An Apology Does Not Equal Exoneration

MANY asked me about Tun Haniff Omar’s apology to Lim Kit Siang as read from an agreed text made in the court yesterday.

The apology was made for a remark made in a forum organised by Sinar Harian that the Member of Parliament was responsible for and had the intention to direct DAP to separate or divide Peninsular Malaysia into two parts based on race, and intended to sow discord between the Malay and Chinese communities.

Malay apologists were quick to jump the gun claiming that Malaysians had been duped into thinking that Kit Siang was involved in inciting the various races in the country that led to the May 13 tragedy.

The apology was not about that at all.

Let me reiterate in all fairness, that Lim Kit Siang did not utter those said words.

I was made to understand that they were the words of another politician who was also arrested for sedition after the tragedy, as was Lim Kit Siang who was arrested for other reasons.

When the movie Tanda Putera was shown, many pro-Malay bloggers said it was Lim Kit Siang who was involved in a scene depicting a group of non-Malays who urinated at the base of a flag pole.

I wrote on my blog that that scene did not involve Kit Siang, as he was arrested in Kota Kinabalu and was not in Kuala Lumpur when that and the rioting happened.

In fact, it was almost two months to the day of the tragedy that Kit Siang was arrested under Section 11(2)(b) of the Internal Security Act, 1960 for six offences under the Act ranging from 27 July 1968 in Tanjung Malim where he claimed that the education policy was designed to achieve an eventual extermination of Chinese newspapers, Chinese schools and Chinese languages, to an incident on May 13 1969 at a rally at Kampung Air in Kota Kinabalu where he said that the government was trying to have a Malay Malaysia by dividing the people into bumiputera and non-bumiputer, that “the Malays were first class Bumiputera” and that the government was carrying out a policy of “Malaysiation” of Sabah whereby all top post were held by the Malays.

He was also alleged to have stirred anti-Malay and anti-Islamic religious feelings by telling the audience at Kampung Air that the government was pursuing the policy of exploitation by Malays of other races and that the government, by holding an International Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur, had intended to send Malaysian citizens to die in the Middle East in order to capture Jerusalem for the Muslim World (Jerusalem was captured by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War).

Kit Siang had only offered explanations for the inciting speeches he made, but I never saw any apology made for saying those things.

So, no. Yesterday’s apology should not be misconstrued into an exoneration of Lim Kit Siang’s guilt of fanning the sentiments that led to the May13 1969 tragedy.

It was only to underscore the fact that Kit Siang did not utter those words and was arrested because of that as mentioned by Tun Haniff.

(this article first appeared on The Mole )