Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP Hqrs in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 10th May 1990 at 12 noon
Lim Kit Siang instructs his lawyer to file defamation suit against Lim Keng Yaik for publicly calling him a liar
I have called this press conference to announce that I have instructed my lawyer, Karpal Singh, to file defamation suit against the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, for publicly calling me a liar.
On May 3, 1990, I had publicly called Keng Yaik ‘an inveterate, compulsive and incorrigible liar” for his lies about the secret DAP-PAS meeting in Jakarta and invited Keng Yaik to sue me for slander and defamation. Keng Yaik has not done so, for his lawyers must have told him the example of the MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, who sued Karpal Singh on Nov. 1, 1982 for calling the then Minister for Works as a “cheat”.
Karpal Singh had on Oct. 15, 1982, accused Datuk Samy Vellu in Parliament for cheating one V. Sangli in buying a piece of land and had dishonestly registered it in his name. Karpal repeated the allegation outside Parliament at the Chinese Assembly Hall n Oct. 25, 1982 when he was challenged by Datuk Samny Vellu to do so.
Two days ago, the Supreme Court upheld a High Court decision to dismiss Datuk Samy Vellu’s libel and slander suit against Karpal Singh for calling him a “cheat” for non-prosecution for eight years.
Keng Yaik’s lawyers must have advised him that if he sued me in court for publicly calling him ‘an inveterate, compulsive and incorrigible liar”, he would lose his case if there is no such secret meeting in Jakarta.
Keng Yaik’s lawyers must have also advised him that his ‘star witness’, the self-proclaimed DAPSY Deputy Chairman, Yusop Mohamed Yusop is not going to help him win his defamation suit, especially as it is clear that Yusop Mohamed Yusop had told even more lies than Keng Yaik.
Two days ago, in Ipoh, Keng Yaik said that he “sincerely and honestly believed” that Yusop Mohamad Yusop’s allegations about the secret DAP-PAS Jakarta meeting was true. (China Press 9.5 p. 4). If this is the case, then Keng Yaik is a ‘foolidh doctor’ for not having thought of the master-stroke, where Yusuf is commissioned to attend the secret meeting in Jakarta, and the expose timed when the DAP and PAS leaders are in Jakarta for the secret talks!
In any event, Keng Yaik’s lawyers must have advised Keng Yaik that however ‘honest or sincere’ his belief about lies does not convert the lies into fact or truth! I had asked Keng Yaik whether he would accept as proof of I produce a Gerakan member who said Keng Yaik is the most corrupt Minister who uses his overseas trips to deposit his corruption money in unnumbered Swiss banks accounts, and I declare that I ‘honestl and sincerely’ believe what this Gerakan member say?
Wouldn’t Keng Yaik sue me if I declare he is the most corrupt Minister on the basis of hearsay?
And if I go round the country repeating what this Gerakan member said, about his being the most corrupt Minister in Malaysia, would Keng Yaik keep quit and just grin, or would he sue me in court for defamation?
Keng Yaik had a wicked motive in concocting and circulating the lies about the secret DAP-PAS meeting in Jakarta, as he wanted to spread the impression that the DAP leaders are dishonest and dishonourable people, who are prepared to have secret meetings with PAS outside the country for some heinous and unspeakable purpose, and thus destroy the image, reputation, credibility of the DAP leaders.
Keng Yaik thought he has concocted a ‘perfect lie’. Just like a ‘perfect murder’ which could not be resolved, so Keng Yaik’s ‘perfect lie’ could not be convincingly rebutted.
I had no choice but to openly and publicly call Keng Yaik ‘an inveterate, compulsive and incorrigible liar’ and invite him to sue me for slander and defamation when he failed to avail himself of two opportunities in 10 days to produce the proof to substantiate his lies.
It was only after I had announced at a press conference in Penang on Tuesday that in next month’s Parliament, I was going to demand an explanation from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, how he could retain a liar in his Cabinet, that Keng Yaik was panicked into action by calling me a liar in his press conference yesterday.
If Keng Yaik is allowed to get away with his Jakarta lies, he would concoct more lies to character-assassinate the DAP and its leaders
In his statement yesterday, Keng Yaik said he had been reluctant, as a matter of principle, to sue any politician on any political issue as defamation suits against politicians or on political issues would only restrict and be oppressive of freedom of speech. Keng Yaik further said that it would become a weapon of the strong against the weak, a weapon against those who do not have the information or the means.
I agree that political issues should be resolved in the political arena, and that there must be the greatest latitude for freedom of speech and expression within the bounds of decency, honesty and gentkemanly conduct.
But what Keng Yaik had said and done on April 22 in telling lies about the so-called DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta have exceeded these bounds of decency, honesty and gentlemanly conduct.
The issue of contention between Keng Yaik and me is not any political issue that can be resolved in the political arena, but his lies about the so-called DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta. The issue, reduced to its simplest terms is: Was there a secret DAP-PAS meeting in Jakarta or not, and was Keng Yaik telling a lie?
If Keng Yaik is allowed to get away with the lies about the DAP-PAS secret meeting in Jakarta, then Keng Yaik and other Barisan Nasional component parties would be encouraged to concoct more lies against the DAP in the future, to character-assassinate the DAP and its leaders. It is the Gerakan and Barisan Nasional which are the strong parties, and the DAP which is the weak, oppressed and aggrieved party, for they control the mass media, in particular radio and television.
Call on Keng Yaik to agree that the defamation suit be dealt with dispatch by lawyers from both sides and with the agreement of the courts, the case be heard within a month or the earliest available court date
Yesterday, after ruminating for a week and repeated pressures that he either apologise or face serious consequences, Keng Yaik called me a liar for calling him “an inveterate, compulsive and incorrigible liar” on May 3. Is Keng Yaik suggesting that he is only an average liar?
Keng Yaik challenged me to sue him now that he has called me a liar. This will be done. The one and only issue is Keng Yaik’slies about the secret DAP-PAS meeting in Jakarta. Let him produce his evidence in court.
If Keng Yaik really places such weight on the bounds of decency, honesty and gentlemanly conduct, then let us fight this legal case with decency, honesty and gentlemanly conduct.
I suggest that Keng Yaik and I agree that my defamation suit would be dealt with dispatch by the lawyers from both sides, and with the agreement of the court, that the case should be heard within a month or at the earliest available court date. This is to ensure that the case is not dragged out for eight years like the Datuk Samy Vellu case against Karpal Singh.
I am asking Karpal Singh to consider suing TV3 and RTM because they have clearly been biased and one-sided against the DAP. They gave the fullest coverage to Keng Yaik’s lies about the secret DAP-PAS meeting in Jakarta on April 22, but ignored the DAP’s denial; again they gave the biggest play to Yusop Mohamed Yusop’s lies on May 2, but gave very short shrift to the DAP’s reply and blacked out my reply and challenge to Keng Yaik at the Chan’s Clansmen Association on May3.
Last night, they again gave big coverage to Keng Yaik’s press conference calling me a liar.