Will Gerakan next launch a public poster campaign with  the “8502” number and  the photograph of  the handshake between Mahathir and Fadzil when they appeared together on Wednesday at a forum on Palestine to insinuate that Mahathir had sold out to PAS?

Media Conference Statement 2
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 night, Gerakan retaliated to the DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929” people’s awareness campaign by countering and plastering Penang with a poster of their own - a black-and-white poster of the Kelantan Mentri Besar, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and myself at a public dinner, with the figure “4302” and the words “Yes To PAS” in English and Chinese.   

The Gerakan leaders responsible for this counter-poster campaign are guilty not only of being a copycat but of being a cheap copycat.  There is nothing wrong being a copycat but the Gerakan leaders should at least try to be a creative copycat.  The Gerakan poster of “4302” with the photograph of Nik Aziz and myself at a public dinner  is not only un-creative but downright dishonest. 

The DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929” campaign  is a most honourable, positive and constructive people’s awareness campaign which transcends party politics to mobilise Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, 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 an Islamic state. 

The Gerakan’s “4302” campaign, however, is a most shameful, below-the-belt,  negative and destructive political falsehood campaign, trying to insinuate that DAP and I had betrayed the DAP principles and the people’s rights and interests because of the photograph of Nik Aziz and I appearing at a dinner function together. 

The number “4302” refers to 4th March 2002, when together with the DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, I was in Kota Baharu to attend the “Solidarity with Fong Po Kuan Dinner” at the Kelantan  Chinese Chamber of Commerce Hall organised by the PAS Kota Baharu Division to protest the undemocratic and high-handed six-month suspension of Po Kuan as MP without allowance for  speaking  up in Parliament on the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examinations scandal.  

Was there a single Gerakan leader, division or branch which dared to publicly express solidarity and support  to Po Kuan for being a victim of the undemocratic and high-handed abuse of the Barisan Nasional brute and blind majority in Parliament acting as prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner all in one to penalise Po Kuan, violating the rules of natural justice in not holding an inquiry to allow Po Kuan to defend herself? 

In the recent Ketari by-election in Pahang, the Gerakan also resorted to the dirty trick in the last two days of the by-election by  flooding  the constituency with  four-coloured pamphlets, posters and billboards carrying the hand-shake   photograph of Nik Aziz and myself at the same “Solidarity with Fong Po Kuan” dinner to  mislead the Chinese voters but it failed to have the impact Gerakan desired as the DAP managed to hold the support of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese voters in Ketari. 

If my handshake or meeting with Nik Aziz at a public dinner is political betrayal per se, then Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon  would have committed a catalogue of political betrayals because he had to meet and shake hands with Nik Aziz on even more occasions in the  regular conferences of chief ministers and menteri-menteri besar he had to attend in the past decade. 

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the PAS President, Datuk Fadzil Nor appeared publicly at a forum in Kuala Lumpur  on the  Palestine issue and their handshake photograph were given prominence by all local media, including front-page treatment by the News Straits Times. 

Going by the Gerakan logic, this would be  proof of Mahathir’s political betrayal to PAS.  Is Gerakan going to  next launch a public poster campaign  with the photograph of  the handshake between Mahathir and Fadzil when they appeared together on Wednesday, with the number “8502” on the poster to signify that the event took place on 8th May 2002? 

Of course, Gerakan would not dare to do such a thing for apart from the fear of antagonsing Mahathir,  it would be a downright lie to  insinuate that  Mahathir had committed a  betrayal to PAS just because of his handshake with Fadhil Nor - just as it would be a lie to insinuate that  there had been a betrayal by Tsu Koon to PAS because of his handshake with Nik Aziz at the series of  Conferences of State Chief Ministers and Mentri-menteri Besar or that I had betrayed to PAS just because of my handshake with Nik Aziz at the “Solidarity with Fong Po Kuan” dinner in Kota Baharu. 

In a way, I thank the Gerakan for putting up these  most scurrilous and despicable posters, which could only be conceived by people totally devoid of political scruples or any  sense of decency to exploit the base and worst instincts of human beings.  

It is better that the people of Penang and Malaysia face these despicable and cowardly  character-assassination posters and tactics now than during the general election campaign, to think through the implications of the Gerakan insinuations and character-assassinations in these posters, so that they can speak loud and clear that they do not want such “dirty tricks” which debase Malaysian politics. 

The insinuations of the Gerakan posters, whether “4302” or the one used in the Ketari by-election, are most insulting  to the Malaysian people, the Chinese community, the DAP and myself. 

Firstly, why should the public meeting or handshake of two political leaders from different political parties be regarded as  proof per se of betrayal by one to the other?  

Secondly, why is the Gerakan fostering the belief that if there are such political betrayals, it must be the Chinese leader who betray to the Malay leader, and not the other way round - or is this because the Gerakan is speaking from experience and party knowledge? 

Gerakan leaders should state clearly whether they regard any public meeting or contact with PAS leaders as tantamount to betrayal to PAS, and if so, to state its stand on Mahathir and Fadhil appearing on the same platform on Wednesday.  

DAP has made it very clear through our past records, whether before or  during DAP’s participation in the Barisan Alternative or after our pull-out from Barisan Alternative that our co-operation with PAS is purely on common areas of promoting or restoring justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and does not extend to the issue of Islamic State, where the DAP has maintained a consistent and uncompromising stand since our founding days in 36 years ago in  opposing an Islamic state, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO. 

DAP leaders are proud of the “No to 911, No to 929” campaign and we are prepared to defend it in any public debate.  Are Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Tsu Koon proud of their  “4302” poster campaign and prepared to defend it in any public debate? 

I call on the Gerakan leadership, especially Keng Yaik and Tsu Koon to publicly apologise not only to DAP but also to the people of Penang and Malaysia for such a shameful,  dishonest and  contemptible  “4302” poster campaign as its dishonourable insinuations are founded on sheer falsehoods.  If they are proud of the “4302” poster campaign, DAP leaders challenge and invite them to a series of public debates  on the Gerakan’s  “4302” poster campaign and the DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929” campaign.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman