Call to ordinary Gerakan and MCA members to put the interests of the nation and future generations above party politics to join hands for Penang to lead Malaysians in the “No to 911, No to 929 and Yes to 1957” nation-wide campaign

Media Conference Statement 
- launching of the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” People Awareness Campaign in Jelutong parliamentary constituency  
by Lim Kit Siang

(Jelutong,  Saturday)Last week, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, the daughter of the Prime Minister and chairman of the Malaysian AIDs foundation related a story highlighting the abysmal ignorance and low intellectual standards of Malaysian Cabinet Ministers. 

She lamented  that after two decades of the world AIDs epidemic, a Cabinet Minister early this year asked her whether HIV, which causes AIDs, can be spread from an infected person through a mosquito bite.  She remarked that this was one reason why the campaign to educate the public about the AIDs disease has to be an ongoing process. 

Marina should have reported to his father so that the Prime Minister can rid the country of such an “illiterate” Cabinet Minister, but that is another matter. 

Marina’s anecdote makes me wonder whether Cabinet Ministers and Barisan Nasional MPs and leaders, especially those from Gerakan and MCA, suffer from the same fatal ignorance when they attacked the DAP for launching the “No to 911, No to 929” people’s awareness campaign. 

The DAP’s  “No to 911, No to 929” campaign has come under intense attack by the Barisan Nasional leaders,  but none of them can explain why it is wrong for the DAP to launch the  “No to 911, No to 929” campaign. Are they for 911? And why are they for 929?  Can anyone of them give a reasoned and decent answer, without resorting to lies, name-calling and character-assassinations? Are they prepared to have a public debate with the DAP  to let the people judge who is right and who is being unreasonable and irresponsible? 

Gerakan leaders like the Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the Gerakan MP for Jelutong, Lee Kah Choon have attacked the DAP for being responsible for PAS’ four-fold increase from seven to 27 parliamentary seats in the 1999 general election. 

Rational and thinking Malaysians know how ridiculous are such arguments, asserting that the DAP was so powerful in the 1999 general election as to be the major cause of  PAS  retaining the  Kelantan state government, winning  another state government in Terengganu and multiplying  its parliamentary representation four-fold from seven to 27 MPs - when  everybody knows that  DAP suffered one of its  worst electoral debacles in party history , with Karpal Singh and myself both  defeated in both parliamentary and state assembly elections in Penang. 

Even school-children can see the fallacy in these  illogical arguments claming that the DAP was  responsible for PAS’ great success in the last general election when the DAP itself suffered such a  great setback! 

The facts are also not on the side of these ridiculous arguments.  Let us take Terengganu where UMNO lost all the eight parliamentary seats in the state.In five of these seats, the Chinese voters are not more than 2% of the electorate, viz:  Besut 1.86%, Setiu 0.46%, Kuala Nerus 0.61%, Marang 2.07%,  Hulu Terengganu 0.69%.  Of the remaining three seats, Dungun has 5.16% Chinese voters but the 8,118 majority won by PAS is more than the total Chinese electorate; while in Kemaman (9.35%) and in Kuala Terengganu (12.5%), the total Chinese voter turnout were less than the majorities won by PAS. 

The same applies to Kelantan, which had 14 parliamentary seats. Of the 13  parliamentary seats lost by the Barisan Nasional  in Kelantan (Gua Musang was the sole BN  seat won by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah), eight  constituencies  had Chinese voters constituting  less than three per cent of the electorate, viz: Tumpat, Pengkalan Chepa, Rantau Panjang, Kubang Krian, Bachok, Peringat, Pasir Puteh, Jeli,  The remaining five seats were Pasir Mas (5.2%), Tanah Merah (5.7%), Machang (5.2%),  Kuala Krai (7.2%) and Kota Baharu (19%). In the first four seats, the majorities won by PAS (three seats) and Keadilan (one seat) exceeded the total number of Chinese voters in the constituency, while in the Kota Baharu constituency, even if the total number of Chinese voters who turned out to vote during the general election had voted 100% for the BN, it would not have saved the BN from defeat. 

Are the Gerakan and MCA leaders serious when they allege that the DAP is responsible for PAS winning the  Terengganu and Kelantan  state governments and sweeping all the eight parliamentary seats in  Terengganu and 13 parliamentary seats in Kelantan? 

It is because we have these facts to expose the hollowness of the Gerakan and MCA  claims and falsehoods  that DAP is prepared to have a public debate anytime with Gerakan and MCA leaders, who are  trying to distort and even concoct baseless allegations against the DAP. 

I would however like to urge the  Gerakan and MCA leaders not to politicise the issue of the “922 declaration”  as the issues involved in the second great nation-building crisis in Malaysia affecting the political, economic, legal, social, cultural, religious and citizenship rights of the people and future generations are too far-reaching and all-encompassing to be turned  into a political football between political parties. 

I call on the Gerakan and MCA leaders to demonstrate political leadership - to think of the future of the people and the nation and not just to think of their own future and that of their political parties.

I also like  make a call to ordinary Gerakan and MCA members to put the interests of the nation and future generations above party politics to join hands for Penang to lead Malaysians in the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” nation-wide awareness campaign. 

A few days ago, there was the query in the local press  as to why the “No to 911” was not as conspicuous as the “No to 929” in the “No to 911, No to 929” people’s awareness campaign. 

In fact, the full campaign theme was not unfolded on the very first day, as we realise that we need to develop the people awareness campaign step-by-step.  We are now ready to unveil the full theme of the people awareness campaign, which is  “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957”, which is to mobilise the people to save the country from terrorism and extremism  of any form as well as to  preserve the 1957 Merdeka Constitution “social contract” of Malaysia as a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation with  Islam as  the official religion but not as an Islamic state. 

So far, there has only been one person in Gerakan or MCA who dare to stick by his principles and  speak the truth on the “929 declaration” - MCA veteran Lim Kean Siew who openly said that MCA’s endorsement of Malaysia as an Islamic state is a “colossal mistake”. Kean Siew said that he had  been involved in Malaysian politics from before Merdeka, to post-Merdeka until the present day, and Malaysia had always been a secular state and never an Islamic state!  

The former Penang MCA State Chairman also criticised the MCA for attempting to describe Malaysia as a “secular Islamic state”, terming it as “half-male, half-female language” and lambasted the MCA leadership for betraying the party principles and the trust of the membership and the Chinese community.  

Kean Siew had  not said anything new, but he is one in a million who dared to speak the truth -  a real shame to the MCA leadership claiming one million members!  When is there going to be another Kean Siew in MCA or Gerakan?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman