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Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the Penang DAP Chinese New Year Open House at Penang Chinese Town Hall, Penang on Wednesday, 17th February 2010: 


How can Tsu Koon be a credible Minister in charge of Najib’s 1Malaysia GTP when he dare not speak out against the vicious Umno campaign through Utusan and other Umno-controlled media baselessly attacking Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?

This Chinese New Year is a most unusual Chinese New Year.

As I have pointed out, probably in no other Chinese New Year since Merdeka has there been such a blizzard of conversational topics and talking points, from the two missing jet engines disappearing all the way to Uruguay; a multi-billion ringgit submarine that cannot dive; the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal still awaiting the prosecution of “big fishes”; Friday’s continued inquest into the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock and the question every Malaysian is asking, “who killed the DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock who went willingly to Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters on July 15, 2009 and came out as a corpse the next day” and the continued trial and tribulations of Anwar Ibrahim – with the Court of Appeal decision this afternoon on DAP National Chairman and Anwar’s defence lead counsel Karpal Singh’s application to review its judgment and to strike off the Sodomy2 charges against Anwar and the decision tomorrow of the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah to recuse himself from hearing the Anwar Sodomy 2 trial for bias.

I will not be at the Court of Appeal decision at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya this afternoon but will be in the Kuala Lumpur High Court tomorrow.

But there is another reason why this year’s Chinese New Year is the most unusual in the nation’s history since Merdeka 53 years ago – the manner the Prime Minister’s Chinese New Year Message is openly undermined and torn to pieces by his own Ministers and political machinery.

In his Chinese New Year message, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak hoped all Malaysians would look ahead with greater optimism and resolve to build a stronger and more dynamic 1Malaysia.

But what happened just before and even during the Chinese New Year is the very opposite of Najib’s Chinese New Year message, for the people of Penang and Malaysia are witnessing a most irresponsible and vicious campaign to play the racial and religious card to create division, discord and disunity in multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia – which goes against everything advocated by Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept.

How can Najib’s 1Malaysia slogn and concept to create a united Malaysian nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first and by race, religion or region second have any credibility when Umno has been unleashing a vicious campaign to play the race and religion card aimed at falsely painting the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?

How can the Gerakan President and the KPI Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon be a credible Minister in charge of Najib’s 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) when he dare not speak out against the vicious Umno campaign through Utusan and other Umno-controlled media baselessly attacking Penang Chief Minister as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?

Penangites and Malaysians are reminded of Tsu Koon’s ignominous period as Penang Chief Minister, especially in September 2006, when he was publicly humiliated by Penang Umno leaders in the presence of the then Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah and he dared not emit even a protest.

After the political tsunami of March 8, 2008, Gerakan and MCA leaders said that they have learnt the lesson of their electoral debacle in the 12th general election and would no more be “dumb and deaf” and would speak up courageously for what is right and just.

But clearly, Tsu Koon has not changed, or as the Minister entrusted with the 1Malaysia GTP campaign, he should be the first to speak out publicly against the irresponsible and vicious campaign by Umno’s Utusan Malaysia and other Umno media to falsely accuse the Penang Pakatan Rakyat government and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as anti-Malay and anti-Islam.

Tsu Koon was in Penang during the Chinese New Year and he did make criticisms, but against Guan Eng and not against Utusan Malaysia and other Umno agents in their irresponsible and vicious campaign to play the race and religious card against the Penang Pakatan Rakyat state government and Guan Eng – violating all precepts of Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept.

I am not surprised to read in some of the more independent-minded pro-Umno blogs great disillusionment with the present set-up in the Barisan Nasional and calling for fundamental shake-up.

For instance, one pro-Umno blogger, who have no kind thoughts for BN Ministers whether MCA, Gerakan or Umno, wrote this blog on Chinese New Year Day:

“The Prime Minister appears to have become a one man show who is running the country all by himself. This does not seem to be by choice but necessity because the rest of the Cabinet is just not there. And sometimes when they speak, it becomes obvious it is better they do not speak.

“The PM can fire anyone from the Cabinet and nothing will happen to him, his Government, his party or the BN. This is a really rare alignment of the stars which is presenting itself to Dato Najib.

Lets look at it case by case. Lets say the PM drops the MCA Ministers. What will happen? Will the MCA leave the BN? If they do, then what? …If the MCA remains in the BN, does it bring back the Chinese vote? Nope. If they leave the BN will it get the Chinese vote? Nope. Or maybe it will. So whats the big deal with the MCA, yo?

“What about the Gerakan Ministers? Who? What animal on the almanac is that? We must have Chinese Ministers in the Cabinet but they need not be from the MCA or the Gerakan.

“Lets look at the MIC. Does the MIC represent the Indians? Well there are Indians in the MIC. If the MIC Ministers are dropped, it may even bring back the Indian vote. We must still have Indian Ministers but it need not be from the MIC or the PPP.

“Now lets look at the UMNO Ministers. If the PM drops a dozen of them, what will happen? Nothing. The party will not split. In fact, hearing all the comments coming out of UMNO and Perkasa, it is better for the PM to drop a dozen UMNO Ministers from the Cabinet than to keep them. It will certainly strengthen UMNO.”

Let me advise Tsu Koon that if he is to lose his Ministership, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, do it with honour and principles rather than without honour or principles.

Let him take a stand against the race and religious card played by Utusan and other Umno political operatives especially as it goes against the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme entrusted to him by Najib.

DAP and Pakatan Rakyat are determined to make the next general election, the 13th general election, a historic one for Malaysia.

We want Pakatan Rakyat to be in power not only in Penang and the various state government level, but most important of all, at the Federal Government to unseat Umno and Barisan Nasional from Putrajajaya.

We admit that Pakatan Rakyat is undergoing internal problems but a shake-out in the Pakatan Rakyat will be to the good if it leads to a more disciplined, cohesive and committed political movement for change for the people and country after more than half a century of Umno monopoly of power in the Barisan Nasional.

For this reason, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat cannot be anti-Malay and anti-Islam, just as we cannot be anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Iban, anti-Kadazan, anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu or anti-Sikh.

If we are anti-anything, we are anti-Umnoputras, anti-corruption, anti-injustice, anti-racialism and anti-religious fanaticism.

Bottom line, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat are for Malaysians and all the races and religions which can make Malaysia a great nation again from our pluralism and diversity.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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