Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Sibu on Monday, 10th May 2010:
Challenge to SUPP Sibu chief Wong Soon Koh to a public debate on Friday night on his allegation that “A vote for Rocket is a vote for Islamic State”
The SUPP leadership has unveiled its “killer weapon” for the Sibu by-election, with the SUPP Sibu chief and Sarawak 2nd Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh opening the “killer” attack, declaring that a vote for Rocket and DAP/PR candidate Wong Ho Leng is a vote for PAS and an Islamic State.
The SUPP strategists believe that this is a “killer weapon” which could “finish off” the chances of Ho Leng of ever winning the Sibu by-election “Battle of the Century”, frightening off the Chinese and non-Muslim voters in Sibu, when Ho Leng is already the underdog in the by-election, starting off with a 40% to 60% against him.
In the past two days, as a result of the intensive campaigning by the candidate, Ho Leng, and DAP and Pakatan Rakyat leaders, members and supporters throughout the Sibu constituency, we are beginning to narrow the odds.
The sentiments in Sibu are clearly in favour of change because of the triple importance of the Sibu “battle of the century” – for Sibu, Sarawak and Malaysia.
In the past 48 hours, Ho Leng has perceptibly gained ground and I would roughly estimate that odds after two days of campaigning as 44% to 56% still in favour of the BN candidate.
However, this is already causing panic among the SUPP strategists which have unsettled the SUPP by-election strategy, as could be seen by three examples:
Firstly, hamfisted attempt to hijack the DAP/BN campaign of theme, coming up with billboards all over the Sibu constituency since last evening declaring: “Don’t want Change: Want Reform”.
DAP/PR wants change and reform, for it is not possible to have reform without change.
In saying that SUPP wants to have reform without change, the SUPP leadership is taking the people of Sibu, Sarawak and Malaysians as four-year old children and insulting their intelligence.
It is also an open affront of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy where he declared to all Malaysians that “BN is capable of change”.
Now SUPP leadership claims that SUPP is incapable of change although they want reform – “changeless reform”, which deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records as it is unheard of anywhere else in the world.
Secondly, SUPP leaders are resorting to lies and falsehoods, again with Wong Soon Koh setting the lead.
For instance, he accused me of making personal attacks on the SUPP candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew, why a cousin of the late Robert Lau was nominated as if there are no talents in Sibu, and then he launched a personal attack on me as my son Lim Guan Eng is Penang Chief Minister and my daughter-in-law is a State Assemblywoman.
What Wong said is a downright lie, as I had never made any such personal attack on Hui Yew, asking why a cousin of the late Robert Lau had been nominated and asked if Sibu had no talents. I challenge Wong to produce proof that I had made such a personal attack and if he cannot, would he apologise and withdraw his lies?
SUPP leaders have been ranting about not wanting West Malaysian political culture in Sarawak (why then is the Najib and Muhyiddin making frequent visits to Sibu?) and I want to ask the SUPP leadership whether what they are trying to preserve is the politics and culture of lies and falsehoods as exemplified by Wong’s baseless attacks on me.
The third example is the unveiling of the SUPP “killer weapon” meant to be released just 48 hrs before polling, but released prematurely to stop the momentum of growing support for the DAP/PR candidate, Wong Ho Leng.
SUPP strategists believe that their most powerful weapon against the DAP candidate in the Sibu by-election is the “killer attack” of “A vote for Rocket is a vote for Islamic State”.
DAP’s stand that Malaysia is a secular nation, with Islam as the national religion but not an Islamic state, is a constant and abiding principle which we had remained true, constant and consistent in the past 44 years and will be continue to uphold without compromise.
DAP, PKR and PAS have formed the Pakatan Rakyat on a common platform of principles which we have made public build a free, fair, just and prosperous Malaysia based on the fundamental principles declared in the original Merdeka Constitution 1957 and the Cobbold Commission 1963 safeguards which were the basis for the formation of Malaysia with Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore.
It is true that Islamic State remains the objective of PAS. However, the DAP objective that Malaysia is a secular nation, with Islamic as the official religion but not an Islamic state, also remains unchanged.
This means that Islamic State is not the policy of Pakatan Rakyat so long as DAP remains unswerving in our political principles – which is borne out by the record of dedication and consistency of DAP leaders over the decades.
The lie that “A vote for Rocket is a vote for an Islamic state” had effect in the 1999 general elections but does not have a market in Malaysia today, after the March 8 political tsunami in the 2008 general elections.
This is why in the Bukit Gantang by-election in April 2009, 85% of the Chinese voters in Kuala Sepetang voted for the PAS candidate, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin for the Chinese voters have seen through the lie of the falsehood “A vote for Rocket is a vote for an Islamic State”.
Similarly, in the recent Hulu Selangor by-election, 82.5% of the Chinese voters in Rasa voted in support of the PR candidate, despite the RM3 million inducement by the Prime Minister for a new Chinese primary school for they do not believe that a vote for PR is a vote for an Islamic State.
SUPP leaders believe that what is no more credible in Peninsular Malaysia is still saleable in Sibu.
I challenge the SUPP Sibu chief Wong Soon Koh to a public debate on Friday night on his allegation that “A vote for Rocket is a vote for Islamic State”.
This will be an excellent occasion to debunk the SUPP falsehood – but the question is whether Wong Soon Kai would dare to accept the challenge.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor