Berita Harian, in a front-page report under the heading “Kit Siang
boleh di kena tindakan undang-undang: Rais”, said:
“Seremban, Jumaat - Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, berkata tindakan undang-undang boleh diambil terhadap Pengerusi DAP, Lim Kit Siang kerana menuduh wartawan Berita Harian tidak layak menjadi warga negara Malaysia.
“Katanyua, tindakan saman malu atau fitnah terhadap Lim boleh diambil kerana mengatakan rakyat negara ini bukan warga negara adalah amat aib dan merosakkan sahsiah atau peribadi orang terbabit.
“Tindakan Lim tidak boleh dibiarkan dan amat aneh seorang pemimpin politik sepertinya mengeluarkan kata-kata menghina orang lain.
“’Barangkali pemimpin DAP itu langsung tidak ada modal perjuangan dalam politik hingga mengambil tindakan melabelkan wartawan,’ katanya kepada pemberita di sini, hari ini.
“Lim, dalam sidang akhbarnya di lobi Parlimen semalam, menuduh wartawan Berita Harian, Munaarfah Abu Bakar, tidak layak menjadi warga negara kerana bertanyakan motif DAP menimbulkan isu kuota kemasukan pelajar ke institusi pengajian tinggi awam (IPTA).
“Dr Rais berkata, isu kuota kemasukan pelajar ke IPTA tidak ada kena-mengena dengan taraf warganegara seseorang.
“Malah, beliau menegaskan, hak kewarganegaraan seseorang tidak boleh dilucutkan jika dia lahir di negara ini dan ibu bapanya adalah rakyat Malaysia.
“Katanya, tindakan pemimpin parti pembangkang mencemuh wartawan itu menyalahi undang-undang berkaitan Fasal 15 Perlembagaan Persekutuan, iaitu kewarganegaraan dengan cara pendaftaran (isteri dan anak warga negara).”
It is most irresponsible on the part of Berita Harian as well as others it had enlisted to support its campaign of villification against me to continue to distort my statement and to ignore my clarification at a media conference yesterday, where I said:
“For the record, I never said that the reporter was not fit to be a Malaysian citizen or implied that her Malaysian citizenship should be removed. What I said was that the reporter was not fit to be a Malaysian if she is unrepentant in asking racially provocative questions on issues which had nothing to do with race.
“In the context of the nation’s plural society and the represssive laws in the country like the infamous Internal Security Act, it is highly irresponsible, insensitive and provocative for any Malaysian reporter to ask whether a Malaysian political leader is trying to ‘create racial tension’ when there is no cause whatsoever.”
It is most deplorable and another example of Berita Harian’s bankruptcy of journalistic ethics that it not only did not carry in full my media conference statement in response to its editorial attack on me, but gave a tendentious heading for a very truncated report, namely: “Kit Siang berdolak dalik” - showing that to the Berita Harian editor, there is no respect or distinction between news and views.
I feel very sorry for Rais that he is prepared to pander to the twisted and distorted views of Berita Harian to allege that I had committed the offence of sedition in questioning any person’s citizenship, which is one of the four entrenched and “sensitive” issues in the Constitution.
I challenge Rais to charge me with sedition to completely remove me from the sphere of elective political office, for anyone found guilty of sedition under this section would automatically be disqualified from holding any elective political office.
Alternatively, Rais could advise and assist Berita Harian to sue me for defamation if he believes in Berita Harian’s distorted version of what transpired when I ticked off the Berita Harian reporter at a media conference at the Parliament lobby on Thursday.
Berita Harian in another editorial “Berita Harian tetap perjuang
hak semua kaum” - an editorial on me for the second consecutive day
- attempts to rebut my advice at the close of my media statement yesterday
where I said:
“So let me tell Berita Harian: Grow up as a Malaysian institution. There is nothing wrong in defending Malay rights. But don’t just defend Malay Rights. Defend the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, as well.”
I am glad the Berita Harian editor has admitted the legitimacy of my advice, although he claims that the Berita Harian had always defended the rights of all Malaysians.
But this Berita Harian claim had been undermined by its second editorial attack on the DAP, alleging that the DAP’s “Save Bukit China” campaign was a communal campaign.
This is another proof that Berita Harian has still to grow from a Malay to a Malaysian perspective - as the “Save Bukit China” campaign was to save a national Malaysian heritage and not a Chinese heritage in Malaysia.
So long as the Berita Harian editor cannot understand or accept this, it has still a long way to go to graduate to become a fully Malaysian institution which does not just defend Malay rights but also the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.
The Berita Harian should not just write editorials about “Berita Harian tetap perjuang hak semua kaum” but should carve it as a mission statement into the consciousness of every Berita Harian editor and reporter so that they could contribute to the nation-building process of creating a Bangsa Malaysia in our beloved country.