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Will Tsu Koon and Gerakan wilt under ultimatum by Hishammuddin threatening severance of ties as to dissociate from and penalize Paranjothy and even to apologise to UMNO Youth when Paranjothy’s only fault was to speak the truth?

Media Statement          
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): UMNO Youth leader has issued an ultimatum with the threat of severance of ties to the Acting Gerakan President, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to explain the statement by the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy on Friday that the 30,000 Indians had taken part in the November 25 Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur “to express their frustrations and anger” because the community has been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

Paranjothy blamed UMNO leaders, particularly the UMNO Youth Leader Hishammuddin and Deputy UMNO Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin for racial posturing and inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage – citing against the former the keris-wielding episodes and against the latter his berating of the Indian news vendors when the UMNO presidential address of Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not carried in the press the next day as UMNO general assembly fell on Deepavali, with the next day an annual press holiday.

Paranjothy had described the Indians as “fourth-class citizens” who form the most neglected group in economic terms, as shown by key performance indicators such as tertiary education.

He said: “Where the Indians predominate over their fellow Malaysians is mostly in prison, violent crimes, gangsterism, suicide and social ills. Government policies have failed to improve (their situation).”

Paranjothy also criticized the government’s hard line stance against public demonstrations, hitting out at the government for practising double-standards in the issuance of police permits.

He said: “I have participated in street demonstrations and rallies organised by Barisan Nasional Youth, spearheaded by UMNO Youth, to handover a memorandum... over certain issues that had taken place (abroad) which I believe would not have benefited Malaysia.

“Did BN Youth obtain a permit to hold the rallies or demonstrations? Looks like the government is one-sided when it came to the issuance of permits for public gatherings. BN started this culture of street demonstrations and now others have emulated it.”

In his ultimatum which appeared in today front-page of Mingguan Malaysia, “Kata dua Hishammuddin kepada Gerakan”, Hishammuddin threatened a break of ties by UMNO Youth and Barisan Nasional with Gerakan if Tsu Koon fails to give a reply or his explanation is unsatisfactory.

Mingguan Malaysia reported:

MACHANG 22 Dis. – Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO mendesak Pemangku Presiden Parti Gerakan, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon segera memberi penjelasan berhubung kenyataan Naib Ketua Pemuda parti itu, S. Paranjothy yang mendakwa UMNO adalah salah satu punca mengapa kaum India terpinggir.

Ketuanya, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein menegaskan, sekiranya penjelasan tersebut gagal diberi atau tidak memuaskan, tidak mustahil hubungan Pemuda UMNO serta Barisan Nasional (BN) dengan Parti Gerakan akan putus.

“Buat masa ini kita tidak mengeluarkan sebarang pendirian berbentuk mengutuk dan sebagainya tanpa terlebih dahulu mendapat penjelasan Gerakan kerana bagi BN, apabila timbul isu dari kalangan parti komponen, kita perlu dengar penjelasan.

“Namun ini bukan bermakna Pemuda UMNO beralah. Sekiranya penjelasan tidak memuaskan, kita sanggup putuskan hubungan. Hal ini bukan main-main,” katanya.

At the DAP forum on “ISA arrests of Hindraf 5 – Ops Lalang2 coming?” at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Friday, I had commended Paranjothy for stepping forward to speak the truth although it has taken him one month after the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on Nov. 25 to find his conscience and voice, but it is better late than never.

I had asked when Samy Vellu and the MIC leaders will wake up to the truth and find their conscience and voice.

This question must be widened to Tsu Koon, Gerakan and all other Barisan Nasional component parties and their leaders as the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians as a new underclass is not just a Indian problem but a national problem. But Tsu Koon and Gerakan has a more pressing question to answer - Will Tsu Koon and Gerakan wilt under the ultimatum by Hishammuddin threatening severance of ties as to dissociate from and penalize Paranjothy and even to apologise to UMNO Youth when Paranjothy’s only fault was to speak the truth?


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

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