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Tsu Koon – what a weak and panicky start as Gerakan’s No. 1 in immediately buckling under pressure by UMNO Youth leader to take disciplinary action against Paranjothy who dared to speak publicly what others only muttered privately

Media Conference (2)         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Ipoh, Monday): What a weak and panicky start for Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon as Gerakan’s No. 1 – immediately buckling under pressure by UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to take disciplinary action against the Gerakan Youth vice chief S. Paranjothy who dared to speak publicly what others only muttered privately? – that the 30,000 Indians who took part in the Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 did so to express their frustration and anger because the community had been “marginalized, oppressed and ignored”.

Paranjothy had also blamed, and rightly, 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 as examples the keris-wielding episodes against the former and the public castigation of the Indian news vendors by the latter 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.

There can be no doubt that if a private vote had been taken among the Gerakan leaders, in fact, even MCA and MIC leaders, all would have agreed with the sentiments expressed by Paranjothy!

Hishammuddin had immediately issued an ultimatum to Tsu Koon with the threat of severance of ties with Gerakan not only by UMNO Youth but also by Barisan Nasional unless Tsu Koon could give a satisfactory response and explanation.

What was Tsu Koon reaction? Although he protested that “it is not right” for Hishammuddin to issue the threat and ultimatum of severance of all relationships with Gerakan, Tsu Koon clearly panicked, which was why he complied instantly by referring Paranjothy to the Disciplinary Committee and even anticipated the disciplinary process by saying that the Gerakan Youth vice chief would be suspended or expelled! Nanyang Siang Pau’s headline today is “Gerakan to sack Paranjothy”!

Is Barisan Nasional a coalition of equals of 14 political parties?

Could the Youth leader of Gerakan, MCA, MIC, PPP or any other component party issue a threat or ultimatum to the UMNO President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the manner Hishammuddin had done to Tsu Koon?

Isn’t this itself a breach of Barisan Nasional discipline and what is Tsu Koon doing about it – just swallow it and pretend it has not happened?

Or does George Orwell’s Animal Farm dictum, that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” reign supreme in Barisan Nasional?

Is this why even Khairy as deputy Umno Youth leader could publicly insult and humiliate Tsu Koon as Penang Chief Minister and Gerakan No. 2 last year accusing the Gerakan Penang State Government of “marginalizing” the Malays in Penang, and “facing the same fate of being marginalised as the Malays in Singapore”?

Did the Gerakan leadership issue an ultimatum demanding a satisfactory explanation from the top UMNO leadership over Khairy’s breach of Barisan Nasional discipline with the threat of severance of ties between Gerakan and UMNO?

If Khairy was not guilty of any breach of Barisan Nasional discipline in his open criticism of Tsu Koon, why should Paranjothy’s open criticism of Hishammuddin and Khairy be such gross breach of discipline that Tsu Koon is talking publicly about expulsion? Isn’t this just kowtowing to UMNO Youth?

When the five Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabathirau, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan and T. Vasanthakumar were detained under the Internal Security Act on 13th December 2007, Tsu Koon provided instant support on the same day declaring that the Prime Minister-cum-Internal Security Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, must have compelling reasons to invoke the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

Tsu Koon and the Gerakan leadership also fully supported the infamous Operation Lalang mass arrests under the ISA and the series of assaults on the independence and integrity of the judiciary by the executive in the past 19 years, starting with the 1988 “mother” of judicial crisis with the arbitrary sacking of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President and Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh as Supreme Court judges.

What has happened to Gerakan’s claim as the “conscience” of Barisan Nasional?


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

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