Abdullah should explain why police is allowing GPMS to re-escalate racial tensions after repeatedly calling for a halt on the Suqiu controversy

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): News reports that police has given the Federation of Peninsula Malay Students (GPMS) permit to hold the first of its nation-wide mass rallies in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow to protest against the Suqiu Election Appeal and to counter with its 100 Malay Demands have come as a shock to Malaysians.

This is because the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had repeatedly called for a halt to the Suqiu controversy, the last time only last Saturday (December 30) in Muar when he reiterated that all quarters should stop talking about the Suqiu issue as "such comments would not bring any benefit".

When asked whether action would be taken against anyone who continued to harp on the Suqiu issue, Abdullah said:

It is therefore most surprising that there is not only no "cooling off" of the Suqiu controversy, but a "re-heating" by GPMS with the approval of the the police permit for its first protest mass rally in Kuala Terengganu, to be followed in Malacca on Jan. 14 and Penang on Jan. 15.

Abdullah should explain whether his call to "all quarters" to stop "the reckless escalation of racial tension", first made in his speech at the Sixth World Federation of Foochow Associations Convention in Kuala Lumpur on December 17, 2000 still holds.

At that time, Abdullah had referred to GPMSís response to what he described as Suqiuís "belligerence in presenting unreasonable demands" as "infantile and confrontational" and that the "stoking the fire of intolerance and acting  selfishly to the detriment of a strong, peaceful and united Malaysi" is not the way to build a Malaysia for all Malaysians".

He said:

Why then had the police given permits to the GPMS to continue its "infantile and confrontational" responses through a series of nation-wide mass rallies to escalate racial tensions? Or is this outside the powers and control of Abdullah, although he is Home Minister?

Malaysians had thought that the Suqiu controversy had come to a rest, especially as the Suqiu Committee had in two recent statements reiterated that it had respected and never challenged Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution on the special positions of the Malays and natives of  any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

As Abdullah had himself said that  certain elements are "instigating" to "aggravate the situation and cause tension in the country", he should explain why the police had given a permit for the GPMS mass rally in Kuala Terengganu in its  reckless campaign to escalate racial tensions which he had denounced.

If GPMS is allowed to defy Abdullahís repeated call for a halt to the reckless escalation of racial tensions over the Suqiu controversy, his credibility as Home Minister, Deputy Prime Minister as well as the next Prime Minister would be greatly undermined.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman