(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Suqiu Committee-UMNO Youth Joint Statement last Friday "putting aside" seven of the 83 Election Appeals should be regarded as null and void and of no meaning because of the conflicting and diametrical interpretation by both parties signatory to it.
The clarification by the UMNO Youth chief, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein that the "setting aside" of seven of the 83 Suqiu’s election appeals "carries the meaning of ‘withdraw’" is totally in contradiction to the clarification by the other signatory to the joint statement, the Chairman of Suqiu Committee, Quek Suan Hiang who had clarified the very next day that the term "put aside" does not mean "withdraw", "retract", "drop", "gugur" or "tarik balik".
In reporting Hishammuddin’s clarification today, Malaysiakini quoted the UMNO Youth as saying: "Once and for all, I confirm that the seven points are withdrawn and following the joint statement, these points are not to be questioned at all."
Such totally conflicting interpretation as to whether seven of the 83 Suqiu Election Appeals had been withdrawn has destroyed the very basis and validity of the Suqiu Committee-UMNO Youth Joint Statement.
Gerakan deputy president Datuk Kerk Choo Ting, who had initially given exclusive interviews to the Chinese media about his "invaluable" role as the mediator responsible for bringing Suqiu Committee and UMNO Youth together to reach agreement on the controversial joint statement, should now explain which version he had himself understood it - whether there is clear intent implying the withdrawal of seven of the 83 Election Appeals or otherwise.
In fact, Kerk needs also to explain his actual role and the actual circumstances leading to the Suqiu Committee-UMNO Youth Joint Statement dated 5th January 2000 in view of allegations that the Suqiu Committee was pressured with threats of a racially tense situation prevailing in the country - when there was no such tension despite attempts by certain extremist organisations to try to concoct and escalate ethnic tensions - activities which were given official blessings.
I had said last Saturday that the Suqiu Committee-UMNO Youth Joint Statement
to "put aside" seven of its 83-point election appeals
was a victory for communal political blackmail and a sad day for healthy
democratic development in a new
Malaysia for the following reasons:
The Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin’s reaction to the Suqiu Committee-UMNO Youth Joint Statement was his hope that the stock exchange "would pick up" now that the Suqiu issue had been "resolved".
It was not the Suqiu Appeals, which were first made public in August 1999 before the general elections and which had then received the support of the Barisan Nasional government and even "approval in principle" by the Cabinet, which was responsible for undermining market confidence and economic stability - but the work of extremist, irresponsible and desperate politicians who had tried to escalate ethnic tensions to achieve their selfish and anti-national political agenda.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should ensure that nobody should be allowed to hold national harmony and economic wellbeing to ransom by again resorting to irresponsible and extremist agitations to escalate ethnic tensions which is at present non-existent.