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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 28th January 2008 at 3 pm:

I owe no apology to Samy, who owes at least five apologies to me, MIC, Malaysian Indians, the Barisan Nasional and Malaysian nation

Yesterday, MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu demanded that I apologise to the Indian community for asking the people to light candles in a temple.

Bernama in its report “Samy Vellu Demands Apology from DAP Chairman for Insulting Hindus” demanded that I apologise to all Hindus for “insulting their religion”.

He said that M. Kulasegaran and I had called for Hindus to bring candles into their temples, which he described as “tarnishing the holiness of the religion”.

Samy Vellu said: "He doesn't know anything about Hinduism. He belittles the religion. Kulasegaran, despite being a Hindu, is also insensitive in the matter because as Hindus, we are only allowed to light a certain type of lamp or fire for religious ceremonies in temples, not candles."

Bernama also quoted Samy Vellu as demanding that I should “make an open apology for using Hindus house of worship for political purposes”.

Samy Vellu, who had been MIC President and the sole Indian Cabinet Minister for more than 28 years, is not only fighting for his political life – but is waging a losing battle.

This has become such a great burden for him that it has affected his judgment, words and deeds.

It has been said that when a person is under extreme stress, it could be seen from his increasingly irrational utterances and actions – and this can be seen in the case of Samy Vellu.

I do not owe Samy Vellu any apology as it is Samy Vellu himself who owes me, the MIC, Malaysian Indians, the Barisan Nasional and the Malaysian nation at least five apologies.

Firstly, he owes me an apology for his baseless attacks and outbursts against me as reported by New Straits Times, Bernama, Tamil Nesan and other press today.

It is clear that Samy Vellu has become so flustered by his recent political troubles as to increasingly lose touch with reality. I am not DAP National Chairman as I relinquished this position four years ago.

In the second place, I had never at any time called on the Hindus to light candles in Hindu temples, leaving aside the question of its relevance, appropriateness and justification in the struggle of the Malaysian Indians for justice to end their long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization in the country which had reduced them into a new underclass in Malaysia.

Secondly, Samy Vellu owes the MIC an apology for he has brought the MIC to the party’s lowest political stocks in the party history, to the extent that both the MIC President and MIC are in a position akin to the Chinese saying of “the rat running across the street” with everyone calling for them to be smacked!

Thirdly, Samy Vellu owes the Malaysian Indians an apology for his role in the long-standing marginalization of the community. Some three-and-a-half years ago, Kulasegaran and I had proposed to Samy Vellu that a Parliamentary Select Committee of the Marginalisation of the Indians should be set up and I gave him an official letter so that he could take this proposal to the Cabinet for its approval. No word has come from Samy Vellu, although he had expressed his support for the proposal at the time.

Fourthly, Samy Vellu owes the Barisan Nasional an apology for the sharp drop in the Prime Minister’s approval rating among the Indians which plunged from 82% in September 2007 to 38 % in December 2007 – a 54% plunge in a matter of three months before and after the 30,000 people Hindraf rally of November 25, 2007, which must be traced to Samy Vellu’s failure to effectively represent the interests of the Malaysian Indians in the Barisan Nasional government.

Fifthly, Samy Vellu owes the nation an apology for the humiliation and indignity to the country when he was internationally snubbed by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi who refused to see him despite waiting for three days and three nights for an appointment in Chennai and even after following Karunanidhi to New Delhi early this month.

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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