Ex-Umno man defends DAP against May 13 chargeJOHOR Ex-Umno strongman Mohd Tamrin Abdul Ghafar has become an unexpected ally in Pakatan Rakyat’s bid to counter the claim that DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang was behind the May 13 riots in 1969.
The former Batu Berendam MP, who is also the second son of former deputy premier Abdul Ghafar Baba, has claimed that the incident was the outcome of a “mini coup” orchestrated by Umno leaders including Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“What (then home minister Muhammad) Ghazali (Shafie, left) told (PKR de facto leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) and me, when we were in Umno Youth, was that the incident was a mini coup planned by Umno men, and that Mahathir was involved,” Tamrin said during two Pakatan ceramahs in Gelang Patah last night.
“(First prime minister) Tunku (Abdul Rahman) wrote in his column 'As I See It' in The Star two years before he passed away, that the incident was a deliberate seizure of power by Umno leaders who then blamed it on DAP and the Chinese.”
Lim Kit Siang is running in Gelang Patah, against incumbent Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman, in the hope of extending Pakatan’s 2008 ‘political tsunami’ to Johor.
Tamrin’s disclosure supports the argument of academician Kua Kia Soong that the racial clash in 1969 was the result of a coup d'état by then deputy premier Abdul Razak Hussein against the Tunku, and that Mahathir supported it.
Tamrin recalled that the Tunku had expelled Mahathir from Umno after the latter wrote an open letter calling for the Tunku's resignation after the riots.
“After the Tunku stepped down and Razak took over the premiership, he took Mahathir back into Umno and appointed him as education minister.
“This shows that Razak was grateful to Mahathir (for pressuring the Tunku to step down),” he explained, adding that Kit Siang (left) was not in Kuala Lumpur during the clashes.
He said the continued reference to the incident by Umno, in order to frighten Malay voters, indicates that the BN is desperate.
With anti-establishment sentiment growing rapidly among Chinese Johoreans to Pakatan’s apparent advantage, Umno has flashed the race card to consolidate its support among the Malay electorate in Johor.
Its campaigners have been found distributing publicity material to Malay voters accusing DAP and Kit Siang of causing the May 13 riots.
To counter the charge, Pakatan has brought in several former Umno leaders including ex-law minister Zaid Ibrahim and former Selangor menteri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib to defend DAP and Kit Siang.
‘Which is the racist party?’
Speaking at his first ceramah in Taman Skudai Indah, to a mixed crowd of 300, Tamrin contrasted the track record of DAP and MCA to prove that DAP is “not a racist party”.
“Since its formation in 1966, DAP has had more than 10,000 Malay, Indian and Punjabi members. During its first party polls, Daeng Ibrahim, a Malay leader, was elected as vice-chairperson.
“Since the formation of the party up to the last general election, a total of 55 Malay candidates have contested parliamentary or state constituencies on the DAP ticket.”
However, Tamrin (left) noted, MCA has never allowed a single Malay or Indian to become its member since its formation in 1951.
“So which is the racist party?” he asked.
“I have known Kit Siang since I became a MP in 1986 ... he has never gone against the rights of Malays. He has fought for the principle of a Malaysian Malaysia. How is that different from 1Malaysia? What is the difference? The difference is that Kit Siang is not corrupted.”
Tamrin urged the Malays to thank DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (right), who had been jailed for three years after speaking out for a Malay minor who was allegedly raped by an Umno leader.
He claimed that both former MCA president Ong Ka Ting and former deputy president Lim Ah Lek, who he had met recently, are anticipating that MCA will win a maximum of five parliamentary seats in the 13th general election.
“How to win? (MCA president Dr) Chua Soi Lek is the first general since the Ming dynasty who has not gone to war.
“Chua only won one war - the battle of Katerina Hotel, right?” he said, referring to the hotel in Batu Pahat where Chua was recorded on video, having sex with a companion.