd Merdeka Day message or resign from the Cabinet, either as protest or as personal apology for their failure.

Today Utusan Malaysia reported the Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman urging the people to "reject in total  (menolak secara total) the Chinese extremist groups including Suqiu" as their actions can undermine national harmony. Following the example of Mahathir’s 43rd Merdeka Day message, Ghani linked Suqiu with  Al-Ma’unah alleging that both could spark communal issues (mencetuskan isu perkauman), as well as likening it to the communists of yesteryears.

Why have the MCA and Gerakan Johore State Exco members and state leaders allowed  the Johore Mentri Besar to go on a baseless rampage against Suqiu, when they should be discharging their political duty to let Ghani know that his attack on Suqiu is an attack on MCA, Gerakan and SUPP as they had publicly endorsed Suqiu, and that Suqiu has the endorsement of 2,092 Chinese associations and clans in the country and therefore most representative of the Chinese society and not a handful of people?

MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers and leaders should take urgent action to stop  other UMNO leaders from going on a baseless rampage against Suqiu by repeating Mahathir’s outrageous attacks on it as terrorist and communist.

In my 43rd Merdeka Day Message, I had called for the convening of a summit meeting of top political leaders of all political parties to defuse the escalating racial and religious polarisation in the country so that  the nation can  concentrate on the task of sustained economic recovery and propel the country into the information society and knowledge-economy.

As MCA, Gerakan and SUPP have proved that although they are represented in the Barisan Nasional Government and Cabinet, they are totally impotent and  unable to convey the truth of the Suqiu to the Prime Minister, are they in support of an all-party summit of political leaders to resolve this problem once and for all in a manner which best serve the interests of national unity and inter-racial harmony?

Or will they have to get the "greenlight" from UMNO or Mahathir before MCA, Gerakan and SUPP can declare their respective party stand on the DAP proposal for an all-party summit of political leaders to initiate national reconciliation and  restore national unity?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman