Liong Sik pledging full support for Abdullah as PM is no news – the news would be  when Abdullah declares full support for Liong Sik as MCA President even after he has become PM

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang,  Monday): In Penang yesterday, the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik pledged full support and co-operation for Datuk Seri  Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister after October when Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad steps down as the fourth Prime Minister after  over 22 years. 

Ling’s pledge of full support for Abdullah as Prime Minister is no news  - the news would be when Abdullah declares full support for Liong Sik as MCA President even after he has become the fifth  Prime Minister of Malaysia. 

It is noteworthy however that Ling has taken some 10 months after the dramatic and tearful scene at the UMNO General Assembly last June leading to a public   16-month power transition plan, to make such a pledge of support to Abdullah as the next  Prime Minister, indicating that  Ling had finally given up whatever hopes he might have nursed of a last-minute change of the transition  plan – such as Mahathir staying on as Prime Minister. 

Speaking at a subscription dinner for  University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR),  Ling said Abdullah was a Malaysian at heart and a leader of great integrity who took seriously the problems faced by all races in this country.   

He said: "Yesterday he resolved the problem faced by the Iban community over the banning of their Bible, Bup Kudus, and today he is with us, the Chinese community and tomorrow he will be meeting the Malay business people."  

Abdullah should be commended for resolving the controversy over the ban on the Iban Bible, although the controversy was solely the creation of Abdullah’s Home Ministry, in taking the ham-fisted, insensitive and undemocratic decision to ban the Iban Bible, which  had been widely used by churches in Sarawak  for the past 15 years since its first edition in 1988.  

Unresolved is the continued ban on Christian publications in  Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, which violate the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion to all Malaysians, underlining the urgency of a revamp of the Home Ministry’s Film Censorship and Publications Control Division to ensure greater sensitivity and respect to fundamental constitutional liberties, in particular  religious freedom, rights and diversity in the country.

What is shocking is that  four months before our 46th National Day and more than 17  years as a full Cabinet Minister, Ling is such an unrepentant practitioner of the Barisan Nasional politics of race that he simply regarded the problems of the Iban Bible, UTAR and the grievances  of the Malay businessmen as the problems of the respective affected communities, when they are all Malaysian problems which must concern every citizen, regardless of community, race or religion. 

Ling is right however that Abdullah has the reputation of “a leader of great integrity” except that  Ling has become the test-case of Abdullah’s image as “Mr. Clean”, in particular over the serious allegations which the MCA Youth leader and Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat, together with numerous police reports which had been lodged by MCA officials from various levels all over the country,  about “black gold” politics in MCA. 

"Black gold" politics can be described as the political SARS virus which at one time afflicted Taiwan, as it is  no ordinary criminality involving a few individuals but a national and systemic curse and threat to society involving  the inter-marriage of  organized crime with corruption to subvert the political system, economic system, the rule of law and social justice. 

Just as we must bring the  Severe Acute Respiratory Pneumonia (SARS) virus under effective check and control, Malaysians must not allow the political SARS virus of “black gold” politics to take root in Malaysia.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Rais Yatim said in Kota Baru on Saturday that UMNO should allow the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to investigate its leaders who are alleged to have been involved in money politics. 

By the same reasoning, MCA should allow the ACA to investigate its leaders who are alleged to be involved in “black gold” politics. 

As Ling has praised Abdullah as “a leader of great integrity”, would the MCA President voluntarily propose to the Acting Prime Minister to turn over the evidence of “black gold” politics in MCA, in particular the identity of two MCA members,  which had been given to him by Ong Tee Kiat last month to the police and ACA to launch full-scale investigations to root out the political SARS of “black gold” politics in the country, as well as into other serious allegations of MCA corruption by the MCA Youth leader -  the sale of  information to foreign businessmen for personal profit and those who have assets worth hundreds of millions of ringgit, which must be from dishonest and ill-gotten means!


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman