27 April, 2007

Anwar Failed To Fulfil Aspirations Of The Chinese ?

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will not get the support of the Chinese community as its advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim failed to fulfil its aspirations when the latter was an education minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that as such, Chinese voters would not be taken in by empty promises made by Anwar and the PKR that the party would fight for the Chinese interests, describing them as political gimmicks to fish for Chinese votes in the Ijok by-election, polling of which is on Saturday.

Najib said that when Anwar was education minister, he (Anwar) refused to abolish Section 21 (1B) of the Education Act 1991, which empowered the minister to shut down Chinese and Tamil schools, despite repeated calls to do so by the Chinese community.

In exposing the matter, Najib said that it was him when appointed the education minister in 1995 who took the courageous decision to have the section withdrawn when he tabled a new education act in 1996.

"But when Anwar was the minister, he did not want to do it because he wanted to be popular among Malay intellectuals. He is only interested in himself," said Najib.

According to him, this assured that national type Chinese and Tamil schools could continue to exist in the country.

"This was my contribution to the Chinese and Indian communities when I was the education minister... we want to ask Anwar when he was the minister (education), what he did (to fulfil the aspirations of the Chinese). When you had the power, what did you do?," he said to thunderous claps from the 1,000 odd people present.

Najib also refuted allegations by the opposition that MCA leaders were not brave enough to champion Chinese interests in the Cabinet and were mere "yes men".

"I have been in the Cabinet since 1986 to this day and I can give the assurance that the MCA leaders in it always speak out for the Chinese and the nation's overall interests.

"Maybe they are not like DAP leaders, always going around shouting this and that. But MCA leaders always discuss matters with the other leaders in the Cabinet, the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno," he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar Ibrahim, former education minister, has answered critics over his contentious move in 1987 to appoint assistant principals to Chinese-medium schools when they did not speak Mandarin.

Anwar has admitted that he was wrong in 1987 in the dispatch of staff unversed in Mandarin to become principals and senior assistants of Chinese primary schools which resulted in the subsequent Ops Lalang mass arrests.

The sensitive issues were brought on by what appeared innocuously enough as Education Ministry appointments of some 100 senior assistants and principals to vernacular Chinese schools.

This provoked a storm of protest when it was learnt that those appointed were not Chinese (Mandarin)-educated.

Politicians from the MCA, the DAP and GERAKAN, the major Chinese-based parties joined the protests and on 11 October 1987, the Dong Jiao Zong (Chinese educationists) held a 2,000-strong gathering at the Hainanese Association Building, beside the Thian Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, which evoked racially provocative speeches from the Chinese politicians present. The meeting resolved to call a three-day boycott in Chinese schools if the government did not settle the appointments issue but the boycott was called off later.


Ops Lalang was carried out on 27 October 1987 by the Malaysian police to crack down on opposition leaders and social activists. The operation saw the infamous arrest of 106 persons under the ISA and the revoking of the publishing licenses of two dailies, The Star and the Sin Chew Jit Poh and two weeklies, The Sunday Star and Watan.

Among the more prominent detainees were the opposition leader and DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang, ALIRAN President Chandra Muzaffar, DAP Deputy Chairman Karpal Singh, MCA Vice President and Perak Chief Chan Kit Chee, Dong Jiao Zhong (Chinese Education Associations) Chairman Lim Fong Seng, Publicity Chief of the Civil Rights Committee, Kua Kia Soong. PAS Youth Chief Halim Arshat, UMNO MP for Pasir Mas Ibrahim Ali and UMNO Youth Education Chairman Mohamed Fahmi Ibrahim. Although most of the detainees were released either conditionally or unconditionally, 40 were issued detention order of two years. Included were Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh plus five other party colleagues, a number of PAS members and many social activists. A categorization of the initially named detainees, numbering 97, gives the following breakdown: political parties: 37; social movements: 23; individuals: 37.

In retrospect, some of the culprits like Lee Kim Sai (MCA) escaped arrest while many opposition members and activists with nothing to do with racial incitement were put in. Most of the government party people also saw early release while the dissidents generally served detention terms up to two years.


Najib. according to Lim Kit Siang,
was in 1987 the Umno Youth leader and what he did in 1987 was even more infamous than the keris-wielding incidents involving the current Umno Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in the context of extremist and communal demands in utter disregard of the rights and sensitivities of all races in a plural nation.

What did Najib do in 1987?

A Government White Paper entitled “Towards Preserving National Security” tabled in Parliament on 23rd March 1988 recorded that in an Umno Youth rally led by Najib on 17th October 1987, banners bearing strong words were displayed, including one which said: “SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD”.


Meanwhile,
Tun Dr M had also defended his human rights record, claiming that he never had anyone arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for political reasons.

"As for Ops Lallang (in 1987 when more than 100 people were detained) I can tell you I told Lim Kit Siang he will not be arrested, but then the police arrested him so I cannot just tell the police don't as they have their reason to do so.

"At that time they were playing up Chinese racial sentiments, and that's why they were detained. Not political, I don't detain political opposition and personalities under the ISA, I release them."

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