by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 23rd January 1992:
MCA Ministers have misled the Cabinet into believing that the Chinese press had abuses the freedom of the press and ‘played up minor issues to disrupt harmony between the people and Government’
The allegation by the Finance Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, that the Cabinet is concerned about certain Chinese newspapers ‘playing minor issues to disrupt harmony between the people and the Government’ and have abuses the freedom of the press has come as a great shock to all concerned.
The example Anwar Ibrahim had given is over the reporting of the demolition of the Johore Bahru ancient temple wall.
It is clear that the Cabinet had been misled into believing that the Chinese press ‘played up minor issues to disrupt harmony between the people and Government’.
The MCA Ministers must bear the greatest responsibility for misleading the Cabinet on this issue, especially as the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai said in the local press today (Nanyang Siang Pao) that “the best method is internal-external co-operation for the people’s problem, particularly those concerning the Chinese community, to be raised by MCA Ministers in Cabinet and accompanied by support from Chinese community”.
Kim Said that ‘in fact, Cabinet Members particularly MCA Ministers, in deciding ant matter, always based themselves on the rights and interests of the Chinese community’.
Let Kim Sai and other MCA Ministers explain how they had ‘based their actions on the rights and interests misled into the utterly erroneous impression that the Chinese press have abused their freedom of the press in ‘playing up minor issues to disrupt harmony between the people and the Government’?
The four MCA Ministers should apologise to the Chinese press and the Chinese community for allowing the Cabinet to get an utterly wrong impression about the Chinese newspapers, and undertake to correct this wrong impression of the Cabinet at next Wednesday’s meeting.
The four MCA Ministers should ask the Cabinet to give them the authority to issue a clarification after next Wednesday’s meeting that the Cabinet has now realised that it is incorrect and unfair to accuse the Chinese press of abusing its freedom of the press and in ‘playing up minor issues to disrupt harmony between the people and the Government’.
What is most shocking is that the MCA Ministers could ever make such unfounded complaints about the Chinese Press to the Cabinet, when the MCA owns one of the Chinese newspapers itself!