Dr. KY Lim's Statment in The Sun on Malaysian Politics Today
Gerakan adviser Dr Lim Keng Yaik
Back to 1974
By: Regina William (Mon, 27 Aug 2007)
PENANG: After 33 years, Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties seem to have forgotten why the coalition was formed in 1974, Gerakan’s national adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said yesterday. He said that these days, every issue was looked at with racial undertones.
"Why did we form Barisan Nasional in 1974? Why did Gerakan join Barisan Nasional?" he asked. "Because [Tun Abdul Razak] at that time said please join us to reduce politicking so that we can carry on with the development of the country. "We have now forgotten that," he told some 500 party members attending the Penang Gerakan annual delegates conference.
The Alliance was formed in 1952, comprising Umno and MCA, and later MIC. It later expanded with the inclusion of other parties, like Gerakan and the People’s Progressive Party, to form the BN. "It is 2007 now, and 33 years after the BN was formed, we have forgotten what Barisan Nasional is.
Even Barisan Nasional parties have forgotten the reason for bringing up Barisan Nasional. "Now it is ‘Lu toh lu, waa toh waa’ (Hokkien for you do your own thing and I do my own thing). "Everything is reflected in racial terms and nobody cares about Malaysian terms, nobody cares about Bangsa Malaysia, either Malays, Chinese, or Indians or others and I think we must come back to basics," Lim said.
"Gerakan must keep to its political ideology and philosophy and we have to hold fast to our non-racial approach, to look after the multi-racial people in this country, that is our political philosophy and ideology.
"We must engage that because the situation in the country, from what I see, is getting worse," he said. "Our stand must be a Bangsa Malaysia stand and not one based on race."
Also present were the party’s 34 central committee members, 287 delegates and 150 observers, including acting party president and Penang chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
Lim said that Gerakan had a role to play to remind BN of its original objectives to reduce racial and religious politicking, and to concentrate on development. "In 1974, we were just starting to develop and we worked together to build the nation and we have come a long way in terms of development. "Now that we have ‘arrived’, we have forgotten our roots and our tendency is more on the differences between the various races and religions," he said.
"However, we are now facing globalisation and if we do not put our hearts and minds together, we are going to be wiped out. "Whatever gains we have made in the last 33 years will be thrown down the drain because we cannot keep up with the competition anymore ... we have to work harder to compete with the rest of the world and not among ourselves," he said. Lim observed that there was no shortage of people who played the race and religious cards, including those who were not politicians.
"If we go (on) like that, we will die standing la," he said. Commenting on Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim’s comment that Malaysia should consider doing away with English common law, Lim said it was not up to Ahmad Fairuz to decide on this.
Any change in the legal system would need to be passed by the legislature. "I don’t care, if he wants to send me to jail. Not much time left for me to be in jail anyway," said Lim, who had the delegates in stitches. To mark the 50th Merdeka, Gerakan has come up with T-shirts with the words "I love Malaysia" and "I love Penang", which were distributed at the conference. Koh called on the government not to make any drastic decision to do away with the English common law, which has been part of Malaysia’s legal system for more than 50 years.
"The government must ensure that the calls for change are not for emotional or political reasons. There is no need to change a system that has worked well," he said. He said improvements could be made to the legal system and to ensure that the judiciary functioned efficiently, without having to resort to changing the system drastically.
Referring to Ahmad Fairuz’s comments at a law seminar organised last week, Koh stressed the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and the rule of law, which have built a good reputation for Malaysia among foreign investors.
"The English common law has worked well and must be maintained and we cannot allow this to be changed to a system which has yet to be tested, as it will damage our integrity and credibility and investors will lose confidence," he said. He said the removal of provisions under Section 5 of the Civil Law Act, which are related to trade and commerce, could affect investments.
Earlier, in his speech, Koh said Malaysians should not let their greatest strength, which is being multi-racial, multicultural and multi-religious, become a liability. He said these features of Malaysian society, including its multi-lingual ability, allowed the people to communicate with 75% of the world’s population. He said Malaysians must take full advantage of this. "If we’re squabbling among ourselves and fail to accept this multi-faceted asset, it can become a liability."
He called on Gerakan members to counter all forms of extremism."We cannot counter racism with racism, or we would be committing the same crime.We have to take a non-racial approach – the Bangsa Malaysia approach."
Lim praises theSun’s Malaysian approach.
PENANG: theSun was singled out at the Penang Gerakan annual delegates conference yesterday for being "Malaysian" in its reports and for not playing on communal sentiments.
Gerakan national adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik was chiding local newspapers for writing on issues with racial undertones. "The Chinese press takes one side and the Malay press takes another side," he said. "Is there any Malaysian press where we can talk as
Malaysians and as Bangsa Malaysia? Is there any?" he asked.
"theSun!" he said to applause from the delegates. Lim, who is energy, water and communications minister, said it would not augur well for the nation if all the newspapers resorted to reporting based on racial sentiments. Pointing at journalists covering the event, he said: "All of you newspapers, I am scolding you, but I think I have the right, after 35 years in politics, to scold you if you are doing the wrong thing.
"We must admit we are a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country. "You cannot play on one race only. If you do that, you are going to burn us all alive and this is the message I give to our Gerakan members."
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