(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The New Straits Times has come to the defence of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, claiming that he had not threatened that there would be May 13 and racial riots if Barisan Nasional is not returned with two-thirds majority in the next election.
The following is the Bernama report on Mahathir’s speech at a dinner
at the Pay Fong School Hall on Monday night:
"MELAKA, Aug 9 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad has denied opposition claims that he is trying to frighten the people by saying that a weak government will bring about chaos and racial riots.
"Reiterating the need for Barisan Nasional (BN) to win a two-thirds majority in the coming general election, the prime minister said his statement was factual.
"’If I don't tell the people this, then I am not carrying out my responsibilities,’ he said at a ‘dinner with the people’ here tonight."
The following is the Berita Harian r (10.8.99) report of Mahathir’s speech, under the heading: "PM nafi cuba takutkan rakyat":
"Melaka, Isnin: Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, malam ini menafikan tanggapan pembangkang bahawa beliau cuba manakutkan rakyat dengan berkata kerajaan yang lemah akan hanya membawa huru-hara dan rusuhan kaum.
"Sehubungan itu, Perdana Menteri mengulangi bahawa Barisan Nasional (BN) memerlukan kemenangan majoriti dua pertiga pada pilihan raya umum akan datang sambil berkata beliau cuba menyebut ‘benda yang nyata’.
"’Jika saya tidak beritahu kepada rakyat, maka saya tidak menjalankan tanggungjawab saya,’ katanya pada jamuan bersama rakyat di dewan Sekolah Menengah Pay Fong disini."
In subtly warning that a "weak" government could lead to chaos and racial riots, and linking it with the need for the Barisan Nasional to be returned with a two-thirds majority and the reminder of the May 13 riots in 1969, the message of Mahathir is reported in certain electronic and printed mass media is very clear - that there would be another May 13 and racial riots if the Barisan Nasional is not returned with a two-thirds majority in the next election.
Mahathir should apologise to Malaysians for threatening (although couched as being "factual") that there would be May 13 and racial riots if the Barisan Nasional is not returned with two-thirds majority in next election.
If Barisan Nasional is not returned with two-thirds majority, who is going to create a May 13 or racial riots? All the Opposition parties fully commit themselves to a peaceful election campaign and to fully accept the electoral verdict of the people in the polls.
Are the Barisan Nasional parties prepared to pledge that they would not be responsible for causing a May 13 or racial riots whatever the outcome in the next election? If the Barisan Nasional parties are not prepared to work together with Opposition parties and give the people a solemn undertaking that there would be no May 13 or racial riots in the next election, then the Barisan Nasional parties pose the greatest threat to democracy in Malaysia on the threshhold of the new millennium.
*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic
Action Party Secretary-General & Member
of Parliament for Tanjong