Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP Hqrs on Saturday, 21st March, 1992 at 11.30 am.
Warning to Tan Ghim Hwa to stop being a racist if he wants to be respected as MPPP President by the people.
The new MPPP President, Tan Ghim Hwa, has at last spoken up in public to defend the scandal of the four-minute MPPP full Council meeting which he chaired for the first time on 12th March 1992.
From his self-defence, it was probably most wise that Tan Ghim Hwa had said that ‘he had nothing to say’ at the first MPPP full Council meeting, because in his press conference statement last Wednesday, Tan Ghim Hwa made many statements which had shocked right-thinking persons.
For a start, I want to warn Tan Ghim Hwa to stop being a racist and to stop making racialistic statements if he wants to be respected as a MPPP President by the people, in particular the 600,000 ratepayers on
the Penang Island.
Tan Ghim Hwa accused me of ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’. The Penang Gerakan, of which he is chairman, has instructed Gerakan branches to issue statements attacking me for ‘Bully Good Fear Bad’.
I am shocked that in 1992, at a time when the Prime Minis¬ter, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and
the Barisan Nasional Govern¬ment are talking almost daily about Vision 2020 and a Bangsa Malaysia, there are political leaders like Tan Ghim Hwa, holding the positions of Gerakan National Vice President, Penang Gerakan State Chairman and President of the MPPP, who are so communal and chauvinistic who could make such downright, racist statements, aimed at arousing inter-racial ill-will, hatred and animosity.
For Tan Ghim Hwa was trying to arouse and incite racial animosities and ill-will between the Chinese and Malays when he accused me ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’.
I challenge Tan Ghim Hwa to spell out clearly what he meant by ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’ and ‘Bully Good Fear Bad’.
Is he suggesting that I ‘bully’ him and Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, while I am afraid of Malay leaders in UMNO? Is he also suggesting that all the Chinese leaders that are ‘bullied’, by me are ‘good’ while all the Malay leaders of UMNO whom I ‘fear’ are ‘bad’?
Can Tan Ghim Hwa then explain why these ‘good’ ‘Chinese’ leaders like him and Dr. Koh Tsu Koon want to be subservient, to the ‘bad’ ‘Malay’ leaders of UMNO?
Tan Ghim Hwa’s arguments are self-contradictory, illogical and childish. If these are the only effects
of his statement, it will do no great harm except to expose the maker to public ridicule. Howev¬er, what makes Tan Ghim Hwa’s statement most mischievous, malicious and irresponsible is his attempt to set
one race against another in his ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’ remark.
Tan Ghim Hwa has made a most racist charge, which is also completely baseless.
I have no hesitation in allowing my 25-year political record to be examined as to whether I ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’.
Was it ‘’Bully Chinese Fear Malay’ when I declared in Penang State Assembly that the DAP will not recognise Ibrahim Saad as Deputy Chief Minister?
Was it ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’ when I clearly declared in the Penang State Assembly that the DAP would not recognise Dr. Ibrahim Saad as the Deputy Chief Minister, although, he is even more powerful than the Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon?
Was it ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’ when I criticised and clashed with Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim and other UMMO big guns in Parliament?
Was it ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’ when I spoke up what nobody in Gerakan dared to speak, in the numerous scandals of the country, as for instance in the North-South Highway scandal when theprivatisation award was given to United Engineers Malaysia (UEM), or recently, when I publicly criticised the Lord President, Tun Hamid Omar and even said that I was prepared to consider moving
a motion against him in Parliament next-month?
If Tan Ghim Hwa is right that I ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’, then I would never have been detained twice under the Internal Securi¬ty Act for 35 months!
Let me tell Tan Ghim Hwa that the DAP does not operate on the basis of ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malay’
or ‘Bully Malay Fear Chinese’.
Those who talk and think in terms of ‘Bully Chinese Fear Malays’ are inveterate racists who have never risen above their racist mental groove. The whole country has grown up in the last 35 years since Merdeka in 1957 to become Malaysians, but the mental horizon of Tan Ghim Hwa and his kind have
been frozen in their racist moulds, and had not grown at all in the past three decades.
The DAP does not bully or fear the Chinese, the Malays, the Indians, the Kadazans or the Ibans.
If in my 25 years of political life, I had bullied ‘any¬one’, they are those in power, whether at the Federal, State or Munic¬ipal government level, who had abused their powers and positions, either by disregarding the legitimate rights of the people or by their ‘decadence, impotence and inefficiency’.
These national, state and municipal government leaders would not feel being ‘bullied’ by me if they had not betrayed the confidence and trust of the people.
I want to ask Tan Ghim Hwa why the DAP should ‘Fear Malay’? Is this because the Gerakan ‘Fear Malay’?
I have only one fear in my 25-years of political life that I will fail the trust and confidence that the
people had placed in me.
If there is ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’ in Malaysia, it can only be ‘using’ Gerakan which has 20
per cent Chinese support to ‘control’ the DAP which has 80 per cent Chinese support, and not the other way round.
Tan Ghim Hwa’s crass racialism and chauvinism can also be seen by another accusation which he and
the Penang Gerakan is fond of making against the DAP – the allegation of ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’. In fact, at Wednesday’s press conference Tan Ghim Hwa accused me of ‘disgrace race
Tan Ghim Hwa is Chinese-educated and I am not, but I think I have to give him a lesson on the meaning of ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’.
The Chinese cannot themselves be applying, the ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’ tactics, but refers to another different racial group masterminding the strategy. As Tan Ghim Hwa and the Gerakan had been making this allegation of ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’ against the DAP since its formation in 1966, are they suggesting that UMNO is the different racial group which is applying the ‘Use Chinese to
control Chinese’ tactic?
But if this is the case, why then are the Gerakan leaders serving the UMNO leaders, whether at the Federal, State or Municipal government level throughout the country?
Tan Ghim Hwa and the Penang Gerakan leaders make blind accusations without understanding the real meaning of ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’.
In any event, Tan Ghim Hwa should know that if there is really a ‘Use Chinese to control Chinese’ strategy in Malaysia, then it can only be ‘using’ the Gerakan which has only 20 per cent Chinese support to ‘control’ the DAP which has 80 per cent Chinese support, and not the other way round! I hope in
future Tan Ghim Hwa will understand the meaning of a Chinese term before using it blindly.
Tan Ghim Hwa should thank the DAP as he would never become MPPP President if not for the DAP.
His racist and chauvinistic mentality and psychology may stand him in good stead to make him Gerakan National Vice Chairman and Penang Gerakan Chairman, but they are completely undesirable and must
be abandoned if he wants to be a good MPPP President, respected by the 600,000 ratepayers.
The people of Penang do not want a racist who does not understand the importance of inter-racial harmony and has no qualms in fanning racial ill-will and animosities to be the MPPP President.
Tan Ghim Hwa in fact should thank the DAP instead of making racist attacks against it. He would
never become the MPPP President if not for the DAP. The DAP’s political inroads in Penang in the
1990 general elections created the condition and gave Tan Ghim Hwa the opportunity to become
Even if DAP concedes Tan Ghim Hwa’s contention that the MPPP met for 10 minutes, it is no less scandalous in disposing the many complex problems of 600,000 ratepayers in ten minutes.
Tan Ghim Hwa’s explanation justifying the scandal of the four-minute MPPP full Council meeting
is itself scandalous.
Firstly, Tan Ghim Hwa disputes that the first MPPP Council meeting which he chaired lasted only four minutes, contending that it lasted ten minutes.
The DAP MPPP Monitoring Committee headed by the DAP Assem¬blyman for Paya Terubong, Teoh
Teik Huat, had timed the MPPP full Council meeting – from the beginning to the end of the four-minute scandalous MPPP meeting.
Why did Tan Ghim Hwa or the MPPP take one whole week before disputing the four-minute meeting?
In fact, a MPPP Councillor who had defended the four-minute meeting scandal earlier had conceded
that the MPPP meeting lasted only four minutes. Of course this MPPP Councillor had admitted that he was ‘incapable of great things’ but Tan Ghim Hwa cannot disregard the tacit admission by one of his MPPP Councillors.
As Tan Ghim Hwa is contending until he is red in the face that the MPPP full Council on March 12 lasted 10 minutes, let me state that even if the DAP concedes that it is ten minutes, it does not make the MPPP full Council meeting any less scandalous in disposing of the many comples problems of 600,000 ratepayers in ten minutes.
Secondly, Tan Ghim Hwa claims that the MPPP, under former President Datuk Kamaruzaman Shariff, also conducted meetings which lasted between 10 and 20 minutes.
This is news to me, the DAP and to the 600,000 ratepayers’ on Penang Island. It is no wonder that MPPP, in the words of Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Anwar Ibrahim, became so ‘decadent, impotent and inefficient’.
But what is even more shocking is that Tan Ghim Hwa seemed to have forgotten that this was precisely why he was appointed MPPP President to clean up the triple Municipal ills of ‘decadence, impotence
and inefficiency’. As Tan Ghim Hwa had not even said once publicly that his mission as MPPP
President is to clean up the triple ills of ‘decadence, impotence, and inefficiency’, the DAP MPPP Monitoring Committee has a very important role to constantly remind Tan Ghim Hwa of his special mission!
The culture of ‘the blind, deaf and dumb’ in the Penang Island Municipal Council full meeting
Thirdly, Tan Ghim Hwa said there is no need for any discus¬sion in the full MPPP Council meetings because the MPPP has 17 committees and every committee comprises from eight to ten MPPP Councillors.
This is in fact a confession of the MPPP Councillor being ‘blind, deaf and dumb’. As the MPPP has
24 Councillors, this means that each committee has only one-third of the Councillors and that the
majority of them do not participate in the work of all the 17 committees. Yet, a culture of ‘the blind,
deaf and dumb’ has emerged in the MPPP full Council meeting, where their sole concern seems to be
to complete their meeting at the shortest and quickest possible time!
Fourthly, Tan Ghim Hwa said that it takes ten months to have a baby, and that it is unfair for the DAP
to expect him to come up with a ‘miracle’ in three weeks.
This analogy is in very poor taste and I never asked Tan Ghim Hwa to come up with a ‘miracle’ – given one year or ten years. However, using the same analogy, Tan Ghim Hwa must be reminded that his mission is to clean up the triple Municipal ills of ‘decadence, impotence and inefficiency’. Has Tan Ghim Hwa already been infected after only three weeks by one of the triple ills impotence? If this is the case, then there will be no baby even after Tan Ghim Hwa’s ten months!
It is a terribly lame excuse for Tan Ghim Hwa to justify why he had nothing to say at his first MPPP full Council meeting, show¬ing that he has absolutely no vision, ideas, programme or plan to make Penang
into a city which will be the model not only for Malaysia but for Asia and even the world as a ‘historic city’ and civic and cultural centre which is a pleasant place to work, live and visit.
The 600,000 ratepayers were not expecting Tan Ghim Hwa to produce a 5,000-page blueprint on Penang City for the 21st century, but a statement of his vision and plans for the Penang City and how he proposes to deal with the complex problems of traffic, housing, public transports, security, hygiene, cleanliness and a higher quality of life for Penangites.
For Tan Ghim Hwa to claim that after three weeks, he has nothing to say at the first MPPP full Council meeting because he did not have enough time is just not good enough.
If Tan Ghim Hwa is a total stranger, his failure to have a vision and ideas for Penang city would have been excusable.
If Tan Ghim Hwa is a total stranger to Penang, then what he did at the first MPPP council meeting would be excusable. But Tan Ghim Hwa is no stranger to Penang.
Tan Ghim Hwa is Penang Gerakan Chairman, Penang Senator and formerly State Executive Councillor. It is open secret that Tan Ghim Hwa had been pining to become the MPPP President for years. Yet, he has no vision or ideas for the Penang City at all? What a crying shame!
Kit Siang accepts Ghim Hwa’s challenge to have the Local Government Act amended in Parliament.
Fifthly, Tan Ghim Hwa challenged me to have the Local Gov¬ernment Act amended in Parliament to open all local authorities committee meetings to the public.
I accept his challenge and I will move a private member’s bill in Parliament next month to amend section 23 of the Local Govern¬ment Act. However, can Tan Ghim Hwa publicly undertake that the Gerakan MP’s including the Gerakan Minister, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, will support the DAP in this move in the Dewan Rakyat?
If the Gerakan is not prepared to support the DAP move in Parliament to amend Section 23 of the Local Government Act, what then is the purpose of his challenging me to have the LGA amended in Parliament?
Tan Ghim Hwa seems to think that under the present Section 23 of the Local Government Act, he has no powers to open the meetings of the committees to the public. I advise him to study the Local Government Act more carefully, and to consult the MPPP Secretary, Lakhbir Singh, who is a lawyer, for the MPPP is fully empowered under the Local Government Act to admit members of the public to the meet¬ings of all Committees of the MPPP.
Sixthly, and finally, Tan Ghim Hwa said in yesterday’s press that in the past few weeks, I had been ceaselessly issuing statements attacking him as MPPP President. This is nonsense and shows that Tan Ghim Hwa does not understand what he reads in the newspapers.
I am prepared to send Tan Ghim Hwa all my statements on the MPPP after his appointment as its President, and I am sure he would have to admit that I did not criticise or attack him until the scandal
of the four-minute MPPP full Council meeting on March 12, which was a clear betrayal of the hopes and trust of the 600,000 ratepayers of Penang Island.
Koh Tsu Koon’s defence of Tan Ghim Hwa would be justi¬fiable if he was speaking as a loyal Gerakan member but indefensible as Penang Chief Minister.
I had asked the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to take a stand on the scandal of the four-minute MPPP full Council meeting, and I find his position most disappointing.
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon’s defence of Tan Ghim Hwa would be justi¬fiable if he was speaking as a loyal Gerakan member but totally indefensible as Penang Chief Minister.
Dr. Koh said the brief MPPP full Council meeting reflected the amount of preparation that went before the meeting.
By Dr. Koh’s logic, Tan Ghim Hwa should now aim to better himself and in the next MPPP full Council meeting on March 26, dis¬pose of all business in three minutes. This will show that there had been even more preparation before the meeting than the March 12 meet¬ing.
Would Tan Ghim Hwa set aside the two pensions he is drawing as former State-Exco member and Assemblyman for educational purposes?
As part of his tactics to distract public attention from the scandal of the four minute MPPP full Council meeting, Tan Ghim Hwa accused me of not using my pension as Malacca Assemblyman for educational purposes.
What I do with my pension as former Malacca Assemblyman is my private affair, and it is no business
of Tan Ghim Hwa to inquire or interfere. I have not wanted to talk about it, but since Tan Ghim Hwa has raised the matter, I can state that I started to use my Malacca pension for educational purpose since 1988 when I was detained under the Internal Security Act in Kamunting Detention Centre and I am helping six students, one at university level, one in college, two in secondary schools and two in primary schools with the pension I get as former Malacca Assemblyman.
If Tan Ghim Hwa wants the full details of these six stu¬dents, I am prepared to give them to him, provided he has earned the right to ask for such details.
To earn this right, he must be prepared to set aside his two pensions as former Penang State Executive Councillor and Penang State Assemblyman for educational purposes as well and backdate this to 1986.
Is Tan Ghim Hwa prepared to do this? After all, apart from his income from his accountant firm, he is drawing salaries as MPPP President and Senator, while I have, devoted full time to political work, giving up any legal practice. If Tan Ghim Hwa is prepared to set aside his two pensions for educational purpose, then I am prepared to let him have all the particulars of the six students I am helping and exchange notes with him.
If he wants to keep every cent of his two pensions, then, he has no right to ask what I am doing with my pension as former Malacca Assemblyman.