On the eve of the nomination day for the Sarawak state general elections on Monday, 17th Sept. 2001, after signing the condolence book at the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to express grief and sympathy for the thousands of innocent victims of the heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated by barbaric terrorists who turned hijacked planes and office towers into mass crematoria, I had called for a clean and honest Sarawak state elections where the people of Sarawak can vote in a free and informed manner, without being sullied by the dirty tricks and threats of lies, fear and intimidation - such as trying to use the World Trade Centre horrors to frighten the voters to support the Barisan Nasional.
I had repeated this call at the beginning of the nine-day election campaign, proposing that all political parties and candidates in the Sarawak state general elections should give a solemn undertaking not to resort to irresponsible, immoral and indecent exploitation of the Sept. 11 New York/Washington terrorist mass murders in a despicable campaign of lies and fear just to get votes on polling day on Sept. 27.
Sarawakians and Malaysians must find it shocking and outrageous that these pleas have not only fallen on deaf ears, but that there are top Sarawak Barisan Nasional leaders who could blatantly justify their cynical exploitation of the human catastrophes in New York and Washington and the loss of over five thousand innocent civilian lives for the sole purpose of getting votes on Sept. 27.
New Straits Times (p.6) today, for instance, quoted the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) President, Tan Sri Dr. George Chan as “defending the Barisan Nasional’s decision to use the issue of the terrorist attack in the US to remind the people on the need to preserve peace and harmony in the country”.
It is the height of irresponsibility for George Chan or any Barisan Nasional leader to twist and distort the Sarawak general elections into a contest between those who oppose and condemn the Sept. 11 terrorist mass murders as represented by the Barisan Nasional and those who support and condone the dastardly terrorist acts as represented by the Opposition.
If George Chan is right, that the Sarawak state general elections is a contest between those condemn and those who condone the Sept. 11 US terrorist mass murders, then the import of the Sarawak state general elections will not be just confined to Sarawak state, but will be of international significance as to warrant the close monitoring of the White House, President Bush and the world community, as it will be the first election in the world after the Sept. 11 horrors to gauge popular condemnation or support for such horrendous terrorism.
But this is not what the Sarawak state general elections on Sept. 27 is all about as all political parties in Malaysia condemn without reservation the despicable crimes against humanity perpetrated in New York and Washington on Sept. 11.
Furthermore, George Chan and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional leaders should be aware that foreign investors are now fighting shy of investing in Malaysia for fear that Malaysia has become a hot-bed for Muslim terrorists, a false impression which if not immediately dispelled, would seriously undermine Malaysia’s economic recovery and future.
Only a few days ago, Taiwanese investors who have invested over US$9 billion (RM34.2 billion) in Malaysia since 1986 in a variety of industries such as textiles, electronics, electrical and rubber-based manufacturing, had expressed their jitteriness about their business concerns in the country as a result of the spate of media reports about the recent crackdown on militant activists in the country.
George Chan and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional leaders will be doing Sarawak and Malaysia a great disservice if just to frighten Sarawak voters to support the Barisan Nasional on Sept. 27, they create the completely false international perception that Malaysian political parties and people are divided on the US terrorist mass murders and militant Islamic activities, with the most adverse far-reaching repercussions for the nation as a safe destination for foreign direct investment.
They will not only be character-assassinating the Opposition parties, but also character-assassinating the international image and reputation of Malaysia - when all political parties are united in condemning the US terrorist mass murders and want the perpetrators of such unspeakable crimes to be brought to justice and severely punished.
There can be no defence or justification for any political party or candidate guilty of the irresponsible, immoral and indecent exploitation of the human catastrophes in the United States on Sept. 11 just for votes in the Sarawak state general elections, especially when this will deal an irretrievable blow to Malaysia’s economic recovery efforts by painting the picture that Malaysia has become a dangerous hot-bed for fanatical Islamic terrorists.
Yesterday, the Election Commission secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Omar reminded candidates in the Sarawak state general elections not to resort to “character-assassination” of their opponents as this may lead to their disqualification, even after election victory, as happened in the Likas constituency t in the last Sabah state general elections. Wan Ahmad said candidates should know who their campaign workers were and the “do’s and dont’s” of an election campaign.
George Chan should realise that he is committing multiple character-assassinations in irresponsibly, immorally and indecently exploiting the Sept. 11 US terrorist mass murders in the election campaign, as he would be character-assassinating not only the DAP candidate contesting against him, but all Opposition parties and candidates as well as Malaysia’s international image and reputation as a safe haven for foreign direct investment.
For this reason, I call on George Chan and all Sarawak Barisan Nasional leaders to stop such multilple character-assassinations, halt all irresponsible, immoral and indecent exploitation of the Sept. 11 terrrorist carnage in the US and join in an all-party and all-candidate demonstration to the world that all contesting political parties and candidates in the Sarawak state general elections are united in condemning the Sept. 11 terrorist mass murders in the United States and want the perpetrators to be brought to justice.