Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 15th April 2009:
How many Ministers in Najib Cabinet are like Muhyiddin and Tee Keat who cannot pass UPSR as they do not know the meaning of “membalas budi”?
What Malaysians want to know is how many Ministers in the 29-strong Najib Cabinet are like Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat who cannot pass UPSR (Ujian Penilian Sekolah Rendah) as they do not know the meaning of “membalas budi”.
Any ordinary Std. 3 or 4 primary school student would know the meaning of “membalas budi” or “mengenang budi” which would have been discussed in their moral education classes and it is inconceivable that a primary school student could pass the UPSR if he or she does not understand the meaning of this term.
It is most shocking therefore that the new Deputy Prime Minister who is also the new Education Minister is so “challenged” as to be unable to properly understand the meaning of this term. Even more shocking, the MCA President who is wont to flaunt his literary skills, also finds it difficult to fully understand this term and its implications which any primary student should know.
To avoid being accused of distorting what he said or taking his words out of context, let me reproduce the New Straits Times report of what Muhyiddin said yesterday:
Muhyiddin is defending the indefensible as anyone who reads his Mingguan Malaysia interview can only draw one conclusion, that the Chinese press had given a fair and accurate translation of what Muhyiddin actually said, and that Muhyiddin’s denial that he had not described the Chinese as “ungrateful” cannot be supported by any independent or fair-minded person.
This is why I find the endorsement given by the MCA President stating that “there is nothing wrong” with Muhyiddin’s Mingguan Malaysia interview most unbelievable.
In defending his position, Tee Keat said that to “uphold the spirit of democracy, we should respect differing views, even if we cannot concur with.”
He said: “The Deputy Prime Minister can voice his views on the results of the Bukit Gantang by-election, and so can I.
“I see nothing wrong for him to express his observations and views.”
Tee Keat is deliberately avoiding the real issue – which is not about Muhyiddin’s views, however perverse and retrogressive about the results of the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections, but Muhyiddin’s statement “I have spoken to Tee Keat and he said there was nothing wrong with my statement".
As Tee Keat did not deny that he had made such a statement as claimed by Muhyiddin, we can take it that Muhyiddin was telling the truth.
Can Tee Keat explain why as MCA President, he had told Muhyiddin that “there was nothing wrong” with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mingguan Malaysia interview criticising the Chinese for being “ungrateful” and “unappreciative” in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections?
If there is total silence on this issue after the first Najib Cabinet meeting, then Malaysians are entitled to wonder whether they have a Cabinet of 29 Ministers who have problems like Muhyiddin and Tee Keat in passing the UPSR!
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor