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Bila Mahathir Melawat Kg Medan?
By Lim Kit Siang

2/4/2001 8:48 pm Mon

[Mahathir akhirnya 'melawat' Kg Medan tetapi ia dilakukan secara 'mengejut' selepas 3 minggu memijak kaki ditempat lain yang lebih mulia. Inilah layanan seorang pemimpin yang sering digembar-gembur sebagai 'berjiwa rakyat' oleh media perdana.

Malangnya Mahathir 'melawat' ke situ untuk menyerang pembangkang pula sedangkan Umno lah yang berkuasa di situ sejak dulu. Malah beliau sendiri yang asyik menabur isu perkauman selama ini. Lebih-lebih lagi beliau menyeru orang melayu 'Fight As One' sebelum tragedi itu. Dan serpihan dalam partinya juga melancarkan kempen 'takkan melayu hilang di dunia' juga sebelum itu.

Sebenarnya Mahathir tidak melawat Kg Medan. Dia cuma 'melawat' sahaja - jika tidak dia akan dimalukan oleh penduduk di kampung itu. Mahathir memang melawat di Kg Sg Mulia Gombak kerana dia sakan berbelanja untuk itu sehingga tiga kali gong dipalu dan pasukan paracut turut terjun ke situ. Dia tidak akan memukul gong di Kg Medan kerana mungkin nanti banyak telur tembelang akan berterbangan.

Kini kita tertanya-tanya apakah Mahathir akan ke Beserah pula? Jangan lupa bomoh di Pahang hebat-hebat juga - termasuk seorang yang kini masih di penjara lantaran memenggal kepala...... Mungkin Mahathir perlu ke Batu Talam semula untuk mencari baki sakti yang ada. - Editor]

Media Statement by DAP National Chairman Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 30th March 2001:

Mahathir should ask for Khalil's resignation as Information Minister and UMNO Secretary-General until he is cleared of any abuse of power as Pahang Mentri Besar as a result of Fauzi's police report


The press cannot be more right to describe the visit of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mohamad to Kampung Medan yesterday as a "surprise visit" - not only because it was unannounced but that it took place three weeks after the eruption of the worst clashes in the country in the past 32 years in the squatter settlements at Jalan Klang Lama.

Mahathir's visit to Kampung Medan is the latest in a growing list of the Barisan Nasional government's "too little, too late" response to the teeming and acute national woes in the country which does not augur well for Malaysia.

I find it very sad that the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi only visited the troubled settlements at Jalan Klang Lama after I had issued a statement on March 10, 2001 urging him to "urgently visit, preferably by tonight, the still very volatile and explosive clash scenes off Jalan Klang Lama in Petaling Jaya to restore calm, peace and security for everyone". Abdullah made his first visit the following evening.

I had told Abdullah "to go personally to the clash scenes to end the ongoing clashes in the troubled housing settlements despite the heavy police presence in the area" and "to lead a Cabinet task force to Kampung Lindungan, Taman Lindungan Jaya, Kampong Gandhi, Kampung Datuk Harun and the other troubled housing settlements to end the incidents and clashes, set up goodwill committees and actively restore inter-racial peace and understanding - which cannot be achieved by mere police presence".

A team of Cabinet Ministers made a highly-publicised visit to the troubled areas several days later but which had not been followed up by more visits of teams of Cabinet Ministers!

My greatest disappointment with the Prime Minister is that he had not visited the troubled settlements at the first available opportunity, taking three long weeks to make his first visit - despite the fact that on March 11, 2001, I issued two statements on the same day urging him to personally visit Taman Medan and the surrounding squatter colonies to show the highest government concern over the worst ethnic clashes in the country for the past 32 years.

In the last three weeks, I had repeatedly urged the Prime Minister to visit Jalan Klang Lama squatter areas, the last statement a week ago on March 22, 2001 calling on Mahathir to make his visit to "spur urgent high-powered government action to adopt a holistic approach to restore communal peace, harmony and goodwill" after renewed incidents of sporadic attacks.

There were three other disgraceful episodes in connection with the government's handling of the worst clashes in the country in 32 years:

  1. there was not a single Cabinet Minister in Parliament after question hour on the first working day of the reconvened Parliament the previous Tuesday (20.3.2001) so that one of them could be tasked to receive the Memorandum of 51 NGOs on Kampong Medan clashes addressed to the Prime Minister.

  2. the failure after two weeks of Parliamentary meeting to have a special debate on the Taman Medan clashes, which must serve as a wake-up call to the nation on the quadruple failures in nation-building, development planning, law enforcement and mass communications in the country. But when Parliament cannot "wake up" to specifically debate the Taman Medan clashes after a two-week meeting, how can the worst clashes in the country in 32 years serve as a "wake-up" call to the government and nation?

  3. government delay in establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the causes of the worst ethnic clashes in the country in the last 32 years.

Another reason why Mahathir's "most-belated" visit to Kampung Medan was a "surprise visit" was his use of the occasion to continue his partisan, truculent and divisive attacks on the Opposition.

Can Mahathir explain why he visited the scene of the worst ethnic clashes in 32 years to warn that "some groups believed that by staging riots daily, the country would be destabilised and subsequently the government of the day could be toppled" and that "once a government is toppled through riots, the one replacing it will also suffer the same fate'' when the government had openly admitted that the clashes were not political or "sparked by racial sentiments but due to social factors"?

Or was his real agenda in visiting Kampung Medan to use a very sensitive occasion to talk about how the governments of two of Malaysia's neighbours were "toppled through riots" and that "certain groups in the country thought they could do the same in Malaysia" ?

The focus and thrust of Mahathir's belated visit to Kampung Medan should have been to see for himself the depressed socio-economic conditions in the areas concerned and to assure the troubled settlements of a RM1 billion Masterplan in the Eighth Malaysia Plan to transform not only the squatter colonies in Jalan Klang Lama but similar urban ghettos in other parts of the country into modern urban townships with the most basic modern amenities and facilities rather playing partisan politics.

It is very sad that in calling on the people not to be influenced by the Opposition's "malicious, slanderous and destructive campaigns", Mahathir was himself indulging in these very campaigns.

It is no wonder that the foreign media - which Mahathir has elevated to "primary enemy status" - are asking why Mahathir is acting as if under siege when he has a two-thirds parliamentary majority, dismisses the Opposition as ineffective and that DAP is "finished", and his UMNO presidency is secure and unchallenged?

The anwer is quite simple. Mahathir faces not a people's uprising, threatening violence and chaos to overthrow the elected government but a political crisis of the first magnitude because he has become the country's most unpopular Prime Minister in the nation's history and UMNO's most unpopular party President in UMNO history.

In the circumstances, the reported resignation of the UMNO State Assemblyman for Beserah in Pahang, Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman after lodging a police report against Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob has not really come as a surprise - as the people have expected the rot in UMNO and Barisan Nasional to continue.

Malaysiakini yesterday reported that Fauzi's police report accused Khalil of abuse of power during his tenure as Pahang Mentri Besar by giving out logging concessions without following regulations as laid out by the National Forestry Policy. Khalil had agreed when he was Mentri Besar that Pahang could, according to a yearly quota, only log approximately 28,000 acres of land but he flouted this quota.

Is Mahathir prepared to ask Khalil to resign as Information Minister and UMNO Secretary-General while full investigations into the police report against him are carried out and until he is cleared of any abuse of power as Pahang Mentri Besar?

Nobody expects Mahathir to require Khalil to submit his resignations, which can only plunge his ranking as the most unpopular Prime Minister and UMNO President down a few more notches, placing him under a greater siege and forcing him to make even more irrational and destructive attacks against Opposition leaders - when in fact he has become his own biggest enemy!

- Lim Kit Siang -