Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary—Genera1and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Dinner to raise the political consciousness of the people held at Kuala Kurau, Perak, on Friday, 2nd August 1985 at 8 am
Warning to a thrice—weekly that it would be sued for every defamatory statement or article in its campaign of hate and character—assassination against the DAP leaders.
In my 19 years of political involvement, I had not until recently sued newspapers for defamation. This is not because I had not been a target of character—assassination, but because as a former journalist myself, I am very reluctant to institute legal proceedings against newspapers.
But there is a limit to one’s tolerance and to the extent one could allow oneself to be character—assassinated and defamed, and it is for this reason that in recent weeks I had filed defamatory proceedings against two Chinese newspapers.
One of these Chinese newspapers, a thrice—weekly has now launched a full—scale onslaught against me in apparent vengeance, resorting to lies and falsehoods in its 2nd August 1985 issue.
I was again accused of oppressing the Chinese-educated by expelling them — and people like Yeap Ghim Guan, Fan Yew Teng and even Kong Weng Kok suddenly became Chinese—educated for their purpose!
I was accused of being a menace to the freedom of the press, just because I wanted to clear my name against the highly defamatory statement that I am corrupt, and had sold out my principles and even the interests of the people and nation for a few millions of dollars in return for the out—of—court settlement of the Esso case. It would appear that for this thrice-weekly, freedom of the press means the licence to make defamatory statements while the victims who want to clear their names are threatening freedom of press. It is these irresponsible and unprincipled journalists who are the real threats to freedom of the press by their gross abuses end flagrant disregard of the basic tenets and ethics of journalism.
I do not propose to answer the various lies and falsehoods in the August 2, 1985 article of the thride—weekly which marked the beginning of a systematic attempt to character—assassinate me.
I want to warn this thrice—weekly, and in particular its editor, that they would be sorely mistaken if they think they could blackmail me by their character—assassinations against me to kow—tow to them. I will sue every defamatory statement or article that henceforth appears in the thrice—weekly, and this time, not only against the printer and publisher, but against the editor personally as well.
I have referred the 2nd August 1985 article of this thrice—weekly to my lawyers to look into the question of filing a second defamatory action, or using it to aggravate damages for the first defamatory action.
Before the 1982 general elections, DAP leaders and in particular myself ,had been the subject of a vicious and malicious attack and character—assassination, describing me as virtually a traitor of the Chinese race to the extent that I am riot fit to be a Chinese — ‘do not have the blood of the descendants of Huan Ti’.
I was accused of being a KGB spy and Special Branch agent. I was accused of all sorts of unmentionable crimes and wrongs.
Let me tell the editor of this thric—weekly, if you want to do your worse go ahead. We will see who will have to pay for it!
1n fact, the thrice—weekly concerned in the past many months had been running a campaign against DAP leaders, especially over the Bukit China issue, as it supported the Malacca Chief Minister’ S Bukit China plan, which was rejected by the overwhelming number of Malaysians, especially the Chinese. The thrice—weekly has a malicious axe to grind against DAP leaders and me, but we will wqnt to see whether the law of defamation in Malaysia allows such unfettered defamation.