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Khairy should not be a political ultra  and instead try to walk in Tunku’s footsteps to defend democracy, justice and national unity as an up-and-coming UMNO politician in the 21st century


Media Conference Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

(DAP Headquarters
, Monday): UMNO Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin challenged me to a debate in Parliament on whether Tunku Abdul Rahman is Bapa Merdeka.

Firstly, Khairy should not challenge anyone to a debate in Parliament until he has become a MP himself.  Secondly, my stand on Tunku as Bapa Malaysia and Bapa Merdeka had been clear and consistent.

On August 30, 1985, DAP organized a  28th National Day Reception in honour of Tunku as Bapa Malaysia at Dewan Hang Tuah in Malacca, I said:

“This must be the first time that Tunku is being honoured by an Opposition Party. The signal honour is ours.

“The DAP and the Tunku had our differences, but these do not detract from the Tunku’s greatness as Father of Independence, the main spirit behind our Constitution and system of parliamentary democracy, and his contribution to nation building.

“Although Tunku retired as the nation’s first Prime Minister in 1970, his influence and stature as Bapa Malaysia had grown  with each passing year, and he has become a national institution and asset as the father-figure for all Malaysians…

“We thank the Tunku for graciously agreeing to be present today to give us the privilege to honour him for his role as Bapa Malaysia, bringing Independence to the nation, laying the framework of parliamentary democracy, building unity out of Malaysian diversity, and after his retirement from active politics, his continuing influence over the nation’s destiny as the Elder Statesman in Malaysia.

“If our National Day are not just march-pasts, parades, processions and fireworks displays, but used to celebrate the Malaysian national spirit, where all differences are temporarily put aside for all Malaysians to get together to acknowledge their fundamental unity, to respect and honour each other as Malaysians, or as Malaysian national leaders, we could make greater headway in the task of nation building.”

On 18th December 1990, I gave notice to move a condolence  motion in the Penang State Assembly on the demise of Tunku.  To avoid the embarrassment of having to support a DAP motion, the Penang Chief Minister Dr. Koh Tsu Koon suspended standing orders to move an emergency condolence motion.

This is what I said in the Penang State Assembly on 18th December 1990:

“The death of Tunku is the greatest loss to Malaysia since Merdeka, as the late Tunku had been the greatest son of the Malaysian soil.

“The nation-wide sorrow and grief of Malaysians of all races over his death shows the late Tunku’s power to unite Malaysians, even when he is no more.

“The late Tunku’s place in history will be written in gold. He led the country to Independence, earning the title of Bapa Merdeka and Bapa Malaysia, and spearheaded the international campaign against the apartheid policies of South Africa by getting South Africa expelled from the Commonwealth in 1962.

“The late Tunku, however, will be best remembered and most cherished for his humanity and moderation….

“The late Tunku’s 87-year life could be divided into four phases: firstly, before his political involvement; secondly, his political struggle and fight against the British colonialists leading to the achievement of Merdeka and his becoming the first Prime Minister from 1957- 1970; thirdly, his role as Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference immediately after he stepped down as Prime Minister; and fourthly, his re-emergence in Malaysia public life to defend democracy, justice and national unity, particularly in the last decade of his life.”

Khairy should not be a political ultra  and instead try to walk in Tunku’s footsteps to defend democracy, justice and national unity as an up-and-coming UMNO politician in the 21st century.

Instead of fighting “history wars”, Khairy should learn from the moderation, humility and humanity of Tunku to help create a  fair, just, democratic  and prosperous Malaysia for all Malaysians, where there is true accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance and where responsible political leaders do not brandish Malay keris or  Chinese sword to back their demands.

It is reported today that the suspended UMNO Vice President Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad is still carrying out his ministerial duties as Federal Territories Minister although he had been suspended in June for six years as UMNO member for the corruption of money politics in the UMNO party elections last September.

Why is Khairy and UMNO Youth so silent in not demanding that Isa should be sacked or at least suspended as Cabinet Minister  until the outcome of his appeal in UMNO and that his case be referred to the Anti-Corruption Agency and the Attorney-General’s Chambers for prosecution – in line with an all-out war against corruption to create a new culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for  corruption?

Why is Khairy and UMNO Youth so silent about the clampdown on full and proper accountability of the APs scandal to Malaysians, how  a policy to help bumiputras ended up in creating three AP Kings and a handful of UMNOputras?

Why is Khairy and UMNO so silent about the worsening crisis of higher education, and in particular the latest victimization of Malaysian academicians, such as

Professor P Ramasamy of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Azly Rahman and Dr. Mutiara Mohamad of Universiti Utara Malaysia?

Why is Khairy and UMNO Youth so silent about the hanky-panky, intimidation, electoral abuses and even money politics in the upcoming  university student elections turning  the campuses into training grounds for political and electoral corruption in the larger national environment, whether in  political parties or national and state general elections, and is he prepared to join hands with all concerned Malaysians to ensure that the student campus elections in the 17 public universities this year will be free, fair and clean regardless of the outcome?

It is sad and even tragic  if the fastest up-and-coming UMNO politician in the country prefers to be blind, deaf and mute to these and many other  burning issues in the country, failing to give the necessary backing to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to create a clean, incorruptible, accountable, transparent, just, democratic  and united nation  and instead prefer to be very selective and tendentious in his choice of political issues to highlight – like his completely baseless attack and challenge to me on Tunku’s indisputable role as Bapa Malaysia and Bapa Merdeka.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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