Part II of Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Ceramah at Penang Chinese Town Hall on Saturday, 16th June 1990 at 9 p.m.
Five-day ultimatum to Ooi Ean Kwong to categorically deny Lim Keng Yaik’s version of the secret ‘Kamunting talks’, failing which I will be at liberty to disclose the true facts of the secret ‘Kamunting talks’.
Last Monday, 11th June, 1990, was a day of shame for the Penang Legislative Assembly. For the first time in its history, the Penang Assembly was crawling with police personnel, not only in the precincts of the Assembly, but inside the inner sanctum of the Assembly as well.
The Police were called, not to protect the State Assemblymen from riotous crowds outside so that the elected representatives of the people could discharge their duties to debate the issues close to the heart of the people, but to prevent State Assemblymen inside from voicing the concerns of the people.
Monday was indeed a day of shame for the Penang State Assembly, brought about by the utterly inept, incompetent and biased manner in which the Penang Assembly Speaker, Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong, conducted the Assembly proceedings.
Ooi Ean Kwong had violated the sanctity of the Penang State Assembly by summoning the Police
When a Speaker has to rely on the police to command the respect of the State Assemblymen and to enable him to conduct Assembly proceedings, then he has failed completely as a Speaker, and if he has any self-respect, honour and concern for the dignity and standing of the State Assembly, he would have resigned as Speaker.
After the Penang State Assembly uproar last Monday, there was a deliberate attempt to distort what happened to present the DAP Assemblymen in the worst possible light.
For instance, the picture was presented that I left the Chamber because the Georgetown OCPD was called into the State Assembly. In actual fact, I made it clear that I would willingly and voluntarily leave the Chamber when a motion to suspend me had been properly voted upon, and I had stood up to collect my papers on my desk to leave when the Georgetown OCPD came into the Assembly Chamber.
There was no need whatsoever for the Penang Assembly to summon the Police to the Penang State Assembly, and worse, to enter the inner sanctum of the Penang Assembly.
By doing so, the Penang Assembly Speaker, Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong, had violated the sanctity of the Penang Assembly, for it he had understood the tradition of parliamentary immunity and independence, he would not have lightly summoned the Police to the Assembly, and least of all, to enter the inner sanctum of the State Assembly.
The Speaker was the root cause of the Penang Assembly uproar last Monday
The Penang Speaker, Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong, himself was the root cause of the Penang Assembly uproar last Monday.
For the first time in his four-year tenure as Penang Speaker, he arbitrarily rejected questions for the Assembly, and threw out Opposition motions after having accepted them in the first place.
Before the State Assembly started on question time last Monday, I rose to ask the Speaker the reason for rejecting my question asking for the criteria used by the State Executive Council for recommending the appointment of State Senators.
This was a valid question, but Ooi Ean Kwong rejected it for no good reason, except for the fear that the whole question of the appointment of the son if the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Chien Aun, would be re-opened.
Apart from claiming that his powers as Speaker to reject the question was final, Ooi Ean Kwong could not give any reason at all!
Ean Kwong abused the Speaker’s powers in trying to protect Keng Yaik from criticism
What was worse, Ooi Ean Kwong sought to protect the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, from being criticized in the Penang State Assembly.
I had occasion to draw the attention of the Penang Assemblymen last Monday that they should not follow the bad example of Keng Yaik, who could be a liar without shame.
To call a person a liar is not using an unparliamentary term, if one is prepared to be referred to the Committee of Privileges to establish his allegation. I made it clear in the Penang Assembly that I was prepared to be referred to the Committee of Privileges to prove my allegation.
Instead, Ooi Ean Kwong decided to force a showdown over my calling Keng Yaik a liar. I said in the Penang Assembly that I was not going to withdraw my statement that Keng Yaik was a liar, as I was prepared to go to court to defend my statement, and that I was going to repeat the same statement in Parliament.
And this was what I did in Parliament, in the presence of Keng Yaik, the next day. All that Keng Yaik could do was to protest that I had violated the Standing Orders on the ground that I had a ‘pecuniary interest’ in the matter, as I had instituted a legal suit against Keng Yaik. This caused me to remark that Keng Yaik was admitting that he would lose the legal suit I had instituted, for I would not have any ‘pecuniary interest’ in the matter unless he had to compensate me for damages to my reputation in the suit I had instituted against him!
Ooi Ean Kwong’s abuse of his powers to suspend me was particularly blatant as it is clear that he had been instructed by the Gerakan leadership, including my good friend Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to suspend me from the Assembly should I call Keng Yaik a liar.
Keng Yaik’s new lies about the secret Kamunting talks
They had expected me to raise Keng Yaik’s lies about the DAP-PAS secret talks in Jakarta. But I never mentioned a word about Keng Yaik’s lies about the secret DAP-PAS Jakarta talks.
I told the Penang Assembly that I was calling Keng Yaik a liar because of his new lies about the secret Kamunting talks, which involved the Penang Speaker, Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong, himself.
A few minutes before I entered the Penang Assembly last Monday morning, my attention was drawn to a China Press report of a statement by Keng Yaik in Kuala Lumpur that when I was detained in Kamunting during the Operation Lalang under the Internal Security Act, the Gerakan President sent Ooi Ean Kwong to visit me to ‘ask me whether I needed Gerakan help to secure my release, and to advise me not to waste my time in the Opposition and to join the Barisan Nasional.’
What Keng Yaik said were downright lies. Ean Kwong did visit me when I was in Kamunting Detention Centre, but he never asked me whether I needed Gerakan help to secure my release, or advised me not to waste my time in the Opposition and to join the Barisan Nasional.
In fact, when I asked Ean Kwong in the Assembly last Monday to openly confirm or deny Keng Yaik’s version of the Kamunting talks, I remarked that if Ean Kwong had dared to come to Kamunting when I was in detention to suggest that I betray the DAP and join the Barisan Nasional, I would have thrown Ean Kwong our of Kamunting.
Ean Kwong dared not confirm Keng Yaik’s version of the Kamunting talks between both of us, because he knew it was a pack of lies on Keng Yaik’s part.
I had never said in any speech or public statement that Ooi Ean Kwong had visited me in Kamunting, let alone made any reference to our Kamunting talks.
Now that the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, had told complete lies about the Kamunting talks between Ean Kwong and me, I am giving Ean Kwong a five-day ultimatum to deny Keng Yaik;s version.
I have no intention to reveal the nature and contents of the Kamunting talks, for I always respect confidentially in private talks.
During my interrogation under Operation Lalang, the Special Branch wanted information about Kit Siang-Liong Sik talks in 1987
This was why up to now, I had refused to divulge the nature of my private meeting with the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, in 1987, even though during my interrogation when I was detained during Operation Lalang under the ISA, the Special Branch interrogators were pressing me to disclose the details of our talks.
I flatly refused, although I was given to understand that this would be highly detrimental to my interest, meaning that I would serve a long detention if I refused to talk about my meeting with Liong Sik.i made it clear that I had reached a gentlemen’s agreement with Liong Sik not to divulge our talks to a third party, and that the Special Branch would have to get the consent from Liong Sik before I am prepared to tell them about our meeting.
In the case of the Kamunting talks, it is the Gerakan President who has claimed that he sent Ooi Ean Kwong to visit me, giving a completely false and untrue version of the Kamunting talks.
If Ooi Ean Kwong is not prepared to openly deny the version of the Kamunting talks given by Keng Yaik last week, then on the expiry of my five-day ultimatum, I would regard myself as absolved from any responsibility to keep the Kamunting talks confidential, and be at liberty to disclose the true facts about the Kamunting talks.
I will not apply to the Penang Assembly to take my rightful seat, which is the constitutional right of the voters of Kampong Kolam
Ooi Ean Kwong has said that I have to apply to the State Assembly to take my place in the State Assembly. It is not the Gerakan, MCA and UMNO Assemblymen who voted me into the Penang State Assembly, but the voters of Kampong Kolam.
In abusing their majority position to extend my suspension into an indefinite one until the next general elections, the Gerakan, MCA and UMNO Assemblymen have denied the voters of Kampong Kolam a representative in the State Assembly.
I will leave it to the voters of Kampong Kolam, as well as the voters of Penang, to decide in the next general elections whether such gross abuse of powers by the Gerakan, MCA and UMNO Assemblymen should be condemned and repudiated, or whether it should be approved, in the next general elections.
I will be very happy to leave it to the voters of Penang to pass judgment in the next general elections.
As far as I am concerned, the Gerakan, MCA and UMNO Assemblymen have no right to deny me my rightful place in the Penang Assembly. As the motion which suspends me does not specify the period, it can only mean for the last Assembly sitting – and cannot be corrupted to mean an indefinite suspension until the next general elections.
By denying me my rightful place in the Penang Assembly, the Gerakan, MCA and UMNO Assemblymen are denying the people of Kampong Kolam their constitutional right to be represented in the Penang State Assembly.
If the general elections are not held in the near future, and there is another Penang State Assembly meeting, I will insist on my right to take my seat in the Penang State Assembly. I will like to see whether Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong will again turn the Penang Assembly into a police cantonment, with police crawling all over the Assembly precincts and the inner sanctum of the Assembly chamber, to deny me the right to take my place in the Assembly, as decided by the people of Kampong Kolam.