“Takkan Melayu Hilang Di Dunia” Gathering at PWTC the most open challenge to Mahathir-Abdullah leadership from inside UMNO since the Razaleigh revolt in 1987

Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Monday): Strong and broadbased protests in the past few days in the form of police reports in various parts of the country by DAP, PAS, Parti Keadilan, PRM, NGOs,  by Malaysians of different races and religions, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, by both gender, against the highly provocative and seditious “10,000-People ‘Takkan Melayu Hilang Di Dunia’ Gathering” posters and banners calling  on all "Malays to unite" using a design  suggestive of an unsheathed  keris in a  sea of blood -  which is most offensive, insensitive, inflammatory, provocative and taboo  in multi-racial Malaysia - has at least had its effects.

The gathering, shifted from the original venue at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampong Baru, Kuala Lumpur to the Merdeka Hall of the UMNO-owned Putra World Trade Centre, had finally to focus on its true theme which was “Takkan UMNO Hilang Di Dunia” camouflaged behind “Takkan Melayu Hilang Di Dunia”.

From the speeches of the speakers at the gathering, which included the former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Ghafar Baba and two Deputy Ministers, Datuk Khalid Yunus (information) and Datuk Sulaiman Mohamad (health) minister, it is clear and obvious that their predominant concern was “Takkan UMNO Hilang Di Dunia” and their perverse and highly mistaken equation of Malay interests and survival with UMNO  interests and survival - just as it would have been equally perverse and highly mistaken to equate Chinese interests and survival with that of MCA or Indian interests and survival with that of MIC.

It is regrettable however that there were insidious attempts to play the racial card at the gathering by blaming other races for UMNO’s decline as invoking the May 13 riots of 1969 and the call on the government to reject totally the 83 Suqiu election appeals.

But the most  powerful  impression of the various speeches at the “Takkan Melayu Hilang Di Dunia” Gathering at PWTC yesterday was that it was   the strongest and most open challenge to the  Mahathir-Abdullah UMNO leadership from inside UMNO since the Team A-Team B split  and the Razaleigh revolt in 1987, as illustrated by the following speeches:

These speeches are not about “Takkan Melayu Hilang Di Dunia” but “Takkan UMNO Hilang Di Dunia” and the need for a change of top  UMNO leadership, in party and Cabinet -  even the need for a new UMNO President and Prime Minister.

Although UMNO future and survival may be under threat, as demonstrated by its loss of majority Malay voter support in the 1999 general elections, Malay interests, future and survival are not under threat as what happened in the last general elections  was not the dilution or loss of Malay political rights and power but their shift of support from  UMNO and Barisan Nasional to the Barisan Alternative.

The gathering yesterday is doubly regrettable for two reasons:

Attempts by UMNO quarters, whether old-guards or young Turks, to address the question “Takkan UMNO Hilang Di Dunia” are internal UMNO matters of no concern to non-UMNO members, but when they involve irresponsible efforts to recommunalise Malaysian politics to rear the ugly spectre of inter-communal suspicion, distrust and hatred through the use of highly sensitive, offensive,  provocative and seditious posters and banners depicting an unsheated kris in a sea of blood, they have transgressed UMNO power struggle to become a threat to inter-communal harmony,  national unity and the economic well-being of the country.

There had been too much irresponsible communal politicking in the 14 months after the 1999 general elections, and the time has come for Cabinet on Wednesday to halt the escalation of the recommunalisation of Malaysian politics.

If the Cabinet on Wednesday is not prepared to take the courageous and noble decision to end all escalation and recommunalisation of politics, and set an example to refocus all energies on nation-building and restoration of national and international confidence in Malaysia as an attractive investment centre, then the speakers at the gathering yesterday were at least right in calling for  a full clean-up of the Cabinet to restore the people’s trust.

The DAP and the Barisan Alternative parties are ever-ready to fully co-operate with UMNO and the Barisan Nasional to end the national spiral down the slippery slope of communalism, corruption, repression and economic decline, and this is why the Barisan Alternative has a standing invitation to the Barisan Nasional for a round-table conference to battle for the soul of Malaysia in the new era - whether Malaysia should move courageously forward as a Bangsa Malaysia treating all national ills and issues of socio-economic justice, human rights and good governance as the equal concern of all Malaysians regardless of race or whether the country should return to the old communal politics of
"divide and rule".

What are the responses of the UMNO and Barisan Nasional Ministers and  leaders?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman