Call on Cabinet to uphold justice in the month of Ramadan and to direct RTM to give the DAP and Dong Jiao Zong the right to reply on television to the unfair, tendentious and malicious attacks in the multi-part RTM propaganda feature “Bahaya Cauvinisme” camouflaged as prime-time news
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): This media conference has been called with a triple purpose:
The multi-part Barisan Nasional propaganda feature “Bahaya Cauvinisme” is particularly heinous and dishonest in the unscrupulous manner in which it exploited the visual clips and images to expand its dishonest and tendentious attack on the DAP, firstly in using different visual clips and images for different language presentations and secondly, using visual clips and images unrelated to the text, as for instance, in the manner in which the third segment of the propaganda feature in Chinese language over RTM 6.30 p.m. Mandarin news yesterday used clips to send the message that the DAP had supported PAS in its Islamic State concept, when this was grossly untrue for three reasons:
The second segment of the propaganda feature started by zeroing its attack on the DAP for being “chauvinist” and a threat to national harmony by citing the 24-year case of six DAP Perak State Assemblymen who did not take their oath of allegiance to the Sultan of Perak at the swearing-in ceremony at the first meeting of the Perak State Assembly after the 1978 general election on August 4, 1978.
The segment showed a 1978 press clipping of a one-word newspaper headline quoting the Sultan of Perak describing the action “Derhaka” (Treason).
The segment was most irresponsible, mischievous and seditious in not giving a fair, balanced and proper picture of the incident. The DAP was caught by surprise by the incident, as it was never the DAP party policy that the DAP Perak State Assemblymen need not take the oath of allegiance to the Sultan of Perak on their election and the party fully agreed and accepted the Malay poverb “Dimana bukit dipijak disitu langit dijunjung” (You owe allegiance where you domiciled).
This was why as DAP Secretary-General at the time, I publicly apologized to the Sultan of Perak for the “unintended disrespect” which occurred because of a provision in the Perak State Constitution that a “non-Perak national” need not take such an oath, assuring him that the DAP fully upheld the Malaysian and State Constitutions and that every DAP state assemblyman in Perak owes allegiance to the Head of State of Perak.
The six Perak DAP State Assemblymen also realized their mistake and tendered their apology to the Sultan of Perak and took their oath of allegiance.
By giving a tendentious, selective and distorted account of the incident, the RTM programme was most dishonest, irresponsible and malicious calculated to distort history and demonise the DAP as chauvinist, anti-Malay and anti-Sultan – betraying the RTM charter as a national service to serve all Malaysians and not to pander to the partisan interests of any political grouping..
If the Barisan Nasional and RTM want to warn Malaysians about the dangers of chauvinism, communalism and extremism, are they prepared to show on TV the UMNO Youth Rally of 17th October 1987 which, according to the 1988 Government White Paper “Towards Preserving National Security” on the 1987 Operation Lalang arrests, carried banners with the words “MAY 13 HAS BEGUN” and “SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD”, the August 2000 episode where UMNO Youth leaders demonstrated outside and threatened to burn down the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur because of the 1999 Suqiu election appeals which the Chinese-based Barisan Nasional parties and Cabinet had earlier endorsed or the seditious call by the UMNO Youth Education Bureau chairman, Dr. Adham Baba last Thursday for the closure of Chinese primary schools?
Barisan Nasional leaders and the RTM should explain why they have become so irresponsible as to want to distort history to demonise DAP as “chauvinist”.
They should in particular explain why they have gone as far back 43 years ago to distort history in the first segment by blaming Dong Jiao Zong for the UMNO-MCA political showdown before the 1959 general election, resulting in the capitulation of the then new MCA President, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, who had subsequently no say whatsoever in the nomination of the MCA candidates!
I can quote from the writings by Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman in the 70s and 80s where he described the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as a “Malay ultra” who attacked him “for being fair and impartial” when he was the first Prime Minister. Will RTM blazon on the television channels the words “Mahathir a Malay ultra - Tunku”?
The second segment made the ridiculous accusation that the DAP’s “chauvinism” made the Chinese-based Barisan Nasional parties afraid of losing Chinese votes in elections and therefore less amenable to make policy compromises with UMNO.
I challenge Barisan Nasional leaders to list out the “policy compromisees” which the Chinese-based Barisan Nasional parties dared not accept or agree in the past 36 years because of their fear of losing votes to the DAP – and let the people decide whether these issues have anything to do with “chauvinism”.
The multi-part Barisan Nasional propaganda feature broadcast on public television is a most blatant and flagrant injustice in the holy month of Ramadan, which is recognized by Malaysians regardless of race and religion as an important national event.
Muslim theologians have taught that according to the Quran, the good effects acquired through puasa in the month of Ramadan can be destroyed by five things: the telling of a lie, slander, denouncing someone behind his back, a false oath, and greed or covetousness.
The Barisan Nasional propaganda feature “Bahaya Cauvinisme” represents the height of political slanders in recent times, and for this reason, the Cabinet tomorrow should uphold justice and fair play in the month of Ramadan and direct RTM to give DAP and Dong Jiao Zong the right to reply on public television, by broadcasting our own feature in response.
In the month of Ramadan, the Cabinet should give even greater attention to the dictates of justice, as we are always reminded that Islam is a religion of justice, as laid down by the following injunctions:
We will wait for the Cabinet response to our public call today, and if the Cabinet is not prepared to heed the dictates and injunctions of justice, then we will decide on the next course of action to seek justice in the slanderous and seditious multi-party Barisan Nasional propaganda feature telecast over RTM.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman