Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP PJ Headquarters on Thursday, 30th August 1984 at 12.30 pm
Datuk Harris Salleh has no right to issue a third challenge until and unless he had performed his part in two earlier challenges also thrown by him
Today, Datuk Harris Salleh, the Sabah Chief Minister, has taken full-page advertisements in the New Straits Times, Star and Nanyang Siang Pao to issue what he described as ‘his final challenge’ to me, Sdr. Fung Ket Wing (MP for Sandakan) and Sdr. Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (MP for Kepong).
Datuk Harris Salleh should explain why he did not similarly advertise in all the other Chinese papers in Peninsular Malaysia, and in the Bahasa Malaysia newspapers, unless he has no respect for the newspapers using the national language.
Datuk Harris owes me two challenges which he had defaulted. He is like a person who had defaulted on two loan contracts, and is now asking for a ‘final’ third loan contract. Surely, before a person enters into a third contract with another who had defaulted and failed to perform his part of the bargain in two earlier contracts would first demand the performance of the two earlier contracts.
In the first challenge which Datuk Harris had defaulted, I had accepted his challenge to repeat my entire parliamentary speech on July 23 in Sandakan Dewan Masyarakat on August 26 at 10 a.m., the place, date and time of his fixing, and he even suggested that I enter Sabah by the backdoor via Labuan or Sarawak. The entire challenge was conducted and concluded in public on August 4, tiwh the terms clearly spelt out. I made no mention of either Sdr. Fung Ket Wing and Sdr. Dr. Tan Seng Giaw when I told Datuk Harris at the Penang Press Conference on August 1 to name the place, date and time for me to repeat my entire parliamentary speech.
The August 26 Sandakan date was strictly between Datuk Harris and myself, and had nothing to do with Sdr. Fung Ket Wing and Sdr. Dr. Tan Seng Giaw. He might have wanted Sdr. Fung Ket Wing and Sdr. Dr. Tan Seng Giaw but that was a completely different matter. As I told Datuk Harris in my open letter to him dated 23rd August, it is like the conclusion of a contract. He might have thought that he would make $100 million by entering into a contract but after it had been signed, sealed and concluded, he found that he would in fact lose $100 million. There was nothing that he could do about it, except for performance or default.
In this first challenge, Datuk Harris Salleh defaulted, by preventing me from getting to Sandakan on August 27 in denying me entry at Kota Kinabalu.
Datuk Harris Salleh threw a second challenge at me on 24th August when he challenged me to make a direct accusation against him for breaching the Sabah State Constitution by being a director of three companies so that he could have the opportunity to take the matter to the courts.
I accepted his second challenge the very next day, and announced that I would make a direct accusation that he had breached the Sabah State Constitution on August 27 at Sandakan, but again he defaulted by making it impossible for me to get to Sandakan by barring my entry into Sabah at Kota Kinabalu.
Now, Datuk Harris Salleh issues a third ‘final’ challenge. I tell Datuk Harris: Unless you perform your first two challenges which you had defaulted, you have forfeited all rights to issue a third ‘final’ challenge, or any other challenge to any other person, or any matter all the time! This is because he had already proved himself to be a political leader who do not deserve to be taken seriously, as no one in Malaysia or for that matter anywhere in the world had thrown and backed down from two challenges in a short period of 21 days!
I thank Datuk Harris Salleh of pre-paying for our advertised replies. The three advertisements today cost some $18,925. I want Datuk Harris Salleh to explain whether he is paying the advertisement charges (and if we take up his offer of pre-paid advertisement replies it would cost $37,850) or whether the people of Sabah will have to pay for them from Sabah Treasury.
By rejecting Datuk Harris Salleh’s offer of pre-paid advertisement replies, we want to send another message to Datuk Harris Salleh; You should either save public funds or set a good example of not going for ostentatious expenditure!
I notice that in the Datuk Harris Salleh advertisement, he had abandoned all civilities to Sdr. Fung Ket Wing, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw and myself, by refusing to accord to us ‘Yang Berhormat’. The public know that unlike Barisan MPs, we never ask the people to call us as ‘Yang Berhormats’ – in fact, we go out of our way to tell the people to drop such honorifics. But Datuk Harris Salleh’s Advertisement reflects the pettiness of his political thinking. Despite our differences, when I wrote to him in the Open Letter, I still accord to him his honorific of ‘Yang Berhormat’. This is a small but very revealing item.
The Sept. 3 date at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur at 8 p.m. is organised by the DAP for the Sabah Chief Minister to come to listen to my repeating my parliamentary speech of July 23. If he wants to have his third ‘final’ challenge heeded, he should perform his first two challenges by arranging for another new date in Sandakan for both of us to complete the first two challenges.
Abuse and Arrogance of Power: Datuk Kitingan Case
I want to reiterate that my offer to Datuk Harris Salleh to pay for his return fare, even first class, to attend the Sept. 3 date stands. He should come and hear why there is a need for launching a Defend Sabah State Constitution Campaign, as his abuse and arrogance of power is getting out of hand.
The latest instance concerns the so-called ‘resignation’ of the Sabah State Assemblyman for Tambunan, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, formerly Berjaya vice president and Sabah State Minister.
The Sabah State Assembly Speaker, Tan Sri Haji Sunoh Marso, announced on Sunday, August 26, that he had received Datuk Kitingan’s resignation letter after returning from a visit to Indonesia.
It is strange that the Sabah State Assembly Speaker should make such an important announcement on a Sunday, which is a weekend holiday in Sabah.
I met Datuk Kitingan at the Subang International Airport on Tuesday morning, and he told me he had not resigned on his own free will.
Like all other Berjaya candidates, he had signed an undated letter of resignation from the Asssembly which is kept by the Party.
The Courts have decided that such undated signed letters of resignation are illegal, unlawful and of no effect. In September 1981, the Kuching High Court, ruled that it is illegal for a political party to have a ‘contract’ with a member who is an MP or an Assemblyman to resign his seat if he leaves the Party.
The judge, Mr. Justice Haji Wan Mohamed, said such a contract was illegal as it was against public policy, for to recognise such an arrangement would amount to ‘degradation of the august house which is the foundation of democracy in the country.’
In that suit, the former SUPP Member of Parliament for Bau-Lundu, Sinyum anak Mutit, sued the SUPP Chairman, Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui for loss of parliamentary allowances from the date his undated letter of resignation was sent into Parliament when he left the Party, and he was awarded damages of over $41,000.
Datuk Harris Salleh has therefore committed another illegality, knowing fully well that the updated letter of resignation of Datuk Kitingan is unlawful.
Call for the Resignation of Sabah State Assembly Speaker, Tan Sri Haji Sunoh Marso, for acting unlawfully and in bad faith
In Datuk Kitingan’s case, this illegality is compounded by the bad faith of he Sabah State Assembly Speaker, Tan Sri Haji Sunoh Marso.
On August 16, Datuk Kitingan personally handed to the Sabah State Assembly Speaker’s office his letter revoking the updated signed letter of resignation in the hands of Datuk Harris Salleh. The Sabah Speaker, however, disregarded this letter of revocation of August 16, and announced on August 26 on his return from Indonesia that he had already received Datuk Kitingan’s purported letter of resignation.
Tan Sri Haji Sunoh Marso should resign as Sabah State Assembly Speaker, for he had acted in bad faith and in a most scandalous manner bringing the office of Speakership into disrepute! This probably explains his Sunday announcement.
I also call on the Elections Commission to reject the so-called ‘resignation’ letter of Datuk Kitingan, in accordance of the Kuching High Court judgement, holding it unlawful, null and void and of no effect.
Seriously considering entering Sabah via Labuan
Datuk Harris Salleh said I could enter Sabah through Labuan but not Kota Kinabalyu. I have filed legal action challenging the legality and constitutionality of Datuk Harris Salleh’s ban on me from entry into Sabah via the front door of Kota Kinabalu, and this matter of principle awaits court decision.
I am now seriously considering entering Sabah via Labuan as suggested by Datuk Harris Salleh to carry out legitimate political activity in Sabah, and especially to prepare for the forthcoming Sabah State General Elections.
I will make an announcement of my intention on this matter at the Sept. 3 date at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur at 8 pm.
Challenge to Sabah Finance Minister to swear on Quran that he had been misquoted over his Malacca remarks
A day after I was denied entry into Sabah, the Sabah Finance Minister, Datuk Mohammad Noor Mansor, took a special trip to Malacca to launch an attack to me.
He told the press that the Sabah State Government would never allow me to enter Sabah because I was an ‘undesirable element’ and that ‘it would be stupid for any government to allow such people to come into the State and create trouble’. He also said that I was in fact banned from entry to Sabah from all points and that Datuk Harris Salleh had ‘made a mistake’ when the Chief Minister said I could enter Sabah via Labuan.
Now, Datuk Mohammad Noor Mansor complains that he had been ‘misquoted’. I had made a check of the reporters who met the Sabah Finance Minister in a Malacca, and they confirmed that Datuk Mohammad Noor Mansor had in fact made these statements.
Datuk Mohamed Noor Mansor must not think that the newspapers are all like the Daily Express which is Berjaya-controlled, and which could be made to admit misreporting by reporters when it was the Berjaya leaders who had said the wrong things.
I challenge Datuk Mohamed Noor Mansor, as an Muslim, to swear on the Quran that he had never made the statements attributed to him in the press reports.
Datuk Mohamed Noor Mansor’s remarks in Malacca are relevant to my legal action challenging the legality and constitutionality of my ban into Sabah on August 26. I will ask Sdr. Karpal Singh to subpoena Datuk Mohamed Noor Mansor as a witness in my case, and if he denies that he had made the statements attributed to him in Malacca, then the five reporters who were present at the press interview would also be sub-poenaed.
I issue another challenge to Datuk Mohamed Noor Mansor: Was it not true that when he was asked by the reporters in Malacca that the ban non a Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Malaysian Member of Parliament from entering Sabah, which is part of Malaysia, would have adverse international opinion, he said the Sabah State Government did not care for international opinion. He also said he could speak for Datuk Harris Salleh.